9 Classic Movies Directed by Women

Alice Guy-Blaché
Alice Guy-Blaché
Apeda Studio New York - Collection Solax, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Quick, name five classic movies. Now go look them up on IMDb to see who directed them. Or don't, because you have other things to do with your day and we can probably guess what matters here anyway: they were all made by men.

When we think about the cinematic canon, it's pretty much all dudes. Is that because men make better movies than women? Stop it. The actual reason is that for most of history, men have written history. So the ladies, sorry to say, have primarily been overlooked. But women have been killing it on screen—and behind the scenes—since the very beginning of cinema.

No kidding: many historians believe the first fiction film was a short called The Cabbage Fairy, created by Alice Guy-Blaché way back in 1896. Here are nine other classic films worth knowing about, for Women's History Month and, you know, the rest of your life.

1. The Consequences of Feminism (1906) // Alice Guy-Blaché

If you haven't watched a silent movie in a while, you might be surprised by how funny and modern this one feels. Alice Guy-Blaché was famous for pushing boundaries, and this Suffragette-era comedy makes its point loud and clear. When men and women switch roles—overworked guys take care of the house and kids, ladies get together to drink and catcall—the husbands are not happy.

2. Salomé (1922) // Alla Nazimova

In 1920, Alla Nazimova was one of the highest-paid and most revered actors in America. She also happened to be a proudly feminist, bisexual immigrant who constantly flouted cultural limitations. Her notoriety intrigued audiences, but she pushed them too far with this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play, which credits Charles Bryant as its director, though it was widely acknowledged—even at the time of its release—that it was Nazimova behind the camera. Aghast whispers intimated—though never proved—that she hired an all-gay cast in homage to Wilde, and also that she'd had an affair with costume and set designer Natacha Rambova (who was married to Rudolph Valentino). The movie was way ahead of its time, and nearly ruined Nazimova. She would have been delighted to know that it has since been embraced as an early paragon of queer and avant-garde cinema.

3. Dance, Girl, Dance (1940) // Dorothy Arzner

Believe it or not, Dorothy Arzner was the sole mainstream female filmmaker of her era. She didn't take the responsibility lightly, and though her movies were often categorized—and dismissed—as "women's pictures," they all have a notably sharp perspective. Dance, Girl, Dance appears to be a fairly commonplace tale of two competing showgirls (Maureen O'Hara and a nicely brassy Lucille Ball). But Arzner turns it into a thoughtful examination of status, culture, and gender. O'Hara's blazing dress-down to her thoughtlessly ogling audience is a feminist benchmark.

4. Outrage (1950) // Ida Lupino

Though Ida Lupino was originally packaged as a starlet—and soon became famous as a film noir star—she was frustrated by the limited options for an actress in Hollywood. So she turned herself into one of the earliest successful independent directors, making movies well outside the studio system. She was the first woman to make a film noir (1953's The Hitch-Hiker), and many of her movies were not only edgy but downright radical. Case in point: this unsettling, deeply empathetic tale of sexual assault, which was made at a time when the concept itself was barely even acknowledged.

5. Love Letter (1953) // Kinuyo Tanaka

Kinuyo Tanaka was only the second female director in Japanese history (the first was the trailblazing Tazuko Sakane, whose work has, alas, mostly been lost). She was originally known as a beloved actor who collaborated with master artists Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujirō Ozu. But she broke from their formalism for a more intuitive directorial approach, perceptively highlighting the connected emotions and disjointed power structures between men and women in films like this sensitive postwar melodrama.

6. Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962) // Agnès Varda

By the time Agnès Varda made this existential tale of a young pop star (Corinne Marchand) grappling with mortality, the French New Wave had already been well-defined by filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut. Varda turned the notion of their gorgeous young gamines upside-down, exploring the destructive implications of feminine beauty and male freedom (or lack thereof).

7. Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) // Barbara Kopple

So far, exactly one woman has won an Oscar for Best Director (that'd be Kathryn Bigelow, for 2008's The Hurt Locker). But female filmmakers have been picking up trophies for nonfiction work for decades. Barbara Kopple worked on this iconic, often-shattering documentary—about a violent coal mining strike in Kentucky—for years before taking home the first of her two Academy Awards (so far).

