Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood
In the early 1910s, the film industry followed a theatrical model, fostering an egalitarian work culture in which everyone—male and female—helped behind the scenes in a variety of jobs. In this culture women thrived in powerful, creative roles, especially as writers, directors, and producers. By the end of that decade, however, mushrooming star salaries and skyrocketing movie budgets prompted the creation of the studio system. As the movie industry remade itself in the image of a modern American business, the masculinization of filmmaking took root.
Mahar's study integrates feminist methodologies of examining the gendering of work with thorough historical scholarship of American industry and business culture. Tracing the transformation of the film industry into a legitimate "big business" of the 1920s, and explaining the fate of the female filmmaker during the silent era, Mahar demonstrates how industrial growth and change can unexpectedly open—and close—opportunities for women.
About the Author
"With meticulous scholarship and fluid writing, Mahar tells the story of this golden era of female filmmaking . . . Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood is not to be missed."—Samantha Barbas, Women's Review of Books
"Mahar views the business of making movies from the inside-out, focusing on questions about changing industrial models and work conventions. At her best, she shows how the industry's shifting business history impacted women's opportunities, recasting current understanding about the American film industry's development."—Hilary Hallett, Reviews in American History
"A scrupulously researched and argued analysis of how and why women made great professional and artistic gains in the U.S. film industry from 1906 to the mid-1920s and why they lost most of that ground until the late twentieth century."—Kathleen Feeley, Journal of American History
"Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood offers convincing evidence of how economic forces shaped women's access to film production and presents a complex and engaging story of the women who took advantage of those opportunities."—Pennee Bender, Business History Review
"A fascinating entry into the formative years of the American film industry and how its doors opened and then closed on women directors."—Anne Crémieux, Cercles
"Adds significantly to the growing field of feminist film studies."—Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
"Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood differs from most recent work on the topic . . . The general idea here is one of several bold suggestions that merit (and will hopefully spark) serious consideration and further investigation."—Jon Burrows, Early Popular Visual Culture
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