Tom Slater will present a talk on “Two Last Shots at Glory: June Mathis’s Final World War I Scripts” at the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference in Pittsburgh on Thursday, April 12, 2018. The panel, to meet from noon to 2:00 p.m. is on Literature and Film of the Great War: From War to Peace, 1917–25.
Mathis, a screenwriter/producer and the highest-paid woman in Hollywood at the time, was hoping to recreate the great success of her Four Horsemen screenplay in 1921 in The Greater Glory, 1926, and The Enemy, 1927. She did not succeed, but in Glory she dared to focus on the suffering of European women, one of whom resorts to prostitution, but does not experience a clichéd redemption. Enemy includes a woman killed by a rocket, a ruined musician who commits suicide, and a mother rejoicing that her infant has died and will therefore never be a soldier. These feminist anti-war images became lost to film history, but deserve recognition.
Slater has also been invited to speak on the production of the silent version of Ben-Hur, 1925, at the Lew Wallace Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana, this fall. Wallace was the novel’s author, and Slater has published essays on Mathis’s major role in the original production.
Finally, Slater is now a member of the Social Justice Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh. The committee is working on issues such as disinvestment from fossil fuel companies and gun registration.
Department of English