Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Story of a Writer

One of the most frequently asked questions on the official Ray Bradbury Message Board is about a strange short film from the early 1960s in which a telephone line gains a life of its own. People who enquire about the story usually have a dim memory of this being a black and white film (and often report that the film scared the life out of them when they were little).

The mysterious film is actually a film-within-a-film. It is a dramatisation of "Dial Double Zero", and features in a short documentary about Ray Bradbury, The Story of a Writer. Produced by David L. Wolper and directed by Terry Sanders, the documentary shows Bradbury's approach to writing. We see him at his typewriter, giving a lecture, researching, cycling around the Venice, California canals, and reading his story to a writers' group.

For many years, this film was hard to get hold of. Then it was released on VHS and DVD by the American Film Foundation. And now, it's available to view and download - for free - from Archive.org.

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