FLICKS: The importance of the written word in poetry and motion pictures

Posted on 25 April 2019 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

When Steven Spielberg won his first Oscar for Schindler’s List, he encouraged his motion picture colleagues to return to the written word. Deerfield Beach Percy White Library will feature the written word at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 25, with “Poetry 101 with Mrs. Powers.” In dedication of the National Poetry Month, Pam Powers, a Deerfield Beach Middle School Teacher with 37 years experience, comes out of retirement to teach a fun class on poetry. If the program is a success, we hope to have it again next year!

Spielberg created two motion pictures that broke records for the biggest box office records for all time, Jurassic Park and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The fact that these two motion pictures play on regular television rotation is a testament to the importance of the written word when creating big screen spectacular.

At the recent Spooky Empire Retro Convention [March 22 to 24 in Orlando], Dee Wallace, Henry Thomas, Robert MacNaughton and Robert Demeritt held an E.T. Reunion and reminisced about the production of this blockbuster champion. It was during the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark, that Spielberg discussed his feelings of loneliness to Harrison Ford’s girlfriend, Melissa Mathison, a screenwriter. From this discussion, the two forged the story of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

Thirty-eight years after the production of ET, one can tell the cast still genuinely enjoy each other’s company and spoke fondly of their absentee actress, Drew Barrymore. Barrymore introduced MacNaughton to his wife. Since she was the youngest child on the set (aged 6), Barrymore was mentored by Wallace on the set. Wallace was concerned that the child actress could not differentiate the differences between fantasy and reality.

The boys were a different story. Being the leading man, the success of E.T. rested on 10 year-old Henry Thomas, who found escape through playing video games in Spielberg’s office. Being 14 years old, MacNaughton admitted that he and his peers (among them, C. Thomas Howell) had a crush on Dee Wallace, especially when she wore the “cat suit” during the Halloween sequence. Dee Wallace blushed in amazement as she heard some of these stories for the first time.

Despite the cynicism of the Hollywood mentality, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial has endured as a cultural icon. One modestly produced film has endured for almost four decades.

After “Poetry 101 with Mrs. Powers” this afternoon, Avengers: Endgame opens to many sold-out movie theaters [official release date is Friday]. Besides being the conclusion of a 21 motion picture film cycle, this new film is the culmination of 80 years of comic book myth inspired by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. These are good years for good stories, but it is extremely important to remember that it begins with the written word.

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