Synopses & Reviews
"An outstanding and well-researched work, Go West, Young Women!
adds a fresh interpretive framework to the study of women in early Hollywood. Each chapter is a jewel; Hilary A. Hallett's lively writing is perfectly matched to her unique re-reading of the female role in early cinema." and#151;Lary May, Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
and#147;Here is a surprising look at a great westward migrationand#151;the steady stream of star-struck and hard-working young women who followed the movie industry into Southern California. Hilary A. Hallettand#8217;s smart book changes our thinking about the writers, directors, producers, designers, artists, and actresses who shook off old conventions, created Hollywood, and ushered in the twentieth century." and#151;Ann Fabian, author of The Skull Collectors: Race, Science and America's Unburied Dead
and#147;An outstanding and path-breaking work of scholarship that re-reads the role of women in Hollywood as part of broader U.S. social and cultural history. This work is exemplary of the historianand#8217;s art: to go deeply and broadly into primary sources, original documents, and ephemeral materials in order to paint a fresh picture and tell a different story.and#8221; and#151;Robert Sklar, author of Movie-Made America: A Cultural History of American Movies
and#147;Hilary A. Hallet provides an exceptional history of women in early Hollywood, moving them once and for all from the margins to the center. Engagingly written and meticulously researched, Go West, Young Women! is essential reading for anyone interested in the beginnings of the American movie industry, celebrity culture, and histories of women in the western US.and#8221; and#151;Shelley Stamp, author of Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon
"Bold and fresh, Hilary Hallettand#8217;s study demonstrates that the history of women, female sexuality, and mass culture is not a closed case. Important as the first feminist examination of the 1921 Fatty Arbuckle scandal, this book radically revises ideas of the post-World War I Hollywood industry as well as cultural histories of the time. By looking at the underside of the 1920s in a way never dared before, Hallett further reconfigures our understanding of motion picture censorship in the 1930s." and#151;Jane M. Gaines, Professor of Film, Columbia University
and#147;Hilary Hallett vividly captures the magnetic appeal of Hollywood for the many young women in the early film industry. With a knack for translating theoretical issues into memorable practical form, Hallett offers colorful stories and reconstructs the cultural history of an industry experiencing incredible upheaval and growth. Early Hollywood will never look the same again.and#8221; and#151;Jackson Lears, author of Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877and#150;1920
“Don't miss Go West, Young Women!” The Huffington Post
and#8220;A lively look at Hollywoodand#8217;s past, when the movies were still in their infancy, and at the women who were a critical part of it. . . . Highly recommended.and#8221;
and#8220;Don't miss Go West, Young Women!and#8221;
"Substantial and invigorating . . . an intriguing odyssey into early Hollywood culture and its female coterie of creators, stars, and consumers whose centrality to the evolution of the film industry has not previously been identified or accounted for in adequate terms."
In 1920, Los Angeles became the only western city where women outnumbered men. In Go West, Young Women, Hilary A. Hallett explores the relatively unknown New Woman of the West and her role in the development of Los Angeles and the nascent film industry. Hallett explains how women on both sides of the screen pioneered the transformation of the fledgling film industry from a marginal, decentralized business controlled by wealthy Anglo-Americans into the dominant, cosmopolitan industry of early Hollywood centered in Los Angeles. As early publicity stories about female celebrities focused on their independence, resourcefulness, and traversal of Los Angeles's increasingly bohemian terrain, Hollywood came to represent a different kind of frontier, one that spoke to a country torn between Victorian rectitude and individual emancipation, dreams of upward mobility and fears of moral dissolution. From Mary Pickford's rise to become perhaps the most powerful woman of her age, to the racist moral panics of the anti-war years and the aftermath of Hollywood's first sex scandal, Hallett describes how the path through early Hollywood presaged the struggles over modern gender roles that animated the century to come.
"An outstanding and well-researched work, Go West, Young Women! adds a fresh interpretive framework to the study of women in early Hollywood. Each chapter is a jewel; Hilary A. Hallett's lively writing is perfectly matched to her unique re-reading of the female role in early cinema." --Lary May, Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
In the early part of the twentieth century, migrants made their way from rural homes to cities in record numbers and many traveled west. Los Angeles became a destination. Women flocked to the growing town to join the film industry as workers and spectators, creating a and#147;New Woman.and#8221; Their efforts transformed filmmaking from a marginal business to a cosmopolitan, glamorous, and bohemian one. By 1920, Los Angeles had become the only western city where women outnumbered men. In Go West, Young Women, Hilary A. Hallett explores these relatively unknown new western women and their role in the development of Los Angeles and the nascent film industry. From Mary Pickfordand#8217;s rise to become perhaps the most powerful woman of her age, to the racist moral panics of the postand#150;World War I years that culminated in Hollywoodand#8217;s first sex scandal, Hallett describes how the path through early Hollywood presaged the struggles over modern gender roles that animated the century to come.
About the Author
Hilary Hallett is Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Part I. Along the Road to Hollywood
Prologue I. Landscapes
1. and#147;Oh for a girl who could ride a horse like Pearl Whiteand#8221;: The Actress Democratizes Fame
2. Women-Made Women:
Writing the and#147;Moviesand#8221; before Hollywood
Part II. Melodramas of Hollywoodand#8217;s Birth
Prologue II. The Postwar Revolution in Morals and Manners, Redux
3. Hollywood Bohemia
4. The Movie Menace
5. A Star Is Born: Rereading Hollywoodand#8217;s First Sex Scandal
Conclusion: The Girl from Hollywood