Before Peanuts, Alice Guy Blaché Presented the First True Meaning of Christmas Film – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December 2023

 

Before Peanuts, Alice Guy Blaché Presented the First True Meaning of Christmas Film  – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December  2023

Though she never wrote a horror film, to celebrate Halloween this month’s focus is screenwriter, poet, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Zoe Akins, born on October 30, 1886. In 1935 Akins would become the third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the highest honor for a Broadway play in the United States, after Zona Gale (1921) and Susan Glaspell (1931). Akins’ win came from her dramatization of Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid. Four years later the play was adapted by Casey Robinson into a film starring Bette Davis, even though Akins had begun adapting plays and turning out her own screenplays in the early 1930s. Throughout her career, she collaborated with some of the most important women both behind and in front of the cameras which has kept her work in the public eye.

Read Before Peanuts, Alice Guy Blaché Presented the First True Meaning of Christmas Film


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From Silents to Talkies to TV Lenore J. Coffee Did It All – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, November 2023

From Silents to Talkies to TV Lenore J. Coffee Did It All – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, November 2023

Though she never wrote a horror film, to celebrate Halloween this month’s focus is screenwriter, poet, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Zoe Akins, born on October 30, 1886. In 1935 Akins would become the third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the highest honor for a Broadway play in the United States, after Zona Gale (1921) and Susan Glaspell (1931). Akins’ win came from her dramatization of Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid. Four years later the play was adapted by Casey Robinson into a film starring Bette Davis, even though Akins had begun adapting plays and turning out her own screenplays in the early 1930s. Throughout her career, she collaborated with some of the most important women both behind and in front of the cameras which has kept her work in the public eye.

Read From Silents to Talkies to TV Lenore J. Coffee Did It All


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Poems, Plays, Pulitzers: Screenwriter Zoe Akins Did it All – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, October 2023

Poems, Plays, Pulitzers: Screenwriter Zoe Akins Did it All – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, October 2023

Though she never wrote a horror film, to celebrate Halloween this month’s focus is screenwriter, poet, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Zoe Akins, born on October 30, 1886. In 1935 Akins would become the third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the highest honor for a Broadway play in the United States, after Zona Gale (1921) and Susan Glaspell (1931). Akins’ win came from her dramatization of Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid. Four years later the play was adapted by Casey Robinson into a film starring Bette Davis, even though Akins had begun adapting plays and turning out her own screenplays in the early 1930s. Throughout her career, she collaborated with some of the most important women both behind and in front of the cameras which has kept her work in the public eye.

Read Poems, Plays, Pulitzers: Screenwriter Zoe Akins Did it All 


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Marion Fairfax Put Dinosaurs on Film Before Spielberg or Crichton Were Born – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, September 2023

Marion Fairfax Put Dinosaurs on Film Before Spielberg or Crichton Were Born – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, September 2023

If you love seeing dinosaurs come to life on screen and you think they first appeared on screen in Jurassic Park, think again. In 1926 renowned screenwriter-director Marion Fairfax adapted Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World to the screen complete with the most advanced special effects of the time. It was an amazing feat for a filmmaker born in Richmond, Virginia, just ten years after the Civil War (October 24, 1875). While screenwriter Marion Fairfax lived into her 9th decade, seeing the administration of a second President Johnson, she only worked in Hollywood from the eras of Woodrow Wilson through Calvin Coolidge (1915-1926) despite being a powerhouse writer-director of her day.

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Married Immigrants Mock Shakespeare for Movie Fame – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, August 2023

I was quite honored when Script Magazine editor Sadie Dean asked me to write a monthly column giving short biographies of female screenwriters across the decades – those who came before us as I like to say – so imagine how shocked I was to find out this is my 30th one to date. Meet Bella Cohen Spewack, born in Romania, a journalist who grew up to write movies that satirized her new career as a screenwriter.


Married Immigrants Mock Shakespeare for Movie Fame – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, August 2023

1899 saw the birth of two future American screenwriters: Bella Cohen in Romania and her future husband and co-writer, Sam Spewack in Ukraine. They each experienced the childhood of an immigrant brought to New York City and each worked as a newspaper reporter in their early careers, Bella for The Call and Sam for New York World. Eventually, they moved to Hollywood to adapt their own play to the screen and much of their later work involved adapting Broadway plays into films.

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Edna Anhalt, Hidden in Her Husband’s Shadow Despite Her Academy Award – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, February 2023

Each month I have the privilege of celebrating the female screenwriters who came before us in an article in Script Magazine. This month’s spotlight is Edna Anhalt — a screenwriter who with her husband Edward won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Motion Picture Story. Panic in the Streets (1950) was about a gang of petty criminals carrying the pneumonic plague, Sadly, as with so many women who co-wrote with spouses, there is much more published about his career than hers, though she wrote solo short stories and films as well. 

