By Neal Gabler
Publish yr note; First released September 1st 1988
Winner of the Los Angeles Times e-book Award for background, this "wonderful background of the golden age of the motion picture moguls" (Chicago Tribune ) is a provocative, unique, and richly unique team biography of the Jewish immigrants who have been the relocating forces at the back of the construction of America's movie industry.
From the exchange Paperback edition.
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Extra resources for An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood
Miss Stone's scurrilous epilogue from Mottley's Imperial Captives (1720), for example, vows she will sell her charms for the sake of making the author's play acceptable, or die a maid: Therefore you Monsters, that make Girls afraid, Who ev'ry Morning devour a Maid, ... 35 The increasing disgust this custom provoked fed the leading satirists of the day and resulted in their branding all actresses as immoral. Respect for an actress's undeniable professional qualities required her to uphold an acceptable moral standard; at the same time, it hardly freed her from being considered morally fair game.
The most powerful instance of this occurred in 1727 when Cibber's enemies tried to run his Provok'd Husband off the stage. Instead of Mrs Oldfield's opening lines of, 'Methinks I hear some powder'd critic say -' she was greeted with a hiss, in answer to which: 'She fixed her eye upon him immediately, made a very short pause, and spoke the words Poor Creature! 31 Stage favourites remained so not by fawning but by adopting a spirited stance. The rising indispensability of the actress in theatrical life was fostering greater sexual equality.
The arrival of a new upstart actress always posed a threat to those established within a playhouse, and managers like Garrick often used them as ploys to keep their stage queens in line. When Peg Woffington, for instance, joined Covent Garden in 1754 as Esther Hamilton's rival, the latter managed to hold her ground by being a favourite with both audience and manager. Still, Wilkinson tells us, she had to give up her roles of Lady Townly and Portia, for 'Queen Woffington held her in the most sovereign contempt' while Mrs Hamilton: hated her opponent Margaret; and could we have supposed the two rival queens to have had a pitched battle, the Lord have mercy upon poor Woofy, for Hamilton would have plunged her dagger and hurled her devoted victim to the avenging gods.