@TurokSonOfStone1950 and I wanted to give a short synopsis of where the film Professor Marston and the Wonder Women basically stuck to history, where they filled in historical blanks, and where they got it wrong or veered far from the truth. If we’re missing something or you have a question, let us know. From here on: SPOILERS. We’ll tackle the big two first.
Elizabeth & Olive’s Relationship: We just do not know if the two women had an intimate relationship or not. They never admitted it, the family says no, and we know that Elizabeth was given an ultimatum by Marston that she allow Olive into the home or he would leave. However, none of this is dispositive. Olive didn’t admit to her own children that Marston was their father until they forced Elizabeth to when they were older, and then it was never spoken of it again. It would be consistent that Olive would keep a relationship with Elizabeth very private. And, family members who said there was no bondage play in the home and did not know of their own parentage have no way of knowing the relationship between the two women. Finally, the movie provides are reasonable explanation of why Elizabeth could have a relationship with Olive and still balk at bringing her permanently into the home. We do know the women loved one another and that Olive holding down the home front while Elizabeth earned money for the family during Marston’s stints of unemployment worked for the family.
Marston Creating Wonder Woman Olive wrote an article for the Family Circle magazine about her “visit” and interview with the famous psychologist William Marston during which he lauded the educational potential of comic books. Sheldon Mayer at DC hired Marston to be part of an advisory board whose purpose it was to fend off attacks from critics of the violence and other material found in comics. (Wertham was later in the 1950s after Marston had died). Once known in the offices of DC, Marston was offered the chance to write a comic book. With suggestions from Elizabeth to make it a woman, Elizabeth’s knowledge of ancient Greek language and literature, use of islands in feminist literature with only women as an ideal society, experience with the lie detector and his and his wives’ personal history with the feminist movement Marston developed Wonder Woman. The movie also unfortunately does not include the artist H.G. Peters significant contributions.
Family Separation: As far as we know, this never happened. First, the home in Rye, New York was a very large house described as being in the country. The picture in Lepone’s book does not show close neighboring homes. The Marston’s were very careful to hide the true nature of their family. But, we do think this can be seen as a metaphor for what it took to keep the family together.
Military Marston was in the Army and did work stateside as a psychologist for Army JAG and intelligence in DC during the war, but the OSS was formed in WWII not WWI.
Sorority LIfe The Holiday Girls and Etta Candy, including sorority initiation shown in the movie was inspired by Olive’s personal experience and Marston seeing a baby party personally. Etta is based on a real friend of hers.
Marston/Elizabeth Pysch Work True, He taught, they developed an early lie doctor based on Elizabeth’s idea of blood pressure and Olive entered their life as a student researcher.
Elizabeth Elizabeth was a very smart, very tough, very progressive woman. She was not stuck as secretary but was an editor for an encyclopedia publisher and eventually the executive assistant to a CEO of an insurance company. She paid for all four children to go to college.
The End Marston was struck by polio in 1944 and was severely physically hampered until his death from skin cancer in 1947. He was never told he had cancer. The movie tag says that writing Wonder Woman was taken away from Elzabeth and Olive on W.M.'s death and she lost her powers. Both true, but happened 30 years apart.
DC Psych Court Not true. DC gave notes to Marston to tone down this or that all the time. He ignored them all the time. Never threatened with taking Wonder Woman away. This is a stand-in for the criticism from outside the company.
Elizabeth lower right, Olive standing and close family friend Marjorie Wilkes Huntley bottom left