Women in Horror Films, 1940s

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About the Book

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.
Veteran actress Virginia Christine recalls Universal burying her alive in a backlot swamp in full “mummy” makeup for the resurrection scene in The Mummy’s Curse—and how the studio saved that scene for the last day in case she suffocated. Filled with anecdotes and recollections, many of the entries are based on original interviews, and there are numerous old photographs and movie stills.

About the Author(s)

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.

Bibliographic Details

Gregory William Mank
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 405
Bibliographic Info: 124 photos, filmographies, appendix, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2335-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0955-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      ix

Introduction      1

Anne Nagel      7

Louise Currie      25

Peggy Moran      37

Evelyn Ankers      49

Maria Ouspenskaya      77

Elizabeth Russell      97

Simone Simon      115

Jane Randolph      135

Anne Gwynne      149

Ilona Massey      163

Patricia Morison      183

Acquanetta      201

Suzanne Foster      223

Jean Brooks      243

Louise Allbritton      267

Elena Verdugo      283

Gale Sondergaard      303

Virginia Christine      323

Jane Adams      337

Anna Lee      349

Lenore Aubert      367

Appendix: Outstanding Performances      379

Index      383

Book Reviews & Awards

“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; “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.