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

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Riding Horses and Writing Scripts
Viktoria Paranyuk

Last modified: 2010-05-11

Abstract


This research highlights the brief career of Josephine Rector. Barely a footnote in present film history, Rector worked for the western outfit of Essanay from 1911 to 1914, writing scripts, editing scenarios, and occasionally acting. She was insturmental in champiniong the genre of the western as well as in helping shape the prototype of the film cowboy in the character of Broncho Billy. Seizing the opportunity of the moment that had presented women with a range of work in the motion picture industry, Rector headed the scenario department at western Essanay from 1912 to 1914, either writing or selecting scripts for more than 100 westerns. Rector's background of growing up on a ranch in Montana and later following her father in search of gold in the Yukon, prepared her formidably for acting in and writing for westerns.

I encountered many obstacles typical to this kind of research, which I will discuss in my paper. Due to the brevity of Rector's career and the loss of many Essanay films, it is difficult if not impossible to establish her complete output. Josephine Rector was one of many women who contributed to the motion picture industry and who are largely forgotten today. This paper will illuminate her part in the Essanay Film Manufacturing Co.


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