Preferred Citation: McGilligan, Patrick. Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1991.



This book, a labor of love for all involved, owes its existence to an unusually supportive editor, Ernest Callenbach, and to the writers who did the hard work of some of the interviews: Tina Daniell, Dennis Fischer, Joel Greenberg, Margy Rochlin, Steve Swires, David Thomson.

The scriptwriters themselves were generous with their time and comments, with (in some cases) photographs from their personal stock, and, generally speaking, warm encouragement.

Pat McGilligan compiled all the filmographies, except Walter Reisch's (contributed by Joel Greenberg). The people who conducted (or, in the case of Tom Flinn, "edited") the interviews wrote the respective introductions.

Alison Morley (in Los Angeles) and William B. Winburn (in New York City) volunteered their time and special talents for portrait photography of several of the screenwriters.

The transcriptions were rendered by the reliable Cindy Walker. The copy editor, whose remarks were appreciated and suggestions invariably adopted, was Lieselotte Hofmann.

The Leigh Brackett interview was originally published as "Grab What You Can Get: The Screenwriter as Journeyman Plumber" in the August–September 1976 issue of Films in Review . An edited portion of the Ben Maddow interview originally appeared as "The Invisible Man" in the Summer 1989 issue of Sight and Sound . The Daniel Mainwaring interview was first published as "Screenwriter Daniel Mainwaring Discusses Out of the Past" in the Velvet Light Trap (Fall 1973). The Curt Siodmak interview was originally published, in slightly different form ("An Outspoken Interview with the Sultan of Speculation"), in the December 1988 and March/April 1989 issues of


FILMFAX . An extract of the Philip Yordan interview appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and in the Los Angeles Times (Sunday Calendar section). Alison Morley's photographs and interview snippets were published as "The Script Men" in the August 1990 issue of American Film . All interviews are reprinted courtesy of the authors and/or the respective publications.

The Walter Reisch interview was originally conducted under the auspices of the Louis B. Mayer Oral History Program of the American Film Institute, and is excerpted here by permission of Mrs. Elizabeth Reisch, Joel Greenberg, and the American Film Institute.

Friends and colleagues who are to be thanked for advice and assistance include Leith Adams, Walter Bernstein, Ned Comstock, Mary Corliss, Andre de Toth, James Greenberg, Penelope Houston, Faith Hubley, Harlan Jacobson, Stuart Kaminsky, Ron Mandlebaum, Ric Menello, Rod Merl, Gerald Peary, John Pym, Leo Rosten, Marian Seldes, Wolf Schneider, Sheila Schwartz, Bertrand Tavernier, Tise Vahimagi, and Martha Wilson.

The still photographs are courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, British Film Institute, Richard Brooks, Collectors Bookstore, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Davis Freeman, Film Comment, Elizabeth Reisch, Curt Siodmak, Stewart Stern, USC Special Collections, and UCLA Special Collections.

This book is for Joseph McBride—a contributor to the first Backstory —in fond memory of riding along with him to visit the great ones, learning from him, and almost always, having a good time.



Preferred Citation: McGilligan, Patrick. Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1991.