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Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Is For Dorothy Arzner

Today kicks off the Awesome and Incredible A to Z Challenge. Yay!!! It was started by the most amazing man, Arlee Bird. Thank you, Arlee, for bringing our community together with this wonderful event. A huge, warm welcome to all first timers here and of course, all my friends. I love having you here and it makes me smile that you have chosen to visit my little corner of the blogosphere. You can visit my fellow participants by clicking on the button at the top right of my sidebar. Have fun!

My theme this year is Powerful Women In Hollywood. I am including trailblazers among this crowd and first up is Dorothy Arzner. Her directing career spanned the 1920's to the early 1940's and she was the only woman working as a director at this time.She is also the woman with the greatest number of directorial titles to her name with 21.

Growing  up in L.A. where her father owned a restaurant frequented by celebrities, Dorothy actually first dreamed of being a doctor.To that end she attended the University of Southern California. During her time there, World War I broke out and Dorothy left to be an ambulance driver near the Western Front. After her experiences during the war, she left her pursuit of medicine to concentrate instead on making films.

She joined Paramount Studios in 1922 as a stenographer, then scriptwriter. From there, she moved quickly into film editing where her first assignment was Blood and Sand starring Rudolph Valentino. Impressed by her work on the film, director James Cruze hired her as editor and writer for some of his films. Dorothy directed her first film in 1927, Fashions For Women. It was a financial success for the studio and led to other projects. She directed silent film star Clara Bow in her first talkie, The Wild Party. Set in a woman's college, the film projected strong-willed, independent and free-thinking women. These female character types were a hallmark of Arzner's work. Another theme to her work were the underlying lesbian tones, which were promptly villified after the Hays Code went into effect. In 1932 she left Paramount to pursue her craft as an independent director. During the 30's she worked with such  notable actresses as Katherine Hepburn (Christopher Strong) Joan Crawford (The Bride Wore Red) and Rosalind Russell (Craig's Wife). In 1936 she became the first woman member of the Directors Guild of America.

She retired from directing feature films in 1943 and went on to direct television commercials, produced plays and eventually became a professor at the UCLA film school where she taught until her death in 1979.

Fun Fact: Dorothy is the great aunt of actress Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne, Big Bang Theory) and member of The Steppenwolf Theater company.


Okay, last night was the season finale of Walking Dead and Oh.My. GOOOODDDD!!!!! So much happened. We said good-bye to Milton, poor little misunderstood geek. I really gave him a hard time and was oh so wrong about him. First, he got his ass beat by the Gov, who figured out it was Milton that BBQ'd the walkers. Then, when he won't kill Andrea, the Gov stabs him to death, told him was going to kill Andrea one way or another. Props to Milty for hanging on as long as he could to give Andrea, handcuffed to the dental chair, a fighting chance. Governor Pyscho Pants wasn't finished, though. Oh no siree Bob he wasn't. He took Team Woodbury to annihilate Team Prison and when they got their asses kicked, Old boy finally drop-kicked what was left of his sanity and killed Team Woodbury. And that little bitch Allen bought it with a head shot by the Gov during the slaughter. Buh and Bye.

Now we come to Carl.  He killed a kid from Woodbury during the fight even though the teen was surrendering to Carl and Hershel. Hershel may have been horrified and I was for about a second. But Carl had to put that kid down. He was defending his baby sister, whom Rick had entrusted to Carl. When it's babies, there is no hesitation. Shoot first, then ask what's going on. I'm pissed at Rick for even trying to take Carl to task over it. I mean, didn't the Ricktator put down two guys, no hesitation, at the bar back in Season 2 when it appeared they were a threat? Hello Pot, it's Kettle. And Carl coldly pointed out that any attempt at mercy or even a hesitation gets you killed. He failed to kill the walker that came back and killed Dale, Rick failed to kill prisoner Andrew and Andrew got Laurie killed. Rick failed to kill the Governor at their meeting and look what happened. Sad and scary, but Carl is right.

Moving on to Andrea. I have never really liked this woman at all. She was showing signs of getting cool, but then she banged the Crazy Train. I wanted her gone, gone, gone. I got my wish, but she went out with dignity and took walker Milton with her. I thought I would be doing the Happy Dance, but it was kind of sad. And we end with the remnants of Woodbury moving into the prison while the Gov and his minions are on the run.  Should be an epic Season 4. I can't wait for October!


There you have it, my A to Z and my Walking Dead round up. Did everyone have a good weekend?


  1. My daughter loves The Walking Dead. I tried getting into it and just couldn't. All my friends love the show so I must be the strange one. lol

  2. I'm with you on the Carl thing. I think he had to do it because the kid kept inching closer and closer and didn't drop his weapon.

    And I also gave Milton a hard time. I feel bad about it too.

    By the way, I love your A to Z theme!

  3. A Fan's Cut


    This is my blog on how Great Films Could Have Been Made Differently.

    if you have time then please take a look.

    I'm also looking to collaborate with a screenwriter.

    Comments are welcome

    Sorry for disturbing,thanks.

