Women Vs Hollywood By Helen O'hara

Episodes

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01When Film Could Be Female2021030820210309 (R4)Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood’s female pioneers - in front of and behind the camera - who fought sexism and the power of the studio system to find their own voices and change film forever.

The dawn of cinema was a free-for-all, and there were women who forged ahead in many areas of film-making. Early pioneers such as Nell Shipman and Lois Weber shaped the way films were made. But it wasn't long before these talented women were pushed aside, and their contributions written out of film history.

Hollywood was born just over a century ago, at a time of huge forward motion for women's rights, yet it came to embody the same old sexist standards. Women found themselves fighting a system that fed on their talent, creativity and beauty but refused to pay them the same money or give them the same respect as their male contemporaries.

The studios gave their stars no choice over the roles they played and invaded the most intimate aspects of their lives, controlling their romantic relationships and forcing them to have abortions. Life was even harder for women of colour.

Helen O'Hara celebrates the women who fought back against the system - stars like Olivia de Havilland and Marilyn Monroe who defied the control of the studios, women of colour such as Hattie McDaniel who had to fight to attend her own Oscar ceremony, and pioneering producers such as Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing who broke the male stranglehold over the film industry.

In this first episode, Helen tells the story of Alice Guy-Blaché, one of the most prolific and successful film-makers in the first years of Hollywood, and how, late in her life, she fought to preserve her legacy.

Helen O’Hara has been working as a film journalist for over 15 years. She is now Editor-at-Large of Empire magazine, and co-hosts the Empire Podcast.

Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Helen O’Hara
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

02Silenced By Sound2021030920210310 (R4)Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood’s female pioneers - in front of and behind the camera - who fought sexism and the power of the studio system to find their own voices and change film forever.

The dawn of cinema was a free-for-all, and there were women who forged ahead in many areas of film-making. Early pioneers such as Nell Shipman and Lois Weber shaped the way films were made. But it wasn't long before these talented women were pushed aside, and their contributions written out of film history.

Hollywood was born just over a century ago, at a time of huge forward motion for women's rights, yet it came to embody the same old sexist standards. Women found themselves fighting a system that fed on their talent, creativity and beauty but refused to pay them the same money or give them the same respect as their male contemporaries.

The studios gave their stars no choice over the roles they played and invaded the most intimate aspects of their lives, controlling their romantic relationships and forcing them to have abortions. Life was even harder for women of colour.

Helen O'Hara celebrates the women who fought back against the system - stars like Olivia de Havilland and Marilyn Monroe who defied the control of the studios, women of colour such as Hattie McDaniel who had to fight to attend her own Oscar ceremony, and pioneering producers such as Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing who broke the male stranglehold over the film industry.

In this episode, Helen tells the story of Lois Weber, the most powerful woman in the early days of Hollywood. She would become the most successful female director of the silent era, and arguably of the 20th century, given her clout and prestige. But as film production became industrialised, women directors such as Weber were marginalised and eventually excluded from Hollywood for decades to come.

Helen O’Hara has been working as a film journalist for over 15 years. She is now Editor-at-Large of Empire magazine, and co-hosts the Empire Podcast.

Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Helen O’Hara
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

03Putting The Industry In Film Industry20210310Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood’s female pioneers - in front of and behind the camera - who fought sexism and the power of the studio system to find their own voices and change film forever.

The dawn of cinema was a free-for-all, and there were women who forged ahead in many areas of film-making. Early pioneers such as Nell Shipman and Lois Weber shaped the way films were made. But it wasn't long before these talented women were pushed aside, and their contributions written out of film history.

Hollywood was born just over a century ago, at a time of huge forward motion for women's rights, yet it came to embody the same old sexist standards. Women found themselves fighting a system that fed on their talent, creativity and beauty but refused to pay them the same money or give them the same respect as their male contemporaries.

Helen O'Hara celebrates the women who fought back against the system - stars like Olivia de Havilland and Marilyn Monroe who defied the control of the studios, women of colour such as Hattie McDaniel who had to fight to attend her own Oscar ceremony, and pioneering producers such as Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing who broke the male stranglehold over the film industry.

In this episode, Helen describes how the studios gave their stars no choice over the roles they played and invaded the most intimate aspects of their lives, controlling their romantic relationships and even forcing them to have abortions. And she celebrates the woman who did more than anyone to fight back against Hollywood censorship – Mae West.

Helen O’Hara has been working as a film journalist for over 15 years. She is now Editor-at-Large of Empire magazine, and co-hosts the Empire Podcast.

Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Helen O’Hara
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

03Putting The Industry In Film Industry2021031020210311 (R4)Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood’s female pioneers - in front of and behind the camera - who fought sexism and the power of the studio system to find their own voices and change film forever.

The dawn of cinema was a free-for-all, and there were women who forged ahead in many areas of film-making. Early pioneers such as Nell Shipman and Lois Weber shaped the way films were made. But it wasn't long before these talented women were pushed aside, and their contributions written out of film history.

