Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TODAY'S NUGGET: The Great Waldo Pepper (1975) - Killing Off a Character

[Quick Summary: After a series of failures, a 1920s daredevil pilot tries to regain his confidence by flying for the movies.]

This script had everything going for it!

Airplane chases! Romance! Death! Envy! An underdog!

So why do I feel so ... lukewarm about it?

I suppose it's because I was so invested in Waldo and Mary Beth. 

Mary Beth is a challenging, spunky counterpoint to Waldo, and brings out the best in him. 

Unfortunately, she's killed off approximately 2/3 into the script. For the last 1/3, it seems as if she never even existed.

Without that relationship, Waldo seems less accessible.

Frankly, I just lost heart in his journey.

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: It's a tricky balance to know when to kill off a character. 

Just make sure you have a really good reason.

(And repeating it again in the last 1/3 wouldn't hurt.)


The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
Script by William Goldman
Story by George Roy Hill

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