Hollywood Regionalism

Film magazine advertisement featuring Gene Stratton-Porter, 1924

Out now in Feminist Media Histories 6.2! Hollywood Regionalism: What the Studio System Did With Gene Stratton-Porter’s Nature Novels is the first piece of my second book project, about Hollywood adaptations of women’s regionalist fiction.

In her sixty years on earth, Gene Stratton-Porter was many things: a women’s club organizer, nature photographer, naturalist, conservationist, best-selling novelist, and a burgeoning film producer who died just as her film studio began to realize her mission of adapting her novels into movies that could further her education and conservation efforts. By 1960, eight of her books had been turned into twenty-one films—silent and sound, black and white and color, from Poverty Row studios to members of the Big Five. “Hollywood Regionalism: What the Studio System Did With Gene Stratton-Porter’s Nature Novels” examines how Stratton-Porter and others translated her regionalism and conservationism to film across a span of forty-three years that saw major revolutions in Hollywood filmmaking. The Hollywood studio system, I argue, appropriated her successful brand of regionalism and her audience of women’s club members, while also augmenting her genteel mode of activism.

Some gifs that couldn’t make it into the final article. 1) Clara Bow in The Keeper of the Bees (1925); 2) a meet-cute over “Indian relics” in A Girl of the Limberlost (1934); 3) romance in an “outdoor” parlor in Laddie (1940).

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