One of early Hollywood’s most popular types of film was the serial, exposing audiences to repeated, familiar characters in a broad range of scenarios. From dramas, comedies, romances, and cliffhangers–or a mix of each–serials were exceptionally enjoyed by moviegoing audiences of all ages.
Pearl White was considered to be one of the most successful serial stars of her day, appearing in popular serials such as The Perils of Pauline, The New Exploits of Elaine, The Iron Claw, The Fatal Ring, and many others. She would tackle dangerous stunts in addition to the expectations of executing her roles, quickly becoming a favorite among audiences.
William M. Drew’s The Woman Who Dared: The Life and Times of Pearl White, Queen of the Serials is the first full-length biography devoted to White’s life and career. While Drew showcases exceptional research in documenting the career and professional trajectory of White, he also succeeds in capturing the personal endeavors and priorities of this classic Hollywood star. White’s story is one that is not explored often at all in comparison to her classic Hollywood counterparts, making this biography quite fascinating. Beyond the screen, White was also an activist, feminist, and suffragette, constantly working to battle for women’s rights in the United States.
The Woman Who Dared is not to be missed. It will definitely interest fans of early film as well as individuals interested in stunt work and the lives and careers of women in the nascent film industry.
The Woman Who Dared is available for purchase through the University Press of Kentucky.