Sunday, January 7, 2018

Born Today January 7: Virginia Tyler Hudson (Virginia Hudson Brightman) [In Honor of The Golden Globes Time's Up Tonight!]


Early female screenwriter Virginia Tyler Hudson, who was later credited under her married name Virginia Hudson Brightman, was born on this day in Kentucky (probably Millersburg) to family that included her well known reverend father, Daniel Hudson, her mother and two sisters. Early in her life she showed a natural talent for music, and it was more or less taken for granted that she would make a career in the field.  Hudson was well educated for a woman of her time, attending college in both her native Kentucky and Macon, Georgia.  She then went to work as journalist, her talent in writing and reporting soon outstripped her job and she was moved/promoted to Chicago.  While working as a reporter, she was employed in various press capacities, she wrote everything from periodical composition to higher level political press reporting.  As she wrote longer and longer pieces for newspaper weeklies, she began to write her own short stories and plays; this eventually lead to scenario writing and screenplays written directly with film in mind.  Somehow she wound up working at Thanhouser and penned the scenario for what is generally regarded at the first non-pornographic film in the U.S. to feature nudity: Inspiration (1915) (this is leaving off the series photography that Muybridge produced of both nude men and women in art and athletic setting).  All prints of the film are thought lost. If it were not for this film, and later an lawsuit that she filed against World Film, her life might have been relegated to complete obscurity altogether.   She worked through a two year contract with Thanhouser in 1915 and 1916.  All of her films that are known date from her time at the company, though she has more credits at World that are much more obscure.  The first film that she penned under contact to World was The Burglar in 1917; an adaptation of am Augustus Thomas play, and directed by Harley Knoles.  Her contract with World was for two years starting from the beginning of  1917, which they terminated nearly 5 months early; for this she sued them for breach.  World claimed that it was in her contract that the agreement could be broken, she sued for lose of monies that would have been hers had she stayed.  The whole affair wound up going to the Supreme Court, not once, but three times in 1919.  Hudson, who was by then married, eventually prevailed; with World ordered to pay her $1,600--$300 dollars less than her contract stipulated.  The whole affair was heavily reported on in the press, in part due to her background in the news industry, but also because of her sex...she was a woman daring to take on some the most powerful men in the industry, and she won! Her last World scenario was the adapted A Woman Of Redemption (1918), starring pseudo-vamp actress June Elvidge and directed by Travers Vale.  She has one additional credit, under her married name of Brightman in 1924, when a novel that she wrote along with Clinton Stagg, was adapted into an adventure vehicle for western actor Tom Mix by Fox.  Teeth was adapted by David W. Lee and directed by John G. Blystone, who is probably best known for his directing Buster Keaton's Our Hospitality the year before.  At some point, she met her husband, Grant L. Brightman, who also worked in the film industry (it was probably at World Film).  They are known to have married in October of 1918 and remained married until his death in 1931.  As for Virginia herself, there are no death records: so the date, place and cause of her death are not known at this time.  

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