Friday, June 01, 2012 12:00 AM

Howard Gensler: on the Big Screen at last

Howard Gensler '83 has had a near life-long desire to write for the movies. Today, his 40+ year quest comes to fruition, in the form of the movie "Hysteria", which opens across the US. (The film actually debuted at the Toronto Film Festival last fall, and has played in other countries, but June 1 is the major US roll-out.) The movie, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Rupert Everett, Felicity Jones and Jonathan Pryce, is based on an original story written by Gensler about the invention of the first vibrator in the name of medical science Victorian England.

Gensler is a long-time Entertainment Editor and gossip column writer at the Philadelphia Daily News. At the DP in the early 1980s, he was 34th Street Editor and then DP Editorial Chairman.

In a story Gensler wrote for the Daily News, he describes the long, twisted path from conception to the big screen, which stretched out for more than a decade. "I wrote a brief outline of the story and a lengthier 15-page version. The goal was a romantic comedy that mixed Merchant-Ivory "Remains of the Day" repression with Mel Brooks," Gensler wrote. "People loved the idea. And then nothing happened. For years."

Although the eventual screenplay was written by others, and Gensler was a mere bystander during a week of filming in London two years ago, he did get to attend the red carpet premier in Toronto last September and watch the finished film in front of a live audience with the movie's stars and director.

Although he has worked at many film festivals and interviewed countless stars and directors, Gensler wrote that "for the first time, I understood why filmmakers have that euphoric, glazed look when they debut their movies. The odds of making it from conception to reception are so slim it’s like running a marathon in a potato sack."

Read the rest of his amusing first-person account in the Philadelphia Daily News.

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