Hollywood was born just over a century ago, at a time of huge forward motion for women's rights, yet it came to embody the same old sexist standards. Women found themselves fighting a system that fed on their talent, creativity and beauty but refused to pay them the same money or give them the same respect as their male contemporaries.

Helen O'Hara celebrates the women who fought back against the system - stars like Olivia de Havilland and Marilyn Monroe who defied the control of the studios, women of colour such as Hattie McDaniel who had to fight to attend her own Oscar ceremony, and pioneering producers such as Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing who broke the male stranglehold over the film industry.

In this episode, Helen describes how the studios gave their stars no choice over the roles they played and invaded the most intimate aspects of their lives, controlling their romantic relationships and even forcing them to have abortions. And she celebrates the woman who did more than anyone to fight back against Hollywood censorship – Mae West.

Helen O’Hara has been working as a film journalist for over 15 years. She is now Editor-at-Large of Empire magazine, and co-hosts the Empire Podcast.

Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Helen O’Hara
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

04How Women Of Colour Fought To Be Heard2021031120210312 (R4)Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood’s female pioneers - in front of and behind the camera - who fought sexism and the power of the studio system to find their own voices and change film forever.

The dawn of cinema was a free-for-all, and there were women who forged ahead in many areas of film-making. Early pioneers such as Nell Shipman and Lois Weber shaped the way films were made. But it wasn't long before these talented women were pushed aside, and their contributions written out of film history.

Hollywood was born just over a century ago, at a time of huge forward motion for women's rights, yet it came to embody the same old sexist standards. Women found themselves fighting a system that fed on their talent, creativity and beauty but refused to pay them the same money or give them the same respect as their male contemporaries.

The studios gave their stars no choice over the roles they played and invaded the most intimate aspects of their lives, controlling their romantic relationships and forcing them to have abortions. Life was even harder for women of colour.

In this episode, Helen tells the story of women of colour in Hollywood who had to fight both sexism and racism. In the early days, roles were thinly drawn and few and far between and most black actors rarely played anything other than maids or servants. Helen celebrates the courage of women such as Lena Horne whose musical numbers were frequently cut from movies distributed in the American South, and Hattie McDaniel who had to fight to attend her own Oscar ceremony.

Helen O’Hara has been working as a film journalist for over 15 years. She is now Editor-at-Large of Empire magazine, and co-hosts the Empire Podcast.

Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Helen O’Hara
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

05The Women Who Fought Back20210312Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood’s female pioneers - in front of and behind the camera - who fought sexism and the power of the studio system to find their own voices and change film forever.

The dawn of cinema was a free-for-all, and there were women who forged ahead in many areas of film-making. Early pioneers such as Nell Shipman and Lois Weber shaped the way films were made. But it wasn't long before these talented women were pushed aside, and their contributions written out of film history.

Hollywood was born just over a century ago, at a time of huge forward motion for women's rights, yet it came to embody the same old sexist standards. Women found themselves fighting a system that fed on their talent, creativity and beauty but refused to pay them the same money or give them the same respect as their male contemporaries.

The studios gave their stars no choice over the roles they played and invaded the most intimate aspects of their lives, controlling their romantic relationships and forcing them to have abortions. Life was even harder for women of colour.

In this final episode, Helen celebrates the women who fought back against the system - stars like Olivia de Havilland and Marilyn Monroe who defied the control of the studios, and pioneering producers such as Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing who broke the male stranglehold over the film industry.

Helen O’Hara has been working as a film journalist for over 15 years. She is now Editor-at-Large of Empire magazine, and co-hosts the Empire Podcast.

Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Helen O’Hara
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

05The Women Who Fought Back2021031220210313 (R4)Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood’s female pioneers - in front of and behind the camera - who fought sexism and the power of the studio system to find their own voices and change film forever.

The dawn of cinema was a free-for-all, and there were women who forged ahead in many areas of film-making. Early pioneers such as Nell Shipman and Lois Weber shaped the way films were made. But it wasn't long before these talented women were pushed aside, and their contributions written out of film history.

Hollywood was born just over a century ago, at a time of huge forward motion for women's rights, yet it came to embody the same old sexist standards. Women found themselves fighting a system that fed on their talent, creativity and beauty but refused to pay them the same money or give them the same respect as their male contemporaries.

The studios gave their stars no choice over the roles they played and invaded the most intimate aspects of their lives, controlling their romantic relationships and forcing them to have abortions. Life was even harder for women of colour.

In this final episode, Helen celebrates the women who fought back against the system - stars like Olivia de Havilland and Marilyn Monroe who defied the control of the studios, and pioneering producers such as Dawn Steel and Sherry Lansing who broke the male stranglehold over the film industry.

Helen O’Hara has been working as a film journalist for over 15 years. She is now Editor-at-Large of Empire magazine, and co-hosts the Empire Podcast.

Abridged and produced by Jane Greenwood
Read by Helen O’Hara
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.

Film critic Helen O'Hara celebrates Hollywood's female pioneers.