Gaumont Film Company

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Gaumont Pictures was founded in 1895 by the engineer-turned-inventor, Léon Gaumont (1864-1946). They are the oldest movie studio in the world. From 1905 to 1914, its studios "Cité Elgé" (from the normal French pronunciation of founder's initials) at La Villette, France, were the largest in the world. The company manufactured its own equipment and mass-produced films until 1907 under Alice Guy Blaché, the motion picture industry’s first female director, and then under Louis Feuillade.

Among some of the most notable films produced were the serials "Judex", "Fantomas"; the comedies of "Onesime", "Bebe"; and the newsreels of the "Gaumont Actualities". Directors such as Abel Gance, Alfred Hitchcock, and the early animator Emile Cohl worked for this studio at one time or another.

Gaumont opened foreign offices and acquired theatre chains Gaumont British, which notably later produced The Lady Vanishes) and along with its giant competitor, Pathé Frères, dominated the motion-picture industry in Europe until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

After significant post-war losses in market-share/competition to American productions, Gaumont experienced the subsequent business reversals of technological change (the advent of sound) and financial depression, and was eventually merged with Franco-Film Aubert in the early 1930s.

Today, Gaumont is independent and is still recognized as one of the largest producers (Léon, The Fifth Element) and distributors of films in France.

The company has also produced television as well, including three animated series: Highlander: The Animated Series, Dragon Flyz, and Sky Dancers (the second and third are based on their respective toy lines).

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