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Lois Weber: Interviews

Edited by Martin F. Norden

272 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches

9781628464740 Printed casebinding $90.00S

9781496820808 Paper $25.00T

"I like to direct, because I believe a woman, more or less intuitively, brings out many of the emotions that are rarely expressed on the screen."

Lois Weber (1879-1939) was one of early Hollywood's most successful screenwriter-directors. A one-time Church Army worker who preached from street corners, Weber began working in the American film industry as an actress around 1908 but quickly ascended to the positions of screenwriter and director.

She wrote, directed, starred in, edited, and titled hundreds of movies during her career and is believed to be the first woman to direct a feature film. At the height of her influence, Weber used her medium to address pressing social issues such as birth control, abortion, capital punishment, poverty, and drug abuse.

She gained international fame in 1915 with her controversial Hypocrites, a complex film that featured full female nudity as part of its important moral lesson. Her most famous film, Where Are My Children?, was the Universal studio's biggest box-office hit the following year and played to enthusiastic audiences around the globe. These productions and many others contributed to her standing as a truly world-class filmmaker.

Despite her many successes, Weber was pushed out of the business in the 1930s as a result of Hollywood's institutionalized sexism. Shoved into the corners of film history, she remained a largely forgotten figure for decades. Lois Weber: Interviews restores her long-muted voice by reprinting more than sixty items in which she expressed her views on a range of filmic subjects. The volume includes interviews, articles that Weber wrote, the text of a speech she gave, and reconstructed conversations with her Hollywood coworkers. Lois Weber: Interviews provides key insights into one of our first great writer-directors, her many films, and the changing business in which she worked.

MARTIN F. NORDEN, Amherst, Massachusetts, teaches film history and screenwriting as professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has more than one hundred publications to his credit and has presented his film research at dozens of professional conferences across North America and Europe.

272 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches