Screenwriter Clara Beranger – From Silents to Talkies to Teaching – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, April 2022

Screenwriter Clara Beranger - From Silents to Talkies to Teaching - Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, April 2022

 

As with several silent film screenwriters, earlier careers in journalism and playwriting during the 1910s brought Clara Beranger to Hollywood. She would amass 85 credits between 1913 and 1934, bridging the worlds of silent and sound films.

Born Clara Strouse in Baltimore, Maryland on January 14, 1886, to a department store dynasty, she graduated in 1907 as a Phi Beta Kappa at Goucher College. She gained her professional surname when she married Albert Berwanger and kept it (except for the ‘w’) after their divorce. They had one child, a daughter named Frances, in 1909.

Read Screenwriter Clara Beranger – From Silents to Talkies to Teaching


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Hope Loring – Winging Her Way to the First Oscar Win – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, March 2022

Hope Loring - Winging Her Way to the First Oscar Win - Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, March 2022

Hope Loring co-wrote Wings (1927), the first film ever to win the Academy Award for Best Film at the inaugural ceremonies in 1927. The story of World War I fighter pilots involved in a love triangle starred Clara Bow and is the first on-screen appearance of a young Gary Cooper.

Born in Barcelona, Spain (or maybe Madrid) in 1894 Loring had moved to England at the age of 2 to live with an aunt after her parents died in a car accident. At the age of five, the aunt moved her to the United States where she studied dance and literature at various boarding schools. At 14 Loring sold her first short story to a magazine. She reported that she had come to Los Angeles by 1916 after stints as an extra in New York and drama critic in Florida.

Read Hope Loring – Winging Her Way to the First Oscar Win


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Elinor Glyn Recognized “It” Before Anyone Else -Because She Had “It” – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, February 2022

Script contributor Dr. Rosanne Welch celebrates the female screenwriters who came before us with this month's spotlight on author turned Hollywood screenwriter Elinor Glyn.

From Marilyn Monroe to Lady Gaga it seems one actress every generation is said to have “It” but few know that a female screenwriter of the silent era coined that still current phrase. Meet Elinor Glyn. Her life as a high society wife in England fed the novel-writing success that brought Glyn an invitation to Hollywood at the age of 56.

Through marriage, she had gained the glamour of being a member of the titled nobility. Yet she soon learned he had less funds than could support their lifestyle, so Glyn became a writer, publishing a book a year to keep her family’s finances afloat. Her ‘naughty’ novels – because they involved women involved in torrid affairs — became best sellers. That success caused the Hearst publishing company to sign Glyn to write articles and – recognizing the power of the film industry – Glyn included a clause for the motion picture rights.

Read Elinor Glyn Recognized “It” Before Anyone Else – Because She Had “It”


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Screenwriter Eve Unsell, Hitchcock’s Mentor Who Saved Universal’s European Operation — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, December 2021

Screenwriter Eve Unsell, Hitchcock’s Mentor Who Saved Universal’s European Operation -- Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, December 2021

 

Born in Chicago in 1888 (or thereabouts, different sites report different dates), writer-producer Eve Unsell grew up in Caldwell, Kansas. After earning her undergraduate degree and working as a journalist for the Kansas City Post, she attended graduate school at Boston’s Emerson College for a year. There she studied drama and literature before heading to New York. After reading one of her short stories, theatrical agent Beatrice deMille (mother of Cecil and William) hired to work as what was then called a play reader and constructionist. During her career, Unsell accumulated nearly 100 credits as a screenwriter while writing for notable stars including Mary Pickford, Lon Chaney, Clara Bow, Baby Peggy and Jack Benny.

Read Screenwriter Eve Unsell, Hitchcock’s Mentor Who Saved Universal’s European Operation


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Alice Burton Russell Micheaux: “Breaking Barriers on Two Fronts” — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, November 2021

Alice Burton Russell Micheaux: “Breaking Barriers on Two Fronts” -- Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, November 2021

 

Film history texts often neglect female screenwriters and completely omit the names of women of color such as Alice Burton Russell Micheaux, wife of filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. Script contributor Dr. Rosanne Welch rightly so celebrates the female screenwriters who came before us with attainable insight about filmmaker Alice Burton Russell Micheaux.

Read Alice Burton Russell Micheaux: “Breaking Barriers on Two Fronts” — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, November 2021


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All About The Almighty Johnsons with the Fake Geek Girls Podcast – Episode 165 [Audio]

As we’ve all been advised, if you put something out on the internet folks will stumble over you and your work and offer you new opportunities.

