07 Husbands As Unreliable Narrators from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Nearly two years ago I had the pleasure of being invited to join a panel at the then upcoming SCMS (Society of Cinema and Media Studies) conference set for Seattle.  As you know that was canceled due to Covid with the hopes of reconvening in Colorado in 2021.  That became a virtual conference but our group decided to reapply our panel and we four were able to ‘meet’ on Zoom on Sunday and present:  Writing Between the Lines: Feminist Strategies for Historical Absences, Cliché, and the Unreliable Narrator. 

Here you can watch a clip from my part of the presentation,

“When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues in Oral Histories”

07 Husbands As Unreliable Narrators from When Men Forget Women: The Many Ways Male Screenwriters Fail to Mention their Female Colleagues [Video]

Transcript:

Husbands are unreliable narrators. Sarah Y. Mason wrote with her husband Victor Herman who later became a director of the Marx Brothers comedies. They won an Oscar for adapting Little Women and they wrote it twice right? They wrote the original version and they wrote the Katherine Hepburn version. They won to oscar together. When he did his oral history he said that he was the better writer than his wife. She was already dead. She didn’t get to say how much work he really did but if you look them up on IMDb, she has about 20 credits before she marries him and about 20 or 30 credits after they stop writing together because he becomes a director. He has about seven credits and half of those are writing with her. So who’s the real writer in that team. I don’t know but I think I can tell you. Clara Behringer’s husband did pretty much the same thing and Clara helped found the writing department at USC. She wrote one of these earliest books on how to write for the screen –– which is very difficult to use because it costs about $600 online right now –– because it’s like there’s few copies left but she wrote 85 different films. Her name is not particularly brought up often at USC even though she helped found the school and her husband was William DeMille who wrote about his career and not about hers.

 

 


Watch this entire presentation

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