Watch Dr. Rosanne Welch on What Is a Western? Interview Series: When Women Wrote Westerns from the Autry Museum of the American West [Video] (27 minutes)

The Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting is building a relationship with the Autry Museum of the American West since both organizations are devoted to bringing out more diverse and untold stories.  Last year we were able to take our cohort of graduating MFA candidates to the museum’s theatre for a showing of Michael Wilson’s Salt of the Earth and we had plans to present a film of our choice this year – but of course the pandemic changed all that.  Instead, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis asked me if I would sit for an interview about female screenwriters in the western genre and so “When Women Wrote Westerns” came to be a part of their “What Is a Western? Interview Series”

I had a great time discussing so many wonderful women writers – from Jeanne MacPherson to D.C. Fontana to Edna Ferber to Emily Andras.  If you love westerns I suggest you watch Josh’s other interviews covering everything from the work of Native Americans in Western movies to films in the western-horror hybrid. — RMW Rosanne Signature for Web


Watch Dr. Rosanne Welch on What Is a Western? Interview Series: When Women Wrote Westerns from the Autry Museum of the American West [Video] (27 minutes)

As part of a series exploring the significance of the Western genre and the ways in which the movies shape our understanding of the American West, Autry Curator Josh Garrett-Davis interviews Professor Rosanne Welch about the women screenwriters of Hollywood and their contributions to the Western genre.

Find more information at the Autry Museum of the American West

Where’s Her Movie? Painter, Artemisia Gentileschi – 3 in a series

“Where’s HER Movie” posts will highlight interesting and accomplished women from a variety of professional backgrounds who deserve to have movies written about them as much as all the male scientists, authors, performers, and geniuses have had written about them across the over 100 years of film.  This is our attempt to help write these women back into mainstream history.  — Rosanne

Where's Her Movie? Painter, Artemisia Gentileschi - 3 in a series

An Italian Baroque painter, Gentileschi began her careet at the age of 15, gained an international clientele, and was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence (in the 1620s).  
 
She is now considered one of the most accomplished seventeenth-century artists. 

Read more about Artemisia Gentileschi

from Wikipedia…

Artemisia Lomi or Artemisia Gentileschi (US: /ˌdʒɛntiˈlɛski/,[1][2] Italian: [arteˈmiːzja dʒentiˈleski]; July 8, 1593 – c. 1656) was an Italian Baroque painter, now considered one of the most accomplished seventeenth-century artists, initially working in the style of Caravaggio. She was producing professional work by the age of fifteen.[3] In an era when women had few opportunities to pursue artistic training or work as professional artists, Artemisia was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and she had an international clientele.[4][5]

Many of Artemisia’s paintings feature women from myths, allegories, and the Bible, including victims, suicides, and warriors.[6] Some of her best known subjects are Susanna and the Elders (particularly the 1610 version in Pommersfelden), Judith Slaying Holofernes (her 1614–1620 version is in the Uffizi gallery), and Judith and Her Maidservant (her version of 1625 is in the Detroit Institute of Arts).

Artemisia was known for being able to depict the female figure with great naturalism,[7][8] and for her skill in handling color to express dimension and drama.[9][10]

Recent Excellent Review of “When Women Wrote Hollywood” in The Journal of American Culture

The Journal of American Culture

I’m happy to say our book just received a review in The Journal of American Culture.

The reviewer (from the University College of North Manitoba, Canada) singled out several chapters for being outstanding for various reasons.  They found Amelia Phillips’s chapter on Jeanne Macpherson to demonstrate “exacting research”, Julie Berkobien’s chapter on Francis and Albert Hackett to be “beautifully crafted” and Chase Thompson’s chapter on Lois Weber to be “trailblazing”.  They found that Pamela Scott gives “thorough and measured” coverage to the scripts of Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman; Laura Kirk “comprehensively” examines Sam and Bella Spewak’s signature style;  Kelly Zinge authored “carefully detailed discussion” of Lillian Hellman’s confrontation with the Blacklist, and that Elizabeth Dwyer’s work on Dorothy Parker is “riveting.”

Congratulations to all the contributors to our book!

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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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When Women Wrote Hollywood: The Movies – 12 in a series – Alas and Alack (partial) (1915), Wr: Ida May Park

Alas and alack

Ida May Park 1916

A fishwife tells her young daughter a fairy story about a princess imprisoned by a hunchback in a seashell, a story that parallels her own life. – IMDB

More about Ida May Park


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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When Women Wrote Hollywood: The Movies – 11 in a series – The Beloved Blackmailer (1918), Wr: Clara Beranger

When Women Wrote Hollywood: The Movies - 11 in a series - The Beloved Blackmailer (1918), Wr: Clara Beranger

When Women Wrote Hollywood: The Movies - 11 in a series - The Beloved Blackmailer (1918), Wr: Clara Beranger

The spoiled, somewhat “mama’s boy” young son of a railroad magnate and the pretty young daughter of the magnate’s partner set out to stop their respective fathers from their constant quarreling. In the process they find themselves falling for each other. – IMDB

More about Lorna Moon


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
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From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood Archives 45: Pursuits of Happiness: The Hollywood Comedy of Remarriage by Stanley Cavell

Months of research went into the creation of the essays in “When Women Wrote Hollywood.” Here are some of the resources used to enlighten today’s film lovers to the female pioneers who helped create it.

