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Hollywood and the Great DepressionAmerican Film, Politics and Society in the 1930s$
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Iwan Morgan and Philip John Davies

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748699926

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748699926.001.0001

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Organisation Women and Belle Rebels: Hollywood’s Working Women in the 1930s

Organisation Women and Belle Rebels: Hollywood’s Working Women in the 1930s

(p.66) Chapter 3 Organisation Women and Belle Rebels: Hollywood’s Working Women in the 1930s
Hollywood and the Great Depression

J. E. Smyth

Edinburgh University Press

This shows how Hollywood was more effective than any other institution in America in challenging gender roles and portraying a positive image of working women both on and off screen. It reviews the importance of women within the studio system not only as actors and stars but also as screenwriters, film editors, costume and make-up design, research, and production (but significantly not as directors). It then analyses a set of highly successful films that were significant for promoting a positive image of working women. These are: A Woman Rebels (RKO, 1936); A Star is Born (Selznick International, 1937); Gone With the Wind (Selznick International-MGM, 1939); and Kitty Foyle (RKO, 1940). What these films have in common is an awareness of generations of women working in front of and behind the scenes that is rendered through their working-women heroines.

Keywords:   Working women, Hollywood studio system, A Woman Rebels, A Star is Born, Gone With the Wind, Kitty Foyle

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