Edward J. Montague Sr.

Active - 1913 - 1929  |   Born - May 18, 1882   |   Died - Sep 15, 1932   |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Bruce Eder

Edward J. Montagne (not to be confused with his director/producer son of the same name) was one of the pioneering professional screenwriters in American movies, with credits going back to the Edison company in 1908. Born in London in 1882, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1888 and joined the fledgling movie business in his mid-twenties, beginning with Edison. He also wrote for newspapers during the early part of the 20th century, joined Vitagraph, and later Lewis Selznick. From 1911 on, he wrote scripts or scenarios in every extant film genre, including Westerns, costume dramas, and romantic melodramas. In 1922, Montagne and his family moved to the burgeoning movie colony in Hollywood. Some of his most enduring work of the '20s was done at Universal Pictures, where he made major contributions to that studio's pioneering 1929 version of Show Boat. He also wrote the transitional talkie/silent drama The Love Trap (1929), a classic William Wyler-directed vehicle which was good enough to rate a full restoration and a re-release on DVD in 2002. In the '20s, Montagne was responsible for bringing Norman Taurog into the movie business at Paramount Pictures, a favor that Taurog returned on behalf of Montagne's son in the early '30s. Montagne died in 1932 and his son went on to become a director in feature films and on television, as well as a successful producer and writer.