BURBRIDGE, Betty

(1895–1987)
   A prolific screenwriter for lowbudget Westerns, Burbridge has traditionally exemplified the plight of womenwriters in Hollywood from the early sound era who could only get low-grade work. This is unfortunate since reassessment of her work has revealed a talent for providing female roles counter to usual B Western typecasting. Colorado Sunset (1939) brings women’s concerns to the front of the plot through a group of wives seemingly right out of a Greek comedy who demand that their husbands rebuff a protection association’s threats and vote Gene Autry as sheriff. In one scene, a mob of women resort to fisticuffs to get their way. The three female co-leads strong-arm their male counterparts while being influential businesswomen in town. Atrademark of a Burbridge script is the female owner of a radio station. Burbridge herself appeared in over 60 silent shorts before turning her hand to writing over 100 Westerns from 1924 to 1949, including many Gene Autry Westerns and Three Mesquiteers Westerns.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

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