21 Anita Loos from “When Women Wrote Hollywood” with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video] (57 seconds)

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

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21 Anita Loos from



This lady people should know more. You might recognize from the title of her book Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. This is Anita Loos. Anita Loos is probably the most prolific female writer of the silent era and she made the transition into talkies. Many, many writers did not. She did because she could write really witty dialogue but Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a novel that fascinates me. She wrote it because she was on a train with M Somerset Maugham who she loved as an intellectual and a blonde chick got on the train and he started to fawn all over her after they were having this lovely intellectual conversation and it made her mad. So she wrote a book about how blonds aren’t stupid. They’re actually working it and getting out of men exactly what they want. Yeah. So they pretend to be dumb. It’s really Legally Blonde long before there was Legally Blonde and it’s never gone out of publication but it is not taught in American literature class where The Great Gatsby is always taught.

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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