The Women Who Write the Movies; From Frances Marion to Nora Ephron

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In Hollywood's youth, women pioneered in screenwriting for silent films, often networking between friends: Jeannie Macpherson, Frances Marion, and Adela Rogers St. Johns, among many others, were billed alongside the top directors. With the advent of talkies and into the 1930s and 1940s, famous writers Dorothy Parker and Anita Loos wrote scripts for box-office hits such as A Star Is Born and Jean Harlow's Red-Headed Woman. And Catherine Turney wrote the searing Mildred Pierce - uncredited until now. After World ...
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Overview

In Hollywood's youth, women pioneered in screenwriting for silent films, often networking between friends: Jeannie Macpherson, Frances Marion, and Adela Rogers St. Johns, among many others, were billed alongside the top directors. With the advent of talkies and into the 1930s and 1940s, famous writers Dorothy Parker and Anita Loos wrote scripts for box-office hits such as A Star Is Born and Jean Harlow's Red-Headed Woman. And Catherine Turney wrote the searing Mildred Pierce - uncredited until now. After World War II, women writers began to drop out of sight, with notable exceptions such as Ida Lupino, Betty Comden, and Dorothy Kingsley. And in the 1960s and early 1970s innovative scripts were written by Elaine May and Penelope Gilliatt, followed by screenplays from contemporary writers like Nora Ephron and Leslie Dixon. McCreadie's extensive research details the fascinating careers of all the important contributors so far, from Elinor Glyn, herself a noted actress, who wrote It, starring Clara Bow, which redefined the title word and made the "It Girl" an international sensation; up to Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, whose beautifully detailed and literate films win accolades everywhere; to Callie Khouri, whose script for Thelma and Louise broke new ground in portraying the battle of the sexes. You will find here not only a treasury of new information about women screenwriters, but examples of the scripts themselves and plenty of photographs of the women who write the movies.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
What changed the screenwriter imbalance from women outnumbering men ten to one until the mid-1920s to the current situation in which there are only 33 women screenwriters and over 1500 men. These two histories of women screenwriters in American films both approach that same question by different routes. Both works examine specific screenwriters starting with the early silents and continuing to the present day. With some exceptions, they discuss the same writers and frequently use the same quotes. In her briefer title, McCreadie, a reviewer of independent films, aims to offer more of a fleeting survey than an in-depth study. She uses examples from some of her subjects' scripts to give a taste of each screenwriter's distinct style. Developed from the basis of a film series that the author programmed for the National Film Theater, Script Girls is a trifle more optimistic and celebratory of the subject. Francke, a British film lecturer and writer, is interested in rescuing the image of the female screenwriter from contemporary obscurity. Toward that end, her section on current screenwriters is the book's strong point. Yet, while she examines in greater detail the lives and works of the women writers she considers, the regular errors in descriptions of films in the earlier sections don't promote confidence in her scholarship. Both titles are recommended only for academic libraries.-Marianne Cawley, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559722513
  • Publisher: Carol Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The Pioneers 3
2 The Two Thirties: Frivolity and Flighty Escapes / Social Realism and Social Conscience 67
3 The Forties: The Woman's Film and the War Years 88
4 Writing Teams 154
5 The Exception That Proves the Rule 180
6 The Contemporaries: Hen's Teeth in a Mare's Nest 184
7 Afterword 229
Select Bibliography 231
Index 233
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