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In Old California (1910)

An historical dramatization of a Spanish woman during the reign of Spanish and Mexican owned California in the early 19th century.


D.W. Griffith


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Credited cast:
Frank Powell ... Governor Jose Manuella
Arthur V. Johnson ... Pedro Cortes
Marion Leonard ... Perdita Arguello
Henry B. Walthall ... Perdita's Son
W. Chrystie Miller ... Indian Messenger
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Craig Charles Craig ... Soldier
Francis J. Grandon ... Soldier
Anthony O'Sullivan Anthony O'Sullivan ... Soldier
Frank Opperman Frank Opperman ... Governor's Servant
Alfred Paget ... Soldier
Mack Sennett ... Soldier
Charles West ... Soldier / Governor's Servant


No land nor period was more given to romance than the Spanish American in the early part of the 19th century. The influence of the warm constant sun, without excessive amenity was conducive to lethargy and lethargy is the seed of romance. The dreamer is a romancer. This Biograph story starts some time before Mexican independence was proclaimed in California, which occurred in 1822. Perdita Arguello, the pretty Spanish senorita is beloved by Jose Manuella, a wealthy young Spaniard, who migrated to the new world in search of adventure. A man of qualities, he surrenders claim upon the girl when he finds her heart is given to Pedro Cortes, a handsome troubadour of the village. Cortes is just the sort of fellow to impress a thoughtless and unsophisticated girl with his gentle persuasive manner together with his talent as a musician. Of poetic temperament, she yields to his plan and marries him. But what a calamity! Twenty years later we see the result of her folly. Cortes proved to be a ... Written by Biograph Company

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Did You Know?


For years the first film thought shot in Hollywood was Cecil B. DeMille's, The Squaw Man (1914). The discovery of this film not only made it the first ever movie filmed in Hollywood, but that it was a 'Latino' storyline based film. See more »

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First Movie to be Produced In Hollywood In Its Entirety
15 February 2021 | by springfieldrentalSee all my reviews

Sunny California attracted a few minor film studios by 1910. But the small village of Hollywood outside Los Angeles was ignored until D.W. Griffith, who had appeared on the stage during his acting days several years before, remembered the beautiful winter days there as well as the diverse typography to shoot scripts using a variety of settings. Wanting to film outside but hating the Northeast cold, he got his employer, Biograph Studios, to agree with him to take his Ft. Lee, N.J., film crew and travel to Hollywood in February to produce several movies there.

The first movie he directed within Hollywood's village was "In Old California." Although technically the first film to be completed in Hollywood was Selig Polyscope Company's 1908 "The Count of Monte Crisco," this Selig film was partially shot in Chicago before wrapping it up in California. Griffith's "In Old California" was the first movie to be filmed, edited and released in its entirety in Hollywood.

Many have confused Cecil B. DeMille's 1914 "The Squaw Man" as the first film out of Hollywood. But that movie is a long feature film, creating the confusion for those who insist a full-length movie qualifies as the first produced in H'wood. Griffith's 1910 work is a one-reeler, 17-minutes in length. "In Old California" was considered "lost" for decades until it turned up in the early 2000's. The film is currently being restored and will be available to the public sometime in the future. In 2004, a monument was placed on the location where Griffith's first Southern California film was made, on 1713 Vine Street, Hollywood.

Meanwhile, Griffith would return repeatedly to Hollywood to film some of his greatest works.

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None | English

Release Date:

10 March 1910 (USA) See more »

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Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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