8. Ishtar (1987) // Elaine May

Wait, what? Isn't Ishtar one of filmdom's all-time flops? Yep, it sure is. But the maddening trajectory of that story—in which Elaine May was punished for taking on a project that was considered too ambitious, at a time when women weren't allowed any missteps—says less about her movie than her industry. Watch it today, and you'll see a slyly acerbic, genuinely funny satire about two inept artists (Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty) whose unvarnished mediocrity and egotism consistently lead them to fail upwards. A metaphor, perhaps, for Hollywood itself?

9. Daughters of the Dust (1991) // Julie Dash

This is the movie that made Julie Dash the first African-American woman to direct a nationally-released feature film. But it took her a full decade to get her groundbreaking work to theaters, because studios couldn't see the commercial potential of a period drama about a matriarchal Gullah family grappling with the legacy of slavery. Meanwhile, if her stunningly poetic visuals look familiar, it may be because so many artists have since claimed the film as a pivotal influence—including Beyoncé, who used it as a touchstone for Lemonade.

Elizabeth Weitzman is the author of the new book Renegade Women in Film & TV.

10 of the Best Indoor and Outdoor Heaters on Amazon

Mr. Heater/Amazon
Mr. Heater/Amazon

With the colder months just around the corner, you might want to start thinking about investing in an indoor or outdoor heater. Indoor heaters not only provide a boost of heat for drafty spaces, but they can also be a money-saver, allowing you to actively control the heat based on the rooms you’re using. Outdoor heaters, meanwhile, can help you take advantage of cold-weather activities like camping or tailgating without having to call it quits because your extremities have gone numb. Check out this list of some of Amazon’s highest-rated indoor and outdoor heaters so you can spend less time shivering this winter and more time enjoying what the season has to offer.

Indoor Heaters

1. Lasko Ceramic Portable Heater; $20

Lasko/Amazon

This 1500-watt heater from Lasko may only be nine inches tall, but it can heat up to 300 square feet of space. With 11 temperature settings and three quiet settings—for high heat, low heat, and fan only—it’s a dynamic powerhouse that’ll keep you toasty all season long.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Alrocket Oscillating Space Heater; $25

Alrocket/Amazon

Alrocket’s oscillating space heater is an excellent addition to any desk or nightstand. Using energy-saving ceramic technology, this heater is made of fire-resistant material, and its special “tip-over” safety feature forces it to turn off if it falls over (making it a reliable choice for homes with kids or pets). It’s extremely quiet, too—at only 45 dB, it’s just a touch louder than a whisper. According to one reviewer, this an ideal option for a “very quiet but powerful” heater.

Buy it: Amazon

3. De’Longhi Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heather; $79

De’Longhi/Amazon

If you prefer a space heater with a more old-fashioned vibe, this radiator heater from De’Longhi gives you 2020 technology with a vintage feel. De’Longhi’s heater automatically turns itself on when the temperatures drops below 44°F, and it will also automatically turn itself off if it starts to overheat. Another smart safety feature? The oil system is permanently sealed, so you won’t have to worry about accidental spills.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Aikoper Ceramic Tower Heater; $70

Aikoper/Amazon

Whether your room needs a little extra warmth or its own heat source, Aikoper’s incredibly precise space heater has got you covered. With a range of 40-95°F, it adjusts by one-degree intervals, giving you the specific level of heat you want. It also has an option for running on an eight-hour timer, ensuring that it will only run when you need it.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Isiler Space Heater; $37

Isiler/Amazon

For a space heater that adds a fun pop of color to any room, check out this yellow unit from Isiler. Made from fire-resistant ceramic, Isiler’s heater can start warming up a space within seconds. It’s positioned on a triangular stand that creates an optimal angle for hot air to start circulating, rendering it so effective that, as one reviewer put it, “This heater needs to say ‘mighty’ in its description.”

