A History of Screenwriting 51 – Wings starring Clara Bow by Julian Johnson – 1927

A History of Screenwriting 51 – Wings starring Clara Bow by Julian Johnson – 1927

A History of Screenwriting 50 - Wings starring Clara Bow by Julian Johnson - 1927 

Wings is a 1927 American silent war film set during the First World War produced by Lucien Hubbard, directed by William A. Wellman and released by Paramount Pictures. It stars Clara BowCharles “Buddy” Rogers, and Richard ArlenGary Cooper appears in a small role which helped launch his career in Hollywood.

The film, a romantic action-war picture, was rewritten by scriptwriters Hope Loring and Louis D. Lighton from a story by John Monk Saunders to accommodate Bow, Paramount’s biggest star at the time. Wellman was hired as he was the only director in Hollywood at the time who had World War I combat pilot experience, although Richard Arlen and John Monk Saunders had also served in the war as military aviators. The film was shot on location on a budget of $2 million at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas between September 7, 1926 and April 7, 1927. Hundreds of extras and some 300 pilots were involved in the filming, including pilots and planes of the United States Army Air Corps which were brought in for the filming and to provide assistance and supervision. Wellman extensively rehearsed the scenes for the Battle of Saint-Mihiel over ten days with some 3500 infantrymen on a battlefield made for the production on location. Although the cast and crew had much spare time during the filming because of weather delays, shooting conditions were intense, and Wellman frequently conflicted with the military officers brought in to supervise the picture.

Acclaimed for its technical prowess and realism upon release, the film became the yardstick against which future aviation films were measured, mainly because of its realistic air-combat sequences. It went on to win the first Academy Award for Best Picture at the first annual Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award ceremony in 1929,[5] the only fully silent film to do so.[b] It also won the Academy Award for Best Engineering Effects (Roy Pomeroy). Wings was one of the first to show two men kissing, and also one of the first widely released films to show nudity. In 1997, Wings was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”, and the film was re-released to Cinemark theaters to coincide with the 85th Anniversary for a limited run in May 2012. The film was rereleased again for it’s 90th anniversary in 2017. The Academy Film Archive preserved Wings in 2002.[6] — Wikipedia 


Learn More About Clara Bow with these books

* 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!
† Available at the LA Public Library

03 Ruth Brooks Flippen from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

03 Ruth Brooks Flippen from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

03 Ruth Brooks Flippen from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto - Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference 2017

Watch this entire presentation

 

Transcript:

…and it’s because of this woman, Ruth Brooks Flippen, who was the television writer who did the adaptation for television and frankly I had never heard of her. There are a lot of female writers in Hollywood that never get exposure and so this shocked me. Theses are photographs, more likely I was to find her online with her husband because he was an actor in the period. So she is more known as Jay Flippen’s wife than she is as an executive producer for television in her own right and after she got through with Gidget she’s going to do a lot of interesting things. Along the way we’re going to talk about gendered writing and how scripts became different when a man wrote an episode of Gidget versus when a female did, which I did not think would happen and yet it is exactly what I discovered along the way. Sadly, when women write women they give them jobs and make the educated and smart and when men write woman they often don’t give them jobs and they have them shop a lot, which doesn’t seem to suit me as a definition as I really don’t like shopping.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto by Accident (and How We Can Get Her Out of it): Demoting Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas from Edgy Coming of Age Novel to Babe on the Beach Genre Film via Choices made in the Adaptation Process.”

It’ a long title, as I joke up front, but covers the process of adapting the true life story of Kathy Kohner (nicknamed ‘Gidget’ by the group of male surfers who she spent the summers with in Malibu in the 1950s) into the film and television series that are better remembered than the novel. The novel had been well-received upon publication, even compared to A Catcher in the Rye, but has mistakenly been relegated to the ‘girl ghetto’ of films. Some of the adaptations turned the focus away from the coming of age story of a young woman who gained respect for her talent at a male craft – surfing – and instead turned the focus far too much on Kathy being boy crazy.

Along the way I found interesting comparisons between how female writers treated the main character while adapting the novel and how male writers treated the character.


Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch teaches the History of Screenwriting and One-Hour Drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting.

Writing/producing credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. In 2016 she published the book Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop; co-edited Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia; and placed “Transmitting Culture Transnationally Via the Characterization of Parents in Police Procedurals” in the New Review of Film and Television Studies. Essays appear in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television and Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology. Welch serves as Book Reviews editor for Journal of Screenwriting and on the Editorial Advisory Board for Written By magazine, the magazine of the Writers Guild.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

The Screenwriting Research Network is a research group consisting of scholars, reflective practitioners and practice-based researchers interested in research on screenwriting. The aim is to rethink the screenplay in relation to its histories, theories, values and creative practices.

