When Women Wrote Hollywood – 11 in a series – The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947), Story: Frederica Sagor Maas

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 11 in a series – The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947), Story: Frederica Sagor Maas

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 11 in a series - The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947), Wr: Frederica Sagor Maas

The Shocking Miss Pilgrim is a 1947 American musical comedy film in Technicolor written and directed by George Seaton, and starring Betty Grable and Dick Haymes.

The screenplay, based on a story by Frederica Sagor Maas and Ernest Maas, focuses on a young typist who becomes involved in the Women’s Suffrage movement in 1874. The songs were composed by George and Ira Gershwin. Marilyn Monroe made her film debut as an uncredited voice as a telephone operator.

In 1941, husband-and-wife screenwriting team Ernest Maas and Frederica Sagor collaborated on Miss Pilgrim’s Progress, a story about a young woman who enters the business world by demonstrating the newly invented typewriter in the window of a Wall Street establishment. When she tries to fend off the unwanted advances of one of the firm’s clerks, her employer comes to her rescue but is killed when he falls down the stairs in the ensuing altercation. Abigail Pilgrim becomes the focus of a murder trial that attracts widespread coverage by the media and the attention of Susan B. Anthony when the concept of women working in offices comes under fire.[2] Wikipedia 

Miss pilgrim

More about Frederica Sagor Maas


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When Women Wrote Hollywood – 10 in a series – Frederica Sagor Maas

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 10 in a series – Frederica Sagor Maas

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 10 in a series - Frederica Sagor Maas

Frederica Alexandrina Sagor Maas (/ˌfɹɛdəˈɹikə səˈgɔɹ mæs/; July 6, 1900 – January 5, 2012) was an American dramatist and playwright, screenwriter, memoirist, and author,[1] the youngest daughter of Russian immigrants. As an essayist, Maas was best known for a detailed, tell-all memoir of her time spent in early Hollywood.[2] She was one of the oldest surviving entertainers from the silent film era.[3]

Once in Hollywood, Maas negotiated a contract with Preferred Pictures to adapt Percy Marks’s novel The Plastic Age for film. Based on this, she was signed to a three-year contract with MGM for $350 per week, though in her words: “I had the peculiar feeling that wily Louis B. [Mayer] was less interested in my writing ability than in signing someone who had worked for Ben Schulberg and Al Lichtman.”[5] It was in this period that she wrote the screenplays for silent films Dance Madnessand The Waning Sex. Wikipedia 

Miss pilgrim

More about Frederica Sagor Maas


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“When Women Wrote Hollywood” In The News: Uncovering the secret history of women in Hollywood, University of Kansas

What a great read! 

Check out this profile of professor Laura Kirk, who contributed 2 chapters to When Women Wrote Hollywood, published by the University of Kansas where she teaches film acting for the Department of Film & Media Studies. 

Her chapters involve Silent Era writer Eve Unsell and musical scenario writer Bella Spewack.

Read more about these – and all the great early female screenwriters in the book!

Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood In The News: Uncovering the secret history of women in Hollywood, University of Kansas

LAWRENCE — After working for many years as an actor and producer, Laura Kirk returned to her native Kansas in 2012 and joined the University of Kansas Department of Film & Media Studies as a lecturer, teaching film acting.

Now, in her first big work of academic scholarship, Kirk has contributed two chapters to “When Women Wrote Hollywood” (McFarland), a new book aimed at bringing the secret female history of Hollywood to light.

Kirk wrote about Kansan Eve Unsell, a screenwriter whose career spanned the silent and talkie era, and Bella Spewack, the journalist, author and screenwriter best known for “Kiss Me Kate.”

“When this industry started, women wrote 50 percent of the screenplays,” Kirk said. “And yet Eve Unsell was not in the index of any history book. Many of the women who have chapters in this book have not been written about in any real way.”

Unsell, for instance, got a two-line obituary in the Los Angeles Times when she died in 1937 at age 50. She was born in Chicago and grew up in Caldwell, a small Kansas town in Sumner County.

“She has 96 credits on IMDb,” the Internet Movie Database, Kirk said. “She was credited with training Alfred Hitchcock. She ran the Paramount studio in England. … I talk about how she was one of the first people to settle in Malibu when it was wild and natural and scenic.”

