Jane Murphin also wrote on this original “What Price Hollywood. Jane Murphin had a long screenwriting career. You don’t hear a lot about her. This is — I love this picture — Strongheart was her own personal dog. She also was the woman who invented the dog movie before Rin Tin Tin and Lassie there was Strongheart. Believe it or not, the franchise of Strongheart created dog food which was available up to about 10 years ago. Even though obviously the dog and she are long gone. So two women wrote on that piece. In a nutshell, what is “What Price Hollywood?” It’s an ambitious actress, a drunken director, who she doesn’t marry. She marries a polo player. A very famous man who’s jealous of her fame. Her friend the director commits suicide and she travels to Paris and reconnects with the husband who left her because he was jealous. Kind of the bones of “A Star is Born” but not exactly.
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Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.
It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.
Find out why in this lecture!