Did you know that women were responsible for creating hundreds of early Hollywood films? We tell you everything you need to know
Did you know that women were responsible for creating hundreds of early Hollywood films? We tell you everything you need to know.
Today, Hollywood is a billion-dollar industry. Year after year, there are movies that gross millions of dollars. Even actors and directors earn impressive sums for each film they work on. However, this does not apply to all women equally.
In this way, a study by Lancaster University revealed that over the last 50 years, women earned less money than men for the same roles. For example, I was acting, directing, or screenwriting, among others. Now, did you know that this was not always the case? There are many women in very relevant roles!
According to historian Cari Beauchamp, almost half of the films made before 1925 were written by women. Many of them were in some of the best films in history. So, here we will tell you who were the women who allowed Hollywood to become an empire.
Not everyone knows it, but she was the first woman to make a fiction film. This situation happened in 1896, with La Fée aux Choux, a French silent short film based on a children’s story. Since then, the industry realized that not only actual events could be filmed, but also stories.
Although the Lumière brothers and George Méliès are indeed considered the first directors, Alice Guy-Blaché was the mother of fiction films. She has an extensive filmography of more than 1,000 titles, of which just over 100 have been preserved. Undoubtedly, she was one of the people who made it possible for cinema as we know it to exist today.
Here we have the first woman who filmed a feature film, something essential for cinema history. She was one of the most outstanding women of the world cinema era in the United States, along with the figure of D. W. Griffith. Now, did you know that she was one of the first “female film authors”?
This figure meant that directors could capture ideologies on camera through shots and stories. In other words, a film does not have a neutral gaze but reveals the director’s subjectivity. With 135 films, 115 screenplays, and as many films as an actress, Lois Weber marked a before and after in the industry. For example, in 1916 she directed “Where Are My Children?” which caused controversy for speaking openly about abortion and contraception.
Here we have the first Hollywood star. She was one of the top silent film stars between 1915 and 1925, becoming the highest-paid actress of that era. You may know her as “little Mary” or the “girl with golden hair.” So, here are some important milestones in her career.
For example, in 1919, together with Charles Chaplin, David W. Griffith, and Fairbanks, she formed United Artists, one of the most powerful studios. In 1909 alone, she worked in 51 films, where she played from small roles to leading roles. She even won the second Oscar in history for Best Actress, for her role in 1929’s Coquette. In addition, she was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, which presents the Oscars each year.
Finally, we also have another indispensable actress for the creation of Hollywood as we know it today. She was one of the best screenwriters of the 20th century, to the point of being the first woman to win two Oscars as a screenwriter. Do you know when she achieved these awards?
It was in 1930, for the film “Big House” and in 1932 for “The Champ.” She is credited with more than 300 films as a screenwriter and 130 as a producer. In addition, she tried to make more women understand the art of filmmaking, as she wrote the manual “How to Write and Sell Film Stories.” Undoubtedly, she has been one of the most outstanding women in the history of cinema that you should know to understand today’s cinema.