Women Behind the Camera: Women as Screenwriters
Poster for The Great Moment written by Elinor Glyn
Movie poster for "The Great Moment," written by Elinor Glyn, released in 1921.
Another screenwriter known for adapting her own novels is Elinor Glyn.  Glyn was a scenario writer, but is mostly known for writing It (1927), the film that made Clara Bow a star and turned the female archetype of the “It Girl,” an iteration of the 1920s “New Woman,” into a national obsession. It was based on an article that Glyn wrote for Cosmopolitan about the qualities that defined a modern woman. Glyn described “it” as “that quality possessed by some which draws all others with its magnetic force. With ‘IT’ you win all men if you are a woman—all women if you are a man. ‘IT’ can be a quality of the mind as well as a physical attraction.”13 The image of the “It Girl” came to be closely associated with that of the “the flapper”—sexually liberated, defiantly modern, and independent.

Another writer, Jeanie Macpherson, wrote many famous films during the teens and twenties, especially for Cecil B. DeMille’s grand productions. After working as an actress for D. W. Griffith, Macpherson went to work for DeMille in 1915 as a stenographer. Like many of her female contemporaries, Macpherson was able to parlay her career into a job working on film when she was hired as a screenwriter. She formed a strong partnership with DeMille that lasted 30 years, surviving even the advent of sound and ending only with Macpherson’s death from cancer in 1946.14