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James and Rose Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Smith and Rose Smith (née Richter) were film editors known for their work in the early days of Hollywood, specifically for their work at the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company working as editors for D.W. Griffith.

James Smith
Born(1892-03-07)March 7, 1892
DiedJuly 21, 1975(1975-07-21) (aged 83)
OccupationFilm editor
EmployerAmerican Mutoscope and Biograph Company 1921–30, Paramount Pictures 1935–41, United Artist Media Group 1944–47
Rose Smith
Rose Richtel

(1897-03-06)March 6, 1897
DiedMay 29, 1962(1962-05-29) (aged 65)
OccupationFilm editor
EmployerAmerican Mutoscope and Biograph Company 1921–30, Paramount Pictures 1935–41, United Artist Media Group 1944–47
D.W. Griffith and Rose Smith c. 1920

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James's career

James is credited in two films for acting early in his career and is also credited as editor in 75 films and TV shows from 1909 to 1958. While working at Biograph, he worked his way up the company starting as a worker in the shipping room to being promoted to editor. Smith is most well known for his work with D.W. Griffith. Richard Schickel described Smith's role with Griffith as “a skilled and very difficult task” because Griffith hardly ever worked according to script while working on feature films.[1]

He was one of Griffith's most important editors during his tenure at the Biograph Company, the other one being Robert Harron, who like Smith worked his was up the company to actor and editor starting from prop boy. Griffith enjoyed working with Smith so much that he could often be found working with him in the editing room.[2] Jimmie would work with Griffith from 1921 until 1930 and then go on to work for Paramount Pictures from 1935 until 1941. After working at Paramount for six years, he would work at United Artist Media Group from 1944 to 1947.

Rose's career

Rose Smith is credited as an actress in one film and in 19 films for her work as editor. According to IMDb, Rose Smith was not credited on-screen for six of the films she edited. She was known or credited as Rose Richter, her maiden name.

As an early woman in the film industry Rose faced scrutiny and was not credited in many movies she had worked on, including D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance and The Avenging Conscience. The Los Angeles Times described Rose's devotion to Griffith in 1925 when they reported that she had “been a cutter for D.W. Griffith since her little girl days.”[3]

James Smith(?unconfirmed) and wife editor Rose Smith
A still from Way Down East, D.W. Griffith (1920) Rose Smith (e.)

Biograph Company

The Smiths are both best known for their work at the Biograph Company, also known as the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. As editors they worked on D.W. Griffith's controversial film The Birth of a Nation. This was one of the first films in which Rose joined Jimmie in the editing room for Griffith. Other films which Jimmie and Rose worked together on for Griffith included A Corner in Wheat, Abraham Lincoln, and Orphans of the Storm. Both Jimmie and Rose would show their devotion to their work and Griffith as they began work in New York then move with Griffith to California, the new hub of cinema.

End of career

Rose edited her last film Public Stenographer in 1934. Rose had a much shorter tenure in cinema then Jimmie due to her death on May 29, 1962, at the age of 65 in Glendale, California. James continued on his career in film long after Rose's career had ended, eventually moving from films into TV series in the '50s; however, his career ended in 1958 shortly before Rose's death. James died on July 21, 1975, at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, California.

James's filmography[4]


Editorial Department (3 Credits)

Actor (2 Credits)

Rose's filmography[5]




  1. ^ Stokes, Melvyn. D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation: A History of "the Most Controversial Motion Picture of All Time" New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
  2. ^ Schickel, Richard. D.W. Griffith: An American Life. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984. Print.
  3. ^ “Rose Smith." In Jane Gaines, Radha Vatsal, and Monica Dall’Asta, eds. Women Film Pioneers Project. Center for Digital Research and Scholarship. New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2013. Web. September 27, 2013. <>
  4. ^ "James Smith". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
  5. ^ "Rose Smith". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-10-06.
This page was last edited on 3 December 2022, at 17:19
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