A Woman's World: The Defining Era of Women on Film
Among films with the theme of Motherhood are dramatic vehicles for two icons of the woman's film, each playing a mom who sacrifices everything for a daughter: Barbara Stanwyck as Stella Dallas (1937) and Joan Crawford as Mildred Pierce (1945). The War Effort and the Homefront of the World War II era are represented by Claudette Colbert in, respectively, So Proudly We Hail (1943), in which she serves as a Red Cross nurse in the Pacific, and Since You We Went Away (1944), in which she bravely maintains a family while her husband is away at war.
Working Women, a force that would grow considerably during the war years, include Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (1940) and Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year (1942), with Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy, respectively, as the men in the lives of these independent career women. Among the Women Taking Charge are Ginger Rogers as a young working-class woman who marries into wealth yet retains control of her own destiny in Kitty Foyle (1940), and Bette Davis as a genteel but strong-willed socialite who takes over the child of another woman (Mary Astor) in The Great Lie (1941).