Éclair Studio

The second studio built in Fort Lee


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Éclair Studio

Linwood Ave., Fort Lee
Active 1911-ca 1920

Societe Francaise des Film et Cinematographs Éclair (or simply Éclair) was a French manufacturer of film and film equipment and supplies for the French movie business. Éclair's claim to fame their world class movie cameras.  They discontinued camera manufacturing in 1986.

In an effort to get a larger share of the American market, Eclair built a state-of-the-art studio and laboratory in Fort Lee. Its larger competitor, Pathé, had already established itself in the U.S. with studios in Jersey City, New York, and in Edendale.

The studio was partially financed by Jules Brulatour, George Eastman's liaison with the studios of Fort Lee and New York. It was managed by Eclair employee Charles Jourjon, who was also the company president. These names are important, as the Fort Lee studios (just like the studios of Hollywood) were very incestuous and many people had overlapping and conflicting interests, as these two men did. (See the story of the studio next door: World-Peerless).

Construction started in February 1911 in the middle of Linwood Ave. on property that is now part of Constitution Park. The lot ran approximately 300 feet along Linwood Ave. and was approximately 175 feet deep (see maps).  The original footprint was smaller, but additional property was purchased and new construction was completed in August 1912 to accommodate greater production, expanding from one project to three simultaneous.  The studio consisted of several stages and a large laboratory that served many of the studios in and around Fort Lee.

On March 19, 1914, the laboratory burned to the ground and Eclair ceased production in Fort Lee.

Ownership of the property was transferred to the Motion Pictures Property Company, a group of local business people making an attempt to keep filmmaking alive in Fort Lee. It was leased to William Fox who produced here (using the stages, which were untouched by the fire) and at the Willat studio next door.  Fox abandoned Fort Lee to build a studio in Manhattan in 1920. He would shoot "standard" films in Hollywood and "special" features in New York.

The studio buildings were still standing until at least the 1930s but I don't have exact information on its final closure and demolition.  As of 1930 the studio was in use under the name of Metropolitan Sound Studio (owned by the Christie Brothers, Hollywood producers, and studio owners).

Éclair on the Map

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Films shot by Éclair

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