chapter  1
17 Pages

Biopic history and the issue of gender

WithKaren Hollinger

This chapter defines the biopic as it developed under the Hollywood studio system and examines some of the major issues that critics have encountered in trying to discover the core elements of the genre. Also examined is the history of the genre stretching back to the silent era through what have been labeled the great man biopics of the early Hollywood sound period, the entertainer biopics of the 1950s, and finally contemporary English-language biopics. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the role of biopics of women within the development of the genre. It disputes the notion that the Hollywood biopic has been a genre overwhelmingly hostile to women and only recently has in rare instances adopted a more favorable stance.