Talking pictures : how they are made, how to appreciate them (c. 1937)

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Dreams Wanted Robert Hopkins and Anita Loos, author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Current events frequently influence the selection of motion picture stories. Just before the coronation of King George VI, one studio released The Prince and the Pauper , an adaptation of a story by Mark Twain. It brought to an interested public the pageantry and ritual of an English coronation. Original stories are often founded upon some his- torical character whose biography lends itself to dra- matic presentation. The Story of Louis Pasteur and Rembrandt, the latter produced in Great Britain, illus- trate this usage. The question might logically be asked, "If the studios make original stories based on historical characters, could not an amateur prepare a film play on the life of such a person and have it accepted?" A negative reply must be made because there is prob- ably no more expert and difficult writing job in the world than the transformation of biography into the medium of exciting drama. It is a harder task than writ- ing fiction. In fiction, the imagination may roam un- checked, but, in fitting biography into the medium of the screen, one is bound by inescapable facts. These must be deftly woven into the framework. To do this requires long literary training and that quick instinct for the dramatically right and wrong, which becomes second nature to a competent profes- sional writer. Contrary to general opinion, writers are very seldom "born." They are developed from sheer perspiration, hard work, and long experience of trial and error. Before he sold his first story, Rupert Hughes [41]