Information from Chosen Books

Information from Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood (Mahar, 2006):

“In the 1910s and early 1920s the American Film Industry offered women opportunities that existed in no other workplace”

“In any given production the screenplay was likely to have been penned by a women, as was the continuity script, the step-by-step guide outlining all production activities. A female director may have guided the female star, who often worked for her own production company. Some women did it all. Lois Weber, the most famous female filmmaker of this period, was a screenwriter, actress, director, and producer, often on the same project. After the shooting ended, a women may have edited the film, a female editor may have re-edited it, a female exchange owner may have distributed it, and a female manager might have exhibited it in her theater.”

‘By the mid-1920s, female directors and producers, many of whom were critically acclaimed and commercially successful, found themselves defined as unfit.”

“The gender of the filmmaker undoubtedly influences the final product, and the movies were arguably the most influential cultural medium in the world during the silent era.”  (extra note: end of the silent era was 1928)

Information from Women Filmmakers: Refocusing (Levitin, Plessis and Raoul, 2003):

“The battle-fields of the film industry are still strewn with stifled ambitions of women directors who only manage to produce one film.”

“Initiatives that, two decades ago, targeted women in order to enable them to compete with men, have largely disappeared”.

“Whereas in the 1970s we needed an embattled stance, and searched for female directors who obviously challenged and resisted dominant male cultures, now it is clear that being “female” or “male” does not signify any necessary social stance vis-a-vis dominant cultural attitudes.”

“The point is that Western culture has constructed active and passive “positions” for “male” and “female”. But people can take up cultural/psychic places that differ from the ones officially assigned to their sex, and it is this fact that makes it possible to envision progressive social change where the gender is concerned.”

Information from Women Directors: The Emergence of a New Cinema (Quart, 1989):

“Women directors, almost invisible just 15 years ago, have from the late 1970s on, and especially in the 1980s, been entering feature filmmaking in unprecedented numbers.”

“It is no longer unusual for five or six films by women directors to be playing simultaneously in Manhattan theaters, films as often from Europe or elsewhere, as from America, as the phenomenon is international”.

“Women directors direct a different, new-to-the-screen kind of attention to older women too, not mythologizing them into sexless loving, or unloving, mothers: or vampiric threats insofar as they are seen as sexual women, but allowing them as say Gunnel Lindblom does in Summer Paradise, to be defined principally as persons, friends, professional people, with passionately held points of view.”

Information from The Woman at the Keyhole: Feminism and Women’s Cinema (Mayne, 1990):

“The term women’s cinema, or more precisely, the women’s film, has acquired another meaning, referring to a Hollywood product designed to appeal specifically to a female audience. Such films, popular throughout the 1930s, ’40s, and 50’s, were usually melodramatic  in tone and full of high-pitched emotion.”

“As Mary Anne Done has argued, the “woman’s film” identifies female pleasure in the cinema as complicit with masochistic constructions of femininity”.

“Even while a critic such as Molly Haskell condemns the facile pathos of the women’s film, she wonders why it is that the emotional response should be so devalued as to be relegated to an “inferior” genre.”

Information from Women Directors and Their Films (Hurd, 2007):

“By the 1920s, most women, other than editors and screenwriters, encountered difficulties as the movies became big business. Owing to the production costs in the 1930s, the growing departmentalization of filmmaking, and the reluctance of studio executives to trust a director of silent films with talkies, the number of women declined sharply after the coming of sound in the late 1920s. Many notable women and male silent film directors were shuttled aside for for stage directors, mostly male, and from New York.”

‘In the 1930s, unions and guilds were firmly established in Hollywood, with predominantly male membership, and few women occupied predominant positions in any of them. Women were essentially barred from directing until the 1960s and 1970s, and then their contributions were linked primarily with alternative filmmaking.”

“Although Dorothy Arzner was not the first women director, or possibly even the best, she was the only women director to survive the transition between the silent and sound films, and to sustain a career in filmmaking for thirty years” (1927-1943)

“Ida Lupino is viewed as the Dorothy Arzner of the 1950s because she was the only woman director during that time, and, like Arzner, is catnip to feminist film critics who continue to reeximine her films for evidence of feminism.” (Extra information: from London)

Information from Universal Women: Filmmaking and Institutional Change in Early Hollywood (Cooper, 2010):

“Universal Film Manufacturing Company, arguably the most enthusiastic employer of women directors the U.S. film industry has ever known, decided that women should no longer direct”.

“When Universal banished it’s women directors, it simultaneously participated in broader cultural and industrial changes and redefined itself”.

“At their most numerous in 1917, 8 out of 113 Universal directors were women (about 7 percent), and Universal credited them with slightly more than 6 percent of its films. Overall the average of titles credited to women for the years 1916-19 is lower, about 4 percent. Intriguingly, however, women were concentrated in feature films, as opposed to the large volume of shorts and serials Universal released. In the same three-year period, the studio assigned 12 percent of its’ Bluebird brand feature films to the direction of women. ”

“In the 1990s, Directors Guild of America statistics demonstrate, the industry paid women to direct between 7 and 9 percent the days worked in film production. Martha Lauzen’s survey of credits shows that in the early twenty-first century the proportion of women-directed titles declined from an anomalous high of 11 percent in 2000 to 5 percent in 2004 and had rebounded to 6 percent in 2007.

“Allowing for variations in the way work has been organized and irregularities in the way it has been recorded, one can safely say that during the 1910s Universal’s record of crediting women directors exceeds the historical industrial average and argue that it exceeds the average for films by a substantial margin.”

Information from Fantastic Female Filmmakers (Simoni, 2008):

“Movie studios were born because filmmakers needed sets built away from noise. Not only did studios such as Warner Brothers have film stages, but they also bought distribution companies, even the theaters that screened the films”

“Unions were formed and they were reluctant to admit women”

“Even now, after more than one hundred years of filmmaking, only about twelve percent of Hollywood directors are women, a figure not much different in the rest of the world”

Reference List:

Cooper, M. (2010). Universal women. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Hurd, M. (2007). Women directors and their films. Westport, Conn.: Praeger.

Levitin, J., Plessis, J. and Raoul, V. (2003). Women filmmakers. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Mahar, K. (2006). Women filmmakers in early Hollywood. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Mayne, J. (1990). The woman at the keyhole. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Quart, B. (1989). Women Directors. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

Simoni, S. (2008). Fantastic women filmmakers. Toronto: Second Story Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s