The Unchanging Sea

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 6.47.19 AMI have been looking closely these days at the personal life and filmography of D. W. Griffith – and I’ve come up with some book-worthy ideas (to be revealed at a later date when I iron a few things out). Today I want to highlight Griffith’s culminating effort of his first California Expedition with Biograph in 1910: The Unchanging Sea starring Mary Pickford. Analysis aside for now, I am taken by the scenery. Griffith shot this entire film – all thirteen or so minutes of it – on location in Santa Monica. A century ago this was not the sprawling beach community it is today. But with a little imagination you can almost see the buildings, the pier, the traffic, the crowds…

Okay maybe not but but I will say this: the hillside and beach haven’t changed much at all. Enjoy the film – inspired by Charles Kingley’s poem: The Three Fishers.

With compliments,
Keith

The Americanist Independent

5 thoughts on “The Unchanging Sea”

  1. My maternal grandmother graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1925.

    Also, I was just watching a documentary on Netflix last night called “Los Angeles Plays Itself.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_Plays_Itself
    It’s all about how Los Angeles and Los Angeles structures have been used by film-makers since the beginnings of the movie industry. It’s very interesting. If you haven’t seen it, I think you’d really enjoy it.

    1. That’s very cool, Bob – is your grandmother a native Angeleno? I have not seen the documentary but I will check it out. Thanks for the heads up!

      1. Yes, she was born in Los Angeles in 1907 and passed away in San Clemente in 2001. She also attended UCLA, which is where I think she met my grandfather. After I went to University of Washington as an undergrad in 1980, we always had a friendly family rivalry when the Huskies played the Bruins. I wrote a blogpost about her a few years ago you might enjoy; it’s Los Angeles history.

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