Tuesday, May 24, 2011

120 Influences, Part 5: Screenwriters

  1. Woody Allen: Averages a screenplay a year over the past half-century, each one giving a load of laughs, a glimpse into Allen singular worldview, a lesson or two about the human condition.

  2. Richard Brooks: Wrote terrific screen adaptations (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elmer Gantry, The Professionals, In Cold Blood, Looking for Mr. Goodbar) and even better as a director.

  3. Bo Goldman: One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Melvin and Howard, Shoot the Moon, and Scent of a Woman, and many more have earned him every major screenwriting accolade.

  4. Ben Hecht: Check out his page on imbd.com. It’s impossible that you have not been thoroughly entertained by at least a dozen of his 157 screenwriting credits. How did he do it?

  5. Charlie Kaufman: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York (an all-time favorite) catapult this genius to the top of my list.

  6. Waldo Salt: He touched me at many times in my life: as an adventurous child (The Flame and the Arrow), a disillusioned teenager (Midnight Cowboy), an inquisitive college student (Serpico), and an ambitious, young married man (Coming Home).

  7. Alvin Sargent: After a stunningly successful career in TV (Naked City, Ben Casey, Route 66, Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Doctors and the Nurses), he turned to writing excellent films, including Gambit, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Love and Pain and the Whole Damn Thing, Julia, and now, in his late eighties, continues with the Spider Man series.

  8. Rod Serling: I love this man for The Twilight Zone (yes, I watch the New Year's SyFy marathon), but his Requiem for a Heavyweight remains one of the greatest screenplays.

  9. Robert Towne: His screenplays of The Last Detail, Chinatown, and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, as well as his uncredited script doctoring of Bonnie and Clyde, The New Centurions, Shampoo, The Missouri Breaks, and Heaven Can Wait, should put him on anyone's Top Ten.

  10. Lina Wertmuller: The Seduction of Mimi, Love and Anarchy, and Seven Beauties are her masterpieces.