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The early screenwriting practice of Ernest Lehman

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This article analyses Ernest Lehman's early screenwriting practice and argues that there are essential commonalities between it and his prose fiction writing practice. In the first section, I highlight the similarities between Lehman's working notes for his abandoned novel, You Scratch My Back , and his unfinished screenplay for the MGM project, Labor Story. In the second section, I look at the ways in which Lehman's prose fiction writing practice influences the composition of his first screenplay, for Executive Suite, as well as the composition of his screenplay for Sweet Smell of Success, and argue that in his prose fiction writing and screenwriting, Lehman uses language in the same aesthetically relevant ways.
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Keywords: Ernest Lehman; authorship; screenplay; screenwriting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Kent.

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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