Hollywood Forever Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
William James Hurlbut (July 13, 1883 – May 4, 1957) was a screenwriter. Hurlbut went to Hollywood in the early 1930s after writing several plays for Broadway, including "Lillies of the Field," “Bride of the Lamb” and “Little Miss Fixit.”
Sin of Sins (1926) is the first play about lesbians written by an American. It was produced by A. H. Woods and staged at the Adelphi Theater in Chicago. It opened November 8, 1926, after a tryout in Atlantic City where it was called Hymn to Venus, the title of a poem by Sappho; Sin of Sins sounded more daring. The play starred British actress Isobel Elsom (who later appeared in dozens of films, including My Fair Lady playing Mrs. Eynsford-Hill) and film matinee idol Robert Warwick. In Atlantic City Sin of Sins was compared unfavorably to The Captive, another lesbian-themed play that had opened at New York's Empire Theatre on Broadway a month earlier. The Captive, adapted by Arthur Hornblow Jr. from La Prisonniere by the French dramatist Édouard Bourdet, was a huge success; there were 163 performances before it was shut down for indecency. If Hurlbut and Woods thought Sin of Sins would benefit from the success of The Captive, they were mistaken. After the play was trounced in Atlantic City, it opened in Chicago to equally bad reviews. In his book "We can always call them Bulgarians: The Emergernce of Lesbian and Gay Men on the American Stage" (1987), author Kaier Curtin notes that Sin of Sins was the first play with a lesbian character written in English language. It was never published.
In 1934, James Whale set John L. Balderston to work on yet another version of The Bride of Frankenstein, a 1935 American science fiction horror film, and it was he who returned to an incident from the novel in which the creature demands a mate. In the novel Frankenstein creates a mate, but destroys it without bringing it to life. Balderston also created the Mary Shelley prologue. After several months Whale was still not satisfied with Balderston's work and handed the project to playwright William J. Hurlbut and Edmund Pearson. The final script, combining elements of a number of these versions, was submitted for Hays office review in November 1934.
William Hurlbut died in Hollywood, California, and is buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
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