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Leigh Brackett


Richard Kimble
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Before yesterday, I didn't know much about Leigh Brackett. I'd seen the name in the screenplay credits of some notable films of course, but not much beyond that.

 

Leigh Brackett's Chandlerish first novel, the hard-boiled noir No Good from a Corpse, was published in 1944. After reading it Howard Hawks sent for "this guy Brackett" to work on the script for The Big Sleep.

 

Imagine his surprise when she showed up for work.

 

Leigh Brackett and Howard Hawks on the Set of Rio Bravo:

 

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Yes I was aware Leigh Brackett was a woman, and I knew she'd written The Long Goodbye for Robert Altman. I either never knew or had forgotten she worked on The Empire Strikes Back (I'm not a Star Wars person).

 

What I definitely never knew was that she was a prolific science fiction novelist and story writer. Indeed her Wikipedia page is devoted almost entirely to her SF output, with her screenwriting and mystery fiction careers almost as afterthoughts.

 

Differing perspectives can be fascinating. If I'd written the Wiki article it would have been about LB's screenwriting career, mentioning her SF oeuvre only in passing.

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One can learn something new here every day. I was familiar with the name Leigh Brackett, but had no idea she was a woman and that she had such a varied career. Her versatility (sci-fi, noir, westerns) and mature writing is truly admirable.

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  • 5 years later...

TCM should do  a Leigh Brackett series.  She may not have written more screenplays than others, but the percentage of hit films shows her talent. From "The Big Sleep" to "Rio Bravo" to "Hatari" to"The Long Good ye" to  "Stars Wars", what could this woman not write. Long after her death her words continued to be used in various "Star Wars" incarnations. Her filmography shows that professionals who worked with her wanted to work with her again.  

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