Joseph Minion Plagiarized Joe Frank

After Hours is perhaps my favorite Scorsese film. I am also a big Joe Frank fan. So it was considerably astonishing to learn that screenwriter Joseph Minion appears to have pilfered a Frank monologue for the first 30 minutes of the film. The details are, in many cases, taken astonishingly verbatim. In a March 2000 interview, Frank was apparently “paid handsomely by producers of a Hollywood film (which he won’t name) that plagiarized his dialogue.” (via Fimoculous)

[ALSO: Minion also plagiarized “Before the Law” from Kafka’s The Castle for this scene. Kafka, however, was not in the position to settle out of court.]

One Comment

  1. Yes, I was really shocked myself when I heard that After Hours (also one of my all time favorite Scorsese ‘comedies’ (?) i kinda like ‘king of comedy’ a little better…but still) was partially plagiarized from Joe Frank (another one of my all time favorite artists!)…I was mainly surprised because I had never heard anything about it until relatively recently, perhaps the mid 2000s? Before that I never heard anything about it…
    Now, what I’d like to know. Is there more plagiarism in After Hours, than just the 11 mins. from the piece title ‘Lies’ (i heard the original title of the ‘script’ for After Hours was: “Lies” as well, which makes me really question a lot of this. I know if I were to plagiarize someone’s text, or pieces of it I would NOT want to draw attention to the fact by also titling it the same as well? Was he just really young and naive when he wrote this, he surely must not have expected this film to be made, or something? anyway…) the 11 mins. of that Joe Frank episode which I was able to hear and is reportedly what was stolen for the first 30 mins. of the film is pretty obviously plagiarized…however, my question is. Is there more? Did he take more than just that section? Because although those parts are without question ‘stolen’ from Frank, what is to explain the rest of the film…which is actually VERY good…it isn’t as if (at least to me?) the film suddenly becomes horrible and ridiculous…it actually builds and becomes even more interesting…and there is also a lot to the script which doesn’t seem to come from Frank, as much as I love Joe Frank and think he should get credit for what was rightfully his, I don’t think the ‘baby should be thrown out with the bath water’ here? Sincerely, there is still the rest of the film…not that I can honestly say the rest of the film doesn’t also have significant portions of it which are plagiarized from Frank as well? I just don’t know? To me the whole movie almost seems like one giant adaptation of multiple Joe Frank ‘radio plays’? And I feel it is also cleverly wrapped together into a really fascinating and VERY new york (circa the mid-eighties!) existential morality tale…so, I just would like to know if there is more that is ‘lifted’ from Frank, or if it is JUST the 11 mins. which most certainly makes up the initial first 30 mins of After Hours, and yes even great swaths of the dialogue from Frank are lifted…but there is just also a lot of really clever and interesting pieces which aren’t from there? The whole interaction with Kiki, the messaging, the VERY odd, black, black humor to him believing she has some horrible burns on her body, his own back story about being a child placed in a ‘burn ward’ and then the discovery of her body (overdosed) when he looks at her naked body (almost a sense of necrophilia here) and finds no trace of ANY scars on her body at all…and in fact the place he thought he saw a burn was in fact merely a tattoo…and the sense of guilt he feels, that he treated her so harshly and was ‘turned off’ because she may have a burn scar; that then (in his guilt ridden mind anyway) lead him to believe she had killed herself because of how he treated her…none of that apparently comes from Joe Frank…and yet, I found that to be one of the most fascinating, interesting and just thoroughly ‘gets you under your skin’ part of the film…on the other hand, it is also very reminiscent of Joe Frank…so, are we talking about Joe Minion being highly inspired by Joe Frank and actually developing his own brand and form of story from that influence? Or is this just more pilfering…it’s also really odd to me that I cannot seem to find all that much information on this? One would think there would be a LOT more to found about it on the internet?

    Also, I disagree with you stating that the scene with the ‘bouncer’ at the Berlin Club is ‘stolen’ or plagiarized from Kafka, I think it was a very obvious ‘homage’ to Kafka…not a case of plagiarism…after all, they are using the ‘legend of the gate keeper’ story and cleverly integrating that into the story of him trying to get into a nightclub. To me that’s NOT plagiarism…that’s just a little ‘nod’ to Kafka, letting us know this is going to be an ‘absurd’ story…it would be like saying that any movie which references any Shakespeare or Dante is plagiarizing them? I just don’t think that’s the case here…i think because one hears of Minion’s plagiarism of Frank, suddenly people start looking for all sorts of other plagiarism…to me, that scene is NOT stolen…however, that’s not to say there aren’t other scenes which may be lifted from Frank? I think there probably is?
    However, I’d like to know, either way?


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