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”
Bess Meredyth had the same thing happen. Her husband Michael Curtiz pretty much neglects to mention her. He of course directed Casablanca and the Epstein brothers are fond of saying that whenever there was a problem on the set Michael Curtiz would say I have to go figure this out and they knew he went to the office and he called his wife at home and she would solve the story problem and he would come back to the set and say he’d figured it out but the Epstein’s knew that he couldn’t figure it out. It was Bess who was doing it for him from home. Sadly her son did the same thing to her. In his own memoir about his television writing career, he didn’t bother asking his mother much about what she did because what could she really have done that was very important right? She was a girl. So by accident he dismissed his own mother and her career which was quite long and quite famous.
Watch this entire presentation