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Davis, Flynn, Dietrich… They did it their way

The period between Great Depression and World War II is remembered as Hollywood’s Golden Age, from the 1920’s to the late 1940’s with introduction of television. I’m a huge fan of the 1930s to 1940s movie decade, when Bette Davis was Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1934), her fights with Jack Warner and the Hollywood Canteen with Cary Grant. Errol Flynn was Peter Blood in his first starring role in Captain Blood(1935), he came to Europe to write about Spanish Civil War and had a controversy friendship with Nazi Herman Erben.

Then he was a supporter of the Cuban Revolution and he was a well known womanizer. Marlene Dietrich was Amy Jolly in her first American film, Morocco (1930) with Gary Cooper. She was a fashion icon and she was openly bisexual (remember the kiss Lola Lola gives to another woman in Blue Angel?). During World War II she was approached by the Nazi Party but declined, recorded anti-Nazi records and she was known for her political convictions. I could also mention Mae West in She Done Him Wrong (1933) and the Marx Brothers and many others who played in controversial movies.

During this period, many actors were active politically and were not afraid to cross the line. Most of them had strong personalities, they took professional risks and had an eventful personal life. So many things happened during the transition from silent movies to talkies and musical films. New genres were formed and most of the greatest stars were starting their career. But don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying it was better before than today, I just say it was different and I appreciate this difference. The same way I can appreciate thrillers released during the 1970s like The French Connection or Serpico and enjoy watching Pulp Fiction, Usual Suspects, NARC or the recent and excellent Smokin’ Aces(both by Joe Carnahan).

Since I started to write my script I was often asked why I chose this period, I think these lines will help giving some answers. I hope I will have more times to work on this script, I still have to make a lot of research and I don’t have the opportunity to meet expert of this part of movie history. It could take me months or years, but I will finish this script, I want to take the time I need to do it the best way I can.

As for getting it produced and direct it myself, let’s not put the cart before the horse 😉

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