WOMEN BEHIND THE CAMERA
“The studios were always reluctant to acknowledge women who were behind the camera. They claimed a man’s name on the screen is always more impressive to the public.” – Marion Mack, who co-starred with Buster Keaton in The General (1927), in a 1988 interview about her early career.
So, if we fast forward 90 years and despite some honourable exceptions along the way (Dorothy Spencer was one of the editors of Stagecoach in 1939, Ida Lupino directed some good low budget thrillers in the early 1950s, Diana Morgan was the one woman in the Ealing ‘writers room’ and later worked on Emergency Ward 10, and so on), have things really changed? Well, it’s probably fair to say that, in 2017, we can be a little more optimistic. Lone Scherfig has just directed Gemma Arterton in Their Finest (based, at least in part, on the early career of Diana Morgan) and Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled has just been released in the UK.
Money (or, more specifically, profit) still talks loudest, of course, so the $750 million taken (so far) by Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins (thereby becoming the first woman to direct a superhero movie), is likely to open some very large doors. Indeed just announced by Eon productions, the controllers of the male god franchise James Bond, is a new Stephanie Patrick franchise, to be inaugurated by an adaptation of the novel The Rhythm Section that will star Blake Lively. And, if you still haven’t heard, the new Doctor Who will be played by Jodie Whittaker in Broadchurch. Estimates are not yet available, as to how many male viewers might feel unable to tune in!
If you wish to consider the issue of gender balance when planning your film seasons, do make use of the three F system pioneered here in the south west and now recognised internationally.
Sir Roger Moore: James Bond, Simon Templar and the author of two entertaining memoirs My Word is My Bond and Last Man Standing.
Skip Homeier (86): weaselly character actor who shot Gregory Peck in The Gunfighter.
Adam West (88): Batman on TV and Roger Smith (84): star of 77 Sunset Strip.
John G. Alvidsen: director of the hugely successful Rocky.
Loren James (85): stuntman and one of the commentary team on the DVD of How the West Was Won.
Elsa Martinelli (82): who fell in love with a baby elephant in Hatari!.
Barry Norman (83): the doyen of British film critics.
George A. Romero (77): noted director of horror films including the seminal Night of the Living Dead.
Martin Landau (89): an Oscar for Ed Wood and prominent on TV (Mission Impossible, Space 1999).
LYME REGIS FILM SOCIETY is sad to report the deaths of two stalwart committee members. John Warren was our publicity officer for some 25 years before he retired. Peter Westoby was our current membership secretary. Both will be greatly missed for their love of film, hard work and good companionship.
By David Johnson
Chairman of Lyme Regis Film Society
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