2010 Archives

SMU professor, filmmaker finds role model in sharpshooting grandmother


The following is from the April 9, 2010, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Carolyn Macartney is a film professor at SMU.

April 13, 2010

Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Carolyn Macartney always wondered about her grandmother. She knew the basics: Her grandmother was a rebel, a magnetic beauty, a prostitute, a Wild West sharpshooter billed as Wanda Savage and an impulsive woman prone to anger who once shot her own husband.

Through her mostly fact, part-fiction film Wanda the Wonderful, which she is currently casting in Dallas for a summer shoot both in her native Wyoming and in North Texas, Macartney has discovered even more about this woman who was both very strong and very flawed.

"As a woman in the industry it's hard to find role models," said Macartney, a film professor at SMU. "I guess I was intrigued because she led such an incredible life, and I do think it would be great to have more entertaining films that people want to see that also give a different perspective."

Macartney sees Wanda as a tough yet sexy woman who leaped into adventures even when that meant leaving some of the children from her four marriages behind.

"I think that her urge to be independent and a performer was stronger than her desire to be a mother – at whatever cost: stay with an abusive husband, prostitute herself, etc.," she said. "Also, this was all taking place in the mid to late 1920s, so times were tough."

Macartney admits the personal film is a major leap for her, the kind of risk Wanda would have taken.

Read the full story.

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