Tag Archives: It Happened One Night

Influences and Rosebuds

As I’ve been creating my novel I’ve noticed the works that influenced it (and also the works that didn’t influence it that other people may think influenced it).

Orson Scott Card wrote in a review of Saving Mr. Banks about its many “rosebuds.” A rosebud is something in a character’s past that people say explains her somehow. The term comes from, of course, Citizen Kane.

[Saving Mr. Banks] was written by writers (Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith) who clearly believe that Citizen Kane‘s “Rosebud” is just the very cleverest thing ever created. They pack Saving Mr. Banks with little Rosebuds, so we’re constantly going, “Oh, look,that’s why she doesn’t like pears! Oh, look, that’s where the carousel comes from!”

The most appalling case of this is the arrival of the dreaded Aunt Ellie (Rachel Griffiths, though we barely see her face). She arrives with the carpet bag, the bird-headed umbrella, a no-nonsense attitude, and a series of absurd “magical” gags she pulls out of the bag.

The movie seems to be saying that P.L. Travers didn’t invent anything! This is the standard baloney that English professors have embedded in the minds of their victims students — all inventions in fiction must be “explained away.” It seems to be an article of faith that “There’s always a Rosebud.” – Orson Scott Card, “Uncle Orson Reviews Everything” Dec. 26, 2013

I guess it is impossible to prevent people from looking for rosebuds in a person’s life that explain their creative work. It is also probably impossible to write something without people thinking you stole it from here or there if there are slight similarities.

So what are a few direct “influences” on my story that I fully admit?

The movies It Happened One Night and African Queen play a part. Both movies have a man and woman thrown together on a journey. Their personalities clash and bubble over in humor and, at least in these movies, love. I think, however, that these movies’ influence would be the least obvious of anything in my book.