Remarque Sparks Interest In Hollywood

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The writings of Erich Maria Remarque ("All Quiet on the Western Front") have garnered interest in Hollywood of late. Screen rights for "Spark of Life," a novel published by Remarque in 1952, have recently been purchased by FilmStew.com Chairman, John Culton.

All Quiet on the Western Front

John Culton, Chairman of the Hollywood based entertainment portal, FilmStew.com, has purchased the screen rights to Erich Maria Remarque's novel "Spark of Life." Remarque, author of "All Quiet on the Western Front" and one of the premiere novelists of the twentieth century, wrote thirteen novels, twelve of which were made into motion pictures ("All Quiet on the Western Front" was produced for the screen three times including the classic 1930 version, and again for television in 1979). "Spark of Life", his eighth novel published in 1952, is the compelling story of starving slave laborers finding hope enough to live out the last days of World War II.

According to Culton, he has finished an award-winning adaptation of the Remarque novel. "I intend to offer the project to a select group of Producers, filmmakers that are known for their canny choices of material and quality filmmaking." Explains Culton.

Arguably the greatest war writer of the twentieth century, Remarque will be remembered most for his first gigantically influential novel "All Quiet On the Western Front."

All Quiet set the standard for writing about war in the twentieth century and its impact on people and governments is incalculable. It's the one fictional work of the era that one might say affected history. Readers and leaders alike were moved to become anti-militaristic. The soul-destroying insanity of warfare has become part of our modern response to war.

Culton acquired the rights to Spark from the estate of Paulette Goddard Remarque, the late author's widow. Attorneys Stephen Rodner and Richard Kay of Prior, Cashman, Sherman & Flynn, New York brokered the deal on behalf of the Goddard estate. Goddard, who married Remarque in 1958, was one of Hollywood's Golden Age screen sirens, with forty-four films to her credit. She is perhaps best remembered for her work opposite Charlie Chaplain in "Modern Times" and "The Great Dictator", as well as for her portrayal of a World War II nurse in "So Proudly We Hail," for which she received an Academy Award nomination.

When Spark was first published in 1952, New York Times book critic Orville Prescott wrote, "To read Spark of Life is a heartrending experience...it possesses great narrative power and authentic suspense hinging on the question: Which among the tormented will be alive to witness the certain defeat of the tormentors, the defeat of which is heralded by the sound of the approaching American artillery?"

About "Spark of Life:"

The script is a gut wrenching epic. After a dozen years in a German work camp 509, the main character has lost everything, even his name. In the camp hope is a forbidden thing, but hope begins to prosper as 509 recognizes a change in the war and reaches down within himself to go against everything he knows to keep hope alive. This is a script about people, purely. It is a true character piece where the source of all drama and tension is within, never without. Although interesting, the issues of plot, such as the hiding of political prisoners, the reversal of fortune, and the coming of the Americans, are secondary to the deeply human interaction of the characters.

As hope begins to take hold in the deep recesses of the prisoner's consciousness, the characters begin to stand up because they are once again human and not dead. Spark is not about the last days of the Third Reich, but the first days of 509, Bucher, and the rest of the prisoners who are about to return to the world of the living. Spark is brimming with incredible scenes in which humanity is revealed through the humility and willpower of the characters. These scenes play as anecdotes about loving and surviving, from Bucher risking his life to keep his wife alive and fed, to Lebenthal risking it all to get food for 509 and Bucher after they do the impossible and resist the Nazis. This is where the power of this film is, in these very strong individual stories which show characters standing and lasting when it seems like the last thing they can do. Spark portrays human strength at its utmost against tyranny at its utmost. This script has the potential to be a great and powerful epic film.

About John Culton:

John Culton is founder and chairman of FilmStew.com, a popular entertainment industry portal, as well as founder and chairman of Califormance.com, a lifestyle business for automobile enthusiasts. Mr. Culton is also an accomplished screenwriter whose screenplays have won top honors at the Austin Film Festival, Houston International Film Festival, the Independent Feature Project - New York, and the coveted Carl Sauter Memorial screenwriting competition awarded annually by Scriptwriters Network. In addition to his entertainment industry activities, he is the president of a real estate development and marketing company in Southern California with interests in the mortgage, title and gaming industries. He is an executive producer of The World's Greatest Unknown Comedian competition and the prestigious Hollywood's Master Storytellers series. Mr. Culton is also a partner and co-founder of Hollywood's Master Storytellers Entertainment, which has several television and motion picture projects in active development and relationships with several motion picture studios and television networks.

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