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Women in Horror Films, 1930s
     

Women in Horror Films, 1930s

by Gregory William Mank
 

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They had more in common than just a scream, whether they faced Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, King Kong, the Wolf Man, or any of the other legendary Hollywood monsters. Some were even monsters themselves, such as Elsa Lanchester as the Bride, and Gloria Holden as Dracula’s Daughter. And while evading the Strangler

Overview

They had more in common than just a scream, whether they faced Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Mummy, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, King Kong, the Wolf Man, or any of the other legendary Hollywood monsters. Some were even monsters themselves, such as Elsa Lanchester as the Bride, and Gloria Holden as Dracula’s Daughter. And while evading the Strangler of the Swamp, former Miss America Rosemary La Planche is allowed to rescue her leading man. This book provides details about the lives and careers of 21 of these cinematic leading ladies, femmes fatales, monsters, and misfits, putting into perspective their contributions to the films and folklore of Hollywood terror—and also the sexual harassment, exploitation, and genuine danger they faced on the job.
In a previously unpublished account, Bride of Frankenstein’s Anne Darling remembers when, at age 17, she was humiliated on-set by director James Whale over the color of her underwear. Filled with anecdotes and recollections, many of the entries are based on original interviews, and there are numerous old photographs and movie stills.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“recommended”—Booklist; “Mank scripts a charming and poetic series of thumbnail sketches. [He] doubles the reader’s pleasure with a stunning set of publicity photographs and film stills illustrating his labor of unabashed gallant love for these neglected ‘scream queens’”—Choice; “richly detailed...first-rate additions”—Library Journal; “highly entertaining and informative...capsule biographies of the damsels in distress are complete, definitive, immensely readable...fun to read and would make a welcome addition to all film library collections as well as large public libraries”—ARBA; “most valuable...a well-done book”—The Idaho Librarian; “an important, richly crafted contribution to genre history...superb introduction...offers richly detailed essays and biographies on every actress involved in the Golden Age of Horror...meticulous research...exquisitely written, profusely illustrated...beautiful”—Monsters from the Vault; “instant classics”—Little Shoppe of Horrors; “careers are recalled in full, with extra emphasis paid to their days belting out the screams opposite a gallery of classic monsters. Packed with behind-the-scenes anecdotes...a welcome addition”—Film Review; “exceptional...a superb work by a marvelous writer”—VideoScope; “recommended”—Starlog; “what makes [this volume] so intriguing is the wealth of anecdotal material...a necessary investment for any fan of the horror genre. Mank has accomplished his goal of identifying these women”—Film & History; “an engaging read, generously illsutrated with many wonderful photos...essential”—Horror-Wood.
Library Journal
The author of a number of books on horror films (e.g., Karloff and Lugosi, McFarland, 1990), Mank here turns the spotlight on two decades of filmdom's damsels in distress. Observing that these roles may be categorized into three types ("monsters," e.g., the title role in The Bride of Frankenstein; "femme fatales," e.g., Ivy in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and "misfits," e.g., Panther Woman in Island of Lost Souls), Mank chronicles the life and times of 42 actresses who played variations on these themes and more. Each book presents chapters ranging in length from ten to more than 20 pages on each of 21 actresses in each decade. Beginning with a studio portrait or a publicity still, the narration often includes an account of a personal interview the author conducted with the subject. Also included are other portraits and stills as well as some candid shots and, in a few cases, shots of the subject with the author. The richly detailed chapters conclude with a filmography, but while the sources are attributed, a bibliography or a separate list of sources would have enhanced the presentation. Each volume ends with the results of a poll asking assorted film industry professionals and others for their personal choices for outstanding performances in various categories. Many of the actresses in these volumes, e.g., Evelyn Ankers, Ilona Massey, and Valerie Hobson, may be familiar only to horror film fans. In addition, TV fans may be surprised to learn that Elena Verdugo of Marcus Welby, M.D., Anna Lee of General Hospital, and even Virginia Christine (Mrs. Olson of the coffee commercials) were once screamers on the silver screen. First-rate additions to film, performing arts, women's studies, and popular culture reference collections, these volumes should also be featured in smaller circulating collections for film and horror buffs to peruse.--Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booklist
recommended
Choice
Mank scripts a charming and poetic series of thumbnail sketches. [He] doubles the reader's pleasure with a stunning set of publicity photographs and film stills illustrating his labor of unabashed gallant love for these neglected 'scream queens'

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786423347
Publisher:
McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date:
05/17/2005
Pages:
415
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.83(d)

Meet the Author

Gregory William Mank, a Delta, Pennsylvania, freelance writer, has acted in more than 100 stage productions. He has written numerous books on classic horror films.

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