That happened last month when Melissa Banks, who co-hosts the Fake Geek Girls podcast found an essay I had written and recorded to my blog in 2015 (How the Female Characters in The Almighty Johnsons were Misused – and how that likely lead to the early end of a great series…). 

All About The Almighty Johnsons with the Fake Geek Girls Podcast - Episode 165

It’s about a New Zealand show called The Almighty Johnsons and my opinion had to do with how I felt the writers had done a disservice to the female characters on the show. So here in 2021 Melissa and her co-host were planning an episode around the show, found my essay and asked for permission to quote it, which I happily gave.

If you know the Almighty Johnsons this whole episode will be of interest; if not my quote comes into the conversation here at 1:18:25  when they Introduce to the section on gender in the show and then at 1:19:22 – when they begin using my quotes.

Listen to All About The Almighty Johnsons with the Fake Geek Girls Podcast – Episode 165

June Mathis: An Eye for Talent — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, October 2021

June Mathis: An Eye for Talent -- Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, October 2021

Though she wrote over 100 films in the Silent Era and was a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, June Mathis appears in film history books (when she does) as a writer-producer with an eye for talent in that she gave both Buster Keaton and Rudolph Valentino their debuts on film.

She came to film from an early career as a child in vaudeville, despite suffering from undiagnosed heart issues. Born as June Hughes in 1887 in Leadville, Colorado there was no father listed and the child would later take Mathis, the last name of her stepfather, as her own.

Read June Mathis: An Eye for Talent — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, October 2021


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Contract or No Contract, Bess Meredyth Made Movie Magic — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, September 2021

Contract or No Contract, Bess Meredyth Made Movie Magic -- Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, September 2021

Bess Meredyth is one more name to add to that list of Silent Hollywood’s most prolific and respected screenwriters yet few textbooks mention her name – or her work as both a writer and producer in that period. In fact, when her son John Meredyth Lucas wrote a memoir of his own screenwriting career he never thought to interview her about her career. That’s how easy it can be to be forgotten and why it is so important to highlight these stories today.

Read Contract or No Contract, Bess Meredyth Made Movie Magic — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, September 2021


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Jeanie MacPherson – The Genius Behind DeMille — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, August 2021

 Jeanie MacPherson - The Genius Behind DeMille -- Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, August 2021

Script contributor Dr. Rosanne Welch shines a light on Jeanie MacPherson, a trailblazing screenwriter from the silent era who would eventually come to write a bulk of famed Hollywood mogul Cecil B. DeMille’s box office hits.

As with many other female Silent Era screenwriters Jeanie Macpherson began her career as an actress (appearing in over 147 films). Then she became a writer/director at Universal (writing 54 films) and eventually met Cecil B. DeMille, for whom she would write the bulk of his box office successes. In 1927, Macpherson became one of only three women, the other two being Mary Pickford and Bess Meredyth (more on her in a future column) who helped found the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (along with thirty-three male screenwriters). She was also a suffragette – and a pilot in those early days of aviation when, like the new world of motion pictures, even the skies were open to female trailblazers.

Read Jeanie MacPherson – The Genius Behind DeMille — Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, August 2021


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Ruth Gordon (with Her Husband, Garson Kanin) — Truly The Marrying Kind, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, July 2021

 Ruth Gordon (with Her Husband, Garson Kanin) -- Truly The Marrying Kind, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, July 2021

Mention the name of Ruth Gordon and most people remember her as an actress ranging from Abe Lincoln in Illinios (1940) to Harold and Maude (1971) or for her Academy Award-winning role in Rosemary’s Baby (1968). The impromptu acceptance speech she made that night identified her as the writer she actually was. Being 72 at the time she quipped, “I can’t tell you how encouraging a thing like this is.”

Ruth Gordon Jones came into the world on October 30, 1896 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Though her sea captain father seemed steeped in the past, she convinced him to let her move into the new century by moving to New York as a single nineteen-year-old to study acting. She began appearing on Broadway in Peter Pan in 1915. Acting in movies soon beckoned, as did writing them, which was enhanced when she married her second husband, director Garson Kanin.

Read Ruth Gordon (with Her Husband, Garson Kanin) — Truly The Marrying Kind, Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script magazine, July 2021 on the Script web site


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