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Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood
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Women Filmmakers in Early Hollywood explores when, how, and why women were accepted as filmmakers in the 1910s and why, by the 1920s, those opportunities had disappeared. In looking at the early film industry as an industry—a place of work—Mahar not only unravels the mystery of the disappearing female filmmaker but untangles the complicated relationship among gender, work culture, and business within modern industrial organizations. 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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: Making Movies and Incorporating Gender
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. Prologue: “The Greatest Electrical Novelty in the World”: Gender and Filmmaking before the Turn of the Century
  2. pp. 9-25
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  1. PART ONE: EXPANSION, STARDOM & UPLIFT: Women Enter the American Movie Industry, 1908–1916
  2. pp. 27-28
  1. 1. A Quiet Invasion: Nickelodeons, Narratives, and the First Women in Film
  2. pp. 29-52
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  1. 2. “To Get Some of the ‘Good Gravy’ ” for Themselves: Stardom, Features, and the First Star-Producers
  2. pp. 53-76
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  1. Image Plates 1
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  1. 3. “So Much More Natural to a Woman”: Gender, Uplift, and the Woman Filmmaker
  2. pp. 77-100
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  1. INTERLUDE: WOMEN IN SERIALS & SHORT COMEDIES, 1912–1922
  2. pp. 101-102
  1. 4. The “Girls Who Play”: The Short Film and the New Woman
  2. pp. 103-132
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  1. PART TWO: “A BUSINESS PURE & SIMPLE” The End of Uplift and the Masculinization of Hollywood, 1916–1928
  2. pp. 133-134
  1. 5. “The Real Punches”: Lois Weber, Cecil B. DeMille, and the End of the Uplift Movement
  2. pp. 135-153
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  1. 6. A “ ‘Her-Own-Company’ Epidemic”: Stars as Independent Producers
  2. pp. 154-178
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  1. Image Plates 2
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  1. 7. "Doing a ‘Man’s Work’ ": The Rise of the Studio System and the Remasculinization of Filmmaking
  2. pp. 179-203
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  1. Epilogue: Getting Away with It
  2. pp. 204-208
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 209-269
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  1. Essay on Sources
  2. pp. 271-276
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 277-291
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