Albert Capellani was a French director and film producer who began his career as a stage actor and theatre manager. In 1905, he began working as a director for Pathé Frères. Three years later, he became the general manager of the Société Cinématographique des Auteurs et Gens des Lettres (SCAGL), which was established by Pathé.
This company specialized in film adaptations of famous literary works. The SCAGL’s so-called ‘Films d'Art’ were made specifically to win over a well-educated and culturally sophisticated audience for the medium of film. Capellani was responsible not only for the artistic leadership of the company, but also directed a number of these literary adaptations himself, including L'Assommoir (1909), Notre-Dame de Paris (1911), and the two-hour-plus Les Miserables from 1913.
In that same year, Capellani also came to the Netherlands to direct the film De afwezige. This film was produced by the SCAGL and Hollandsche Film, the Dutch production subsidiary of Pathé Frères.
Beginning in 1914, Capellani directed a number of films in Hollywood for various companies. He also produced films for his own company, Albert Capellani Productions. He returned to France in the early 1920s, but was no longer able to get a foothold in the French film industry.