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I come to praise writers, not to bury them!


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I know we are at a film forum devoted to a love of films, but I often find it disconcerting that so little appreciation is given the authors of much of the source material.

 

Without ?D?entre Les Morts? by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac where would Hitchcock have been with "Vertigo".

 

Without Chandler and Hammett, Humphrey would not have had such great roles under his belt.

 

Recently the TCM bit about "Giant" goes on and on about Liz being the first feminist in movies, yet the movie critic female seems to have no semblance of appreciation of the author, Edna Ferber who gave Liz this great chance to emote.

 

Pity, ain't it?

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I agree that writer don't get enough credit at this forum and I suspect by the general public as well.

 

There was a tread about who was more important to the making of a film; the director or the actors.

 

I said it was the screen writer and or author of the original source material. People here often mention how studio bosses and producers uses their power to limit directors, as if the vision of the director is somehow the 'true' vision.

 

While I think the concept of a true version is folly, IF there is such a thing as a true vision, it would come from the screen writer more so than the director. Directors also used their power to ensure a movie reflected their vision over that of the screen writer or author of the source material. This is why the many screen writers (Wilder, Huston, etc..) became directors as well as producers so they had more control.

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>If we all could be that clever, how much more more fascinating could all our lives be! ;)

 

SO not true! Why, even after all the "clever" things I SAY around here, my life could STILL be more "fascinating"!!!

 

I'm thinkin' it's 'cause of all the time I spend at this place lately! ;)

 

(...sorry CaveGirl, once again I couldn't resist...and yes, your point is extremely well taken here...without great scripts filled with memorable dialogue, most of the films TCM shows wouldn't be nearly as memorable or as loved...here's to the screenwriters!)

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Thank you, mister 6666 for most sound sentiments and if you had one less 666, I would be contacting you for some Faustian favors!

 

Thanks also, jamesjazzguitar for your insights. I believe there is a form of narcissism so rampant in show biz from time immemorial, that the respect the writer of what made them famous seems to get completely obscured over time.

 

Now...if you are brilliant like Chaplin and can write, direct, act in and also even write your own theme music, which is actually quite melodious, like "Limelight"...then you deserve all the praise there is to bestow.

 

I will admit, often some source material has been greatly improved by a director with vision, but still...one should salute one's sources. I too find it risible that people quote lines from films as if the character as played by the actor came up with it on the spot. We can probably only praise a few oddball folks like W.C. Fields for writing his own trenchant cracks as he went, but that's life I guess.

 

As Rodney Dangerfield once said...for writers, it must be a hard pill to swallow.

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I would recommend everyone read William Goldman's book Adventures In The Screen Trade, in which the bestselling novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter (Butch Cassidy) details his career as a writer in Hollywood.

 

If you can find it (try a library), Talking Pictures by Richard Corliss is a useful corrective to Sarris' director-obsessed The American Cinema.

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Goldman's no slouch as a writer himself. Many of my favorite books are Goldman penned. And not all of them were made into movies. Shame. Or, maybe NOT. His "Soldier in The Rain" was a far different book than the movie that was supposedly based on it.

 

I concur with writers being the "backbone" of movie making. Why, even SILENT MOVIES followed a script!

 

Sepiatone

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Well the truth is that no movie sticks to the book (well unless the book was a really, really short story).

 

The basic reason being time restraints. So the first step in creating a screen play is to create an outline from the book that list the characters and then a breakdown of scenes.

 

The next step is to decide what can be dropped without impacting the overall plot theme. Most books will have way too many characters and scenes to fit into a 2 hour time slot (even a 4 hour one).

 

The battle between lovers of the book and the final cut of the movie is often based on missing 'key' characters or scenes (key as defined by lover of the book).

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