Howard Good uses Torchy Blane, the hero of nine Warner Brothers films from the 1930s, as the centerpiece of this important cultural study of Hollywood's infatuation with the female reporter. Good argues that, despite illusions of equality between male and female reporters on film, many portrayals of female reporters in fact reinforce traditional gender roles. Good draws on a variety of cultural materials to deploy his argument. Not only does he include close readings of many important films from the 1930s through the 1990s, but he also presents theater posters, press books, legal documents, comic strips, fan magazines, and film reviews. Other sisters of the female reporter movie role that the book investigates include characters played by Joan Crawford and Katharine Hepburn, as well as recent portrayals of women reporters in popular films such as The Paper, I Love Trouble, and To Die For. This book does not just stop its investigation at the portrayal of women as reporters in movies. Good concludes with a crucial comparison of the female reporter on screen and her counterpart in the real world. He raises disturbing questions about ethics, conduct, and gender relations in journalism that Hollywood films have not yet been able to resolve satisfactorily. Written boldly, Howard Good provides a fresh and exciting look at a classic Hollywood role that supports the possibility that Torchy Blane, and other female film reporters and their real-world counterparts, are the grittiest girls around.
...this volume will reinforce points about stereotypes of women reporters that are important for students to understand. The author's use of multiple sources, including theater posters, press books, legal documents, comic strips, fan magazines and film reviews, helps put the movie series in context. Journalism History Both instructors and students alike also will appreciate Good's ability to integrate historical facts into the discussions whenever appropriate. The book...is sure to help keep discussions on gender and race portrayals both interesting and provocative. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly