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Gaumont (1895)

Gaumont Film Company

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Gaumont Film Company is a French film production company founded in 1895 by the engineer-turned-inventor, Léon Gaumont (1864–1946). Gaumont is the oldest continuously operating film company in the world.

Originally dealing in photographic apparatus, the company began producing short films in 1897 to promote its make of camera-projector. Léon Gaumont's secretary Alice Guy-Blaché became the motion picture industry’s first female director. From 1905 to 1914, its studios "Cité Elgé" (from the normal French pronunciation of the founder's initials L-G) at La Villette, France, were the largest in the world.

The company manufactured its own equipment and mass-produced films until 1907, when Louis Feuillade became the artistic director of Gaumont. When World War I broke out, he was replaced by Léonce Perret, who continued his career in the United States a few years later. The company headquarters are in Neuilly-sur-Seine.


Gaumont opened foreign offices and acquired theatre chains Gaumont British, which later notably produced several Hitchcock films such as The 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes . Along with its giant competitor Pathé Frères, Gaumont dominated the motion-picture industry in Europe until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Gaumont also constructed the Lime Grove Studios.

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

In 1975, media tycoon and French Old money heir, multillionaire Nicolas Seydoux started managing Gaumont of which he personally owned 60% of the shares and 70% of the votes.

In 2005, Gaumont's revenues were over $200 million.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Gaumont", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.