Monday, April 04, 2016

Script Girl

Draft of Halfland shot lists
Family lore holds that my maternal great grandmother, Lorraine (Tiny) Noble, was an in-demand script girl at MGM in the 30's (i.e.; Goodbye, Mr. Chips, 1939.) Having this bit of Hollywood legacy gives me the warm feeling of genetic imperative to be in the movie business, even as, in my case, it's a very personal work of film art. Made in Hollywood but not it all by Hollywood.

I was reminded of this connection to movie making when I wrote out the shot list for Halfland the other day.

---OMG! We interrupt this post to bring you actual record of her work for the first time!--

I just Googled my ggmother's name, quite certain there would be ZERO results but I was totally WRONG!! There it was, movies in the right time frame, for the right studios, with her full name. But not as "script girl" as I was told, rather as a... Script Editor! And now, thanks to Google, I know she worked on some of the best movies ever made.

It Happened One Night, by Frank Capra
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Screenplay: Riskin, Robert, edited by Lorraine Noble, New York, 1933.
Awards: Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor (Gable), Best Actress (Colbert), Best Directing, and Best Writing—Adaptation, 1934.

A January 24, 1937 St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper item mentioned her as, "...Lorraine Noble, who has served as film editor and buyer of scripts, therefore, has had a large library to select from and has brought together four works of undeniable importance. These are "Lady for a Day," "It Happened One Night," "Little Women" and "The Story of Louis Pasteur." Terminology of the screen is more difficult to follow than that of the stage, by virtue of Its many technical concessions to the camera and studio lighting. Accordingly, Miss Noble has written two introductory chapters outlining studio procedure and attitudes. Since many authorities are predicting a golden age of the screen, the importance of this text, designed to acquaint amateurs with screen technique, will be apparent."

Pretty blown away as I knew next to nothing about her. I had heard that her mother had come out to California from St. Louis via stagecoach, wearing petticoats and a fresh (unusual) for the times, divorce. So that may be why a St. Louis publication mentioned her 1936 book entitled, in a case of total irony...

Four-star Scripts, Actual Shooting Scripts and How They are Written

Noble, Lorraine (editor)

Published by Doubleday, Doran & Company, Garden City, New York, 1936


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