Val Lewton org


Homer DeWitt Bodeen


Born July 25, 1908, in Fresno, California. Died March 12, 1988 at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles

DeWitt Bodeen was an American screenwriter best known for his work in the film industry during the 1940s and 1950s. He had written some twenty plays when Val Lewton, who particularly liked his play Embers at Haworth about the Bronte sisters, remembered him when David O. Selznick began planning a film version of Jane Eyre, so Lewton borrowed Bodeen from RKO (where Bodeen was a "reader") to act as a research advisor for Jane Eyre scriptwriter Aldous Huxley. Soon after, when Lewton had moved to RKO to head up his famous "B-unit" for making inexpensive exploitation titles, he got Bodeen hired as a contract writer ($75 per week) to help.

Bodeen's most notable scripts for Lewton include Cat People and its sequel The Curse of the Cat People in 1944. Both films are considered strong examples of the atmospheric, psychological horror that characterized Lewton's body of work. Bodeen's scripts combined elements of horror, sexuality, and psychological tension in a way that was innovative for its time. He also did preliminary work on Lewton's film The Seventh Victim and co-wrote the screenplay.

Bodeen also wrote the scripts for The Enchanted Cottage 1945), I Remember Mama (1948), Night Song (1948) and Billy Budd (1962).

Bodeen also worked in television for a variety of TV series in the 1950s and 1960s.

As an author, his books are:

Ladies of the Footlights, 1937

Romances By Emma: A Comedy of Humors and Manners In Three Acts, 1938

The Films of Cecil B. DeMille 1969

Chevalier : The Films and Career of Maurice Chevalier 1973

Castle Walk (a fictionalized novel of the famous 1922 murder of film director William Desmond Taylor), 1975

From Hollywood: The careers of 15 great American stars, 1976

Original page June 2023

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