Monday, December 29, 2008

Gotta wonder what Scott Fitzgerald would think about new Benjamin Button film (which is based on a Fitzgerald story). Fitzgerald famously fizzled out trying to write for Hollywood—he thought the medium of film would surpass novels. He was right, at least in terms of numbers. But he was wrong in thinking he could just transfer his talents in stories and novels to screenplays, as if words are words and that is all. Obviously screenwriting then is different than it is now, but the thought that writing is writing regardless of the end medium, and that a novelist could write for the pictures just fine, was flawed. Writing for film is---it seems to me--- a scene to scene, sentence to sentence, word to word outline, a skeleton on which all other parts hang, but only a skeleton. The skeleton, the storyline, comes from the writers and the guts come from everyone else. Writing novels is different because you have to play god entirely and you have to know what the reader would think about every word and sentence, but the storyline is actually less important because novels don’t have to hold you for 120 sequential minutes. Fitzgerald didn’t seem to perceive that films don’t hang on the words themselves.

Anyway, I’ll write up a quick review in a few days. I should watch it before reviewing it.

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the end of something.