Women in Cinema Nonfiction Reviews

June 7, 2022 Uncategorized 5 ★★★

Women in Cinema Nonfiction ReviewsTitle: The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick
Author: Mallory O'Meara
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

This is the story of Milicent Patrick, the designer of the monster in The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Few people have heard of her, because of credit-stealing efforts of her jealous boss. Author Mallory O’Meara unearths Milicent’s story and shares some of her own experiences with sexism in her work in the horror film industry. While memoir plus a topic is a type of nonfiction that often works for me, the blending here was a little rough. In a few places, Mallory’s personal experiences gave me a deeper understanding of what Milicent experienced. In others, the story of doing research lined up well with what was being shared about Milicent. However, in most cases, the jumps weren’t between points of obvious connection in the two stories, which was jarring.

The footnotes were also hit-or-miss for me. Some were quite successful – really funny or adding extra information I was excited to have. At other times, they were a little too into present-day politics, which pulled me out of the story (despite my general agreement with the author) and unnecessarily dated the book. I enjoyed Milicent’s story. The author did some incredible detective work to be able to share with us Milicent’s vivid personality. The mesh between that story and her own was simply a bit rough around the edges.

Women in Cinema Nonfiction ReviewsTitle: The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood
Author: Naomi McDougall Jones
Source: Library
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

This insider look at acting, directing, and producing a movie was infuriating, but also incredibly well done. Here, the author’s experiences in the modern film industry meshed perfectly with her brutal revelation of its systemic biases. I learned a lot about what a career in acting looks like and the process of making and distributing a movie. Learning about interesting careers is one of my favorite things in nonfiction, so I loved these sections. The author was also open about her experiences with sexual harassment. She then shared additional interviews and statistics showing that her experiences were representative of the state of the industry. In terms of both statistics and interviews, the author did her best to include women who face discrimination for other aspects of who they are (race, gender identity, etc).

The author’s broad experience working in many parts of the industry (acting, directing, producing, finance) meant that she was able to give a comprehensive look at the whole sexist machinery that goes into keeping women out of movies. She even worked with someone who’s primary career is in finance to do original research that was shared here. On top of that, she even leaves the infuriated reader with lots of great resources and some actionable steps to take. I’m excited to now be subscribed to the Women and Hollywood Newsletter, which I can use to pick the media I consume to better support women.

5 Responses to “Women in Cinema Nonfiction Reviews”

    • DoingDewey

      It really was! There are a ton of books that I’ve loved that are both a memoir and about another specific topic, but it’s a technique that I think can also go quite badly. In the first book, those too elements just weren’t connected well enough, while in the second, they meshed perfectly.

  1. Rennie

    The Wrong Kind of Women sounds fascinating, I hadn’t heard of it. I also love learning about interesting jobs and I think everything I’ve heard about women in Hollywood is stories of mistreatment, discrimination, and unequal pay so I can imagine it’s pretty infuriating. But it sounds like the author focuses on how better to support women so at least there’s a silver lining. Great to know about this one!
    Rennie recently posted…Recent Foodie Reads: Food as Philosophy, Healing Technique, and RevolutionMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I love when books about discrimination or something wrong in the world contain some action items. It does help keep those books from being too depressing and makes me feel like I can make a difference in the world. This was infuriating, but it was also nice to see someone share some statistics demonstrating the existence of problems I expected. Overall, another book that wasn’t too depressing, despite tackling some harder material 🙂

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