Hollywood, Howard Hughes, Harry Cohn discussed on Forum
North highlands, Sacramento. It's ten thirty one. This is forum. I'm Michael Krasny. We're talking about me to from Hollywood's golden age and its connection to our present age. But also talking about the role of women in Hollywood during that studio era. We have three book authors with us Karina Longworth is the author of seduction sex lies and stardom and Howard Hughes. Hollywood. She's also film critic and podcast and created you must remember this storytelling podcast about the forgotten histories of early Hollywood. And formerly she was an editor. And film critic of the LA weekly and village voice. Jennifer Smith with us as well. Professor history, the university of work, and she is the author of nobody's girl. Friday, the women who ran Hollywood, and we also have Victoria risk inherent studio. The author affair Ray, and Robert Riskin a Hollywood memoir. Former president of the writers guild of America West between two thousand one and two thousand four and she served for twelve years as director of Human Rights Watch. And she'll be appearing the evening at book passage and coordinated excuse me on April thirtieth. Not the incorrect that April thirtieth at book passage in quarter Madeira and ask you, Victoria. Just before we go to our callers. And by the way, let me invite you to join us again wanna talk about the golden age of Hollywood. Are you wanna talk about the metoo would then as opposed to now you can join us at our toll free number eight six six seven three three six seven eight six or Email us forum? kqeDorg your parents were married in the actually in the suite of wild Bill. Donovan who is the founder of the would would later become the CIA. That's right. They were wild Bill. Donovan before he went to work for the government was a lawyer, and he had represented my mother in the divorce from her first husband and had been. Looked after her been been big support. And then when my father was looking for work to do after the war broke out, and they are romance had begun. He was looking for the right job in government. And at that time while Bill Donahue was part of the office of strategic services the precursor to the CIA. So my mother arranged a meeting, and and it went very well. And he went to work for the government making movies to tell the story of America and overseas to people living under fascism and and Donovan helped make that happen. And then they they got married. My mother proposed my father, I think that's an important thing to note that women can propose to. He was he had a relationship with your mother had one with Clifford. Oh debts. And so there's all this fascinating history there, and and I really enjoyed reading about what went on during the difficult period of the blacklist in your book. And then the other books that were featuring here, and also, of course, FDR World War Two and that brings up and let me go to you on this. Jennifer Smythe brings up the name. In fact, I'm looking at listener Noel who wants to ask about Pino? Yes. We'll either Latino was one of the trio of extremely powerful actresses at Warner Brothers. She went on to be director and screenwriter Harold. It is one of the two great directors of the golden age of Hollywood the other colleague of hers Dorothy ours ner worked for Harry Cohn at Columbia. We come back to that name again. And again, but Lupino didn't do quite as well at Warner Brothers because she always got the leavings of Bette Davis and alleviate Haviland and eventually branched out on her own. And it was very fortunate as well to when films started coming out in the forties and early fifties to have an ally in had a hopper who was the gossip Queen of Hollywood and known for her, you know, bad relationship with the Hollywood laughed, but she was interesting because when it came to supporting women in Hollywood, she cross political lines. And so I was really surprised looking. Through her column coming across all kinds of references in support of the Pena who was a democrat and hopper also loved Bette Davis. And it was really the tip of the iceberg. When I was looking back through, you know, the trades and through a lot of the columns and memoirs during this period reconstructing, a real community of women who had each other's back. And of course, we often forget nineteen forties was a period when the equal rights amendment was important to women on in both Republican and democratic camps. And it was something that they both advocated for during this period, unfortunately, didn't get past. But it came pretty close. Karina longworth. Jennifer just mentioned Hella had a hopper, and I it's interesting reading in your book to what extent Howard Hughes tried to use Hedda hopper and Luella Parsons for that matter who were couple of very powerful women. Indeed. Yeah. I mean, he has had relationships with all the gossip columnists, and he kind of played them off of each other. And and would you know as a lot of people did he would trade them a piece of information? So that they wouldn't write about something. He didn't want them to write. But I just like to go back to idle the piano, she was known as a democrat and and a big fan of FDR. But in my book, I my right about her and blacklist, right, right? I I went through her F B I file, and it has evidence that she did. Volunteer information to the FBI that helped them blacklist people because she was worried about her own citizenship. Applications so her legacy as Phil as female filmmaker is is not in