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      Dorothy Arzner

      Dorothy Arzner

      Highest Rated: 100% Old Ironsides (1926)

      Lowest Rated: 56% Manhattan Cocktail (1928)

      Birthday: Jan 3, 1897

      Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA

      In the early days of Hollywood when women had few paths to choose from, Dorothy Arzner bucked the system and became a feature film director. Though her body of work remained uneven at best, Arzner nonetheless managed to rise from being an editor to directing her first picture, "Fashions for Women" (1927), a silent comedy that went on to box office success. After helming "Ten Modern Commandments" (1927) and "Get Your Man" (1927), she entered the talkie era with "The Wild Party" (1929) and quickly established herself as a director who made movies featuring fiercely independent women. Arzner typically cast appropriate actresses like Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford to ably play such roles, as they did in "Christopher Strong" (1933) and "The Bride Wore Red" (1937), respectively. Not shy about her sexuality, Arzner took to wearing skirt suits on set while gaining a reputation for pursuing her actresses, as she did with Crawford. Meanwhile, after directing "Dance, Girl, Dance" (1940) and "First Comes Courage" (1943), she fell ill with pneumonia and found it difficult to return to pictures. Instead, she taught at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Pasadena Playhouse, while Crawford helped pave the way for her to direct over 50 commercials for Pepsi. Though she slipped into obscurity before her death in 1979, Arzner re-emerged as a pioneering woman who managed to compile a body of work at a time most other women were given opportunities to do so.


      MERRILY WE GO TO HELL, Dorothy Arzner directs Sylvia Sidney, as cameraman David Abel looks on, July 1932



      80% 62% First Comes Courage Director - 1943
      83% 64% Dance, Girl, Dance Director - 1940
      No Score Yet 67% The Bride Wore Red Director - 1937
      100% 56% Craig's Wife Director - 1936
      71% No Score Yet Nana Director - 1934
      83% 40% Christopher Strong Director - 1933
      100% 60% Merrily We Go to Hell Director - 1932
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Honor Among Lovers Director - 1931
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Working Girls Director - 1931
      No Score Yet 20% Paramount on Parade Director - 1930
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Anybody's Woman Director - 1930
      No Score Yet 29% Sarah and Son Director - 1930
      No Score Yet 64% The Wild Party Director - 1929
      56% No Score Yet Manhattan Cocktail Director - 1928
      No Score Yet No Score Yet Get Your Man Director - 1927
      90% No Score Yet Ten Modern Commandments Director - 1927
      100% 60% Old Ironsides Writer,
      Film Editing
      - 1926
      81% No Score Yet Merton of the Movies Film Editing - 1924
      91% 50% The Covered Wagon Film Editing - 1923
      91% 58% Blood and Sand Director,
      Film Editing
      - 1922