  4. So she was probably the first woman director then? And finished off her career teaching at the university - very impressive!

  5. I got to study Arzner's work in one of my University film courses. She was a terrific talent - films like Craig's Wife (no relation) and Dance Girl Dance are still interesting to see. This is a fantastic theme you've chosen, Melissa - we're going to meet some fascinating women here across the next month! Can't wait!

  6. so the prison is still ours???? :) I'm watching the finale tonight! Glad to hear Andrea is gone!
    And I will never approve of kids killing anyone, Mel, no matter how you put the situation.

  7. 'Hello Pot, it's Kettle' - LOL! Believe it or not, I haven't had time to watch any of The Walking Dead this season, so I'll have to watch it all in one gulp. I don't care about spoilers, though - when I see it for myself, it will still be exciting!

    Happy Day 1 of A to Z! Yes, film grad me had never heard of Dorothy Arzner before, so even though last year I had to come back much, much later and scroll through your Cool Women posts, I'm definitely going to be here at Melissa's Imaginarium for your Powerful Women in Hollywood A to Z.

  8. I've never heard of Dorothy Arzner, but love almost anything connected to Hollywood's golden age.

    Great post and I learned something, to boot! :)

  9. I love learning new things and really enjoyed this post!

    Good luck with the challenge! I participated last year and had a blast!

    Donna L Martin

  10. I have never heard of Dorothy Arzner umtil today. I love it when I learn something new. Thanks for the information. Would love it if you visit either of my blogs at http://mary-anderingcreatively.blogspot.com/ or http://marykatbpcsc45.blogspot.com/


  11. I felt so bad for Milton and Andrea both. I guess it was harder for me to let go of Andrea because she had made the choice to live after losing her sister. But even with that choice, she was unable to do so for much longer (maybe a year at most). I guess that's how horrible the world is for the survivors. I also felt very bad for Michonne. She really loved Andrea, saw her as a best friend. The emotion in Michonne's eyes and her conviction to stay behind with Andrea really tore my heart out.

  12. I haven't met a Dorothy that I didn't like! :D
    She rocks-thank you for sharing her story with us~

    I just watched TWD...it was crazy good! I felt bad for Andrea, too. I also was annoyed with her~ Carl shocked me, but than the truth. "Hey Dad, you dropped the ball!" ouch...

    I look forward to your theme, in this challenge :D

  13. What an amazing start to the Challenge, Melissa! You're making me feel especially guilty about not having participated. That means you're doing a fine job :)

    Dorothy remains a terrible blight in my cinematic education and this terrific piece has re-energized my desire to visit her career. Her contribution to film is extraordinary under any circumstance, regardless of gender, and your insight is a testament to that legacy. Great work!

  14. 1. Arzner was a BAMF!

    2. I heart Laurie Metcalf. :-)

    3. I get Carl's point (which was, of course, the Gov's) about kill or be killed, but I don't think his sitch and Rick's back at the bar were the same. The dudes outside the bar were a threat, for sure, but the kid Carl killed was giving himself up. It's not like the kid even twitched funny (as far as I could tell) to indicate he was trying to fake Carl out or anything. Carl seems to be headed down a dark, dark road, but time will tell...

    Meanwhile, Carol and Daryl held hands for, like, a second! Squee!!! :-D

  15. What a great theme, it should be interesting to read each letter. Thanks for telling us about Dorothy.

  16. I teach women's history so I LOVE YOUR THEME! Nice to have found like minded folk. Please visit and become a member at http://citymusecountrymuse2012.blogspot.com/ where we are posting an original poem every day during the A-Z challenge.

  17. Dorothy Arzner is a great choice, the more exposure she gets the better.

    I think Carl is heading down a Shane like path at this point. Personally, found the finale underwhelming but I think this season served up a full on nutso Governor next season which should be interesting.

  18. Hey, Melissa! I'm taking a break from Between the Keys and stopping by to say hello as part of the 2013 A to Z Blogging Challenge. Great blog! I love your choice of a theme for this year and can't wait to read more. This is going to be fun!

    I have another friend who loves, loves, loves the Walking Dead. I need to send her over here :)

  19. At no time did I ever believe that the kid Carl shot was giving himself up. He had two guns pointed at him and when told to drop his weapon, he stepped forward and said, "Here, take it."

    That is not surrender. He did not necessarily have to be shot, but it looked like he wanted Carl to reach for the gun to catch him off guard. When told to drop your weapon, you should drop it.

    I support Carl's decision.

    Dropping by from A to Z. First year participating and very excited.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

  20. Mel, I don't know how I missed this post...where was I, sleeping! (if only, as the sleep would do me good - I'm half organized that's my problem).

    But...I've caught up and now I'll be in the swing of things - this getting into a routine is a bit daunting with all the other things that need attending.

    Wonderful and insightful post. :)

  21. Interesting write-up. Never heard of her before, and also never seen any of her films.

  22. Didn't know about Ms. Arzner. I'm impressed with her professional journey.


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