A History of Screenwriting – 30 in a series – The Eclipse: The Courtship of the Sun and Moon (George Méliès, 1905)

A History of Screenwriting – 30 in a series – The Eclipse: The Courtship of the Sun and Moon (George Méliès, 1905) 

A History of Screenwriting - 30 in a series - The Eclipse: The Courtship of the Sun and Moon (George Méliès, 1905)

A professor of astronomy gives a lecture instructing on an impending solar eclipse. The class rushes to an observation tower to witness the event, which features an anthropomorphic Sun and Moon coming together. The Moon and the Sun lick their lips in anticipation as the eclipse arrives, culminating in a romantic encounter between the two celestial bodies. Various heavenly bodies, including planets and moons, hang in the night sky; a meteor shower is depicted using the ghostly figures of girls. The professor of astronomy, shocked by all he has witnessed, topples from the observation tower.

The Eclipse has been remarked upon for its overt sexual symbolism.[1][2] Christine Cornea posits that the film’s primary theme, the clash of scientific logic with sexual desire, was also evident in Méliès’ earlier films A Trip to the Moon and The Impossible Voyage, and would become a prominent in many subsequent science-fiction films.[1]

Some scholars, interpreting the Sun and the Moon to be both male, have described the erotic “eclipse” as an early depiction of homosexuality in cinema,[2][3] with an “effeminate” Moon being seduced by an “devilishly masculine” Sun.[1] By contrast, Méliès’s film catalogue describes the liaison in heterosexual terms, referring to the participants as “the man in the sun” and “dainty Diana” and using pronouns to match.[4] — Wikipedia



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I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

A History of Screenwriting – 29 in a series – Living Playing Cards (George Méliès, France, 1905)

A History of Screenwriting – 29 in a series – Living Playing Cards (George Méliès, France, 1905)

A History of Screenwriting - 30 in a series - Living Playing Cards (George Méliès, France, 1905)

A bearded magician holds up a large playing card and makes it larger. He tears up a card of a queen, burns the torn bits, and a life-size Queen of Hearts card appears; then, it becomes alive. The magician puts her back into the card. The same thing happens with the King of Clubs: the card becomes alive. The king removes his costume, and there’s something very familiar about him  – A Room with a Past on YouTube



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

A History of Screenwriting – 28 in a series – The Black Imp (George Méliès, France, 1905)

A History of Screenwriting – 28 in a series – The Black Imp (George Méliès, France, 1905)

A History of Screenwriting - 28 in a series - The Black Imp (George Méliès, France, 1905)

The jump cut was the key element in early movie conjurer Georges Méliès bag of tricks, and as he grew more experienced in the production of films so his use of this trick grew more sophisticated. This ingenious little movie shows off Méliès’ adeptness to good effect, and it’s clear that a lot of imagination has been used in a simple tale. – A Room with a View on YouTube



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

A History of Screenwriting – 27 in a series – The Mermaid , Georges Méliès (1904)

A History of Screenwriting – 27 in a series – The Mermaid , Georges Méliès (1904)

A History of Screenwriting - 27 in a series - The Mermaid , Georges Méliès (1904)

In this silent film a man catches fish in his hat and then pulls a rabbit out. A mermaid appears and changes into a lady and joins the man. This early silent film was released in France in 1904 under the title, “Georges Mélièsand was directed by Georges Méliès.



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

A History of Screenwriting – 26 in a series – Tchin Chao the Chinese Conjurer – George Méliès, France, 1904

A History of Screenwriting – 26 in a series – Tchin Chao the Chinese Conjurer – George Méliès, France, 1904

A History of Screenwriting - 26 in a series - Tchin Chao the Chinese Conjurer - George Méliès, France, 1904

A Chinese conjurer stands next to a table, it becomes two tables. A fan becomes a parasol, lanterns appear and disappear. The conjurer spins the open parasol in front of himself, and a dog leaps out from behind it. The dog becomes a woman, then a second woman appears. The conjurer sits them each on a box a few feet apart: suddenly the women have changed places. The disappearing and the transfers continue in front of a simple backdrop. — The Early Cinema



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

“Honey, You Know I Can’t Hear You When You Aren’t in the Room: Now free online from Gender and the Screenplay Journal

“Honey, You Know I Can’t Hear You When You Aren’t in the Room: Now free online from Gender and the Screenplay Journal

My article “Honey, You Know I Can’t Hear You When You Aren’t in the Room: Key Female Filmmakers Prove the Importance of Having a Female in the Writing Room” published today in a special issue called Gender and the Screenplay: Processes, Practices, Perspectives in the journal: Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network (Vol 10 No 2 (2017). 

“Honey, You Know I Can’t Hear You When You Aren’t in the Room PDF Version

The article provides a quick historical survey of the work of several prominent female screenwriters across the first century of filmmaking, including Anita Loos, Dorothy Parker, Frances Goodrich and Joan Didion. In all of their memoirs and other writings about working on screenplays, each mentioned the importance of (often) being the lone woman in the room during pitches and during the development of a screenplay. Goodrich summarized all their experiences concisely when she wrote, ‘I’m always the only woman working on the picture and I hold the fate of the women [characters] in my hand… I’ll fight for what the gal will or will not do, and I can be completely unfeminine about it.’ Also, the rise of female directors, such as Barbra Streisand or female production executives, such as Kathleen Kennedy, prove that one of the greatest assets to having a female voice in the room is the ability to invite other women inside. Therefore, this paper contributes to the scholarship on women in film and to authorship studies.

