Video Gallery: Unassigned US Screenwriters
This post is intended to jumpstart research on a handful of US-based screenwriters by providing avenues for exploration and the opportunity to engage directly with archival moving image materials. Bringing together films held at the EYE Filmmuseum (many in the incomparable Desmet Collection) and valuable digital resources like the AFI Catalogue and Media History Digital Library, WFPP hopes to make research on some of our unassigned pioneers more accessible for both scholars and students. This compilation of tools, archival materials, and information is by no means exhaustive, and individuals interested in researching these screenwriters should use additional resources to confirm behind-the-scenes participation. Our intention is to spark engagement with these materials and encourage a wide range of uses and users for this video gallery, from instructors creating course assignments to individual film scholars looking to contribute to WFPP, or anyone who wants to research women’s participation in early cinema but is unsure where to start.
The videos below are organized by screenwriter. They have all been preserved and digitized by EYE and have Dutch intertitles, which may be translated into English or any other language using Google Translate or other free online translation services. All plot summaries are provided by EYE. We have linked directly to credit data in the AFI Catalogue when possible. (Read more about AFI’s new data-driven gender parity initiative, “Women They Talk About,” on the organization’s website.) In some cases, the featured film is not listed in any official credits, which will require researchers to look to other primary and secondary sources.
A crime drama about a girl from the slums whose poverty compels her to steal. The thief falls in love with the ex-husband of a wealthy woman, whose pearls she has stolen. She repents, and starts a new life in the countryside.
Elizabeth R. Carpenter
Minnie flees from her brother Jim Colby to escape his bad influence. She becomes a household maid, and marries the milkman. During a burglary, Jim shoots a man down, and demands that Minnie help him escape. Minnie’s husband is suspicious, which means that Jim ultimately has to pay with his own life.
- Research Elizabeth R. Carpenter’s film credits via the AFI Catalogue
- Research Elizabeth R. Carpenter in the trade press via Media History Digital Library
A short comedy about a couple in love, whose parents are fighting. By means of a staged argument, the couple manages to get approval for their courtship.
- Research Marion Carr’s film credits via IMDb
- Research Marion Carr in the trade press via Media History Digital Library
A romantic film in which a young mother leaves her child as a foundling with a wealthy bachelor. By a strange twist of fate, the mother becomes the nanny of her own child. Ultimately, the mother and the bachelor fall in love.
Eliza G. Harral
- Research Eliza G. Harral’s film credits via IMDb
- Research Eliza G. Harral in the trade press via Media History Digital Library
- Research Betty Harte’s film credits via the AFI Catalogue
- Research Betty Harte in the trade press via Media History Digital Library
In the principality of Camarillo, a son is rejected by his mother because of his misconduct. He attacks the bridal carriage of his brother and his bride, and wants to murder the brother, who had threatened him with death. The bride intervenes.
- Research Eleanor Hicks’s film credits via IMDb
- Research Eleanor Hicks in the trade press via Media History Digital Library
A romantic crime comedy about a young man who is falsely accused of theft by the real culprit, who is the boyfriend of the girl he fancies. By chance, he meets a real burglar who helps him to get to the truth by blowing up a safe.
- Research Madeline Matzen’s film credits via the AFI Catalogue
- Research Madeline Matzen in the trade press via Media History Digital Library
The story of twin sisters, one of whom grows up in Jewish revolutionary circles in Russia, and the other who grows up as the daughter of a wealthy American factory manager.
Victoria marries David, the man of her dreams. After a number of years and two children, the marriage turns out not to be what she had expected. Then she discovers her faith, and everything turns out for the best.
A romantic farce about a journalist who, pretending to be a pickpocket, gets admitted to a rehabilitation house. She exposes the true criminal, and she gets a marriage proposal from the director of the facility.
Saccone, Kate. "Video Gallery: Unassigned US Screenwriters." In Jane Gaines, Radha Vatsal, and Monica Dall’Asta, eds. Women Film Pioneers Project. New York, NY: Columbia University Libraries, 2020.