In Hollywood 1916–1935

Eaton flirted with the film industry as early as 1915 but did not actually sign on with a studio until 1924, when she was hired by Universal Pictures, a leading producer of silent films. Eaton proved able to turn out scripts rapidly and to order, according to biographer Diana Birchall. She later worked for Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and Twentieth-Century Fox, writing original screenplays as well as adaptations. William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and many other seasoned writers found writing for the film industry difficult but Eaton flourished. She found herself assigned to write film vehicles for two stars, Mary Nolan (Barbary Coast, Shanghai Lady) and Mary Philbin (Phantom of the Opera), and was able to translate her experience writing Japanese romances into scripts featuring exotic locales and peoples--which made up about a quarter of the work to which she was assigned.

People Mentioned

Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is the Technical Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive and the User Interface Developer at the Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (Simon Fraser University). He is also an M.A. student in English at the University of British Columbia where his research focuses on Indigenous and diasporic Canadian literature; he is currently completing a digital edition of His Royal Nibs.