Wednesday, June 7, 2017

First to Film: Leon H. Caverly and the U.S. Marine Corps

On June 14, 1917, - almost one hundred years ago - the Fifth Regiment of the U.S  Marine Corps left New York harbor. True to their reputation the Marines were in the first wave of American soldiers sailing to Europe. On board was official cameraman Leon H. Caverly.



Leon H. Caverly in France (1918). Picture courtesy U.S. Marine Corps/History Division


First cinematographer 

Caverly was by all accounts the first cinematographer to film the Great War with the American forces in France. We were extremely fortunate in having found Caverly's personal papers describing his experiences as a war photographer. Based on his letters from the front, as well as numerous photographs and films taken by Caverly, we were able to reconstruct his extraordinary life and work as an official cameraman with the U.S. Marine Corps and the 2nd Division of the American Expeditionary Force.

Caverly's story presents an interesting case study on the military cameramen who covered World War I. Our article on Caverly will be published in an upcoming issue of the Historical Journal of Film, Radio & Television

We will keep you posted on this latest project!

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