A History of Mormon Cinema: First Wave

In calling this era the new frontier, there is some danger of forgetting the large industrial organizations that supported film’s early pioneers. The analogy, however, is of some use here not only because of Utah’s recent pioneer past at the turn of the century—only a generation removed—but primarily because of the proud, isolationist stance LDS filmmakers were forced to assume in response to the mainstream industry’s attacks on their religion. With no political redress or recourse to non-Mormon allies, the Latter-day Saints were left to their own devices to depict what they saw as the glories of their scriptures, forbears, and modern leaders. They had their guides, to be certain—modern Jim Bridgers like Thomas Ince or D. W. Griffith—but Mormon filmmakers seem to have felt they were blazing ahead where none had gone before, where God wanted them to go.

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