Eve unsell inset 250Laura kirk 172

Read this entire article – Uncovering the secret history of women in Hollywood, University of Kansas

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When Women Wrote Hollywood – 9 in a series – A Woman of Affairs (1928), Wr: Michael Arlen and Bess Meredyth, Dir: Clarence Brown

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 9 in a series – A Woman of Affairs (1928), Wr: Michael Arlen and Bess Meredyth, Dir: Clarence Brown

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 9 in a series - A Woman of Affairs (1928), Wr: Michael Arlen and Bess Meredyth, Dir: Clarence Brown

A Woman of Affairs is a 1928 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer drama film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Greta Garbo, John Gilbert, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.and Lewis Stone. The film, released with a synchronized score and sound effects, was based on a 1924 best-selling novel by Michael Arlen, The Green Hat, which he adapted as a four-act stage play in 1925. The Green Hat was considered so daring in the United States that the movie did not allow any associations with it and was renamed A Woman of Affairs, with the characters also renamed to mollify the censors.[2] In particular the film script eliminated all references to heroin use, homosexuality and syphilis that were at the core of the tragedies involved.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, for Michael Arlen and Bess Meredyth’s script. Wikipedia 

A Clip from A Woman of Affairs

800px Garbo Gilbert publicity

A Woman of Affairs 1928

More about Bess Meredyth and A Woman of Affairs


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When Women Wrote Hollywood – 8 in a series – Bess Meredyth

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 8 in a series – Bess Meredyth

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 8 in a series - Bess  Meredyth

Bess Meredyth (February 12, 1890 – July 13, 1969) was a screenwriter and silent film actress. The wife of film director Michael Curtiz, Meredyth wrote The Affairs of Cellini (1934) and adapted The Unsuspected (1947). She was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Meredyth and director Michael Curtiz met soon after his arrival in the United States, while both were working at Warner Brothers Studios.[5] They were married in 1929 and unsuccessfully attempted to start a production unit at MGM studios in 1946.[1]

Though often uncredited, Meredyth contributed to several of Curtiz’s projects. Most notably, Curtiz reportedly called Meredyth for input several times a day while working on his most successful film, Casablanca (1942). [6]

Meredyth and Curtiz separated twice; once in 1941, and again in 1960. However, they remained in contact after this separation,[1] and Curtiz included Meredyth in his will upon his death in 1962.[5] Wikipedia 

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 8 in a series - Bess  Meredyth

More about Bess Meredyth


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Now Available – Signed Copies of “When Women Wrote Hollywood”

As you may have seen, I received my first box of “When Women Wrote Hollywood” books this week, which means that I can now provide signed copies for all who would like them.

Use the PayPal button below to order, pay and tell me what inscription you would like on your copy. You can use PayPal OR any of your major credit cards.

Now Available - Signed Copies of

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When Women Wrote Hollywood – 7 in a series – La Fee aux Choux | The Cabbage Fairy – Alice Guy Blaché (1896)

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 7 in a series – La Fee aux Choux | The Cabbage Fairy – Alice Guy Blaché (1896)

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 7 in a series - La Fee aux Choux | The Cabbage Fairy – Alice Guy Blaché

La Fée aux Choux (The Fairy of the Cabbages) is one of the earliest narrative fiction films ever made. It was probably made before the first Méliès fiction film, but after the Lumière brothers’ L’Arroseur Arrosé. The confusion stems from the uncertainty in the dating of these three films. Many film historians have accepted that La Fée aux Choux was made in April 1896, just a month or two before Méliès made his first fiction film. L’Arroseur arrosé (generally considered the earliest fiction film) was screened in December 1895.

La Fée aux Choux is sixty seconds long, possibly making it the earliest known film with a running time of at least one minute.

The film is based on an old and popular French (and actually, European) fairy tale. According to it, baby boys are born in cabbages, and baby girls are born in roses.