The Journal of American Culture reviews “Why The Monkees Matter”

It was lovely to read another supportive review of Why The Monkees Matter – this one by Derham Groves writing for The Journal of American Culture. Happily, I had the pleasure of meeting with Derham when he was in Los Angeles for a conference. We shared a lovely dinner at the Hollywood/Highland complex while he told me the plans for a Monkees 50th anniversary of their concert tour of Australia at his home base, the Melbourne University library. If you live in Melbourne, check it out. — Rosanne

Jac americanjournalsmall 

The publication of Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television, and American Pop Culture by Rosanne Welch happily coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of The Monkees—both the TV show and the pop group. In response to casting calls in The Hol­lywood Reporter and Daily Variety in 1965, American performers Mike Nesmith (b. 1942), Peter Tork (b. 1942), and Micky Dolenz (b. 1945) and English per­former Davy Jones (1945-2012) were plucked from the 400 hopefuls who answered the ads to play the four members of a fictitious, struggling, garage band in a new teen comedy TV series, both to be called The Monkees. While Nesmith and Tork were unknown to the general public, Dolenz (as Mickey Braddock) had starred as “Corky” in the TV series Circus Boy (1956­1958), and Jones had played “The Artful Dodger” in the original Broadway production (1963) of the musi­cal Oliver! The Monkees TV series ran from 1966 to 1968, while The Monkees pop group broke up in 1971, then reformed again in 1989.

Many critics and historians who have discussed The Monkees in the past have focused mostly on the group’s music, whereas Welch focuses mostly on the TV series. However, it is almost impossible to separate one from the other. The way in which The Monkees was formed standard for the cast of a TV show but seen by many as “inauthentic” for the members of a band—casts doubts about the musicianship of Nesmith, Tork, Dolenz, and Jones (unfairly, both Welch and I agree). When The Monkees toured Aus­tralia in 1968 (I was twelve years old and remember it very well), a TV reporter in Brisbane impertinently asked Jones: “When do you think you might break up and try something like music?” Jones responded by throwing a glass of water in the reporter’s face, to which he retaliated by doing likewise to Jones. (The Canberra Times, 23 September 1968).

Welch was right not to get bogged down too much by the controversy over the merit of The Monkees’ music, which is surely “old hat” anyway. Firstly, at least three of the group’s hits  “I’m a Believer” (1966), “Last Train to Clarksville” (1966), and “Day­dream Believer” (1967)—are widely recognized nowa­days as “standards” of the era. Secondly, the two manifestations of The Monkees have both stood the test of time: the TV show has endured thanks initially to reruns, then to DVD, and now to YouTube; while the pop group’s three surviving members continue to perform into their seventies, most recently in 2016 to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary.

The four actor—musicians were hired to essentially play caricatures of themselves on The Monkees. This was underpinned by the decision to use their own given names on the show, that is, “Mike,” “Peter,” “Micky,” and “Davy.” As such, The Monkees were following a tradition established by some of America’s greatest comedians, including Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Laurel and Hardy, Lucille Ball, and The Three Stooges. But The Beatles had the greatest effect on The Monkees. The English pop group influenced The Monkees’ zoomorphic name and the cute misspelling of “monkeys”; the group’s gender and size and partic­ular mix of personalities; and the group’s zany antics on the TV show, which were modeled on those of The Beatles in their hit films, A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965). Coincidentally, Davy Jones and the Broadway cast of Oliver! performed on The Ed Sulli­van Show on the same night in 1964 as The Beatles did. “I watched The Beatles from the side of the stage,” Jones recalled. “I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, ‘This is it, I want a piece of that'” (Los Ange­les Times, 1 March 2012).

Each chapter of Why The Monkees Matter looks at a different aspect of the TV series, such as its contribu­tion to American counterculture in the 1960s; how feminism, gender, and sexuality were played out on the show; the role the scriptwriters played in making The Monkees a success; how the personalities of “Mike,” “Peter,” “Micky,” and “Davy” evolved over the course of the TV series’ two seasons and fifty-eight episodes and so on. But a constant theme throughout Welch’s book is metatextuality on The Monkees, that is, the two levels of dialogue that were going on one between the actor—musicians on the set and the other between the actor—musicians and the TV audience. While this was nothing new on television (Jack Benny and George Burns, mentioned above, both often inter­rupted the action to directly speak to or look at the TV audience), The Monkees introduced metatextuality to a new generation and, what is more, did it in fresh new ways, such as including outtakes at the end of the shows. While this is regularly done nowadays, it was rather “shocking” in 1966—and certainly very “hip.”

