Original image
Movie Clips Classic Trailers // YouTube

8 Films You Might Not Know Started as Stage Productions

Original image
Movie Clips Classic Trailers // YouTube

Plenty of the Great White Way’s most notable productions have been reincarnated for the silver screen—think Rent, The Producers, and Chicago. But Off-Broadway and Broadway’s best have also spawned plenty of big screen versions that some people don’t realize started as live theatrical experiences.

1. Casablanca

One of cinema’s most beloved and enduring classics is known for a few things (incorrectly reiterated quotes are one of them), but few people remember that the Michael Curtiz film was first crafted as a stage play. Murray Burnett and Joan Alison’s Everybody Comes To Rick’s was never actually put on the stage, but the duo did option the work to Warner Bros. in 1942 for the then-record price of $20,000. The pair wrote the play in 1940, inspired by a trip Burnett and his wife took to Vienna, where they helped some Jewish relatives smuggle money out, and a later jaunt to a small town in France which was home to an intimate nightclub with a mixed clientele (and a jazz pianist).

2. Dial M For Murder

Alfred Hitchcock’s thrilling 1954 classic is tense and taut enough that it’s easy to forget that the feature could quite easily take place in just a single setting. What often has a single setting? Stage plays! Dial M for Murder first came to life as a Frederick Knott play that actually made its debut on BBC Television in 1952. It hit the stage later that year, first in London’s West End, then on Broadway.

3. A Few Good Men

Rob Reiner’s 1992 military courtroom drama is memorable on its own, simply for all the outsized personalities that populate it (“You can’t handle the truth!”), so it’s hard to imagine soaking all that drama in live. Well, audiences did—and still do!

First performed on Broadway in 1989, playwright Aaron Sorkin then adapted the work into the screenplay that became Reiner’s Tom Cruise- and Jack Nicholson-starring film. The play is still performed today, and has torn up stages from Texas to Budapest.

4. Nell

Considering that the eponymous “wild child” role of Nell is one of Jodie Foster’s most well-known and regarded roles, it doesn’t seem possible that she’s not the one who originated it. But, you guessed it, she isn’t.

What became the film Nell was first the play Idioglossia, penned by Mark Handley in 1992. The film hit screens just two years later, hewing close to the work that Handley first brought to the stage. Though its title changed, the aims remained the same—for fans of Nell, the definition of “idioglossia” is a canny one, as it describes “an idiosyncratic language that few speak.”

5. Prelude to a Kiss

Back in 1992, Meg Ryan reigned supreme as romantic comedy queen, and the amusing and sweet body switching comedy Prelude to a Kiss was a pretty perfect match for both her and costar Alec Baldwin. Although the Norman Rene feature was a light-hearted outing, Craig Lucas’ 1988 play on which it was based was far more serious, and was believed to provide intense commentary on the then-new AIDS epidemic. The play is still performed today; there was a full-scale Broadway revival starring Alan Tudyk and John Mahoney in 2007.

6. Rope

Look, another Hitchcockian thriller! The master of suspense didn’t limit his stage play pillaging to Dial M for Murder—he also did it with 1948’s Rope, six years before picking up the phone and ringing up homicide. Based on Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 play of the same name, Hitchcock’s film earned accolades for its famous long take style, which made it appear to play out continuously in real time. Even Hamilton’s play didn’t go that far—the stage version plays out over three acts, with a curtain fall in between each.

7. Steel Magnolias

Before Shelby drank her juice to the dulcet tones of Sally Field just screaming her brains out, the same thing played out on stage. Herbert Ross’ enduring 1989 classic of American womanhood and experience is based on Robert Harling’s 1987 play of the same name, which was in turn based on Harling’s own wrenching experience of losing his sister to diabetes after the birth of his nephew.

Harling’s play was recently turned into yet another cinematic adaptation—Kenny Leon’s 2012 Lifetime feature that used an entirely African-American cast to tell the story of a tight-knit group of Southern women. Steel Magnolias the stage play most recently embarked on a country-wide tour in Ireland back in 2012.

