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

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A Lass and A Lack: Women and Comedy in British Silent Cinema
Laraine Dawn Porter

Last modified: 2010-05-12


Whilst a reasonable amount of research has been conducted into women comedians in the 1930s, particularly in relation to star personalities such as Gracie Fields, Jessie Matthews and Cicely Courtneidge,  very little has been written specifically about women’s contribution to British silent comedy.  This presentation will offer work in progress, looking at the role of women in British silent cinema; as performers, writers and as creative personnel behind the camera. It will explore the ways in which British silent comedy took cues from Music Hall and other popular forms of entertainment and examine the overlap between these two forms, particularly in relation to comic female performance.  It will also question why women comedians become increasingly marginalised in the 1920s despite their success in the pre World War I period with women like Chrissie White and Alma Taylor playing the anarchic Tilly Girls in the films of Cecil Hepworth.


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