Slater to Publish Book on Silent-Era Screenwriter

Posted on 10/11/2016 5:37:25 PM

English professor Tom Slater has signed a contract with Wayne State University Press to publish his manuscript Silent Screenwriter June Mathis: Her Triumphs, Struggles, and Importance Today. In the 1920s, Mathis was known as the most powerful woman in the film industry.

Most famous for raising Rudolph Valentino from obscurity to stardom through casting him as the lead in 1921’s "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Mathis had a long career as both stage performer and screenwriter, beginning in vaudeville in 1901 at age 14.

She started screenwriting in 1915 and continued until her sudden death at age 40 in 1927. Slater’s work examines her great success on stage, her self-education as a writer, and her rise to prominence at Metro Studios and then Goldwyn, before their merger.

He discusses her heavy use of marginalized figures, feminism, and spiritual, anti-war, and anti-materialist themes. Through examining many of her scripts and the resulting films, he defines her work both as an individual artist and in collaboration with many of the top directors and performers of the day.

Department of English