It’s important to recognize what Lin-Manuel Miranda did so well in his show — who tells your story, tells people whether or not you will be remembered and we’re gonna find that sadly in a lot of film history, the women are who got left behind by the men writing the history right? I don’t want to rag on men. I like men. I’m married to one. I have a son. They’re very cool people but sometimes they forget to mention the ladies right? So we’re gonna think about that. Some examples, quickly, on how easily writers and this isn’t a female writer it’s a male writer. This is the obituary for Doris Bowden. She was an actress who was in The Grapes of Wrath. It says in her obituary “she married the film’s screenwriter”. We name the movie John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath. The man who she married isn’t mentioned in her own obituary because he’s just the writer. How ridiculous is that? I don’t care about John Ford. He never knew her after she’s finished the film, but he gets a name out – a name call on that right?
Dr. Rosanne Welch discusses the women in her new book “When Women Wrote Hollywood” which covers female screenwriters from the Silents through the early 1940s when women wrote over 50% of films and Frances Marion was the highest paid screenwriter (male or female) and the first to win 2 Oscars. Yet, she fails to appear in film history books, which continue to regurgitate the myth that male directors did it all – even though it’s been proven that the only profitable movies Cecil B. de Mille ever directed were all written by Jeannie Macpherson film ever won for Best Picture was written by Robert E. Sherwood (who people have heard of, mostly due to his connection to Dorothy Parker) and Joan Harrison.
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