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The Face That Launched a Thousand LawsuitsThe American Women Who Forged a Right to Privacy$
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Jessica Lake

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300214222

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300214222.001.0001

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Hollywood Heroes and Shameful Hookers

Hollywood Heroes and Shameful Hookers

Privacy Moves West

Chapter:
(p.182) 6 Hollywood Heroes and Shameful Hookers
Source:
The Face That Launched a Thousand Lawsuits
Author(s):

Jessica Lake

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300214222.003.0007

This chapter examines the cases in which individuals used a right to privacy to claim ownership over their life stories, when appropriated by film studios for fiction films. It tracks the move of industrial image making from the East Coast to the West coast of the United States in the 1910s and compares the different contexts of New York’s privacy laws with California’s, informed as they were by a utopian “pursuit of happiness” guaranteed by the Californian Constitution. This chapter also examines the right of privacy in relation to the censorship demands of the Hays Code and considers the onscreen celebration of men’s heroic “public” lives compared to the shaming of women’s “private” lives. It discusses the motion pictures CDQ or Saved by Wireless (1911), The Red Kimono (1925), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1944) and The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). Whereas female plaintiffs took issue with being condemned or marginalized by films because of their sexuality (their status as hookers or divorcees), men protested the implications of being publicly celebrated for their professional deeds or achievements.

Keywords:   Hollywood, Privacy, Cinema, Utopia, Censorship, Constitution, California, Gender, Stories, Property

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