Words on Paper: 6 Movies About Writers

Thursday, December 8 by Joseph Gibson

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Movies about writers might serve as a good source of inspiration if you yourself want to take a seat behind the ol' typewriter. Or they might serve as a cautionary tale, teaching you that a life of letters is not for you. The writers in these 6 movies about writers range from geniuses, to talented amateurs, to borderline terrorists, so it's a sure bet that you'll be able to relate to at least one of them (hopefully not the terrorist).

"Girl Shy"

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Lesson one of being a writer: don't let the fact that you don't know what the hell you're talking about keep you from being an authority on your chosen subject. So it is for Harold, the hero of 1924's silent romantic comedy/thriller from Harold Lloyd. Harold is so shy that he can't keep from stuttering around women, but that doesn't stop him from writing a book on the subject of the fairer sex. It pays off in the end, though, with Harold getting the girl after a breakneck chase through a bustling 1920s metropolis.

"Le Corbeau"

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Not all writers are professional writers. Some people write for fun–like the titular character of the post-war thriller "Le Corbeau" ("The Raven" in English). He (or she) writes poison-pen letters signed by "The Raven" to the inhabitants of a French town, forcing them into despair, paranoia, and in one particularly cruel instance, suicide. The town's police force does everything it can to discover the Raven's identity, but the truth isn't as simple as they might hope. If you're looking for Dr. Seuss, look somewhere else.

"The Third Man"

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Being a professional writer isn't all cake, either. Take Holly Martins. His work isn't what you'd call "high brow," he writes hackneyed pulp westerns and crime thrillers. It pays the bills, but it's not earning him any awards. But one day he gets a letter from his former chum Harry Lime to meet him in Vienna, but when he gets there, Lime is dead. Or is he??? No, this isn't a line from one of Martins' cheap thrillers, it's what really happens to him. Be careful what you right, because it might come true.

"Manhattan"

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	Woody Allen's "Manhattan" is about many things, but one of them is what it's like to be a writer who hates what he writes. In this case, he writes for TV, but what he really wants to do is write a book. He's not the only writer in the movie, though: His ex-wife is one too, and she's writing a book with all the sordid details of their marriage in it. The lesson here might be "don't marry a writer." He does get to bang a 17-year-old, though.</p>
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	<strong>"The Shining" </strong></p>
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	Sometimes in order to get some work done a writer needs some peace and quiet. What Jack Torrance didn't count on when he took the job of watching over the Overlook Hotel during the winter months was that the Overlook Hotel is absolutely infested with <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/ghosts/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>ghosts</a>. And not the friendly kind. Instead of getting his "writing project" done, he ended up tying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" a seemingly infinite amount of times and trying to kill his family. Remember: Malicious ghosts are the enemy of the writer.</p>
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	<strong>"<span data-scayt_word=Tenebrae"

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One thing writers have to worry about is what happens if some psycho reads his stuff and decides to go on a killing spree. That's what happens in "Tenebrae", the horror movie from Dario Argento. The main character is a writer of lurid thrillers, and he's contacted by the authorities when a psycho killer stuffs pages from his book into his victims' mouths. But a writer isn't responsible for his audience, or is he?

Screenwriters apparently like writing about other writers. Anyway, think about watching these movies next time you think a career in writing might be for you

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