With less than a week to go before the Academy Awards, a hallmark of what we recognize as prestige and classic cinema, the Writers Guild Foundation has re-discovered a short film created for educational purposes entitled Words.
WGF Youtube Account: This short film, released by the Writers Guild Foundation in 1987, honors the craft of screenwriting and the writers behind our favorite lines and cinematic moments. Written and directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Chuck Workman, it was screened at film festivals and college campuses around the country to inspire writers and celebrate the importance of the written word in entertainment.
The video itself is incredibly inspiring. It becomes less of a mega-reel and more of a blow-for-blow way of showing its audience the power of the screenwriter and their importance to film. Workman intercuts a fantastic speech from filmmaker Steven Spielberg on the importance of words and its necessity to the medium.
Because of its age, the films shown are all pre-1990s, even squeezing in some more unknown films such as The Sweet Smell of Success and even Repo Man. The impactful dialogue is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to writing, but the short film makes for a meaningful way to express the inherent need for good writers as well as providing a great shot in the arm for when you're staring at a blank page.
With all that being said, I tried to pick, out of tens of great lines to pick my top 5 favorites:
"I'd hate to take a bite out of you. You're a cookie full of arsenic." - JJ Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success
"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the war room!" - President Muffley in Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
"The stuff that dreams are made of..." - Samuel Spade in The Maltese Falcon
"The more you drive, the less intelligent you are." - Miller in Repo Man
"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." - Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind
Come Oscar Sunday perhaps after seeing this short film we'll now have a newfound appreciation for the Best Screenplay categories.