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Collaboration and control in the development of Janet Green's screenplay Victim

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This article discusses the draft screenplays and correspondence held in the Janet Green collection concerned with the writing of Victim (1961), one of three social issue films that Green wrote for producer Michael Relph and director Basil Dearden. Victim was the first film to openly depict homosexuality in Britain and went through a long and difficult development process. From the letters we find out about the complex relationship between those developing the film and the tensions during the writing of the different drafts. The collection is especially interesting because the correspondence not only allows a study of the writer and the producer/director/writer relationship but also, in the case of Victim, the role of the British Board of Film Censors as well as the participation of Green's husband, John McCormick and lead actor Dirk Bogarde. The complex mix of argument, negotiation and collaboration suggests a struggle for control of ideas in the development process between the players involved. How decisions are made as to the content of each draft is recorded in the letters, allowing a fascinating picture to build up about the creation of the screenplay, which, as Janet Green explains, was written with the shadow of the censor's axe (JG 10/6: 25/10/60).
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Keywords: Janet Green; censorship; collaboration; film development; homosexuality; screenplay; screenwriting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of East London.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Screenwriting aims to explore the nature of writing for the moving image in the broadest sense, highlighting current academic thinking around scriptwriting whilst also reflecting on this with a truly international perspective and outlook. The journal will encourage the investigation of a broad range of possible methodologies and approaches to studying the scriptwriting form, in particular: the history of the form, contextual analysis, the process of writing for the moving image, the relationship of scriptwriting to the production process and how the form can be considered in terms of culture and society. The journal also aims to encourage research in the field of screenwriting, the linking of scriptwriting practice to academic theory, and to support and promote conferences and networking events on this subject.
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