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November 1994, Week 1


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Tony Williams <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 6 Nov 1994 08:32:49 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
From: Tony Williams
 This is a really interesting issue and deserves exploration. There is
certainly a bias today towards regarding the screenplay as anything other
than a mechanical set of rudimentary directions having little value in
itself as opposed to the director's interpretation.
  However, a good screenplay involves aspects of characterization, dramatic
form, plot development, and structure - aspects all relevant to the
supposedly different field of Literature (I speak here in terms of the
usual definitions of canons and subject divisions). However, in this
era of interdisciplinary studies and subject redefinitions, there is no
reason why a Screenplay should not be considered as Literature. It is
good to see Norton recognizing this. But they have included a "Name" so
that this new entry "speaks" to the traditional modes of including any
new element into a formerly exclusive area. What about the Screenplay
structure per se?
  There are some really brilliant screenplays around which can be defined
in the new definition of Literature (see "What is Literature?" PMLA, May
1994) such as Bertolucci's hithertoo unproduced version of Hammett's RED
HARVEST. Others are just mechnaical set directions. Anyway, this does
stimulate what should be an interesting discussion. I know of no workson
this topic. So just thought I'd start the ball rolling here. Tony Williams.