101 Funniest Screenplays

In 1989, The New York Times ran part of a speech given by Budd Schulberg at the Deauville film festival, in which Schulberg compared the “auteur theory” of directing to “that of a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up all the contributions of the writers.” The publication of Schulberg’s comments prompted a letter from the writer and Radcliffe professor Hope Hale Davis about her friend Hagar Wilde, and Bringing Up Baby. “Only the imagination of Hagar Wilde could have produced that hunt through a Connecticut night in pursuit of an escaped leopard named Baby,” Davis wrote of the screenplay, which Wilde and Dudley Nichols (Stagecoach) adapted from Wilde’s short story. “At the time she died in poverty at the Motion Picture Country Home,” Davis continued, “her film was being enjoyed by millions on late-night television. None of these showings added a penny to the $22,500 she once received for the rights.”