News Thoughts

Women on Film

It’s International Women’s Day today (Thursday 8th March), so here’s some of my favourite examples of inspiring female movie characters ranging from silent pioneers to animated superheroes.

This PBS special on Mary Pickford shows how she became one of the biggest stars of the silent era before being one of the founders of United Artists:

Several generations of female icons in one scene: Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe and Anne Baxter in All About Eve (1950):

A strikingly different kind of performance was given by Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann in Ingmar Bergman’s classic Persona (1966).

A few years later, Bergman would a film about the relationship between three sisters, played by Harriet AnderssonKari Sylwan and Ingrid Thulin, in Cries and Whispers (1973).

Ripley’s last stand in Alien (1979) was not just a key scene for Sigourney Weaver but showed that female characters could survive without the  help of men (interestingly the ship’s computer is called Mother):

Ripley’s Last Stand
Alien at

Obsession isn’t always a bad thing in a young journalist…:

Future News People
Broadcast News at

…especially if they grow up to be TV producers like Holly Hunter’s character in Broadcast News (1987):

Then there’s the moving scene of female friendship in Babette’s Feast (1987) and cooking for a real reason – not just because men want their food on the table:

Anyone who has put up with sexist ‘banter’ in the workplace will appreciate this scene from Working Girl (1988) as Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) gets revenge on her boss (Oliver Platt) who has tricked her into a date with his boorish colleague (Kevin Spacey):

Concerned about Hollywood’s reluctance to create female superheroes?

Pixar and director Brad Bird did their bit with The Incredibles (2004):

Any others you want to add?

> International Women’s Day
> More female performances at Movie Clips
> IMDb list of female icons

DVD & Blu-ray

DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 21st February 2011


Raging Bull (20th Century Fox Home Ent.): Martin Scorsese’s classic 1980 biopic of Jake La Motta is a brilliant study of a flawed man in a ruthless profession.

In the lead role Robert De Niro gives one of the greatest screen performances in cinema history and Scorsese pulls out all the stops with stunning contributions by cinematographer Michael Chapman and editor Thelma Schoonmaker.

A word of warning though, as this is essentially the same Blu-ray that came out in February 2009, featuring the same HD transfer and lossless audio track, but with four new featurettes on the bonus materials.

If you don’t own the film, it is an essential purchase – but if you do, I’m not sure if the added extras are enough to justify buying it again. [Read the full review here]

All About Eve (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment): The classic 1950 film about Broadway betrayal, is the story of an aspiring actress named Eve (Anne Baxter) who gradually usurps her idol Margo Channing (Bette Davies) and disrupts the lives of Margo’s director boyfriend (Gary Merrill), her playwright (Hugh Marlowe) and his wife (Celeste Holm).

Only the cynical drama critic (George Sanders) sees through Eve, admiring her audacity and pattern of deceit. Thelma Ritter and Marilyn Monroe co-star in this brilliantly scripted classic, which won six Academy Awards and received the most nominations (fourteen) in film history.

The film still holds up remarkably well, with the script featuring some sparkling one liners, and the HD transfer is excellent.

Extras are as follows:

  • Audio Commentary by Celeste Holm, Ken Geist – Author/Film Biographer; Christopher Mankiewicz (Director’s Son)
  • Audio Commentary by Sam Staggs – Author/Film Historian
  • Isolated Audio Track – Musical Score in DTS
  • “MovieTone News: 1951 Academy Awards Honor Best Film (2:30 480i)
  • Achievements, 1951 Hollywood Attends Gala Premiere of “All About Eve (1:57 480i),” Holiday Magazine Awards (2:50 480i), Look Magazine Awards” (1:55 480i)
  • “AMC Backstory: ALL ABOUT EVE” (24:20 480i)
  • Vintage Bette Davis promotion (1:20 480i)
  • Vintage Anne Baxter promotion (1:27 480i)
  • Theatrical trailer (3:08 480i)
  • Documentaries –
  • “Joseph L. Mankiewicz: A Personal Journey” (25:59 480i)
  • “The Real Eve” (18:11 480i)
  • “Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz” (26:01 480i)
  • “The Secret of Sarah Siddons” (7:05 480i)
  • 26 -page Digibook with essays and photos


Airwolf: The Movie (Fabulous Films) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Alpha and Omega (Lionsgate UK) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Burke and Hare (EV) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Cyrus (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Despicable Me (Universal Pictures) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Dinosaurs – Giants of Patagonia (BPDP) [Blu-ray / with 3D Version]
Game of Death (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / Normal]
High Hopes (Fabulous Films) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Human Planet (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Operation Endgame (Anchor Bay Entertainment UK) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Primeval: The Complete Series 4 (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Rain Man (20th Century Fox Home Ent.) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Sympathy for the Devil (Fabulous Films) [Blu-ray / Normal]
The Buddy Holly Story (Fabulous Films) [Blu-ray / Normal]
Vamp (Arrow Video) [Blu-ray / Normal]
When Saturday Comes (Fabulous Films) [Blu-ray / Normal]