Lois Weber in Early Hollywood
Among early Hollywood’s most renowned filmmakers, Lois Weber was considered one of the era’s “three great minds” alongside D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. Despite her accomplishments, Weber has been marginalized in relation to her contemporaries, who have long been recognized as fathers of American cinema. Drawing on a range of materials untapped by previous historians, Shelley Stamp offers the first comprehensive study of Weber’s remarkable career as director, screenwriter, and actress. Lois Weber in Early Hollywood provides compelling evidence of the extraordinary role that women played in shaping American movie culture.
Weber made films on capital punishment, contraception, poverty, and addiction, establishing cinema’s power to engage topical issues for popular audiences. Her work grappled with the profound changes in women’s lives that unsettled Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century, and her later films include sharp critiques of heterosexual marriage and consumer capitalism. Mentor to many women in the industry, Weber demanded a place at the table in early professional guilds, decrying the limited roles available for women on-screen and in the 1920s protesting the growing climate of hostility toward female directors. Stamp demonstrates how female filmmakers who had played a part in early Hollywood’s bid for respectability were in the end written out of that industry’s history. Lois Weber in Early Hollywood is an essential addition to histories of silent cinema, early filmmaking in Los Angeles, and women’s contributions to American culture.
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actress adaptation Alice Guy Blaché American Angel of Broadway Anita Stewart artistic birth control Bosworth career Carl Laemmle Cast cinema Claire Windsor couple’s creative culture CWSBC D.W. Griffith DeMille directing early Hollywood Edith Eva’s feature female filmmakers feminine film film’s glamour Grace Kingsley husband Hypocrites industry Jeanie Macpherson Jewel July June Koszarski Laemmle later Lois Weber Lois Weber Productions Marie Walcamp marriage Marriage Clause Mary MacLaren Mildred Harris Miss Weber Motion Picture movie Moving Picture World narrative noted NYDM Paramount Phillips Smalley Photoplay played Press reel Released reviewer Rex/Universal role Rupert Julian scenarios scenes screen screenwriting script Sensation Seekers Sept sexual Shoes Smalley’s social star maker story studio theater tion titles unident Universal City Universal’s viewers visual Weber and Phillips Weber and Smalley wife Wise Wives women writing York young