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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Dorothy Arzner

b. 1897 (?), San Francisco; d. 1979, La Quinta, California

Dorothy Arzner directed seventeen films from 1927 to 1943 and was the only female director in Los Angeles through the 1930s. She started by typing scripts, soon moved on to cutting and editing film, and in 1927 directed her first film, Fashions for Women. For Paramount’s first talking film, The Wild Party (1929), Arzner pioneered the use of the mike boom, which gave actors increased mobility while being filmed. Some of her most significant films, which include Christopher Strong (1933), Dance, Girl, Dance (1940), and Craig’s Wife (1936), featured independent women who do not fit the gender stereotypes of the day.