September 25, 2013

Girlhood in Hollywood

People, Places, and Ideas: Episode #8

Miley Cyrus' recent twerking incident aside, young actresses have been struggling with how to grow up in Hollywood since the silent film star Mary Pickford, "America's Sweetheart," first arrived on the silver screen. As they transition from childhood to adulthood, how can young actresses prove their womanhood on screen? And why do they need to? In her book, Precocious Charms: Stars Performing Girlhood in Classical Hollywood Cinema, Gaylyn Studlar, the director of the film and media studies program at Washington University in St. Louis, takes us back to Hollywood films of the 1910s to the 1950s to examine representations of girlhood by stars like Shirley Temple, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn. Studlar examines how each of these actresses confronted their age both on and off the screen.

Image flickr: thefoxling. Audio Archive.org: Always. moon river. animal crackers. Youtube public domain: His Girl Friday. The last time I saw Paris.