Women in Horror Films, 1940s

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9780786404643: Women in Horror Films, 1940s

They had more in common than just a scream, whether they faced Dracula, Frankensteins Monster, the Mummy, Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, King Kong, the Wolf Man, or any of the other legendary Hollywood monsters. Some were even monsters themselves, such as Elsa Lanchester as the Bride, and Gloria Holden as Draculas Daughter. And while evading the Strangler of the Swamp, former Miss America Rosemary La Planche is allowed to rescue her leading man. This book provides details about the lives and careers of 21 of these cinematic leading ladies, femmes fatales, monsters, and misfits, putting into perspective their contributions to the films and folklore of Hollywood terror--and also the sexual harassment, exploitation, and genuine danger they faced on the job. Veteran actress Virginia Christine recalls Universal burying her alive in a backlot swamp in full "mummy" makeup for the resurrection scene in The Mummys Curse--and how the studio saved that scene for the last day in case she suffocated. Filled with anecdotes and recollections, many of the entries are based on original interviews, and there are numerous old photographs and movie stills.

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About the Author:

Gregory William Mank, a Delta, Pennsylvania, English teacher, has acted in nearly 100 stage productions. He also wrote McFarland's Karloff and Lugosi (1990) and Hollywood Cauldron (1994).

From Library Journal:

The author of a number of books on horror films (e.g., Karloff and Lugosi, McFarland, 1990), Mank here turns the spotlight on two decades of filmdom's damsels in distress. Observing that these roles may be categorized into three types ("monsters," e.g., the title role in The Bride of Frankenstein; "femme fatales," e.g., Ivy in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; and "misfits," e.g., Panther Woman in Island of Lost Souls), Mank chronicles the life and times of 42 actresses who played variations on these themes and more. Each book presents chapters ranging in length from ten to more than 20 pages on each of 21 actresses in each decade. Beginning with a studio portrait or a publicity still, the narration often includes an account of a personal interview the author conducted with the subject. Also included are other portraits and stills as well as some candid shots and, in a few cases, shots of the subject with the author. The richly detailed chapters conclude with a filmography, but while the sources are attributed, a bibliography or a separate list of sources would have enhanced the presentation. Each volume ends with the results of a poll asking assorted film industry professionals and others for their personal choices for outstanding performances in various categories. Many of the actresses in these volumes, e.g., Evelyn Ankers, Ilona Massey, and Valerie Hobson, may be familiar only to horror film fans. In addition, TV fans may be surprised to learn that Elena Verdugo of Marcus Welby, M.D., Anna Lee of General Hospital, and even Virginia Christine (Mrs. Olson of the coffee commercials) were once screamers on the silver screen. First-rate additions to film, performing arts, women's studies, and popular culture reference collections, these volumes should also be featured in smaller circulating collections for film and horror buffs to peruse.ACarolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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