Though American audiences might first think of roaring lions and cloud-draped mountain peaks when discussing classic studio icons, the first several decades of moviemaking were dominated by an emphatically crowing rooster, the trademark of pioneering French film company PathÃ©. Founded by the four PathÃ© brothers in 1896, the company, then known as the SociÃ©tÃ© PathÃ© FrÃ¨res, soon became the largest film equipment and production company in the world.
Its first major coup occurred in 1902, when PathÃ© managed to grab the rights to the LumiÃ¨re brothersâ€™ patents and set about developing their own line of moviemaking gear. By 1908, PathÃ© had revolutionized the cinema with the introduction of the pre-feature newsreel, which remained a staple of the moviegoing experience until TV news broadcasting took over in the 1960s.
Nowadays, PathÃ© remains at the forefront of international production and distribution; the British arm of the company still distributes over 90,000 historic newsreels. In addition to its various subsidiary companies, the PathÃ© Gaumont archive supplies moviemakers with an impressive collection of classic film and news footage. As distribution moguls continue to expand, PathÃ© has not only evolved with the changing landscape of the moviemaking world, but has also managed to carve out a unique niche for itself, as the guardian of cinematic history. For more information on PathÃ©’s many activities, visit their website.