Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo - CONFERENZE, Women and the Silent Screen Conference

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Griffith’s female underlings or independent achievers?
David Mayer

Last modified: 2010-05-28


Whilst researching and developing my recent book on D.W. Griffith and the American theatre, I became aware of the way in which the memoirs of females associated with Griffith were skimmed for the information they provided on him and his work processes but ignored for what they revealed about women migrating from theatre into film.

Equally ignored were the career trajectories these women necessarily followed to achieve success in an emerging profession. Concurrently, I observed the impact of female dancers and female choreographers on early film and noted, once again, how their careers were linked to Griffith’s (I, myself, have been guilty of this reading) rather than recognised as achievements in their own right.

My paper will be a musing on this phenomenon and an attempt to identify some of those women whose work has hitherto been held subordinate and merely ancillary to Griffith’s.  

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