Dynamic Dames – 50 leading ladies who made history

Being there . . . as a break from World War II topics, dismal battles, horrific deaths and
unfathomable destructions, to reunite with some of the most empowering and unforgettable
female characters ever to grace the silver screens of America, including the forgotten artists
who brought them to vibrant life . . . .

Writes Sloan De Forest, writer, actor, and film historian, in a sparkling Introduction of her
“DYNAMIC DAMES – 50 Leading Ladies Who Made History”, “What makes the dames in my
book so dynamic? Not their looks – though they are certainly easy on the eyes – nor their
charismatic personalities, killer wardrobes, or crackling dialogue. Dynamic dames share an X-
factor: they transcend the narrow confines of their gender role, whether by taking small steps
or revolutionary strides. Each of the 50 women I’ve chosen, in her unique way, is an architect of
her own destiny. By taking charge of her own life, by refusing to be marginalized, she, or the
character she usually plays, motivates us with her resilience, delight us with her high spirit, and
thrills us with her audacity.”
Bravo, Sloan! And, such an excellent exclamation foretells, via 233 pages of highly illustrated
pages of behind-the-scenes photographs, Sloan’s essential intent: bring out the paradoxical
truth of each “dynamic dame” for the psychological import of her happiness and further
actualization of acceptance of her personal duty to herself, her family, to us who watch in awe.
Whole-heartedly, passionately, Sloan takes each of the 50 on, endearingly, bidding us to fulfill
our own destinies for contentedness and peace. In short, “DYNAMIC DAMES” grips, exalts, and
convinces us to search out every one of the films starred in by every one of the unforgettable
‘dames’ portrayed here.
“DYNAMIC DAMES – 50 Leading Ladies Who Made History”, by Sloan De Forest. Running Press,
Philadelphia, Turner Classic Movies, Inc. (Hachette Book Group): 2019, 232 pages, hc; $23. See:
After an equally superlative, nay, mesmerizing, statement Julie Newmar, as the Foreword, the
books is divided into eight parts, Pre-Code Bad Girls; Reel Role Models; Big Bad Mamas; Fatal
Femmes; Ladies Who Laugh; Women of Mystery; Strong Survivors; Superheroines, and a
concluding section, More Dynamic Dames. Sloan’s Bibliography is a gift to us in itself. (How,
movie buff, could you not want to read every title listed?)
As for you, dear reader, guess the categories the following would be included: Bette Davis, Mae
West, Barbara Stanwyck, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood, Barbra Streisand, Julia
Roberts, Meryl Streep, Joan Crawford, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Dorothy Dandridge,
Katharine Hepburn, Pam Grier, Jane Fonda, Gal Gadot, Emma Watson, Uma Thurman, Jennifer
Lawrence, and 30 more too numerous to list due to lack of space.

And, by the way, guess who said in what feature film: “There’s only one man in Paris for me . . .
and it’s him.”; “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad . . . I’m better.”; “Know what’s
in this bag? Half a million dollars. Someday I’ll have the other half that goes with it.” “When I’m
40, I’ll think of babies. In the meantime, there are 20 years in which I want to be the baby, play
with my toys, and have a good time playing with them . . . I don’t want to be a wife!”; “May I
interrupt your funny act long enough to say that I’m my own boss — from now on?”; “Dear Lord,
forgive me. I can’t obey anymore. What I do from now on is between you and men alone.”; “I’m
having the time of my life because for the first time, it IS my life. AND, I LOVE IT! I love every
second of it, and I’ll be damned if you’re going to take it away from me!”; “You think beautiful
girls are going to stay in style forever? I should say not! Any minute now they’re going to be
out! Finished! Then it’ll be my turn.” “I’m poor, black . . .I may even by ugly. But dear God, I’m
here! I’m here!”; “Oh, if I just wasn’t a lady what I wouldn’t tell that varmint!”; and, the
personal favorite of this humble reviewer, “We were all so crazy about Grace Kelly. Everyone
just sat around and waited for her to come in the morning, so we could just look at her. . .me
There are so, so many other such quotes. And, of course, Sloan, with her enormous insight,
intuitive perceptiveness, and genuine love, picked out the better for us to relish, almost always
in a blur because of the tears stuck in the eyes. Those who would find it difficult to live without
cinema know exactly what I mean. All this for a crummy $23? Running Press and TCM have got
to be kidding! Damn it, www.runningpress.com, the TCM Gift Shop, or Perseus Books, LLC, a
subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.