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Molly Haskell

Biography

MOLLY HASKELL author and critic, grew up in Richmond, Va., went to Sweet Briar College, the University of London and the Sorbonne before settling in New York. She worked at the French Film Office in the Sixties, writing a newsletter about French films for the New York press and interpreting when directors came to America (this was the height of the Nouvelle Vague) for the opening of their films. She then went to The Village Voice, first as a theatre critic, then as a movie reviewer; and from there to New York Magazine and Vogue.

She has written for many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian UK, Esquire, The Nation, Town and Country, The New York Observer and The New York Review of Books. She has served as Artistic Director of the Sarasota French Film Festival, on the selection committee of the New York Film Festival, as associate Professor of Film at Barnard and as Adjunct Professor of Film at Columbia University. She is currently teaching a workshop in the graduate writing program at Sarah Lawrence College.

She is married to the film critic Andrew Sarris. Her books include From Reverence to Rape: the Treatment of Women in the Movies (1973; revised and reissued in 1989); a memoir, Love and Other Infectious Diseases (1990); and, in 1997, a collection of essays and interviews, Holding My Own in No Manís Land: Women and Men and Films and Feminists. --http://mollyhaskell.com/ [Dec 2005]

Books

  1. From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies - Molly Haskell [Amazon US]
    Molly Haskell describes herself in the introduction of FROM REVERENCE TO RAPE as a film critic first, and only secondly as a feminist. She even remarks negatively on an article about the movie HUSBANDS that Betty Friedan wrote for the New York Times in 1971, saying that Ms. Friedan just used the movie to extrapolate on her basic message in THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE. Having said that, she goes through the decades of film from the silent pictures through to the eighties, and concludes that the basic use of film towards women has been to keep them happily in their place: that is, married, and at home and out of the workplace. She organizes the book chronologically and details the evolution of women both in the industry as writers, actresses and directors. She surprises us with the news that in the beginning, there were many women directors, and only as the industry blossomed did men enter the business and push the women out. Women, however, have had more luck in the film industry than in any other, she maintains, since writing, editing, costume design and especially acting, could be done without sheer physical strength being required. The power denied most women, derived from high incomes, was given in abundance to Hollywood movie stars and successful screenwriters such as Francis Marion, who earned $150,000 per year in the 1930's! Actresses, who played the classic roles of compliant wives and mothers for the most part, had power in their real lives that cost them dearly in their personal relationships. Read the book to find out how the irony of real life personal power clashed with the image of womanhood portrayed on the screen, and how woman's place has changed and how films are changing along with them. Don't be afraid to keep your dictionary alongside; Ms. Haskell's vocabulary is formidable. --Sally B. Drell for amazon.com

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