Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperber

Scen.: Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperberg. Int.: Tony Maietta, Shelley Stamp, Emily Carman. Prod.: Clara Kuperberg, Julia Kuperberg. DCP. Bn e Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Dorothy Arzner began her career as an editor before moving into directing in the 1920s, when talkies had yet to disrupt Hollywood and see off a good many filmmakers. Censorship rules – the famous Hays Code – had not come in yet; sex and bodies enjoyed free rein on screen. Even the biggest taboos didn’t faze directors and scriptwriters. A veritable feminist pioneer who never laid claim to that label, she created predominantly female characters: atypical, modern heroines, prepared to do anything to renounce their predetermined destiny. Her films were often manifestos against marriage, against heterosexuality, against male sexual domination over women, against the male gaze before that term even existed.
Arzner worked in a patriarchal system in which the American moguls called the shots in Hollywood. But she dressed as   a man, openly asserting her homosexuality at a time when that was virtually unheard of and she was the only female director in Hollywood between 1927 and 1943, with more than 16 films to her name. Like many women of the time, she fell into obscurity. Francis Ford Coppola cited her as his mentor while studying at UCLA, and Jodie Foster was moved in recent years to restore Arzner films. Yet the only tributes celebrated in her honour were in France and Spain. This pioneer of the cinema is long-forgotten in Hollywood.

Clara and Julia Kuperberg


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