Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Philip Caudrey

Hollywood’s Women of Action

Pages: 402 Ratings:
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The ‘action heroine’ has never been more popular than she is today, with the likes of The Hunger Games (2012), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and Wonder Woman (2017) granting her a newfound prominence in Hollywood filmmaking. When most knowledgeable action fans think of the action heroine historically, however, they tend to do so through the prism of her most iconic characters: Emma Peel in the 1960s; Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman in the 1970s; Ripley and Sarah Connor in the 1980s; Xena Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the 1990s; and, of course, the likes of Hermione Granger, Katniss Everdeen, Imperator Furiosa and Princess Diana in modern times.

Yet, the action heroine’s epic journey goes back much further than this. Indeed, it has its origins in the earliest days of cinema, amongst the serial-queens of the early silent-era, and the fleeting cowgirls, swordswomen, and jungle-girls of Hollywood’s ‘Golden Age’ in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. This book is about that epic journey. It traces the action heroine’s century-long struggle for legitimacy and respect, beginning with the silent-era serial, The Perils of Pauline (1914), and ending with the big-budget action-blockbusters of today.

This book asks why the action heroine’s path towards acceptability on mainstream film and television has proven such a long and tortuous one, why she is so hated by a vocal minority of male action fans, and how she has overcome the conservativism of the Hollywood system to at last forge a reputation for herself as a genuinely viable protagonist on both the big and small screens?

Philip Caudrey is a medieval historian at the University of Tasmania. He is the author of Military Society and the Court of Chivalry in the Age of the Hundred Years War. This is his first foray into film history. He has been a fan of the ‘action heroine’ sub-genre since he was a small child. He lives in Hobart, Tasmania.

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