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The novelist as Hollywood star: Author royalties and studio income in the 1920s


This article examines the significant financial rewards obtained by the English popular novelist Elinor Glyn as a result of the motion picture adaptations of her stories in the 1920s. It uses newly available archive materials to present detailed financial information on a number of Glyn adaptations (including Three Weeks and It), and discusses the narrative around these data in terms of the issue of contracts and the role of specific film companies such as MGM and Paramount. It also shows that conflict over royalties and the relevant accounting practices were significant elements of Glyn’s experiences in Hollywood at this time. Comparing Glyn’s status as a ‘star’ author and personality with other well-known authors of the period, the article concludes that she was in some ways a unique phenomenon in terms of the level of her artistic and financial success.