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Seton I. Miller

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seton I. Miller
Seton Ingersoll Miller

(1902-05-03)May 3, 1902
DiedMarch 29, 1974(1974-03-29) (aged 71)
Other namesHap (nickname)
EducationYale University
OccupationScreenwriter & Producer
Spouse(s)Bonita J. Miller (divorced)
Ann Evers

Seton Ingersoll Miller (May 3, 1902 – March 29, 1974) was an American screenwriter and producer. During his career, he worked with film directors such as Howard Hawks and Michael Curtiz. Miller received two Oscar nominations and won once for Best Screenplay for the 1941 fantasy romantic comedy film, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, along with Sidney Buchman.

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Early life

Seton Miller was born and raised in Chehalis, Washington. His father, Harry John, was a successful lumberman and a state legislator, and his mother was a prominent member of the local community. He attended Yale University and was part of the college orchestra and crew.[1] A few of his movies were screened locally in his hometown, including 1932's Scarface at the Peacock Theater[2] and his 1933 movie, The Eagle and the Hawk, was honored with a first-run showing at the St. Helens Theater in downtown Chehalis.[3]


Early writing and Fox Films

A Yale graduate, Miller began writing stories for silent films in the late 1920s. He worked on Brown of Harvard in technical direction and as a member of the cast.[4] He signed a three-year contract at Fox Film Corporation in 1927[5] where his credits included the films, Paid to Love, Two Girls Wanted,[6] High School Hero, and Wolf Fangs. He also started early work with Howard Hawks on the productions, Fazil and Cradle Snatchers.[5]

A Girl in Every Port and Howard Hawks

Miller's first big hit was the 1928 film, A Girl in Every Port, directed by Howard Hawks, a crucial film in Hawks' career. He was reunited with Hawks later that year for Fazil then did two Rex Bell 1928 Westerns, The Cowboy Kid and Girl-Shy Cowboy. In 1929, Miller wrote Hawks' first sound film, The Air Circus then did The Far Call for Allan Dwan that same year, following it up in 1930 with The Lone Star Ranger and a comedy, Harmony at Home, then left Fox.

Miller joined Hawks at First National and in 1930 did The Dawn Patrol, working with another team on Today that same year. In 1931 he started work on three movies with Hawks, The Criminal Code at Columbia, and in 1932, both Scarface, and The Crowd Roars.[7][8] His final works at Fox Films include The Last Mile then adapted the comedy play Once in a Lifetime, both completed in 1932.


At Paramount, Miller wrote Hot Saturday (1932) and in 1933, the horror film, Murders in the Zoo,[9] the Hawks movie The Eagle and the Hawk, and Gambling Ship (1933). During the year he went to Columbia for Master of Men. In 1934, he worked on Come On Marines! for Henry Hathaway, then went back to Fox for Murder in Trinidad, Marie Galante and Charlie Chan's Courage.[10]

He worked on The Farrell Case for James Cagney and Jack Holt but it was not made.[11]

Warner Bros

For Warner Bros., Miller wrote The St. Louis Kid (1934) for James Cagney. In 1935, after working on Murder on a Honeymoon for RKO, Warner Bros. asked him to return to work on further Cagney films: G Men, and Frisco Kid. He wrote a sequel to G Men, G Women[12] that was not made.

Miller continued to write for other studios and in 1936, wrote It Happened in New York for Universal and in 1937, Two in the Dark for RKO and for Republic, The Leathernecks Have Landed.

Miller went back to Warner Bros. in 1937 to do Bullets or Ballots for Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart.[13] He stayed at the studio to work on Marked Woman, San Quentin, Back in Circulation, and Kid Galahad. He wrote Kit Carson for Wayne Morris but it as not made.[14]

In 1938, Miller worked on the Errol Flynn vehicle, The Adventures of Robin Hood, which was a big success. He was put on another Flynn film, a remake of The Dawn Patrol.[15] Miller wrote Valley of the Giants that year and following in 1939, two productions with John Garfield, Dust Be My Destiny and Castle on the Hudson.[16]

He officially left Warners in July 1939 after four years.[17] but did another Flynn swashbuckler, The Sea Hawk in 1940.[18] He also wrote a Western for Flynn, Tombstone[19] but it was not made.


At Universal he adapted I James Lewis but it does not appear to have been made.[20] At Columbia he cowrote Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), which won him an Oscar, following it up with a Universal production, This Woman is Mine (1942). Warners' Secret Enemies (1942) was based on his story.[21]

20th Century Fox

Miller went to Fox, where in 1942 he worked on My Gal Sal and The Black Swan.[22] Working briefly for Columbia, he adapted the play Heart of City for Merle Oberon[23] but it was not made.

Paramount: Turning Producer

Miller signed a contract with Paramount to write and produce. He started with Ministry of Fear (1944), directed by Fritz Lang.[24] He was assigned The Griswold Story but it was not made.[25] Miller also produced The Bride Wore Boots (1946).[26]

He had written a script of Two Years Before the Mast for Edward Small in 1939.[27] The project was bought by Paramount, and Miller also produced. It was directed by John Farrow and he and Miller made two more films together, California (1947), and Calcutta (1947).[28][29]

Warners & Universal

Miller sold his script for Singapore to Universal in 1947. It was later remade as Istanbul (1957).[30] In August 1947, he signed with Warner Bros to write and produce. He was to start with Colt 45 starring Wayne Morris.[31] It was not made. Instead he wrote and produced Fighter Squadron (1948).[32]

1950s independent writer and studio works

In the 1950s, Miller wrote either independently or for various studios. In 1950, Miller wrote The Man Who Cheated Himself, originally known as The Gun,[33] and associate produced The Sound of Fury.[34] Early in that year he formed a company with Irvin Rubin.[35]

He wrote and produced Queen for a Day (1951) at United Artists[36] and wrote an adaptation of Island in the Sky[37] but is not credited on the final film. Miller wrote The Mississippi Gambler (1953) and in 1954, the Bengal Brigade for Universal and The Shanghai Story for Republic.

