Op-Ed: How Hollywood and ‘Mank’ have Written Women Out of the Picture

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from a Los Angeles Times OpEd by Hilary Hallet on April 24, 2021.

“For most of a century, women have been written out of the history of Hollywood,” writes Hilary Hallet in The Los Angeles Times. “That likely won’t change at Sunday night’s Academy Awards. Mank and its 10 Oscar nominations — the most of any film — will make sure of that.

“With Mank as the measure, the mythmaking about Hollywood’s origins appears to be staying the course as a story written and directed by men. Hailed by critics as a ‘hard-hitting’ look at the studio system’s golden age, the film about screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz’s legendary role in writing Citizen Kane creaks under the weight of its historically inaccurate cliches.

Mank’s early Hollywood is strictly an old boys club. Here men with outsized talent, ambition and ego battle over the industry’s political and artistic future. Marion Davies — the platinum-blond actress and long-term consort of media tycoon William Randolph Hearst, the inspiration for Citizen Kane — appears to be the only woman with actual work to do in the movies.

“And in casting Gary Oldman as Mankiewicz and the decades-younger Amanda Seyfried as Davies, the film reproduces a stock situation first made famous in the 1930s by men such as Mank in which a young blond, smarter than she looks, watches while much-older men call the shots. In real life, Mankiewicz and Davies were born the same year. …

LA Times OpEd 4/24

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.