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Richard Maurice (June 14, 1893 – fl. 1930) was a pioneering filmmaker of African descent during the silent era.



Richard Danal Maurice was born in Matanzas, Cuba on June 14, 1893.[1] In 1903, Maurice immigrated to the United States.[2] He lived in Detroit, where he owned and operated a tailor's shop.[3]

In July 1920, he founded the Maurice Film Company in Detroit. It released two feature films, made almost ten years apart. Nobody's Children, the company's first feature, premiered at E.B. Dudley's Vaudette Theatre in Detroit on Monday, September 27, 1920 and played widely within the eastern United States.[4]

While extensive documentation exists regarding the release of Nobody's Children (however, no prints are known to exist), very little is known about the release of Eleven P.M., Maurice's second and only known surviving feature. It is generally dated 1928, but Pearl Bowser and Charles Musser in their essay, "Richard D. Maurice and the Maurice Film Company," speculate that the experimental film may have been completed the following year or possibly even 1930 because it "possesses a cinematic style and internal evocations of other race films" of the period.[4]

It is regarded by historian Henry T. Sampson as one of the most outstanding black films of the silent era.

Bowser and Musser also praise the film by stating, "Maurice's innovative use of cinematography–location filming, unusual angles, and tracking shots as well as special, almost surrealist effects–distinguish the film from its surviving counterparts of race cinema."[4]

Although listed as a motion picture producer in the 1930 U.S. Census, very little is known about Maurice and his family (wife Vivian and daughter Wanda, who also appeared in his films) after that time.[2]


  • Nobody's Children (1920)
  • Home Brew (1920) [short]
  • Eleven P.M. (1928)

Further reading

  • Bowser, Pearl; Jane Gaines, Charles Musser (2001). Oscar Micheaux and His Circle: African-American Filmmaking of the Silent Era. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-33994-4.  


  1. ^ "World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line"]. United States: The Generations Network. 1917. Retrieved 2009-09-23.  
  2. ^ a b "Fifteenth Census of the United States (1930) [database on-line , Detroit (Ward 16), Wayne County, Michigan, Enumeration District: 82-515, Page: 2A, Line: 5, household of Richard Maurice"]. United States: The Generations Network. 1930-04-07. Retrieved 2009-09-23.  
  3. ^ "Fourteenth Census of the United States (1920) [database on-line , Detroit (3rd Ward), Wayne County, Michigan, Enumeration District: 94, Page: 4A, Line: 2, household of Richard D. Maurice"]. United States: The Generations Network. 1920-01-05. Retrieved 2009-09-27.  
  4. ^ a b c Bowser, Pearl; Jane Gaines; Charles Musser(eds.) (2001). Oscar Micheaux and His Circle. Bloomington and Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press. pp. 191-194. ISBN 0253339944.  

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