Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

This Month in Filmmaking History - October 2021

  • On this day in history

          On the

    screenplay by

    • Budd Schulberg
    • Robert Siodmak

    On the Waterfront -

    "On the Waterfront," a crime drama that premiered on this day in history in 1954, is considered one of the best films of all time by expert organizations such as the American Film Institute and the US National Film Registry. Budd Schulberg's screenplay for the film is based on actual events, though the story ends on a more satisfying note than it did in real life. Robert Siodmak also contributed to the screenplay, though he is uncredited. While the movie won eight Academy Awards, including Best Screenplay for Schulberg, Marlon Brando's starring performance makes the film stick out in history for most people today. Filmmakers and actors hail Brando's acting as some of the best there ever was, and the role helped popularize method acting. Schulberg later adapted the story for Broadway and a novel.

    Read the screenplay transcript for “On the Waterfront.”

  • On this day in history

              at the
              Gas Station!

    screenplay by

    • Park Jung-woo

    Attack at the Gas Station! -

    The Korean crime-comedy "Attack at the Gas Station!" premiered on this day in history in 1999, launching the careers of the young cast and inspiring copycat crimes in Korea. The story centers on a group of thieves who rob a gas station because they're bored, but their plan goes out of control before the night is through. Park Jung-woo wrote the screenplay, which was one of his first big successes. He's now considered one of the most well-known screenwriters and directors in Korea.  

  • On this day in history

                      The Ten

    screenplay by

    • Æneas MacKenzie, Jesse Lasky Jr.
    • Jack Gariss, Fredric M. Frank

    The Ten Commandments -

    When it was released on this day in history in 1956, "The Ten Commandments" was the most expensive film ever made. The story is a dramatized version of the biblical story of Moses, and it featured one of the biggest sets ever built for a film. Adjusted for inflation, it also lands on the top 10 list of the most financially successful films ever made. Æneas MacKenzie, Jesse Lasky Jr., Jack Gariss, and Fredric M. Frank wrote the final shooting script for the religious epic, which has a running time of more than four hours.

    Read the final shooting script for “The Ten Commandments.”

  • On this day in history


    screenplay by

    • Tony Kushner

    Lincoln -

    "Lincoln," written by Tony Kushner based on a biography by Doris Kearns Goodwin, premiered on this day in history in 2012 at the New York Film Festival. Kushner focused the events in the script on the last several months of Abraham Lincoln's life and his efforts to abolish slavery. Kushner was the third screenwriter to work on the project. John Logan wrote the first draft, which playwright Paul Webb was hired to rewrite. Spielberg still wasn't happy with it, so Kushner came on board. His first version of the script was more than 500 pages long, so he narrowed in on the final two months of Lincoln's life while Lincoln was focused on adopting the Thirteenth Amendment.

    Read the final shooting script for “Lincoln.”

  • On this day in history


    screenplay by

    • John Logan

    Hugo -

    John Logan wrote the adapted screenplay for the adventure drama film "Hugo," which premiered on this day in history ten years ago. It was director Martin Scorsese's first foray into 3D movies. While a box-office failure, the film was praised by critics and was nominated for 11 Oscars, eight BAFTAs, and three Golden Globes. Based on Brian Selznick's book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," the story is about an orphan in 1930s Paris who becomes wrapped up in a mystery surrounding his late father and an automaton.

    Read the screenplay for “Hugo.”

  • On this day in history

    Garden Scene

    recorded by

    • Louis Le Prince

    Roundhay Garden Scene -

    The Roundhay Garden Scene was recorded by French inventor Louis Le Prince on this day in history in 1888, cementing itself as the oldest surviving film in existence. Le Prince recorded the footage of his son Adolph, his mother-in-law Sarah Whitley, his father-in-law Joseph Whitely, and Annie Hartley in the garden at Oakwood Grange in Roundhay, Leeds in England. Sarah is seen walking in the 2.11-second long clip, while Joseph's coattails fly as he turns.

    Watch The Roundhay Garden Scene.

  • On this day in history

    My Darling

    screenplay by

    • Samuel G. Engel
    • Winston Miller

    My Darling Clementine -

    The American Western "My Darling Clementine," written by Samuel G. Engel and Winston Miller, premiered on this day in history in 1946. Engel and Miller based the screenplay on the fictionalized biography of "Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall," written by Stewart Lake. It's the story of the events that led up to the gunfight at the OK Corral. Though based on actual events, the final screenplay heavily dramatized the historical facts and added characters that did not exist in real life. Experts consider the movie to be one of the best American Westerns of all time and director John Ford's best film.

    Read the dialogue transcript for “My Darling Clementine.”