Buy it: Amazon

Outdoor Heaters

6. Mr. Heater Portable Buddy; $104

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Make outdoor activities like camping and grilling last longer with Mr. Heater’s indoor/outdoor portable heater. This heater can connect to a propane tank or to a disposable cylinder, allowing you to keep it in one place or take it on the go. With such a versatile range of uses, this heater will—true to its name—become your best buddy when the temperature starts to drop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiland Pyramid Patio Propane Heater; Various

Hiland/Amazon

The cold’s got nothing on this powerful outdoor heater. Hiland’s patio heater has a whopping 40,000 BTU output, which runs for eight to 10 hours on high heat. Simply open the heater’s bottom door to insert a propane tank, power it on, and sit back to let it warm up your backyard. The bright, contained flame from the propane doubles as an outdoor light.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Solo Stove Bonfire Pit; $345

Solo Stove/Amazon

This one is a slight cheat since it’s a bonfire pit and not a traditional outdoor heater, but the Solo Stove has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon for a reason. Everything about this portable fire pit is meticulously crafted to maximize airflow while it's lit, from its double-wall construction to its bottom air vents. These features all work together to help the logs burn more completely while emitting far less smoke than other pits. It’s the best choice for anyone who wants both warmth and ambiance on their patio.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Dr. Infrared Garage Shop Heater; $119

Dr. Infrared/Amazon

You’ll be able to use your garage or basement workshop all season long with this durable heater from Dr. Infrared. It’s unique in that it includes a built-in fan to keep warm air flowing—something that’s especially handy if you need to work without wearing gloves. The fan is overlaid with heat and finger-protectant grills, keeping you safe while it’s powered on.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Mr. Heater 540 Degree Tank Top; $86

Mr. Heater/Amazon

Mr. Heater’s clever propane tank top automatically connects to its fuel source, saving you from having to bring any extra attachments with you on the road. With three heat settings that can get up to 45,000 BTU, the top can rotate 360 degrees to give you the perfect angle of heat you need to stay cozy. According to a reviewer, for a no-fuss outdoor heater, “This baby is super easy to light, comes fully assembled … and man, does it put out the heat.”

Buy it: Amazon

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Why Steve Carell Was Anxious About Being in The Office Finale

Steve Carell was a bit apprehensive about appearing in the series finale.
Steve Carell was a bit apprehensive about appearing in the series finale.
NBC

Even though fans of The Office were sad to say goodbye to Steve Carell and the employees at Dunder Mifflin when the series went off the air in 2013, a lot of new content related to the hit comedy has come out in recent years.

Not only can fans reminisce about The Office with actresses Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin) and Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly) on their podcast Office Ladies, but Kevin Malone actor Brian Baumgartner has also started his own podcast about the show as well.

Baumgartner’s podcast, titled An Oral History of The Office, offers listeners a chance to learn how the American version of the mockumentary comedy was developed. From conception to casting, An Oral History of The Office gives longtime fans an in-depth look at how their favorite paper-pushers came to be.

As PopSugar reports, Baumgartner’s 12-episode podcast has featured guest appearances from other actors that were on the show. Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Fischer, and Kinsey have all dropped in to talk about their days in Scranton.

For episode 11 of the podcast, titled “It’s a Wrap,” Baumgartner spoke with Carell and The Office creator Greg Daniels about the actor's surprise appearance in the series finale.

Longtime fans of the show will recall that Michael Scott left Dunder Mifflin to move to Colorado with Holly (played by Amy Ryan) in the finale of season 7. The podcast revealed that Carell was actually hesitant to return for the season 9 finale.

You can read an excerpt from the interview below:

Brian Baumgartner:

Greg wanted the finale to be a giant family reunion, and any office reunion wouldn’t be complete without Steve Carell. And had that been in the works for a while, between you and Steve, or did you go to him and he immediately said, yes, I’ll come back?

Greg Daniels:

Well, I think he was really anxious that it not be all about him. Like he was like, everybody who put in these other two years, this is the end of the show. This is the end of all of their stories. I left, this isn’t all about me. So he didn’t want to do too much. Uh, and you know, he had thoughts on how, what would draw him back to the situation. And he really liked the idea of coming back for Dwight’s wedding. Like he thought the character learned something, so he didn’t need self-promotion. At this point, he didn’t need to come back to be on the documentary. He came back for his friend Dwight.

Brian Baumgartner:

Steve said there had to be a reason.

Steve Carell:

Because I had told Greg, I just don’t think it’s a good idea because I felt like Michael’s story had definitely ended. And I was reticent about coming back because you guys had two more, really valuable seasons and that was everyone else’s ending. Michael had already had his, so I just didn’t want to, but at the same time, I felt like I should out of respect for all of you guys and out of my love for everybody to, you know, to acknowledge the, uh, the ending of this thing.

You can listen to the full episode here.