Souls for Sale
By: Rupert Hughes (1872-1956)
Perhaps the most commercially successful Hollywood novel of the 1920s, Rupert Hughes' Souls for Sale is a direct response to contemporaneous charges of the film industry's moral laxities and predilections toward vice. Remember "Mem" Steddon, the pious and steadfast daughter of a religious firebrand who preaches about the sins of Hollywood, is forced to migrate to the west coast after discovering that she's become pregnant out of wedlock. On her journey, Mem runs into the inhabitants of a movie colony and soon befriends many of these delightful (if somewhat peculiar) "film folk." She finds temporary employment as a film extra and soon develops aspirations to become a star herself. But Mem soon discovers that Hollywood is a far different place than she had originally imagined and that the road to film stardom is not straightforward or easy to navigate. This novel was the basis for the popular 1923 film adaptation, which starred an up-and-coming Eleanor Boardman and was directed by Rupert Hughes himself.