Jean Seberg is one of those fascinating Hollywood stories that reads like the plot of a dark Hollywood movie. Her tragic story is lesser known than say, Marilyn Monroe's – though she was just as great a beauty. And her politics caused more damage to her life than that of her acting contemporaries – ultimately leading to her death at the all too young age of 40.
A new documentary, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg! shares the story of "Gertrude Berg. She was the creator, principal writer, and star of 'The Goldbergs,' a popular radio show for 17 years, which became television's very first character-driven domestic sitcom in 1949." It's not just a story of a woman making her way through Hollywood; you also get a sense of how entertainment was changing as it went from radio to television.
More attractive than tough, the sexually progressive and confident space adventurer, Barbarella was played by Jane Fonda in an eponymous 1968 film. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by her then-husband, Roger Vadim, the movie was based on the early 1960s erotic comic created by Jean-Claude Forest– who served as a set consultant on the film.
I promised that one of the themes we'd be exploring in this blog is bad movies with feminist potential. You see, in my research I've found that some of the most interesting female characters, particularly female action heroes and/or proto-feminists, are to be found in some of the most poorly-produced movies. Considering this, it is perhaps ironic that many better funded action films with A-list actresses have been flops.
Since I've been able to spend a lot of time with popcorn and a notepad, throughout the summer I'll share with you some of the most empowered (if all too often also problematic) women of the best low-budget classics of sci-fi, horror, blaxploitation, and action in a series of Grrrl on Film Cult Movie Posts!
For those of you who saw my previous post you'll know that the 1966 classic camp film, Modesty Blaise, was shown in the early morning hours on AMC. The film, based on the eponymous character of a long-running British comic strip, is of the so bad it's bad variety. But even so, this relatively obscure movie that inspires a love-it-or-hate-it reaction, as well as the enigmatic Modesty Blaise herself, has influenced subsequent gems of popular culture including the visual style of Austin Powers, the origin story of X-Men's Ororo Munroe, and the ass-kicking women of Kill Bill. Modesty was a groundbreaking and progressive character that rivaled the other Spy-Fi icons she was so often compared to, but she remains relatively unknown to the American side of the pond and is increasingly distanced from her native audience.
Hello and welcome to the Grrrl on Film Blog! My name is Jennifer K. Stuller, aka The Ink-Stained Amazon. I'm a writer, author, and critic with a particular interest in the history of women in popular culture. My first book, Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology, will be published this January. I'm honored to have had Bitch ask me to be a guest film blogger for the summer . . .
Nigeria's booming film industry, Nollywood, ranks second highest in global film production (nestled between India's Bollywood and America's Hollywood), and its actors are now being sought by the higher paying US studios. This new development brings with it the need for complex conversations about gender, sexuality, culture, and the lure of money.
Several years ago, I read the novel Push written by performance poet, Sapphire. I remember climbing into bed one night to read it and finishing it at about 5 AM. Several times I had to put the book down for a few minutes, just to get myself together, to breathe. Once I put the book down for the final time, I still couldn't sleep: I was emotionally wrung out and deeply disturbed. It's hard to recover from a book that opens with: "I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver..."