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Norman Lee p2

READERSVOICE.COM features Money for Film Stories by Norman Lee. He says to be original in your scripts. Don’t write what’s been done before. Bring something new to the cinema. Don’t expect to write up the stuff that has already been done and sell it over again…

Mr Lee tells of a movie he’d recently seen. He writes: They had revived that so familiar old story of the small town smartie who is persuaded he can stagger the city. Here too, was the poor, patient girl, in love with him, who warned him to “watch his step”. But the smartie was already under the spell of an up-town blonde, who was (as usual) firing him with the desire to be a gentleman. He wanted to mix with the best people on Park Avenue, and to order a dinner at the Ritz with the ease he ordered pork and beans at ‘Frisco Joe’s.

He gave his down-town pals the air and went his own sweet way. The blonde was playing him for a fool, of course, and taking advantage of his arrogant conceit.

Behind his back she laughed at him, all the while philandering with a Dutch nobleman. In the end the blonde double-crossed Pat for his savings, and bolted to Europe with the nobleman.

The jolt woke him up. He suddenly realized the sterling qualities of the patient girl-friend…With a fine gesture of patronizing condescension he decided she would fit the bill. A mean sort of ending, I felt. I should expect the girl to revolt and say: “Listen…While the going was good I wasn’t good enough…Now you’re down and out anything’ll do.. meaning me…Well, here’s a girl who can’t be fooled…So get out.”

Mr Lee gave other examples of the same story: A boxer meets a promoter’s girlfriend who tells the promoter to put him on Broadway. He gets too big for his boots and the promoter’s girl loses interest. He crashes and burns and learns his lesson; A gift of the gab salesman becomes a radio star, drinks too much, doesn’t shave. He is heading for a bust. Until a girl friend from the past snaps him out of it. Mr Lee advises screenwriters to bring something new to the cinema.

[And they should probably avoid flakey people offering them a ticket to the bigtime. And make sure they shave.] 

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