book cover of Three Screenplays: Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake
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Three Screenplays: Daniel, Ragtime, Loon Lake

A collection of stories by

Doctorow has played an active role in transforming his novels into films, writing screenplay adaptations of three of his works - "The Book of Daniel", "Ragtime", and "Loon Lake". Collected in this volume, his scripts reveal a new aspect of the writer's talents and offer film students and other cineastes an insight into the complex relationship of literature and motion pictures. Each of these screenplays has undergone a different fate. Doctorow's script for Daniel was made into a feature film by director Sidney Lumet in 1983. The monumental "Ragtime" screenplay he wrote for director Robert Altman was to have been filmed as either a six-hour feature film or a ten-hour television series. When Altman was replaced on the project by Milos Forman, a shorter, more conventional script was commissioned from another writer. In 1981, Doctorow adapted "Loon Lake", but this challenging work has yet to be filmed. For this book, Doctorow has revised his "Ragtime" screenplay, making clear how different the film might have been, and has written a preface about the art of screenwriting. In addition, editor Paul Levine provides a general introduction to Doctorow's fiction and specific introductions to each screenplay; interviews Lumet about making Daniel; and talks with Doctorow about his abiding interest in the art and craft of cinema.

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