Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Courtney Meznarich

This Month in Movie History - October Roundup

  • On this day in history

    The Twilight
    Zone

    created by

    • Rod Serling

    The Twilight Zone -

    “The Twilight Zone,” created by Rod Serling, ran for five seasons and 156 episodes. Serling wrote or co-wrote 92 of the stories in the anthology, in all of which the protagonist faced some bizarre or fantastical situation with climactic twists. He also narrated the series. Still today, we say we’re in “The Twilight Zone” if something strange is happening to us. WGA ranked the show number three on its list of Best Written TV Series of all time, and it got a reboot in 2019 with Jordan Peele narrating. 

  • On this day in history

       Robert
          William Paul

    • Happy
    • 150th Birthday!

    Robert William Paul -

    Robert William Paul, born 150 years ago, is considered the father of British Film. When he realized Edison didn’t patent his kinetoscope in Britain, Paul made several copies of the device, which allowed people to view film through a viewfinder. But he ran short on films, so he built his own cameras and began to make movies of his own. A trained electrician and scientific instruments builder, Paul later developed a projection system so films could be viewed on-screen.

  • On this day in history

    The Maltese
      Falcon

    screenplay by

    • John Huston

    The Maltese Falcon -

    John Huston wrote the screenplay for and directed “The Maltese Falcon,” released on this day in history in 1941. Huston based the story on a 1930 novel of the same name, by Dashiell Hammett. It follows a private detective in San Francisco and his encounters with three people who are all trying to get their hands on a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette. The film is considered one of the first major film noirs and is preserved in the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry.

  • On this day in history

    Dr. No

    screenplay by

    • Richard Maibaum
    • Johanna Harwood
    • Berkely Mather

    Dr. No -

    On this day in history in 1962, the world met Bond, James Bond, on the silver screen. “Dr. No” was the first film in the James Bond series, although not the first of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books. The adapted screenplay credits go to Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather, although Wolf Mankowitz was initially attached to an early draft. That draft was rejected because the writers had changed the villain, Dr. No, into a monkey. “Dr. No” established a look for the films, including the opening sequence and the theme music, which has carried on through 24 more Bond films.

  • On this day in history

    Fight Club

    screenplay by

    • Jim Uhls

    Fight Club -

    The narrator’s voiceover was nearly omitted from the “Fight Club” screenplay, adapted by Jim Uhls because industry experts at the time viewed the narration technique as hokey. It later became an integral part of the film’s ability to convey the story, which followed an unhappy white-collar worker who starts a fight club with a soap salesperson. Five revisions and one year later, and with lots of feedback from lead characters Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, Uhls finalized the script, based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk.

  • On this day in history

    Spartacus

    screenplay by

    • Dalton Trumbo
    • Howard Fast

    Spartacus -

    “Sparticus” was one of Universal Studios’ highest-grossing films of all time until 1970, when “Airport” beat it. The screenplay was adapted by Dalton Trumbo, based on the original novel by Howard Fast, and followed a slave revolt against the Roman Republic. Trumbo was actually one of the Hollywood Ten and Hollywood had blacklisted him for his involvement in the Communist Party, but Bryna Productions, owned by the film’s star Kirk Douglas, hired him anyway. It was the beginning of the end of blacklisting in Hollywood when president-elect John F. Kennedy crossed picket lines to see the film.

  • On this day in history

    Hey Arnold

    created by

    • Craig Bartlett

    Hey Arnold -

    The 90s produced some of the best cartoon content on network television, and “Hey Arnold,” created by Craig Bartlett, is part of that nostalgia. Bartlett made the show for kids, yet it dealt with very real adult issues, including family, love, and friendship. Bartlett said he wanted the show to have feature magic realism, where characters made the most out of a not so good situation. He didn’t want to dampen a child’s experiences or talk down to his audience. “Hey Arnold” ran for eight years on Nickelodeon.

