The Impossible Films of Vera, Countess of Cathcart

Anderson, Mark Lynn (2013) The Impossible Films of Vera, Countess of Cathcart. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/3809. In: Researching Women in Silent Cinema: New Findings and Perspectives. A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria ; Tralli, Lucia. Bologna: Dipartimento delle Arti - DAR, Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, pp. 176-196. ISBN 9788898010103. In: Women and Screen Cultures, (1). A cura di: Dall'Asta, Monica ; Duckett, Victoria. ISSN 2283-6462.
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This essay revisits the cause célèbre occasioned when a British novelist, playwright, and divorcée was denied entry into the United States in early 1926 on the grounds of “moral turpitude.” The Countess of Cathcart made international headlines after being detained at Ellis Island for admitting to an affair with a married man, but she was also quickly championed, feared, and ridiculed by various individuals, groups, and institutions that sought to exploit her short-lived notoriety toward different ends. The cinema was one determining context for some of these contestations over the rethink women’s involvement in early motion-picture production outside a history of the titles that were actually produced. By attending to the regulatory concerns about the films that women such as the Countess of Cathcart might have made, this essay proposes a historiographical practice that refuses to limit women’s film history to a inventory of what we can safely establish as having occurred in the past.

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Anderson, Mark Lynn
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28 Sep 2013 15:07
Last modified
13 Mar 2015 14:48

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