Viola Lawrence

by Kristen Hatch

Viola Lawrence is often credited as Hollywood’s first female film cutter. She began working in film at the age of twelve when she held title cards at the Vitagraph studio in Flatbush. Six years later, she edited her first film, a Vitagraph three-reeler, O’Henry (1912). In 1917, Lawrence moved to Hollywood, where she worked at Universal, First National, and Gloria Swanson Productions before arriving at Columbia Pictures, where in 1925 she became the supervising editor, and where she was still editing until the late 1950s.

 Erich von Stroheim and Viola Lawrence. Foolish Wives (1922). PCRK

Erich von Stroheim and Viola Lawrence on set of Foolish Wives (1922). Private Collection.

See alsoHettie Grey BakerAnne BauchensMargaret BoothWinifred DunnKatherine HillikerJane LoringIrene MorraBlanche SewellRose Smith

Bibliography

The bibliography for this essay is included in the “Cutting Women: Margaret Booth and Hollywood’s Pioneering Female Film Editors” overview essay.

Filmography

A. Archival Filmography: Extant Film Titles:

1. Viola Lawrence/Viola Mallory as Editor

Blind Husbands. Dir. Erich von Stroheim, sc.: Erich von Stroheim, Lillian Ducey, ed.: Viola Mallory, Eleanor Fried (Universal Film Mft. Co. US 1918) cas.: Francelia Billington, Sam De Grasse, Erich von Stroheim, si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: Cinémathèque Québécoise [CAQ], Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique [BEB], Svenska Filminstitutet [SES] , National Film and Sound Archive of Australia [AUC], Cinemateca Romana [ROB], Münchner Stadtmuseum [DEI], Filmoteka Narodowa [PLW], Museum of Modern Art [USM], Library and Archives Canada [CAO], Österreichisches Filmmuseum [ATM], Cineteca Nazionale [ITN], UCLA Film and Television Archive [USL], Filmoteca Española [ESM], George Eastman Museum [USR], Deutsches Filminstitut [DEW], BFI National Archive [GBB], Danske Filminstitut [DKK], Harvard Film Archive [USI], Museo Nazionale del Cinema [ITT], Jugoslovenska Kinoteka [YUB], Lobster Films [FRL].

The Heart of Humanity. Dir. Allen Holubar, sc.: Allen Holubar, Olga Scholl, ed.: Viola Mallory (Universal Film Mfg. Co. US 1919) cas.: Dorothy Phillips, William Stowell, si., b&w, 35mm. Archive: Library of Congress [USW], Library and Archives Canada [CAO], UCLA Film and Television Archive [USL], Academy Film Archive [USF], George Eastman Museum [USR].

The Virgin of Stamboul. Dir. Tod Browning, sc.: Tod Browning, William Parker, ed.: Viola Mallory (Universal Film Mfg. Co. US 1920) cas.: Priscilla Dean, Eugenie Ford, si., b&w. Archive: Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique [BEB], BFI National Archive [GBB], UCLA Film and Television Archive [USL].

Fighting the Flames. Dir.: B. Reeves Eason, sc.: Douglas Z. Doty, ed.: Viola Lawrence (Columbia Pictures Corp. US 1925) cas.: William Haines, Dorothy Devore, David Torrence, si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: Library of Congress [USW].

Queen Kelly. Dir. Erich Von Stroheim, sc.: Erich Von Stroheim, Marion Ainslee, ed.: Viola Lawrence (Gloria Swanson Productions, Inc. US 1928) cas.: Gloria Swanson, Walter Byron, si., b&w, 35mm. Archive: Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique [BEB], Münchner Stadtmuseum [DEI], George Eastman Museum [USR], Cineteca Nazionale [ITN], Cineteca Nacional [MXN], Filmoteca Española [ESM], Deutsches Filminstitut [DEW], BFI National Archive [GBB], Museo Nazionale del Cinema [ITT], Cinémathèque Française [FRC], National Film and Sound Archive of Australia [AUC], Jugoslovenska Kinoteka [YUB].

This is Heaven. Dir. Alfred Santell, sc.: Hope Loring, Arthur Mantell, George Maurion Jr., ed.: Viola Lawrence (Samuel Goldwyn, Inc./Advance Trailer Service Corp. US 1929) cas.: Vilma Banky, James Hall, si&so, b&w, 35mm. Archive: Library of Congress [USW].

B. Filmography: Non-Extant Film Titles:

1. Viola Lawrence/Viola Mallory as Editor

Within the Law, 1917; An Alabaster Box, 1917; His Divorced Wife, 1919; Loot, 1919; Once to Every Woman, 1920; Fighting the Flames, 1925; The Devil Dancer, 1927; The Awakening, 1928; Two Lovers, 1928.

Citation

Hatch, Kristen. "Viola Lawrence." In Jane Gaines, Radha Vatsal, and Monica Dall’Asta, eds. Women Film Pioneers Project. New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2013.  <https://doi.org/10.7916/d8-4msv-v936>

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