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07-11-2023 11:56:27  #1

Genius - Movie With Typewriters

Caught an airing of the movie, "Genius", released in 2016 about book publishing editor Max Perkins and his years working with his writer clients such as Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway.

There are several scenes in the typing pool where dozens of women are typing author hand-written manuscipts into typed text for the editor and authors to work with in the editing process.

It is quite the scene of hearing so many typewriters hard at work.


08-11-2023 03:58:06  #2

Re: Genius - Movie With Typewriters

I hate to boast, but I thought that you might like to know that I supplied the typewriters for this film !  They wanted all identical Underwood 5s, but I couldn't source enough within their timescale so we compromised on half Underwood 5s and half Royal 10s.  Even then, I had to drive all over the South of England to get them, and spent countless hours refurbishing them,  I seem to remember that by and large they didn't want to pay to have the platens re-rubbered !  Nice to see a clip of them on the trailer.  I never did get to see the whole film in the cinema !


08-11-2023 09:55:47  #3

Re: Genius - Movie With Typewriters

Hi Tom,

Thanks for sharing that info.

Such an accomplishment to have that opportunity.  Congratulations.

     Thread Starter

08-11-2023 11:32:38  #4

Re: Genius - Movie With Typewriters

Well done, Tom!

I'd never heard of this movie, but now I want to see the movie so that I can see your machines. 


08-11-2023 14:37:31  #5

Re: Genius - Movie With Typewriters

I'm waiting for it to come round on television !  I do remember that release of the movie was delayed by at least two years - I never found out why.  And of course - because the film industry are very secretive - they wouldn't let me have any stills from the film, showing the typewriters.  Most were bought on e-bay, some on Gumtree or Preloved.  Stories behind them varied from used as a wedding typewriter to found in the loft.  The best one was a woman who had worked in a school where there was a Royal 10 hanging about.  She used to look at it now and again whilst passing.  When she left, they presented it to her as a leaving gift because they thought that she was fascinated by it.  She wasn't really, but was too bemused to say.  She kept it for a couple of years and then put it on Gumtree.  It was actually the most local of the machines that I collected, being less than 18 miles from home.  She had no idea that it was going to be a film star.  I was always very careful not to say.  I also got hold of a Royal 10 from elsewhere that had been refurbished in grey crackle finish post-war.  They couldn't use it in the film, but hired it from me instead for the actors to practise on.  They forgot that it was still on hire months later, so the accumulated weekly rate ended up as more than if I would have sold it to them like the others.  I subsequently sold it on to a private customer who was really pleased with it.


13-11-2023 17:22:01  #6

Re: Genius - Movie With Typewriters

Thanks for those insights, Tom. I've never actually thought to aggressively outsource typewriters I didn't own and will use that approach in the future. 

Prior to COVID, I used to do a fair amount of typewriter work for film and television. I had a few opportunities recently, but none worked out because of the number of identical models they required.

It's been an interesting way to make a few bucks, and one prop master did her best to persuade me to work full time in the industry, but the hours these people work are absolutely insane and best suited for someone who isn't married or doesn't have any other commitments. 

Some of the productions I worked on stand out as fond memories, in particular my interactions with both film crew and actors. One Academy Award actor even typed me funny notes while she was being filmed, pretending to type something far more important.

Some of my work has been post-production. For one film I worked with a sound engineer to recreate all of the typing scenes that appeared on screen. We were very meticulous in our approach. He provided screen shots of each scene with a typewriter so that I could provide an exact match of the model that was used. On recording day, which of course coincided with a bad snowstorm, I filled my car with those machines and drove to the sound studio. Each typewriter was covered with microphones, and I spent the day typing on each in turn to recreate what was happening in the film. 

It's surrealistic now when I watch that movie knowing that the typing you hear was actually my hamfisted technique, and not what the actor was doing on set.

For most productions I just supply the machines, but for Stockholm (2019) with Ethan Hawke (see photos below), I had to fill an entire bank with SM3s and SGE models and was actually allowed to install them up on set.

The pronoun has always been capitalized in the English language for more than 700 years.

14-11-2023 04:22:00  #7

Re: Genius - Movie With Typewriters

Dear Uwe,  Well you certainly got more involvement with the film industry than I did !  I have never been on set - they always send runners to deliver/collect typewriters.  Sometimes they are hired man-with-van, sometimes junior members of staff getting their first job in the industry.  On one occasion (Darkest Hour) I was paid to go into their London production office (nowhere near the studio) to show them how to change typewriter ribbons and take vintage portables in and out of their cases.  I would be very interested to spend a day in a film studio to see how it all works, although I can well imagine !


14-11-2023 10:57:05  #8

Re: Genius - Movie With Typewriters

thetypewriterman wrote:

... Sometimes they are hired man-with-van, sometimes junior members of staff getting their first job in the industry.  ... and take vintage portables in and out of their cases.

I learned the hard way to not allow those "prop couriers" to handle my rentals. I've gone to extreme lengths to protect my machines including concise packing instructions (with photos!), and yet they would still find ways to mess things up. I watched one guy toss the cases in the back of the truck despite the massive "Fragile - Handle with Care!" stickers covering them. One rental came back with the typewriter jammed into the case upside down and the carriage scratched up.

Some people are great with handling vintage items, some don't have a clue. Since then I make it mandatory to handle all deliveries and pick-ups, and add it to the bill.

The pronoun has always been capitalized in the English language for more than 700 years.

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