doubt. I mean, it's she's absolutely a feminist icon for that. But it's her political history as much more complicated and the same is true Clifford. Oh, that's when we mentioned earlier who was serious suitor affair raise. But let's go to your calls. And let's find out. What's your thoughts and questions? Are we begin Neil with you? You're on the air. Neil. Yeah. I read your book seduction about Howard Hughes. I was surprised but baffled Hughes was widely said to be sexual. And you don't mention that. At all not even asking in the book winning explain much of what he did, especially. But that's his. I do meant. I do mention it actually in the section about Katherine Hepburn. That this is something that has come up and other biographies. I don't think it's widely documented at all. Let me think Neil for the call and go right to another caller. And that's caller, Robert warning. Good morning. I'm interested in in the writing of their research funding, of course, a number of others that were serious transgressive. And. By today's standards with the sexual predators. That s to the view what should happen to their work. Should it be put on the shelf be notation on the introduction to the work? When it shown that these people were in fact, violative of women and women's right? You know, there's a there's a question that comes across as to how far the metoo movement should go. There's a number of celebrities that have been banned from working. And and others that. In the past been boycotted. Happen here. Raising a provocative question in professor Smith, the go to you on this. I mean, should these films be shown in schools, should there'd be a disclaimer, you know, these are real questions in people's minds. Well, the thing that Matt Harvey Weinstein excuse me, made some pretty good films. Do you? I'm sorry. Did Shakespeare in love, of course, you know there. There's a case, for example of David o cells neck who was famous for propositioning women during his career. And I think that one executive who was female used to warn other women when he takes his shoes off, it means that he's gonna make pass it you. But does that discount in any way, the great work? He did with gone with the wind or the first star is born. And I think the more information that is out there in the more research. We do that's all to the good. But do you want to rename all of the Hollywood buildings that bear the names of Louis b Mayer and Daryl zanuck, do you want to strike their names from, you know, these monuments in these records, I don't think that's that's something that we really want to you know, to broach. That's a dangerous precedent something like that slippery slope. If you get into that area, then maybe you should ban showing birth of a nation, which is. Terribly racist film, but his brilliant cinematography and direction. It's it's a complicated and tough question to be sure. And I thank you for bringing it up to our. Attention. Here's a tweet from a listener, maybe to you on this to professor Smith. Why did it take so long to write about sexual violence in the golden age of Hollywood was just not taken seriously? Well, it's a difficult question. Because I mean in the press these days, we hear about big bad Hollywood. And we hear that, you know, things have always been bad for women. They've always been victimized. And I think in a way, it's it's unfortunate. Because even though there were terrible cases. And of course, there's the Patricia Douglas case, which David STAN has written about so extensively which affected an extra. You have all of these horrible cases. But at the same time, you have women who are dealing with sexual harassment not just in Hollywood, but throughout the United States. I mean, people will say Rita Hayworth was a great victim. You know, carry Cohn was chasing her around the desk and trying to put her in compromising positions. But at the same time for years, she was sexually abused by her own father. So I think it's sometimes difficult to place all the blame on Hollywood. And at the same time Hollywood wasn't the originator of the casting couch that honor goes to Broadway into the theater where they actually named up the van. In the producer's office, the casting couch. So very often. I think we tend to demonize that early period. And when we demonize it when we think about these horrific experiences actresses have we tend to distort the picture that there were women who fought back. There were women who worked together to out some of these predators. There were women who succeeded in spite of these difficult isn't women who as Victoria mentioned, we're quite tight lipped about their experience. And just said, well, I'm I'm, you know, going to be an equal partner in this industry. And I'm going to fight for my rights and get on with it. And I'm not going to allow myself to be victimized. So I think it's a pretty complicated. Picture. I I would say that. Because I think I worry that we're painting a picture of this as Hollywood old Hollywood being a place where predators. Right here. Where predator, and it was actually a small town where there were many people who are wonderful descend caring bright people who looked after one another. Or someone like I think about someone like Carole Lombard who used her profanity with great ease. And it was to scare men off at work. My father was. Wrote a picture that she was in. And there's a cute story about her coming in to meet with Harry Cohn to see if she was the right one for the for the picture, and he he just..