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HISTORY

News briefs in the 25 Jan 1923 Var and 27 Jan 1923 Motion Picture News suggested that principal photography had recently begun. Trade journals were enthusiastic about the picture, as it marked comic actor Buster Keaton’s first feature-length film. In the previous five years, Keaton had made a number of shorts, and he was wildly popular with audiences. An article in the 3 Feb 1923 Moving Picture World indicated that writer Thomas J. Gray, a member of Keaton’s “scenario department,” was contributing to the screenplay, but he did not receive credit in contemporary reviews at the time of the picture’s release, whereas three other Keaton collaborators did. Actor Lionel Belmore was listed among the cast; however, his appearance onscreen could not be verified. Several contemporary sources noted that Three Ages marked the screen debut of English actress Margaret Leahy. Leahy came to Hollywood, CA, after winning a London beauty contest organized by Norma Talmadge, who was interested in discovering a new star. A review in the Nov 1923 Motion Picture Magazine noted that Leahy performed “fairly well” opposite Keaton’s buffoonery.
       The 24 Mar 1923 Motion Picture News announced that principal photography had ended. Three months later, on 25 Jun 1923, Three Ages premiered in London, England. Reports in the 7 and 14 Jul 1923 Motion Picture News noted that the sold-out event was attended by members of the royal family, as well as by British press and the public. The trade journal indicated that Metro Pictures Corporation planned to release the film in America sometime in Sep 1923. However, on 1 Aug ...

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News briefs in the 25 Jan 1923 Var and 27 Jan 1923 Motion Picture News suggested that principal photography had recently begun. Trade journals were enthusiastic about the picture, as it marked comic actor Buster Keaton’s first feature-length film. In the previous five years, Keaton had made a number of shorts, and he was wildly popular with audiences. An article in the 3 Feb 1923 Moving Picture World indicated that writer Thomas J. Gray, a member of Keaton’s “scenario department,” was contributing to the screenplay, but he did not receive credit in contemporary reviews at the time of the picture’s release, whereas three other Keaton collaborators did. Actor Lionel Belmore was listed among the cast; however, his appearance onscreen could not be verified. Several contemporary sources noted that Three Ages marked the screen debut of English actress Margaret Leahy. Leahy came to Hollywood, CA, after winning a London beauty contest organized by Norma Talmadge, who was interested in discovering a new star. A review in the Nov 1923 Motion Picture Magazine noted that Leahy performed “fairly well” opposite Keaton’s buffoonery.
       The 24 Mar 1923 Motion Picture News announced that principal photography had ended. Three months later, on 25 Jun 1923, Three Ages premiered in London, England. Reports in the 7 and 14 Jul 1923 Motion Picture News noted that the sold-out event was attended by members of the royal family, as well as by British press and the public. The trade journal indicated that Metro Pictures Corporation planned to release the film in America sometime in Sep 1923. However, on 1 Aug 1923, FD published several review excerpts, all from San Francisco, CA, newspapers, describing the film’s opening at the Loew’s Warfield. The following month, a 20 Sep 1923 Var column noted that the picture was attracting “favorable interest” in Los Angeles, CA, with showings at the Loew’s State Theatre.
       According to John Bengtson, author of Silent Echos (Santa Monica, CA, 2000), "The Stone Age" portion was entirely filmed at and around the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, CA. Other locations include the Metro Studio at Cahuenga Boulevard and Willoughby Avenue, and the 1600 block of Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, CA; the former Bovard Athletic Field at the University of Southern California; and Court Hill above the defunct Hill Street Tunnel in downtown Los Angeles.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
1 Aug 1923
p. 4
Motion Picture Magazine
Nov 1923
p. 50
Motion Picture News
27 Jan 1923
---
Motion Picture News
24 Mar 1923
---
Motion Picture News
7 Jul 1923
---
Motion Picture News
14 Jul 1923
---
Moving Picture World
3 Feb 1923
---
Variety
25 Jan 1923
p. 43
Variety
20 Sep 1923
---
Variety
4 Oct 1923
p. 23
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Joseph M. Schenck presents
A Metro Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Eddie Cline
Dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
Art titles
Art titles
Art titles
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
DETAILS
Release Date:
August 1923
Premiere Information:
London, England, premiere: 25 Jun 1923; San Francisco opening: late Jul or early Aug 1923
Production Date:
Jan--Mar 1923
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Buster Keaton Productions
25 July 1923
LP19231
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,251
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

"The hero faces the problem of the lover with a formidable rival in three ages. In the stone age he and his rival throw giant pebbles at each other and eventually he drags off the girl by the hair. In the Roman age a chariot race settles the competition and in the modern age he has to combat with the most popular asset of the suitor of today--wealth. Just as the girl is about to wed the moneyed suitor, the hero makes a bold play for her, however, and wins." (From the 8 Sep 1923 Moving Picture World.) ...

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"The hero faces the problem of the lover with a formidable rival in three ages. In the stone age he and his rival throw giant pebbles at each other and eventually he drags off the girl by the hair. In the Roman age a chariot race settles the competition and in the modern age he has to combat with the most popular asset of the suitor of today--wealth. Just as the girl is about to wed the moneyed suitor, the hero makes a bold play for her, however, and wins." (From the 8 Sep 1923 Moving Picture World.)

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GENRE
Genre:


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.