Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dreams of Screenwriting

"Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be your best." David O. McKay

One of my favorite books of all time is Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life. If you haven't read it--read it soon and determine what your purpose is!

I love to write, and since I'm crazy about movies, I've often dreamed of writing a screenplay! I'm a film buff, so the older, the better. I'm particularly fond of the film noir classics of the 1940s.
According to EphraimItalic Katz's Film Encyclopedia, the term "film noir" was coined by French critics to describe motion pictures characterized by a "dark somber tone and cynical, pessimistic mood." It literally means "dark film."

The film noir Hollywood pictures of the 40s and 50s portrayed the dark, sinister underworld of crime and corruption. And both heroes and villains were cynical loners, insecure and disillusioned by life's circumstances, bound to the past, and unsure of the future.

Several scenes are shot at night, and dingy realism is portrayed through the interior and exterior set designs. There's nothing glamorous about these movies (aside from the leading lady's wardrobe), but the stories are extremely compelling, with intrigue, suspense and lots and lots of plot twists!

Two of my favorite film noir pictures star beautiful Rita Hayworth. Although Lady from Shanghai is hard to follow (you'll have to watch it more than once), it keeps you wondering what's going to happen next. Even if it seems too wierd (or perhaps, thought provoking, since it's Orson Welles), it's worth watching just for the ending. That's when Rita's character is shot in the house of mirrors and then lay dying in broken glass (she deserves it).

My other favorite is Gilda, which, for film noir, has a relatively happy ending. In this film, Rita is glamour personified! As the hot and steamy Gilda, a woman with a questionable past, her dialog to leading man Glen Ford is topnotch. Her words actually had me saying "ouch" a few times for the poor guy!

Film noir has influenced my fiction writing, so maybe one day I'll try my hand at a screenplay. Do you love old movies, too? And have you read The Purpose Driven Life?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I do love old movies. Sunset Boulevard being one of the favs. It's interesting that you mentioned Lady from Shanghai, because in a round about way it is connected to a novel I have in the hopper.

You mentioned you have dreams of screenwriting. I know from experience, you need to be real comfortable switching between novelist and screenwriter. They are two different ball games - one making the other more difficult. I've had success as a screenwriter, but I find going back to my novel work difficult- that's where I'd like to stay - for now at least.