  • On this day in history

    West Side

    screenplay by

    • Ernest Lehman

    West Side Story -

    The classic Shakespearean tragedy "Romeo and Juliet" hit theaters in a fresh way when "West Side Story" premiered on this day in history in 1961. Ernest Lehman wrote the screenplay, which pits the Jets and Sharks against each other in 50s New York while two people from the rival gangs fall in love. The script is an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, which was based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." Critics say the film is the best musical ever made, and the Academy agreed. It won 10 of the 11 Oscars it was nominated for that year, including Best Picture. A Steven Spielberg remake is slated for debut in December 2021.

    Read the dialogue transcript for “West Side Story.”

  • On this day in history

       The Awful

    screenplay by

    • Viña Delmar

    The Awful Truth -

    Though much of the dialogue and comedic elements were reportedly improvised, screenwriter Viña Delmar is credited with the script for the screwball comedy "The Awful Truth," which premiered on this day in 1937. After several other screenwriters drafted versions of their own, Delmar and her husband Eugene were brought on by director Leo McCarey. The couple proceeded to write a script more in line with the original play, including musical numbers. There are reports that McCarey all but abandoned the majority of the Delmars' version, writing his own draft instead, though Viña remains the sole credited writer on the movie. The film was a box office success, earning six Oscar nominations and catapulting Cary Grant's career.

    Read the dialogue transcript for “The Awful Truth.”

  • On this day in history


    screenplay by

    • Neal Purvis
    • Robert Wade
    • John Logan

    Skyfall -

    The 23rd James Bond film, "Skyfall," premiered on this day in history in 2012. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan wrote the screenplay, picking up where screenwriter Peter Morgan left off after MGM went into bankruptcy. The film's release on this day coincided with the 50th anniversary of the series. "Skyfall" is the first James Bond film to gross more than a billion dollars at the box office. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and won two, including Best Song ("Skyfall," written and performed by Adele) and Best Sound Editing.

    Read the screenplay for “Skyfall.”

  • On this day in history

     Le Samouraï

    screenplay by

    • Jean-Pierre Melville
    • Georges Pellegrin

    Le Samouraï -

    The French neo-noir crime thriller "Le Samouraï" premiered on this day in history in 1967. Jean-Pierre Melville wrote and directed the movie, with co-writing credit going to Georges Pellegrin. The story centers on Jef Costello, a hired hitman who witnesses see commit a crime. Melville won praise from critics for the screenwriting and the direction. The movie inspired many after it, including "The American" by Rowan Joffe and "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" by Jim Jarmusch.

  • On this day in history

    Rebel Without
         a Cause

    screenplay by

    • Irving Shulman
    • Stewart Stern

    Rebel Without a Cause -

    Stewart Stern and Irving Shulman developed the screenplay and adaptation, respectively, for "Rebel Without a Cause," which premiered on this day in 1955. The film's star, James Dean, had passed away a month prior. The movie's theme centered on generational gaps, parenting styles, and the moral decay of American youth. The title came from psychiatrist Robert M. Lindner's book of the same name, though the screenplay doesn't mention the book otherwise. The production initially began in black and white until the studio realized Dean was becoming a hot commodity, and filming was switched to CinemaScope color.

    Read the screenplay for “Rebel Without a Cause.”

  • On this day in history

      Trouble in

    screenplay by

    • Grover Jones
    • Samson Raphaelson

    Trouble in Paradise -

    "Trouble in Paradise," written by Samson Raphaelson with adaptation and story input by Grover Jones, premiered on this day in history in 1932. The pre-Hays Code romantic comedy is about a thief and a pickpocket who work together to con a perfume company owner, only to have romance and jealousy get in the way. The screenplay featured adult themes and sexual innuendo, so when the studio applied to reissue the movie in 1935, the Motion Picture Production Code barred it. The code, which was in place from approximately 1934 to 1968, prevented studios from publishing morally questionable content such as crude language, sexual content, and religious ridicule. Paramount attempted to make a musical version of the film in 1943 but was again denied.

    Read the screenplay for “Trouble in Paradise.”

  • On this day in history


    screenplay by

    • Vincent Lawrence
    • Waldemar Young
    • +7 more contributors

    Peter Ibbetson -

    The black and white fantasy film "Peter Ibbetson" premiered on this day in history in 1935. Vincent Lawrence and Waldemar Young are credited with the bulk of the screenplay, though many other writers contributed. The story is based loosely on the novel of the same name by George du Maurier. It's about a man who falls in love with a woman, only to realize it is a now-grown childhood friend. The man goes to prison, but the pair live out their love affair through each other's dreams. The film was praised for its beautiful cinematography.

    Read the dialogue transcript for “Peter Ibbetson.”

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