Alice Guy-Blaché, the director of La Fée aux Choux, is one of the early cinema’s most important figures, and had an extensive career as a director, producer and studio owner, working in both France and the United States. In a remake called Sage-femme de première classe (Midwife to the Upper Classes) from 1902, Guy Blaché appears, dressed as a man. Wikipedia

Watch La Fee aux Choux | The Cabbage Fairy

  

More about Alice Guy Blaché

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When Women Wrote Hollywood – 6 in a series – Alice Guy Blaché

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 6 in a series – Alice Guy Blaché

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 5 in a series - Alice Guy Blaché

Alice Guy-Blaché (July 1, 1873 – March 24, 1968) was a pioneer filmmaker, active from the late 19th century, and one of the first to make a narrative fiction film.[2] From 1896 to 1906 she was probably the only female filmmaker in the world. [3] She experimented with Gaumont’s Chronophone sound syncing system, color tinting, interracial casting, and special effects. She was a founder and artistic director of the Solax Studios in Flushing, New York, in 1908. In 1912 Solax invested $100,000 for a new studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey, the center of American filmmaking prior to the establishment of Hollywood. That same year she made the film A Fool and his Money, with a cast comprised only African-American actors. The film is now at the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute.[4] Wikipedia

Guy Blaché

A House Divided (Solax, 1913)

More about Alice Guy Blaché

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This Week’s Script Cavalcade: Adam’s Rib from the Writers Guild Foundation Blog

A fun site to check out is the Writers Guild Foundation Blog where they highlight some of the wonderful scripts in their catalog.

The link below takes you to a fun post about writers who created great chemistry on the page where the blogger excerpts a few pages from 1949’s Adams’s Rib, written by husband-and-wife writing team Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin.

Gorden and Kanin appear in an essay of mine, published in our new book, When Women Wrote Hollywood.

…And after that great post, check out this one, on Norma Rae.


This Week’s Script Cavalcade: Adam’s Rib from the Writers Guild Foundation Blog

This Week’s Script Cavalcade: Adam’s Rib from the Writers Guild Foundation Blog

Lauren Bacall gives Humphrey Bogart some side eye and he grins. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryanargue about orgasms at Katz’s deli. Yammering Paul Newman talks a mostly silent Robert Redford’s ear off in the wild west in the late 1800s. Basically, two characters come together as partners on screen and if we’re lucky, their interactions and friction produce this happy spellbinding effect.

We call it chemistry, but often in the business of creating movies and television we treat it like it’s magic… as if it’s elusive and very difficult to conjure and we shouldn’t talk about it too loudly because we don’t want to squelch the enchantment.

Here’s a question for you.

What if we treated chemistry as what it is?

That is to say, a science.

Read the entire article — This Week’s Script Cavalcade: Adam’s Rib from the Writers Guild Foundation Blog

Adams RibAdamsRib Page 1

Click for larger images

When Women Wrote Hollywood – 5 in a series – The New York Hat (1912), Wr: Anita Loos, Dirs: D. W. Griffith

To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch


When Women Wrote Hollywood – 5 in a series – The New York Hat (1912), Wr: Anita Loos, Dirs: D. W. Griffith

When Women Wrote Hollywood - 5 in a series - The New York Hat (1912), Wr: Anita Loos, Dirs: D. W. Griffith

The New York Hat (1912) is a short silent film directed by D. W. Griffith from a screenplay by Anita Loos, and starring Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and Lillian Gish.

The New York Hat is one of the most notable of the Biograph Studios short films and is perhaps the best known example of Pickford’s early work, and an example of Anita Loos’s witty writing. The film was made by Biograph when it and many other early U.S. movie studios were based in Fort Lee, New Jersey at the beginning of the 20th century.[1][2][3] 

Mollie Goodhue leads a cheerless, impoverished life, largely because of her stern, miserly father. Mrs. Goodhue is mortally ill, but before dying, she gives the minister, Preacher Bolton, some money with which to buy her daughter the “finery” her father always forbade her.

Mollie is delighted when the minister presents her with a fashionable New York hat she has been longing for, but village gossips misinterpret the minister’s intentions and spread malicious rumors. Mollie becomes a social pariah, and her father tears up the beloved hat in a rage.

All ends well, however, after the minister produces a letter from Mollie’s mother about the money she left the minister to spend on Mollie. Soon afterwards, he proposes to Mollie, who accepts his offer of marriage.Wikipedia

Watch The New York Hat”

More about Anita Loos

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