Tom Stempel, Friend of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, and his blog, Understanding Screenwriting

Friend of the Stephens College MFA in TV and Screenwriting, Tom Stempel, (historian and author of one of the textbooks used in our MFA – Framework: a History of Screenwriting) has a blog – Understanding Screenwriting — where he analyzes the work of recent screenplays, many of which you may have just seen.

His latest post…

Tom Stempel reviews Downton Abbey, Hustlers, and the lineup of this Fall 2019 Television Season.

Welcome Back, Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and the Dowager Countess.

Downton Abbey (2019. Screenplay by Julian Fellowes, Characters by Julian Fellowes. 122 minutes)

A letter is signed in flowery handwriting. It goes to the post office. It goes on the Night Mail train to northern England (we know it is the Night Mail train because this montage bears more than a passing resemblance to the great 1936 documentary of the same name). The letter goes into the post office van, then the post office. A postal employee rides on a bicycle through the countryside . He goes up a familiar path to…Downton Abbey. He gives the letter to Andy, one of the footmen at the Abbey, who looks at the letter and says, “Blimey.” Andy takes the letter to Barrow, the head of household staff, who takes it to Robert, the Earl of Grantham. Robert opens the letter and tells his eldest daughter, Lady Mary, the contents. Lady Mary’s reply is, “What?”

Read Tom’s entire article

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