When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

McFarland
Free sample

 This collection of 23 new essays focuses on the lives of female screenwriters of Golden Age Hollywood, whose work helped create those unforgettable stories and characters beloved by audiences—but whose names have been left out of most film histories. The contributors trace the careers of such writers as Anita Loos, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Lillian Hellman, Gene Gauntier, Eve Unsell and Ida May Park, and explore themes of their writing in classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Ben Hur, and It’s a Wonderful Life.
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About the author

Rosanne Welch teaches the history of screenwriting and one-hour drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting. As a television writer/producer, her credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences and Touched by an Angel. The book reviews editor for Journal of Screenwriting, she lives in Los Angeles.
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Additional Information

Publisher
McFarland
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Published on
Jul 11, 2018
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Pages
229
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ISBN
9781476632773
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Looking back on her career in 1977, Bette Davis remembered with pride, "Women owned Hollywood for twenty years." She had a point. Between 1930 and 1950, over 40% of film industry employees were women, 25% of all screenwriters were female, one woman ran MGM behind the scenes, over a dozen women worked as producers, a woman headed the Screen Writers Guild three times, and press claimed Hollywood was a generation or two ahead of the rest of the country in terms of gender equality and employment. The first comprehensive history of Hollywood's high-flying career women during the studio era, Nobody's Girl Friday covers the impact of the executives, producers, editors, writers, agents, designers, directors, and actresses who shaped Hollywood film production and style, led their unions, climbed to the top during the war, and fought the blacklist. Based on a decade of archival research, author J.E. Smyth uncovers a formidable generation working within the American film industry and brings their voices back into the history of Hollywood. Their achievements, struggles, and perspectives fundamentally challenge popular ideas about director-based auteurism, male dominance, and female disempowerment in the years between First and Second Wave Feminism. Nobody's Girl Friday is a revisionist history, but it's also a deeply personal, collective account of hundreds of working women, the studios they worked for, and the films they helped to make. For many years, historians and critics have insisted that both American feminism and the power of women in Hollywood declined and virtually disappeared from the 1920s through the 1960s. But Smyth vindicates Bette Davis's claim. The story of the women who called the shots in studio-era Hollywood has never fully been told-until now.
Research into and around women's participation in cinematic history has enjoyed dynamic growth over the past decade. A broadening of scope and interests encompasses not only different kinds of filmmaking--mainstream fiction, experimental, and documentary--but also practices--publicity, journalism, distribution and exhibition--seldom explored in the past. Cutting-edge and inclusive, Doing Women's Film History ventures into topics in the United States and Europe while also moving beyond to explore the influence of women on the cinemas of India, Chile, Turkey, Russia, and Australia. Contributors grapple with historiographic questions that cover film history from the pioneering era to the present day. Yet the writers also address the very mission of practicing scholarship. Essays explore essential issues like identifying women's participation in their cinema cultures, locating previously unconsidered sources of evidence, developing methodologies and analytical concepts to reveal the impact of gender on film production, distribution and reception, and reframing film history to accommodate new questions and approaches. Contributors include: Kay Armatage, Eylem Atakav, Karina Aveyard, Canan Balan, Cécile Chich, Monica Dall'Asta, Eliza Anna Delveroudi, Jane M. Gaines, Christine Gledhill, Julia Knight, Neepa Majumdar, Michele Leigh, Luke McKernan, Debashree Mukherjee, Giuliana Muscio, Katarzyna Paszkiewicz, Rashmi Sawhney, Elizabeth Ramirez Soto, Sarah Street, and Kimberly Tomadjoglou.
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