[Quick Summary: A thief only marries a widow only to get to her children, who know where stolen money is hidden.]
Dear Thriller Writers Everywhere,
If you've ever had trouble with writing menace...
If you want to write a protagonist we continue to root for...
If you've never seen a story that ups the ante, with thrills, without blood...
I highly recommend that you read this script.
ex. "INSERT - THE PREACHER'S LEFT HAND
Labled H-A-T-E in tattoo across four knuckles, it grips and flexes.
INSERT - HIS RIGHT HAND
Before we see the lettering he slides it into his pocket.
EXTREME CLOSE SHOT - PREACHER
His head slants; a cold smile; one eyelid flutters."
- A protagonist we continue to root for
ex. "CLOSE DOWNWARD TWO-SHOT - JOHN AND PEARL HARPER
They sit in the grass, a sentimental picture. JOHN is nine; PEARL is five. They are working togheter on PEARL's doll; PEARL is dressing her, while JOHN gets on a difficult shoe.
PEARL: Stand still, Miss Jenny!
JOHN (across her): There! What's so hard about that!
He proudly exhibits the shod foot.
They hear the sound of an auto engine O.S. They look O.S. and get up, PEARL dangling the doll."
- Upping the ante
ex. "CLOSE SHOT - RACHEL
She takes him in. He doesn't take her in."
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Scripts of this era are more restrained, yet more fleshed out, than today's scripts.
I think the constrictions of this era are better for story, i.e., What do you do when there's no fast solution (guns, explosives, etc.)?
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
by James Agee
Based on a novel by Davis Grubb