School of Literature, Media, and Communication Georgia Institute of Technology English 1102: Section L2 Women, Technology, Film Adaptation Research Portfolio Back Street (1941) Author: Teacher: Author:Mudit Gupta Dr. Alexandra Edwards Academic year 2019-2020 Contents 1 Research Narrative 3 2 Archived Images 5 2.1 Fannie Hurst . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.2 Back Street Novel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.3 Film Stills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2.4 Film Advertisements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 3 Writer’s Filmography 10 . 2. 1 Research Narrative ....... When starting this project, I knew it would be a challenge to find information on historical films and books, so I decided I wouldn’t choose a completely ancient film. I settled on the 1941 film Back Street mainly because the book it is based on was not much older. Many other films were adapted from books from much earlier. The decision was definitely a good one; information wasn’t impossible to come by, but some of the details were still a difficult struggle to find since the film is almost 80 years old. ....... When I first chose the film, I immediately began to look around for some content about Fannie Hurst, the woman responsible for the creation of Back Street. I wanted to get a little forecast of how the rest of my research endeavors would be with this film. I was pleasantly surprised to see multiple detailed Wikipedia articles about Fannie Hurst and the numerous film adaptations of her novel from 1931. That’s right, I realized that there have been three separate film adaptations from her book: the first released in 1932, the second (my focus) in 1941, and the third in 1961. Nonetheless, this quick testing of the waters led me to believe that this research project would be quite simple and straightforward. I was even able to find a copy of both the 1932 adaptation and the 1941 adaptation of Back Street on YouTube for free. ....... Unfortunately, it became “not simple” almost as soon as I began to delve deeper about Hurst’s book. My first major struggle came from trying to figure out who exactly published Back Street in 1931. The main issue was that I was finding many conflicting answers from various sources online. Some were credible databases and others were historical book sale catalogs, but even within the credible sources, I saw discrepancies. After researching some of the companies that the sources mentioned, I realized that the publishing company had gone through many different names due to various mergers and buy-outs, so it was hard to find the correct answer. I eventually found in an old review from 1931 in The Bookman magazine. It said that the New York Cosmopolitan Book Corporation was the original publisher of the book, and I trusted this source since it was released very soon after the original text was published. ....... When I eventually went on to watch the film, I realized that the YouTube video was a Russian dubb of the 1941 film. Since I don’t know Russian, I essentially watched the 1941 version as if it were a silent film. Thankfully, the 1932 film was in English, so I watched it as well to see if I could find any . 3. noticeable differences in the filmography of each movie. I found a big difference in the caliber and quality of features in the 1941 film. The noticeable difference in technology became the focus of my second blog post because I found it so interesting that better technology made the second adaptation so much better. The intertitles were much more advanced in the 1941 adaptation; they were overlaid on moving images, something that was not possible with the old technology. I was not surprised to see that the better quality of the 1941 film adaptation lined up quite well with the advancement of film technology. ....... Even though looking up “Back Street film, Fannie Hurst,” yields plenty of web results and images from each of the three adaptations, the same does not go for many of the other films that Hurst worked on. It wasn’t difficult to find a list of all her works, as IMDb had a comprehensive list, but it was quite an arduous task to find details about the current state of each of the films that she worked on during the silent era of film. The Women Film Pioneers Project lists many available archives to search through, but as I searched through them, I realized that Fannie Hurst’s works are unfortunately unavailable now. I looked through many of the archives from the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film, but most of them had no works from Fannie Hurst. The only databases that I was able to identify her work in were the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Library of Congress. When I was looking for a film in the archives, I often got discouraged and wanted to mark the film as not extant; however, seeing a Wikipedia article explicitly call a movie extant inspired me to find out what I was missing. I eventually found a specific database within the Library of Congress, the American Silent Feature Film Database. This database had archives of some of the films that I had initially thought were lost. As my struggle with finishing Hurst’s silent era filmography, I realized that I could compare my entries with existing filmography entries from other women represented on the WFPP site. Many of Fannie Hurst’s films involved other women from the WFPP, so I was able to find information on those movies on the WFPP site. Most of the entries that I found confirmed what I had found about each film. I can now rest assured that professionals couldn’t find some of these films either and marked them as lost films. ....... As my research came to a close, I wanted a neat way to present my findings, so I decided I would use LATEX to format a nice portrayal of each aspect of my research for this project. Although this isn’t exactly related to the film, I did plenty of research on LATEX to create this uniquely formatted portfolio. . 