In 1943, Marcel L'Herbier made his largest contribution to cinema by founding the prestigious Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques (I.D.H.E.C.) in Paris, one of the finest film schools in the world. Before getting involved with film in the late 'teens, L'Herbier studied law and then was a playwright, poet and essayist. During WW I, he was assigned the Cinematographic Service in the French army. In the '20s, he became an influential figure in the development of French avant garde films. The experimental films of L'Herbier had particular influence on directors Cavalcanti and Autant-Lara. By the advent of sound however, L'Herbier seemed to have lost his creative edge and from then on produced mainstream films of average quality. Around 1954, he became a television director.