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  • Writer's pictureEllen Cheshire

Not so Silent Women: Films Directed by Women

Updated: May 5, 2023


Recently I've been working on a chapter for Aurora Metro's forthcoming Silent Women: Pioneers of Cinema (exploring women’s contribution behind the camera in these early days of cinema. The focus of my research was female cinematographers, and was astonished by the misogyny of the male writers of the time. Some choice quotes!

A. J. Dixon writing in Picture-Play Magazine January 1916, described his initial reaction to hearing of Grace Davison’s work behind the camera “I concluded that something must have happened to the regular camera man, and that they had been forced to substitute this girl at the last moment; and I began to picture static, out-of-focus, under and overexposed negative as the result.”

One of the mast famous images of this period is of Margery Ordway which first appeared in Photoplay, October 1916 with the caption “Margery Ordway, regular, professional, licensed union crank-turner at Camp Morosco, has gone into camera work as nonchalantly as other girls take up stenography, nursing, husband-stalking.” Husband stalking!

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