—Derham Groves, University of Melbourne


 Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop Culture

    

 

McFarland (Direct from Publisher) | Amazon | Kindle Edition | Nook Edition

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Watch this entire presentation

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

 

A recording of my presentation at this year’s University Film and Video Association (UFVA) 2017 conference.

Transcript:

They’re the people behind Nick and Nora Charles. Dashiell Hammet wrote the novel. If you read the novel, Nora is nothing. She’s just his wife. She drinks a lot and she’s pretty. In the movie, she has agency and she helps solve the case because Frances Hackett was a female writer on the movie adaptation and she made sure that the woman had something to do. She has a great quote where she says, “I was always the only woman in the room when the stories were being discussed and it was my job to protect the women in the program — in the film and in the story or nobody else would” and if you look at that — it’s so interesting — they did 6 Thin Man movies. The Hacketts only wrote the first 3 and when you come to the fourth one Nora becomes a dumb chick. Doesn’t understand what the cops are doing or what the laws are and she does funny jokes and falls on her face. They entirely lost the believability of that character when the woman who was protecting her left the writing part of it.

Books Mentioned In This Presentation

Follow Dr. Rosanne Welch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosannewelch
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drrosannewelch/

The “Capra Touch” and Writers from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Watch this entire presentation

The “Capra Touch” and Writers from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch

The

 

A recording of my presentation at this year’s University Film and Video Association (UFVA) 2017 conference.

Transcript:

Frank Capra, who — you all know the Robert Riskin anecdote? He turned in 200 blank — he was the screenwriter behind much of Capra’s work and Capra had a famous “Capra Touch” and he would run around town discussing “well, that movie has the ‘Capra touch.’ That’s why it’s successful.”So Robert Riskin had a deadline for this screenplay for Capra and he handed in 200 pages of blank nothing and he said: “Put your fucking touch on that!” Because you cannot direct what does not exist and that’s and important — now it may be an anecdote. We’re not sure, but (unknown) it’s a reminder of the truth. So here we have this Pulitzer Prize-winning set of writers who students have never heard of. You have to look at the book that their nephew wrote about them. You only get the story if someone “puts you in the story.” Luckily their nephew did and it is a really fun little book about their life in Hollywood and New York.

Books Mentioned In This Presentation

Follow Dr. Rosanne Welch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosannewelch
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drrosannewelch/

5 Lessons from the Doctor Who Season Finale

Even if you don’t watch Doctor Who, watch this 5 minute clip of the regeneration of Peter Capaldi into Jodie Whitaker for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a popular culture breakthrough moment where an iconic hero character will now be a female
  2. It’s a writer saying goodbye to probably the coolest job he will ever have – in the form of the monologue he gives the character of The Doctor to perform as he regenerates – so when the character says things like “It’s a treadmill” and “Yes, yes I know, they’ll get it all wrong without me” he is, of course, speaking for himself.
  3. It’s also a writer using his podium to shout out his philosophy of life (which makes a nice New Years Eve kind of message:  “Never be cruel. Never be cowardly. Hate is always foolish and love is always wise.” THAT’s why we all want to be writers – to teach empathy whenever we can. 
  4. It’s an actor at the top of his game getting the kind of Shakespearean death few actors have the chance to perform
  5. It’s the moment the character switches from Capaldi to Whitaker and her first line upon seeing a female face is “Ah, brilliant” – which is one writer (Steven Moffat) complimenting another (Chris Chibnall) who had the creativity and hutzpah to finally make a choice that had been in discussions for 40 years.

Finally, If you follow Moffat’s writing at all, you’ll have noticed that throughout his tenure as the showrunner he continually focused on the importance of fairy tales to a society – even naming this episode “Twice Upon a Time”. 

Check it out!

5 Lessons from the Doctor Who Season Finale

A History of Screenwriting 50 – How To Write Photoplays by John Emerson and Anita Loos – 1920

A History of Screenwriting 50 – How To Write Photoplays by John Emerson and Anita Loos – 1920

A History of Screenwriting 50 - How To Write Photoplays by John Emerson and Anita Loos - 1920A History of Screenwriting 50 - How To Write Photoplays by John Emerson and Anita Loos - 1920

Maybe the first book written about screenwriting, How To Write Photoplays is co-written by one of the most important screenwriters of the silent era, Anita Loos. She wrote the novel “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and much much more.

You can read the entire book online or as a downloadable PDF.