8. Closer

Playwright Patrick Marber quite skillfully adapted his own 1997 play for the 2004 Mike Nichols film, a dramatic outing that features the talents of Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, and Jude Law. A twisted tale of two couples (sort of?) that mix and mingle in London in quite possibly the worst ways imaginable, the award-winning play placed a premium on its four central characters, layered individuals that translated well to the big screen. Marber’s play first showed around London and Broadway, and it continues to play around the world. It was recently translated into German, showing under the title Hautnah. 

Original image
Pop Culture
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Original image

At its best, Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.


In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.


Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’ Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."


John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”


The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of this year and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In June, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.


Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

Original image
iStock // Lucy Quintanilla
10 Pieces of Lying Lingo from Across the United States
Original image
iStock // Lucy Quintanilla

Maligner. Fabricator. Fibber. Con artist. There are all sorts of ways you can say "liar," but in case you're running out, we’ve worked with the editors at the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) to come up with 10 more pieces of lying lingo to add to your storytelling stash.


This term for a liar originally referred to a gold-rusher in Arizona, according to DARE. It can also be used to describe an old-timer, especially one who likes to exaggerate. The word hassayampa (also hassayamper) comes from the Hassayampa River, which is located in the Grand Canyon State. According to the Dictionary of American Folklore, “There was a popular legend that anyone who drank of the Hassayampa River in Arizona would never again tell the truth.”


“You’re a Jacob!” you might say to a deceiver in eastern Alabama or western Georgia. This word—meaning a liar, a lie, and to lie—might be based on the Bible story of twin brothers Jacob and Esau. Esau, the elder and firstborn, stood to inherit his parents' estate by law. At the behest of his mother, Jacob deceived their father, blinded in old age, into thinking he was Esau and persuaded him to bestow him Esau’s blessing.


Liza or Liza Jane can mean a lie or a liar. Hence, to lizar means to lie. Like Jacob, Liza is an eastern Alabama and western Georgia term. However, where it comes from isn’t clear. But if we had to guess, we’d say it’s echoic of lies.


“What a story you are,” you might say to a prevaricator in Virginia, eastern Alabama, or western Georgia. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), story, meaning a liar, is mainly used in the phrase, “You story!” Story as a verb meaning “to give a false or malicious account, lie, tattle,” is an English dialect word, according to DARE, and is chiefly used in the South and South Midland states. “You storied to me about getting a drink,” you might tell someone who stood you up.


To load or load up means to trick, mislead, or “deceive by yarns or windies,” according to cowboy lingo in northwest Texas. The term, which can also be a noun meaning a lie or liar, might also be heard in northwest Arkansas and the Ozarks.


To spin a yarn, or to tell a long tale, began as nautical slang, according to the OED, and comes from the idea of telling stories while doing seated work such as yarn-twisting. (The word yarn comes from the Old English gearn, meaning "spun fiber, spun wool.") By extension, a yarn is a sometimes marvelous or incredible story or tale, and to yarn means to tell a story or chat. In some parts of the U.S., such as Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland, and Tennessee, to yarn means to lie or tell a falsehood. “Don’t yarn to me!” you might say. Street yarn refers to gossip in New York, Kentucky, and parts of New England.


Telling a windy in the West? You’re telling an “extravagantly exaggerated or boastful story,” a tall tale, or a lie, says DARE. Wind has meant “vain imagination or conceit” since the 15th century, says OED.

8. LIE

In addition to being a falsehood or tall tale, a lie in the South and South Midland states can refer to the liar himself.


You’ve probably heard of stretching the truth. How about stretching the blanket? This phrase meaning to lie or exaggerate is especially used in the South Midland states. To split the blanket, by the way, is a term in the South, South Midland, and West meaning to get divorced, while being born on the wrong side of the blanket means being born out of wedlock, at least in Indiana and Ohio.


In the South and South Midland, whack refers to a lie or the act of lying. It might come from the British English colloquial term whacker, meaning anything abnormally large, especially a “thumping lie” or “whopper,” according to the OED. In case you were wondering, wack, as in “crack is wack,” is probably a back-formation from wacky meaning crazy or odd, also according to the OED. Wacky comes from whack, a blow or hit, maybe from the idea of being hit in the head too many times.


More from mental floss studios