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Essays

Mary Murillo

Petersen, Christina

In March 1918, Moving Picture World heralded British screenwriter Mary Murillo as a “remarkable example” of “the meteoric flights to fame and fortune which have marked the careers of many present day leaders in the motion picture profession” (1525). This was more than just promotional hyperbole, since, in just four years, Murillo had penned over thirty features, including a highly successful adaptation of East Lynne (1916) starring Theda Bara and the original story for Cheating the Public (1918), “which proved a sensation” at its New York debut according to Moving Picture World (1525). Murillo wrote or adapted over fifty films from 1913 to 1934 in the United States, England, and France, including slapstick comedies, melodramas, fairy tale adaptations, and vehicles for female stars such as Bara, Ethel Barrymore, Clara Kimball Young, Olga Petrova, and Norma Talmadge. As a scenarist, her range included several films focused on contemporary issues—gender equality, women’s suffrage, economic progressivism, and labor reform—while others, such as the child-oriented adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk (1917), seem to have been meant to appeal as pure escapism. In the latter half of her career, Murillo left the United States for England where she joined several ventures, but never equaled her American output.

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Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019