Edna Anhalt, Hidden in Her Husband’s Shadow Despite Her Academy Award – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, February 2023

To research the writing career of Oscar-winning Edna Anhalt is to be constantly sent to sites detailing her husband’s career with little note about her life outside of that partnership. Edna Thompson was born in New York City in 1914 and married Edward Anhalt in 1935. The dual partnership in marriage and career lasted 20 years. They may have met while enrolled at Columbia University since in 1936 they shared credit on the documentary the Problem Child (1936), produced by the college. 

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Most Hitchcock Films are Harrison Films – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, January 2023

Most Hitchcock Films are Harrison Films – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, January 2023

The main problem with the auteur theory that allows phrases like “Hitchcock film” to seep into our conversations is that it dismisses the work of the screenwriter who comes up with the theme, the plot, and the characters – or if they are adapting a novel, which themes, which plot lines and which characters they choose to include, combine or leave behind. The auteur theory is a false idea that grants all the credit for a film to one person despite our understanding that film is a collaborative medium. The films written and later produced by Joan Harrison prove this fallacy quite well. 

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A Woman’s Life – and a Story – Meant for the Movie – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December 2022

A Woman’s Life – and a Story - Meant for the Movie  – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, December 2022
Script contributor Dr. Rosanne Welch celebrates the female screenwriters who came before us with this month’s spotlight on prolific screenwriter and author Lorna Moon. Between her start as a Scottish author to her time as a Hollywood screenwriter Lorna Moon lived a life meant for the movies, yet no one has tackled her bio-pic yet.

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Having it All: Phoebe Ephron Gave Birth to Several Classic Films and 4 Female Screenwriters – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, November 2022

Having it All: Phoebe Ephron Gave Birth to Several Classic Films and 4 Female Screenwriters – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, November 2022

In 1914 Phoebe Wolkind was born in New York City. She graduated from Hunter College and worked as a counselor at a summer camp where she met Henry Ephron, a stage manager for famous playwriting team George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. They married in 1934 and shortly thereafter they began writing together after encouragement from Kaufman and Hart.

Yet, it was not until after the birth of their first daughter, Nora, in 1942 that something they wrote, Three’s a Family, found financial backers for a Broadway production. Notably, it began their habit of using personal family experience in their stories. Three’s a Family ran for over a year. Rather than adapting their own play, RKO Studios hired Phoebe and Henry to adapt The Richest Girl in the World, a play by Norman Krasna, turning it into the film Bride by Mistake. With that assignment, they moved to Los Angeles full time and on to a contract at Warner Brothers Studios, where they became adept at adapting plays and writing screenplays based on stories created by other writers, including Reginald Denham’s Wallflower (1948), a second Norman Krasna play, John Loves Mary (1949), and Look for the Silver Lining (1949).

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From ‘Greatest Girl Reporter’ to ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’ Adela Rogers St. Johns Wrote Herself into the History of the 20th Century – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, October 2022

Each month I celebrate the female screenwriters who came before us in an article in Script Magazine. This month’s spotlight comes from one of the first Hollywood memoirs I ever read from my small library in Bedford, Ohio – that of Adela Rogers St. Johns. They called her the Mother Confessor of Hollywood since so many stars of the 30s, 40s, and 50s came to her to help them out of a scandal (or two). A journalist who covered the film industry, she was first known as ‘The World’s Greatest Girl Reporter’ and then became ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’. Along the way, she garnered 38 writing or story by credits with the 1991 Final Verdict teleplay based on her memoir of sitting in courtrooms watching her famous father, trial lawyer Earl Rogers.

From 'Greatest Girl Reporter' to ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’ Adela Rogers St. Johns Wrote Herself into the History of the 20th Century – Dr. Rosanne Welch, Script Magazine, October 2022

After meeting Jane Murfin in last month’s column and hearing about her contribution to What Price Hollywood? (1932), it is time to meet that film’s co-writer: Adela Rogers St. Johns. Along with Murfin, she earned the Best Writing, Original Story nomination at that year’s Academy Award ceremony. Yet her true fame came in two titles that spanned her career as a journalist who covered the film industry. She began as ‘The World’s Greatest Girl Reporter’ and became ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’. Along the way, she garnered 38 writing or story by credits with the 1991 Final Verdict teleplay based on her memoir.

Read From ‘Greatest Girl Reporter’ to ‘Mother Confessor of Hollywood’ Adela Rogers St. Johns Wrote Herself into the History of the 20th Century


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