4. 2 Archived Images 2.1 Fannie Hurst Photograph of Fannie Hurst in 1941 as seen in the Book, Notable Women of St. Louis Photograph of Fannie Hurst taken by professional photographer Carl Van Vechten available in the Library of Congress . 5. 2.2 Back Street Novel Book cover featuring the starring actors, Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan, from the 1941 film adaptation, available for purchase on eBay . 6. 2.3 Film Stills These two stills show a difference in the introductory credits to the 1932 film (top) and the 1941 film (bottom). The 1941 intro-credits feature electronically drawn words where as the 1932 intro-cedits are simply a video of someone flipping the pages of a book. available on YouTube: 1932, 1941 This film still is of an intertitle which represents the more advanced film technology of its time. The text is overlaid on a moving image, which was difficult at the time. Available on YouTube as Russian dubb . 7. 2.4 Film Advertisements This is a poster for the 1932 film release of Back Street featuring a small book showing that this is an adaptation from a novel. From Wikipedia This advertisement for the 1941 adaptation features the two lead actors along with a small book to portray that it’s an adaptation. From IMDb . 8. This is a Cosmopolitan issue featuring Back Street on the cover. Available from pulpmagazinearchive . 9. 3 Writer’s Filmography A. Archival Filmography: Extant Film Titles: 1. Fannie Hurst as Screenwriter/Adapter/Storywriter Her Great Chance. Dir./sc.: Charles Maigne, st.: Fannie Hurst (Select Pictures Corporation US 1918) cas.: Alice Brady, si, b&w, 35mm., 5 reels. Archive: USW. Humoresque. Dir.: Frank Borzage, sc.: Frances Marion, st.: Fannie Hurst (Cosmopolitan Productions US 1920) cas.: Vera Gordon, Gaston Glass, Alma Rubens, si, b&w, 35mm, 6 reels. Archive: USL, CAQ. Just Around the Corner. Dir./sc.: Frances Marion, adp.: Fannie Hurst (Cosmopolitan Productions US 1921) cas.: Sigrid Homquist, Margaret Seddon, Lewis Sargent, Edward Phillips, Peggy Parry, Rosa Rosanova, William Nally, Fred Thomson, si, b&w, 35mm, 7 reels. Archive: USW. Back Pay. Dir.: Frank Borzage, sc.: Frances Marion, adp.: Fannie Hurst (Cosmopolitan Productions US 1922) cas.: Seena Owen, Matt Moore, J. Barney Sherry, Ethel Duray, Charles Craig, Jerry Sinclair, si, b&w, 35mm, 7 reels. Archive: USW. Mannequin. Dir.: James Cruze, sc./st.: Fannie Hurst (Paramount Pictures US 1926) cas.: Alie Joyce, si, b&w, 16mm., 7 reels. Archive: USW. The Younger Generation. Dir.: Frank Capra, sc.: Fannie Hurst, Sonya Levien (Columbia Pictures Corp. US 1929) cas.: Jean Hersholt, Lina Basquette, si/sd (score and talking sequences), b&w, 35mm. Archive: BEB, USR, ESM, CAO. B. Filmography: Not Extant Titles: 1. Fannie Hurst as Screenwriter/Adapter/Storywriter A Son’s Ingratitude, 1912; A Petal on the Current, 1919; The Day She Paid, 1919; Stardust, 1922; The Good Provider, 1922; The Untamed Lady, 1926; Wheel of Chance, 1928; The Painted Angel, 1929. . 10 . References 1 “American Silent Feature Film Database From the Report ‘The Survival of American Silent Fea- ture Films: 1912-1929.’” Performing Arts Databases, The Library of Congress, 26 Oct. 2016, lcweb2.loc.gov:8081/diglib/ihas/html/silentfilms/silentfilms-home.html. 2 “Back Street (1941 film).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 May 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_Street_(1941_film). 3 “Back Street (1941).” IMDb, IMDb.com, 7 Feb. 1941, www.imdb.com/title/tt0033365/. 4 “Back Street (novel).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Aug. 2016, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back_Street_(novel). 5 “Back Street by Fannie Hurst (1931).” EBay, 26 June 2018, www.ebay.com/itm/BACK-STREET-by-Fannie-Hurst-1931-G-D-Movie-Tie-in-Ed- in-DJ-Charles-Boyer-/391800723013. 6 “Collection: Film and Television Archive.” UCLA Library Catalog Advanced Search, 2014, cinema.library.ucla.edu/vwebv/search?searchArg1=Fannie%2BHurst&argType1= all&searchCode1=KCRD&combine2=and&searchArg2=&argType2=all&searchCode2= GKEY&combine3=and&searchArg3=&argType3=all&searchCode3=GKEY&year=2018- 2019&yearOption=range&fromYear=&toYear=1940&location=all&place=all& language=all&recCount=50&searchType=2&page.search.search.button=Search. 7 Dupee, Frederick. “Back Street by Fannie Hurst (Cosmopolitan $2.50).” The Bookman, Feb. 1931, p. 636. 8 “Fannie Hurst.” IMDb, IMDb.com, Inc., 2019, www.imdb.com/name/nm0403595/. 9 “Fannie Hurst.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Sept. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Hurst. 10 “History of film technology.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Sept. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_film_technology. 11 “Miss Fannie Hurst.” Notable Women of St. Louis, 1914, by Johnson Anne An- dré, St. Louis County Library, 1914, pp. 104–109. Library of Congress, archive.org/details/notablewomenofst00john/page/n159. 12 mjr1114. “Back Street 1932.” YouTube, 7 Dec. 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15STU4dGojE. 13 “Women Film Pioneers.” Women Film Pioneers Project, Columbia University Libraries, 2018, https://wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu/pioneers/. 14 Сергей Гамов. “Переулок - Back Street (1941).” YouTube, dubbed in Russian, 9 Sept. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cR7Df00cROY. . 11 .