Learn More About Anita Loos with these books

† 

* 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!
† Available at the LA Public Library

02 How TV Gave Gidget Her Groove Back from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017 [Video]

02 How TV Gave Gidget Her Groove Back from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto – Dr. Rosanne Welch – SRN Conference 2017

02 How TV Gave Gidget Her Groove Back from How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto - Dr. Rosanne Welch - SRN Conference 2017

Watch this entire presentation

 

Transcript:

So I am talking about Gidget. So we’re at the SRN Conference and we’re very excited about that and because we’re talking about fact and fiction, that’s why I cam to this. My title is very long. I laugh about that. So, it’s “How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto” and I’m sorry to use that word, but it is a negative word in the United States, but I like the alliteration of the words and I think it is a real problem because you’ll see, of course, the film began — the adaptation began as a film starring Sandra Dee and as far as Americans are concerned, Sandra Dee is kind of a bubble gum, cutesy pie, blonde WITH NO real serious — nothing but the superficiality of her being cute and a babe on the beach, right and so that is what I was thinking about when I thought about doing this and it came to me that it’s TV that gave Gidget her her groove back so I should have shrunk the title but it was too late for the publication.

At this year’s 10th Annual Screenwriting Research Network Conference at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand I presented…

“How Gidget Got Into the Girl Ghetto by Accident (and How We Can Get Her Out of it): Demoting Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas from Edgy Coming of Age Novel to Babe on the Beach Genre Film via Choices made in the Adaptation Process.”

It’ a long title, as I joke up front, but covers the process of adapting the true life story of Kathy Kohner (nicknamed ‘Gidget’ by the group of male surfers who she spent the summers with in Malibu in the 1950s) into the film and television series that are better remembered than the novel. The novel had been well-received upon publication, even compared to A Catcher in the Rye, but has mistakenly been relegated to the ‘girl ghetto’ of films. Some of the adaptations turned the focus away from the coming of age story of a young woman who gained respect for her talent at a male craft – surfing – and instead turned the focus far too much on Kathy being boy crazy.

Along the way I found interesting comparisons between how female writers treated the main character while adapting the novel and how male writers treated the character.


Gidget


Dr. Rosanne Welch

Dr. Rosanne Welch teaches the History of Screenwriting and One-Hour Drama for the Stephens College MFA in Screenwriting.

Writing/producing credits include Beverly Hills 90210, Picket Fences, ABCNEWS: Nightline and Touched by an Angel. In 2016 she published the book Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television and American Pop; co-edited Women in American History: A Social, Political, and Cultural Encyclopedia; and placed “Transmitting Culture Transnationally Via the Characterization of Parents in Police Procedurals” in the New Review of Film and Television Studies. Essays appear in Torchwood Declassified: Investigating Mainstream Cult Television and Doctor Who and Race: An Anthology. Welch serves as Book Reviews editor for Journal of Screenwriting and on the Editorial Advisory Board for Written By magazine, the magazine of the Writers Guild.

Watch Dr. Welch’s talk “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Room” at the 2016 TEDxCPP.


SRN logo red

The Screenwriting Research Network is a research group consisting of scholars, reflective practitioners and practice-based researchers interested in research on screenwriting. The aim is to rethink the screenplay in relation to its histories, theories, values and creative practices.

Writers Have Been Lost In Film History from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Watch this entire presentation

Writers Have Been Lost In Film History from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

Writers Have Been Lost In Film History from Giving Voice to Silent Films and the Far From Silent Women Who Wrote Them with Dr. Rosanne Welch [Video]

 

A recording of my presentation at this year’s University Film and Video Association (UFVA) 2017 conference.

Transcript:

So why are we studying this? Because I believe and we can prove that writers have been lost in the history of film. If you look at this, what do we call know? We all know this movies is by who? Frank Capra! Right? Right. Look at this — no, no, no, — Screenplay by Frank Capra. You can’t read this from there. I can barely read this from here. This movie which plays perennially at Christmas a million times was written by them. Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. A married screenwriting time that worked for 35 years together until she died. They were the highest paid screenwriting team and they’re nothing to sneeze at because they got a Pulitzer for the play, The Diary of Anne Frank and then they adapted it into a film and it kills me that children — they know Anne Frank. They know It’s a Wonderful Life and they know Frank Capra.

Books Mentioned In This Presentation

Follow Dr. Rosanne Welch

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosannewelch
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drrosannewelch/

A History of Screenwriting 49 – Mabel’s Married Life – Mabel Normand – 1914

A History of Screenwriting 49 – Mabel’s Married Life – Mabel Normand – 1914

A History of Screenwriting 48 - Mabel's Married Life - Mabel Normand - 1914

Mabel’s Married Life (1914) is an American comedy silent film made by Keystone Studios starring and co-written by Charles Chaplin and Mabel Normand, and directed by Chaplin. As was so often the case during his first year in film, Chaplin’s character is soon staggering drunk. —Wikipedia


Learn More About Mabel Normand with these books

* 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!
† Available at the LA Public Library