The title is a riff on a series of one-act plays I worked on in college called “Honey, You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running” written by Robert Anderson (author of the plays Tea and Sympathy and was Oscar-nominated for the screenplays A Nun’s Story and I Never Sang for my Father.)

You can read and download the entire journal, edited by Louise Sawtell, Stayci Taylor, which includes other fine articles have a global reach, covering questions of gender in screenwriting practice; reflections on the Irish film industry; Female Screenwriters and Street Films in Weimar Republic; Narrative and Masculinity in The Long Goodbye; How Hollywood Screenplays Inscribe Gender.

The editors had also asked all contributors to create video abstracts for each piece. Thanks to Doug’s help, mine came out pretty good:

 

 

 

 

A History of Screenwriting – 25 in a series – Excelsior! Prince of the Magicians (George Méliès, France, 1901)

A History of Screenwriting – 25 in a series – Excelsior! Prince of the Magicians (George Méliès, France, 1901) 

1901 Excelsior Prince Of Magicians [Georges Melies]

The magician appears upon the stage with his assistant. Taking a handkerchief from his pocket, he causes an empty jar to suddenly appear under it. He places the empty jar upon the table and seizing his assistant by one arm, begins pumping, when lo! a stream of water emits from the mouth of the assistant and fills the dish. One by one he takes six fishes from the mouth of his assistant and places them in the dish. 

Directed by Georges Melies
Produced by Georges Melies
DetailsCountry France
Release Date: 1900
Production Co: Star-Film 



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

A History of Screenwriting – 24 in a series – What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting by Marc Norman

A History of Screenwriting – 24 in a series – What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting by Marc Norman

Screenwriters have always been viewed as Hollywood’s stepchildren. Silent-film comedy pioneer Mack Sennett forbade his screenwriters from writing anything down, for fear they’d get inflated ideas about themselves as creative artists. The great midcentury director John Ford was known to answer studio executives’ complaints that he was behind schedule by tearing a handful of random pages from his script and tossing them over his shoulder. And Ken Russell was so contemptuous of Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay for Altered States that Chayefsky insisted on having his name removed from the credits.

Of course, popular impressions aside, screenwriters have been central to moviemaking since the first motion picture audiences got past the sheer novelty of seeing pictures that moved at all. Soon they wanted to know: What happens next? In this truly fresh perspective on the movies, veteran Oscar-winning screenwriter Marc Norman gives us the first comprehensive history of the men and women who have answered that question, from Anita Loos, the highest-paid screenwriter of her day, to Robert Towne, Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Kaufman, and other paradigm-busting talents reimagining movies for the new century. 



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

A History of Screenwriting – 23 in a series – The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916)

A History of Screenwriting – 23 in a series – The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (1916)

This movie is insane, and I love it. Coke Ennyday, a cocaine-shooting detective parody of Sherlock Holmes injects himself with opium from a bandolier of syringes worn across his chest and liberally helps himself to the contents of a hatbox-sized round container of white powder labeled “COCAINE” on his desk. A clock-like sign on the wall divides time between EAT, DRINK, SLEEP, and DOPE. He observes visitors at his door on what appears to be a closed-circuit television called a “scientific periscope”. The super-sleuth helps the police and discovers a contraband of opium (which he eagerly tastes) transported with “Leaping Fishes”, and the blackmail of a mysterious man who wants to marry the “fish blower” girl.

It stars the acrobatic Douglas Fairbanks as the odd action hero and Bessie Love as The Little Fish Blower, was directed by Christy Cabanne and John Emerson, and was written by Anita Loos, Tod Browning, and D. W. Griffith. — Change Before Going Productions

 



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch

A History of Screenwriting – 22 in a series – The New York Hat – 1912 – Anita Loos

A History of Screenwriting – 22 in a series – The New York Hat – 1912 – Anita Loos

A History of Screenwriting - 22 in a series - The New York Hat - 1912 - Anita Loos

Short directed by D. W. Griffith, written by Anita Loos, starring Mary Pickford (in her final role for Biograph Studios) and Lionel Barrymore, with an appearance by Lillian Gish.

From Wikipedia…

The New York Hat is one of the most notable of the Biograph Studios short films and is perhaps the best known example of Pickford’s early work, and an example of Anita Loos‘s witty writing. The film was made by Biograph when it and many other early U.S. movie studios were based in Fort Lee, New Jersey at the beginning of the 20th century.[1][2][3]

Mollie Goodhue leads a cheerless, impoverished life, largely because of her stern, miserly father. Mrs. Goodhue is mortally ill, but before dying, she gives the minister, Preacher Bolton, some money with which to buy her daughter the “finery” her father always forbade her.

Mollie is delighted when the minister presents her with a fashionable New York hat she has been longing for, but village gossips misinterpret the minister’s intentions and spread malicious rumors. Mollie becomes a social pariah, and her father tears up the beloved hat in a rage.

All ends well, however, after the minister produces a letter from Mollie’s mother about the money she left the minister to spend on Mollie. Soon afterwards, he proposes to Mollie, who accepts his offer of marriage.



* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 


I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus.  As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era  who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order  to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch