When I lived in Los Angeles, many moons ago, I read a very painful letter-to-the-editor in Variety from the widow of the man who won an Oscar for the BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI screenplay. Michael Wilson was then hired by David Lean to write the script for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. He did and was fired because Lean was a perfectionist and Wilson got worn out, finally.
He got no screen credit, as Robert Bolt got sole writing credit.
The letter came at a time when the studio was about to re-release the film, and the widow wanted her husband’s name on the print. In the letter was an extraordinary list of story points that Wilson had come up with, that are in the movie, that ARE the movie, really… and the guy got no credit. As far as I know, even today, the prints do not show his name, though the WGA now recognizes Wilson as co writer. So does the imdb.
Anyway, it’s fascinating to see what Wilson contributed to the story.
If you have NOT seen Lawrence, don’t read the article as it gives away more than a few surprises.
And if you have not seen the movie, I don’t know how to tell you to see it unless you have a 30 foot screen at your house (or classroom, like me!) because the movie is boring if not seen on a big big screen. It fails utterly on a regular TV. Find a friend who teaches and get him or her to let you watch in their classroom. A HUGE screen is the only way.
But, it holds up. At a zillion and a half hours, it’s not boring. But only with a big enough screen, because you take in all the information there is to see in a fifteen second shot… on a big screen, in fifteen seconds… on a small one, in five… and then the image sits there and doesn’t cut. It’s agony.
But not if you have a friend who’s a teacher…