From The

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† Available from the LA Public Library

During the ’30s and ’40s, Hollywood produced a genre of madcap comedies that emphasized reuniting the central couple after divorce or separation. Their female protagonists were strong, independent, and sophisticated. Here, Stanley Cavell names this new genre of American film―“the comedy of remarriage”―and examines seven classic movies for their cinematic techniques and for such varied themes as feminism, liberty, and interdependence.

Included are Adam’s Rib, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, It Happened One Night, The Lady Eve, and The Philadelphia Story. – Amazon


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
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When Women Wrote Hollywood: The Movies – 11 in a series – Min and Bill (1930), Wr: Lorna Moon

Min and bill 1930 poster

By Source, Fair use, Link

Min and Bill is a 1930 American Pre-Code comedy-drama film starring Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery, and based on Lorna Moon’s 1929 novel Dark Star, adapted by Frances Marion and Marion Jackson. The film tells the story of dockside innkeeper Min’s tribulations as she tries to protect the innocence of her adopted daughter Nancy, all while loving and fighting with boozy fisherman Bill, who resides at the inn.

Min and Bill stars Marie Dressler (Min), Wallace Beery (Bill), Dorothy Jordan (Nancy), and Marjorie Rambeau (Bella, Nancy’s ill-reputed mother), and was directed by George W. Hill. Dressler won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931 for her performance in this film.[2]

This film was such a runaway hit that it and its near-sequel Tugboat Annie, which re-teamed Dressler and Beery in similar roles, boosted both to superstar status. Dressler topped Quigley Publications’ annual Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll of movie exhibitors in 1933, and the two pairings with Dressler were primarily responsible for Beery becoming MGM’s highest-paid actor in the early 1930s, before Clark Gable took over that crown;  — Wikipedia

More about Lorna Moon


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood Archives 44: Jane Murfin at the Women Film Pioneers Project

Months of research went into the creation of the essays in “When Women Wrote Hollywood.” Here are some of the resources used to enlighten today’s film lovers to the female pioneers who helped create it.

From The

From The

As a woman who wrote or cowrote over sixty produced films, a producer who championed strong female roles, and a Hollywood insider with a career spanning over three decades, Jane Murfin may be one of the most prolific but least known writers of the 1920s and ’30s.

Jane Murfin was born Jane Macklem in Quincy, Michigan. Her first marriage, in 1907, to lawyer James Murfin, lasted less than five years, but Jane adopted his surname and would use it—excluding the brief period in the late 1910s when she and Jane Cowl used the pseudonym Allan Langdon Martin—throughout her life. Although the 1910 US Census records list her as living as a housewife in Michigan with her lawyer-husband James, according to Murfin family correspondence from 1967, Jane moved shortly after to New York City while her husband remained in Michigan. According to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, James eventually became a school regent, after a long career teaching law, and even has a gate on the grounds named after him.

Read this entire article


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: The Movies – 10 in a series – Ben Hur (1907), Wr: Gene Gauntier

When Women Wrote Hollywood: The Movies - 10 in a series - Ben Our (1907), Wr: Gene Gauntier

Ben Hur is a 1907 American silent drama film set in ancient Rome, the first screen adaptation of Lew Wallace’s popular 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Co-directed by Sidney Olcott and Frank Oakes Rose, this “photoplay” was produced by the Kalem Company of New York City, and its scenes, including the climactic chariot race, were filmed in the city’s borough of Brooklyn.[5][a]

While this film is significant for being the first motion-picture adaptation of Wallace’s novel, its production also served as a landmark case of copyright infringement by an early American film studio. In 1908 Kalem was successfully sued for representing parts of Wallace’s book on screen without obtaining permission from the author’s estate. Copies of the film, which survive, are now in the public domain and are readily available for free viewing online in the collections of various digital archives and on streaming services. — Wikipedia

More about Alice Guy Blaché


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When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

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From The “When Women Wrote Hollywood Archives 43: COMEDY OUTLOOK SADDENS SPEWACK (1960) – The New York Times

Months of research went into the creation of the essays in “When Women Wrote Hollywood.” Here are some of the resources used to enlighten today’s film lovers to the female pioneers who helped create it.

From The

COMEDY OUTLOOK SADDENS SPEWACK; Calls Times ‘Unfortunate’ for the Writer of Humor — Cites ‘Method’ School as ‘Grim’
By Louis Calta

Available in facsimile version on the NY Times web site.


Buy “When Women Wrote Hollywood” Today!


When Women Wrote Hollywood: Essays on Female Screenwriters in the Early Film Industry

Paperback Edition | Kindle Edition | Google Play Edition

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* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!
† Available from the LA Public Library