  • On this day in history

    Persona

    screenplay by

    • Ingmar Bergman

    Persona -

    Ingmar Bergman wrote and directed this Swedish psychological drama, which ranks on Sight & Sound’s best-of list. It’s about a young nurse assigned to take care of a mute actress, and soon, their personas begin to meld. The script is full of monologues, given one of the stars has no lines whatsoever, and deals with themes of isolation, suffering, and reality. Bergman is said to have written the screenplay while confined to a hospital.

  • On this day in history

         Donnie
        Darko

    screenplay by

    • Richard Kelly

    Donnie Darko -

    “Donnie Darko,” written and directed by Richard Kelly, had a disastrous start. While it only cost $4.5 million to produce, the film only grossed just over $7 million at the box office. It received little marketing because the trailer showed a crashing plane and the September 11th attacks happened just one month before. It wasn’t until the film was released on DVD and VHS a year later that it finally found success. Now, the movie has a cult following and has been named to many best-of lists. It centers on a teenager who finds friendship with an imaginary, demon rabbit, and is convinced that the world will end in 28 days. It took 28 days to shoot the film as well, which was pure coincidence.

  • On this day in history

    The Last
    Picture
    Show

    screenplay by

    • Larry McMurty
    • Peter Bogdanovich

    The Last Picture Show -

    The screenplay for “The Last Picture Show” was written by Peter Bogdanovich, adapted from the novel by Larry McMurty. The story is a coming of age tale and was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. It was shot in black and white, which was unusual for the time, to portray the story’s time period. To this day, it maintains a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 100 percent.

  • On this day in history

    Halloween

    screenplay by

    • John Carpenter
    • Debra Hill

    Halloween -

    John Carpenter and Debra Hill wrote the screenplay for “Halloween” about a serial killer who escapes an insane asylum and returns to his hometown to stalk a babysitter and her friends. The pair completed the script in just a couple of weeks, drawing on their own childhood experiences for the setting, street names, and characters. It cost just $300,000 to produce the movie and grossed $70 million. It inspired seven more movies later, which gave viewers a more in-depth look into the antagonist, Michael Myers.

The images in this blog were modified and originally appeared on Wikimedia Commons.

You may also be interested in...

On this day in history

Forrest
Gump

screenplay by

  • Eric Roth
  • Winston Groom

This Month in Movie History – July Roundup

Alice Guy-Blaché was born in Paris, France. She grew up to become a pioneer filmmaker and is believed to have made the first-ever film featuring an all-African American cast, called "A Fool and His Money." The film is preserved at AFI. 25 years ago, “Forrest Gump” charmed audiences with a story told through eyes of a man with an IQ of 75. The script, originally written as a novel by Winston Groom, varied greatly in its adaptation for the screen by Eric Roth, focusing more on Forrest’s relationship with Jenny than the life events he was experiencing in the 60s. It's been 31 years since...

On this day in history

The Wizard
of Oz

screenplay by

  • Noel Langley
  • Florence Ryerson
  • Edgar Allan Woolf

This Month in Movie History – August Roundup

Sixty-five years ago, “Rear Window,” written by John Michael Hayes and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, premiered to prominent members of the social and entertainment worlds at Rivoli Theater in New York City. It received four Academy Award nominations including Best Writing and ranked on AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies list, among others. The story went on to inspire screenplays for generations, including “What Lies Beneath,” “Panic Room,” “The Girl on the Train,” and “Disturbia.” M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller “The Sixth Sense” solidified the filmmaker’s signature style for surprise endings. In a rare...

On this day in history

A Trip to the
    Moon

screenplay by

  • Georges Méliès

This Month in Movie History – September Roundup

On this day in history 117 years ago, filmmaker Georges Méliès introduced the world to science fiction, in his 18-minute long hand-colored silent film about traveling to the moon. Méliès became famous for his theatrical style, fancy sets, and special effects. Although the film was silent, it was meant to be presented alongside a live orchestra and narrator, so the score varied from theater to theater. Méliès pioneered the style of leaving the camera stationary, aimed at a single set, to mimic the perspective of an audience member. The scene of the space capsule landing in the moon’s eye is considered...

Comments