When Women Wrote Hollywood

Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry


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About the Book

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.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

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.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Rosanne Welch
Foreword by Cari Beauchamp

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 229
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6887-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3277-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Foreword: Finding Frances Marion (Cari Beauchamp) 1
Introduction (Rosanne Welch) 5
Adela Rogers St. Johns: Survival of the Feisty (Sarah Amble Whorton) 11
Jeanie Macpherson: A Life Unknown (Amelia Phillips) 20
Anita Loos: A Girl Like Her (Toni Anita Hull) 35
The Nature and Genius of Alice Guy Blaché (Khanisha Foster) 47
“You’d better learn to hold your liquor”: Bess Meredyth and a Career
in Early Hollywood (Sydney Haven) 56
The Best Revenge Is Outliving Them All: The Life and Heartbreak
of Frederica Sagor Maas (Mikayla Daniels) 63
Silent Screenwriter, Producer and Director: Marion Fairfax (Sarah Phillips) 69
Smart Girl in Charge: Eve Unsell (Laura Kirk) 80
The Glorious Ms. Glyn (Amy L. Banks) 88
Fearless and Fierce: June Mathis (Lauren Elizabeth Smith) 95
Writing Around Lois Weber (Chase Thompson) 104
Gene Gauntier: Ascending by Drowning (Yasser Omar Shahin) 112
Lorna Moon: A Woman of a Certain Influence (Elizabeth Dwyer) 117
Clara Beranger: The Unseen Laborer (Amanda R. Stockwell) 125
Ida May Park: Prolific Pioneer (Jackie Perez) 133
Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett: The Most Beloved Couple in Hollywood (Julie Berkobien) 140
In Defense of Lillian Hellman (Kelley C. Zinge) 150
The Intimately Unknowable Dorothy Parker: A Study of Her Life and Art (Elizabeth Dwyer) 157
Joan Harrison: Redefining Femininity in Film Noir and Hollywood
(Chelsea Andes) 166
The Six Degrees of Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman (Pamela L. Scott) 175
Zoë Akins: A Quiet Rebellion (Sarah Amble Whorton) 183
Marriage of Words: Bella and Sam Spewack (Laura Kirk) 192
The Forgettable Ms. Murfin (Amy L. Banks) 200
A Team in Passionate Action: Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin (Rosanne Welch) 205
About the Contributors 217
Index 219

Book Reviews & Awards

• Finalist, Susan Koppelman Award for the Best Anthology, Multi-Authored, or Edited Book in Feminist Studies—Popular Culture Association

• “Absolutely a must read.”—Argunners Magazine