|THE INTERNATIONAL SILENT MOVIE|
1883 - 1964
The actress Cleo Madison belonged to the early female film pioneers and was one of few women who already were active as a director and producer beside her main activity of an actress. Carl Laemmle, the owner of Universal Pictures did not have retentions against women in rather unusual areas and assisted the role of women in the film business.
Cleo Madison began her career in 1910 with the theater troupe in Santa Barbara and went on tour with them for a longer time.
In 1912 she entered the film business and made her film debut with "A Business Buccaneer" (12). In the next years she worked for universal Pictures and took part in movies like "The Trap" (13), "Captain Kidd" (13), "Under the Black Flag" (13), "The Dead End" (14), "The Balance" (14), "Samson" (14) and "The Mystery of Wickham Hall" (14).
When she appeared in the serial "The Trey o' Hearts" (14) she had her final breakthrough. In the next years followed other successful movies, often directed by Otis Turner.
During this very successful time she also began to write her own scripts and produced and directed movies. She ranged in nearly all thinkable genres from western via melodramas to action movies.
To her well-known movies of the second part of the 10s belong "The Sin of Olga Brandt" (15), "The Mystery Woman" (15), "The Human Menace" (15), "Alias Holland Jimmy (15), "Extravagance" (15), "His Return" (16), "Virginia" (16), "When the Wolf Howls" (16), "To Another Woman" (16), "Black Orchids" (17), "The Flame of the West" (18), "The Romance of Tarzan" (18) and "The Great Radium Mystery" (19).
Because of her great successes and the burden of work involved she cut down her activity from the 20s, yet she could not avoid that she suffered a nervous breakdown in 1922.
Therefore her appearances in front of the camera remained seldom in the 20s, amont others she acted in "The Lure of Youth" (21), "A Woman's Woman" (22), "The Dangerous Age" (23), "The Lullaby" (24) and "The Roughneck" (24).
As a director she realised her first movies already from 1915, to her works belong "Liquid Dynamite" (15), "The Ring of Destiny" (15), "His Return" (16), "Alias Jane Jones" (16), "The Girl in Lower 9" (16) and "Triumph of Truth" (16).
As a successful female representative in a man dominated filmworld she campaigned for women and worked together in a female community of directors, actresses and writers. To the female directors she worked together belong Lois Weber and Ida May Park.
In 1924 she retired from the film business.
Private she was enthusiastic about cars, beside it she also looked after her sister who was wheelchair-bounded.
Other movies with Cleo Madison: