“Work Seven Mondays A Week!”
That’s the advice from one of Hollywood’s most Iconic women – Writer / Producer Joan Harrison – it was her take on how a woman gets ahead in a male-dominated world.
And guess what? Because she had a famous MALE Boss, the iconic Film Director Alfred Hitchcock, this brilliant female was written out of much of film history!
Lucky for us, an award-winning Author has fixed that!
Celebrating A Brilliant And Empowered “Phantom Lady!”
Author Christina Lane has shined a very bright spotlight on an incredible woman who made film history – and paid the price for having a famous male boss!
At the very beginning of this riveting memoir, Lane asks this question:
“So why has so little attention been paid to Harrison?”
As the Author reiterates at the beginning of the biography, various acclaimed books on Alfred Hitchcock’s career barely reference Joan Harrison at all!
Well, “Phantom Lady” puts them all in their place with a richly detailed story of an ambitious young woman’s rise in the male-dominated world of movies.
Christina Lane’s “Phantom Lady” was published by Chicago Review Press…bravo to them!
Harrison grew up in England, in a family of means, and was expected to find a good man, get married and raise a family. But that wasn’t for her; the book clearly shows her desire for more, and her willingness to work harder than a man in order to succeed….as she herself advised other women:
“Work Seven Mondays A Week!”
“There are only two women I could ever have married”, the Director once said. “Alma, whom I did, and Joan, whom I didn’t.”
The book clearly documents how Joan becomes intricately involved with the Director and his family as he became famous, and the important creative role she played in his success. It’s great Hollywood history, beautifully brought to life by Lane.
Joan rose from Hitchcock’s Assistant to an important Development Executive and Creative Collaborator, before becoming a Co-Screenwriter on some of his most important films:
An “Oscar” First!
In 1940, Harrison should have quieted any speculation about her creative involvement with Hitchcock.
The Director was known to bring in a variety of Screenwriters as the collaborate environment led to better scripts – and Joan became one of those creative voices – in fact, Joan made history in 1940!
Along with Robert Sherwood, Harrison was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for her very first credited screenplay for the Director’s brilliant “Rebecca.”
That was also the year the Academy split the category into Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay, and Joan was also nominated that same year for the original script for Hitchcock’s “Foreign Correspondent.”
Joan’s Golden Glory!
While neither screenplay ultimately won the Academy Award, Joan did make history!
Joan was the first Screenwriter in Oscar history to be nominated simultaneously in both categories in a single year!
It was time for Joan to stretch her creative muscles on a project that she would run herself….Harrison signed a producing deal with Universal Studios and shaped this classic film noir, which is where the title of the book comes from:
Every Great Movie Has Lots Of Suspense!
And in this case, the book too! You see, Joan was a groundbreaking female in Hollywood at that time – but the business WAS the business, and it can drive you crazy!
As Lane writes in the book – Harrison’s momentum came to a screeching halt:
“Everything I wrote was either shelved or turned out so badly I asked to have my name taken off it,” she explained later, saying, “a writer can stand just so much of that before going mad.”
Excerpted from “Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman Behind Hitchcock” – published by Chicago Review Press. Copyright 2020 by Christina Lane.
So, did Joan go mad? Did she persevere? What if any future would she ever have again with Alfred Hitchcock?
Well, these questions are why you need to buy this book, which has gotten terrific reviews!
Bravo to Author Christina Lane for bringing Joan’s fascinating story to compelling life – it’s a book filled with film history, great inside stories of Hollywood, and the rightful recognition for a legendary woman in entertainment!
Lane is the Chair of the Department of Cinema at the University of Miami, and she has written extensively on film aesthetics. She is a masterful Writer!
Some of you may know that my wife came up with the idea for a series of stories called “Hitch Hiking” – where we do an outdoor hike and then watch a classic Hitchcock film!
If you want to see more of my “Hitch Hiking” series, here is an overview of the first eight posts with links!
If you like this story, please click the “like” button so I know!
As you can get my daily post sent directly to you: it could be about film, music, TV, travel, food pop culture or more!
Just click here to sign up on the right:
Leave a comment and also make sure to check this terrific biography out!
Categories: Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Awards, Books / Media, British Cinema, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Hollywood, Memoirs, Movies, Obscure Movies, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities