To highlight the wonderful yet largely forgotten work of a collection of female screenwriters from the early years of Hollywood (and as a companion to the book, When Women Wrote Hollywood) we will be posting quick bits about the many films they wrote along with links to further information and clips from their works which are still accessible online. Take a few moments once or twice a week to become familiar with their names and their stories. I think you’ll be surprised at how much bold material these writers tackled at the birth of this new medium. — Rosanne Welch
Samuel (September 16, 1899 – October 14, 1971) and Bella Spewack (March 25, 1899 – April 27, 1990) were a husband-and-wife writing team.
Samuel, who also directed many of their plays, was born in Ukraine. He attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City and then received his degree from Columbia College.
They settled in New Hope, Pennsylvania. In the latter part of the decade, Samuel wrote several novels, including Mon Paul, The Skyscraper Murder, and The Murder in the Gilded Cage, on his own, while the pair collaborated on plays. The two wrote several plays and screenplays for mostly B-movies throughout the 1930s, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Story for My Favorite Wife in 1940. They also penned a remake of Grand Hotel, entitled Week-End at the Waldorf (1945), which starred Ginger Rogers.
Always known as a turbulent couple, the Spewaks were in the midst of their own marital woes in 1948 when they were approached to write the book for Kiss Me, Kate, which centered on a once-married couple of thespians who use the stage on which they’re performing as a battling ground. Bella initially began working with composer Cole Porter on her own, but theatrical necessity overcame marital sparks, and the Spewacks completed the project together. It yielded each of them two Tony Awards, one for Best Musical, the other for Best Author of a Musical. Kiss Me, Kate proved to be their most successful work. — Wikipedia
More about Bella and Sam Spewack
- Read more about this screenwriter in When Women Wrote Hollywood
- Like When Women Wrote Hollywood on Facebook
- Bella and Sam Spewack on Wikipedia
- Bella Spewack on IMDB
- Sam Spewack on IMDB
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