An essential collection of essays, interviews and filmographies, this was a seminal work (and a precursor to Corliss’s 1974 manifesto, Talking Pictures) in terms of bringing the screenwriter out from under the director’s shadow, following a decade of auteurist criticism run rampant. There are essays on Anita Loos, Jules Furthman, Ben Hecht, Preston Sturges and Dudley Nichols; a memoir by Howard Koch about working with Max Ophuls on LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN; interviews with Ring Lardner Jr., Borden Chase, Dalton Trumbo, James Poe, Eleanor Perry and Penelope Gilliatt; a ” Screenwriters Symposium,” featuring twelve noted screenwriters’ answers to a questionnaire (included are Philip Dunne, Norman Krasna, Ernest Lehman and Michael Wilson); and filmographies of fifty prominent screenwriters. The Foreword is by Carl Foreman.
During the ’30s and ’40s, Hollywood produced a genre of madcap comedies that emphasized reuniting the central couple after divorce or separation. And the female protagonists were strong, independent, and sophisticated. Here, Stanley Cavell examines seven of those classic movies for their cinematic techniques, and for such varied themes as feminism, liberty and interdependence. Included are Adam’s Rib, Bringing Up Baby, and The Philadelphia Story.
You never know when you’ll stumble on a piece of popular culture proof that The Monkees were an entrenched part of the 1960s – and a bonafide world-wide phenomenon of that time. I thought I had found quite a few of them in my research for the book – from the then newest moment on the first season of Grace and Frankie (where Frankie admits she once hung out with Micky) to the couple of Simpsons show references – to the now ubiquitous “I’m a Believer” ending of Shrek (no matter who sings it, that is always a Monkees song).
But watching reruns of the long-running BBC detective series Lewis unearthed a new one I had missed. This moment I’m posting came in Season 3, Episode 3, titled “The Point of Vanishing” in 2009 between characters at a high class Oxford cocktail party. The character properly credits the writer of “I’m a Believer” as Neil Diamond (in my other, non-Monkees-fan life I do teach screenwriting so I’m always pleased to see writers credited) so he does not call it a Monkees song – but we all know that it IS a Monkees song being referenced in this high-end program (it did air in the U.S. on PBS’s Mystery.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been asked to serve as Reviews Editor for the Journal of Screenwriting, published by Intellect, Ltd.
The Journal explores “the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, highlighting current academic thinking around scriptwriting whilst also reflecting on this with a truly international perspective and outlook.”
It’s the international aspect that interests and impresses me the most. I look forward to working on such an elegant publication and such a distinguished group of academics:
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
The Cabbage Dairy (La Fée aux Choux) – Alice Guy Blaché
“Alice Guy’s first film, and arguably the world’s first narrative film, was called La Fée aux Choux (The Cabbage Fairy) in 1896. It is a humorous story of a woman growing children in a cabbage patch. There is speculation surrounding the actual date of the film and different historians have argued about the dating and the labeling of it as ‘the first narrative film’ because of its extremely close release to another catalogued Gaumont film and other narrative-esque films from Méliès.— Wikipedia
Books on Alice Guy Blaché
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