16 Sarah Y. Mason from “When Women Wrote Hollywood” with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (1 minute 15 seconds)

Part of the California State University, Fullerton Faculty Noon Time Talks at the Pollak Library.

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16 Sarah Y. Mason from



Sarah Mason had a similar thing happen to her. Sarah Mason worked together with her husband Victor Hermann, They got the first Oscar for adaptation. It was for Little Women which of course has been done and done and done over again. They also worked on Stella Dallas and many films in the early period. Again, Victor Herrmann left writing to become a director and he ended up directing the Marx Brothers so he’s a little he appears in a few more film histories. She disappears out of the film histories though she’s got an Oscar to her name and Victor, who outlived his wife, gave an oral history where he said he did most of the writing when they were a team. The problem is if you look at her IMDB list of movies she wrote before marrying him and after he left the team to become a director, she has about 64 films. He alone has written four. So who’s the writer in that team right? it’s not who he says it was unless that’s all you ever read. So Sarah disappears from history, right? I’ve actually met her grandson and interviewed him. He had no idea that that’s what his grandmother did. All he remembers is she really liked Shakespeare and she made him remember whole quotes from Shakespeare before he could go out and play. He had to recite sections of Shakespeare. So don’t tell me she doesn’t have the heart of a writer right? .

Dr. Rosanne Welch discusses the women in her new book “When Women Wrote Hollywood” which covers female screenwriters from the Silents through the early 1940s when women wrote over 50% of films and Frances Marion was the highest paid screenwriter (male or female) and the first to win 2 Oscars.  Yet, she fails to appear in film history books, which continue to regurgitate the myth that male directors did it all – even though it’s been proven that the only profitable movies Cecil B. de Mille ever directed were all written by Jeannie Macpherson film ever won for Best Picture was written by Robert E. Sherwood (who people have heard of, mostly due to his connection to Dorothy Parker) and Joan Harrison.

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