Film scholars are just beginning to appreciate the vitality and creativity of the many talented women involved in the Golden Age of Hollywood filmmaking. The considerable contributions of these pioneering moviemakers deserve a closer look. In addition to major actresses such as Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, and Greta Garbo who were performing before the cameras, other backstage geniuses of the time included Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino, Directors; Dorothy Fields, Lyricist; Barbara MacLean, Editor; Edith Head, Costume Designer; Natalie Kalmus, Technicolor Director; Mary Blair, Animator; Hedy Lamarr, Inventor; Ida Koberman, Producer; and many others. Perhaps most notable were the large number of women who excelled at screenwriting and whose efforts at storytelling and characterization will be featured in the seminar. These talented writers included Alma Reville, Zoe Akins, Dorothy Parker, Leigh Brackett, Phoebe Ephron, Betty Comden, Harriet Frank, Jr., and many others. Seminar participants will closely examine five classic films illustrating the best work of some of these moviemakers and will also briefly look at other artists through representative film clips and selected short readings. After participating in this immersive seminar, students should have gained a greater understanding of the collaborative nature of studio filmmaking and a higher regard for the women who made the movies.
Jack Rhodes received his Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Texas at Austin and later became interested in communication and film studies. His principal academic assignments were at Colorado College, the University of Utah and Miami University (Ohio), where he taught the graduate course on rhetoric of film for several years. Rhodes also served as chair of the Department of Communication at Miami and retired as executive director of Miami’s regional campus in Hamilton, Ohio. He is the author of three books and several scholarly articles and has recently concentrated his research and lecturing on the rhetoric of film genres. This will be his 14th year teaching Björklunden seminars.