In 1955, he sold a Western script, The Staked Plains to Henry Fonda.[38] He wrote scripts for a Dennis O'Keefe TV series Hart of Honolulu.[39] He wrote The Willie Gordon Story for Ray Milland in 1957, meant to be shot in England but it was not made.[40] That same year, he sold a story Pete's Dragon for the Disney company to make as a vehicle for Kevin Corcoran.[41] The eventual film was not made for another two decades.

Miller was credited on the remake of The Last Mile (1959).[42] He closed out the decade by writing Death Valley Days and creating a series, Rogue for Hire.

Later career

His later credits span into the 1970s, including Knife for the Ladies (1974) and an unpublished story of his was filmed as Pete's Dragon (1977).

Awards and nominations

Miller was nominated with Fred Niblo, Jr. for their 1931 screen adaptation of Martin Flavin's play The Criminal Code. He and Sidney Buchman won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay in 1941 for Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

Personal life

Miller married Bonita and had two children, Keith and Bonita, but he and his wife divorced in 1940. She demanded $2,000 a month in alimony claiming Miller abused her verbally and physically.[43] He remarried in 1946, to actress Ann Evers[44] and had another child, a daughter, Catherine, who became an actor.

Partial filmography

As writer, unless otherwise specified.


  1. ^ "Brevities". The Chehalis Bee-Nugget. July 25, 1924. p. 7. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  2. ^ "Chehalis Boy Joint Author of "Scarface"". The Chehalis Bee-Nugget. August 26, 1932. p. 6. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  3. ^ "Seton Miller Picture At St. Helens Theater". The Chehalis Bee-Nugget. June 2, 1933. p. 4. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  4. ^ "Seton Miller Gets Post". The Chehalis Bee-Nugget. March 26, 1926. p. 17. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Seton Miller Signs Contract With Fox". The Chehalis Bee-Nugget. May 27, 1927. p. 9. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  6. ^ Babcock, M. (Sep 18, 1927). "Hilarious comedy offered in "TWO GIRLS WANTED"". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 162099343.
  7. ^ "ON THE CINEMA HORIZON". New York Times. Jun 28, 1931. ProQuest 99335691.
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  9. ^ "PICTURES AND PLAYERS IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. Nov 20, 1932. ProQuest 99761198.
  10. ^ "COMIC PAIR STARRED IN MUSIC FILM". Los Angeles Times. Jan 23, 1934. ProQuest 163228111.
  11. ^ Schallert, E. (Feb 19, 1935). "Jack holt and jimmy Cagney will team in seton miller's "the farrell case"". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 163365554.
  12. ^ Schallert, E. (Jun 14, 1935). "Careers of two foreign actresses brighten as they sign new film contracts". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 163314885.
  13. ^ Schallert, E. (Jan 21, 1936). "Rumors of movie deal again start following arrival of stokowsky on coast". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 164555263.
  14. ^ "NEWS OF THE SCREEN". New York Times. Nov 24, 1937. ProQuest 102160200.
  15. ^ "NEWS OF THE SCREEN". New York Times. Jun 7, 1938. ProQuest 102547364.
  16. ^ Schallert, E. (Feb 20, 1939). "Sing sing epic listed as garfield venture". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 164942555.
  17. ^ DOUGLAS W CHURCHILL (Jul 12, 1939). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. ProQuest 102759565.
  18. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. Aug 4, 1938. ProQuest 102505887.
  19. ^ DOUGLAS W CHURCHILL (May 31, 1939). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. ProQuest 103036753.
  20. ^ DOUGLAS W CHURCHILL (Nov 12, 1940). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. ProQuest 105301081.
  21. ^ "Fontaine, cooper win 'oscars'; crisp and astor best support". The Christian Science Monitor. Feb 27, 1942. ProQuest 513767178.
  22. ^ DOUGLAS W CHURCHILL (Oct 29, 1941). "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. ProQuest 105697829.
  23. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. Jun 19, 1942. ProQuest 106406367.
  24. ^ Schallert, E. (Mar 20, 1943). "DRAMA AND FILM". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 165397717.
  25. ^ Schallert, E. (Aug 3, 1943). "SCREEN AND STAGE". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 165468381.
  26. ^ "NEWS OF THE SCREEN". New York Times. May 28, 1945. ProQuest 107307109.
  27. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD". New York Times. Dec 6, 1943. ProQuest 106595638.
  28. ^ Schallert, E. (Feb 14, 1944). "'Two years before mast' personnel assembling". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 165477320.
  29. ^ F. S. (Sep 30, 1945). "HOLLYWOOD HAPPENINGS". New York Times. ProQuest 107267384.
  30. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (Feb 3, 1947). "M'MURRAY TO PLAY LEAD IN 'SINGAPORE': Actor Is Signed by Universal- International for Picture-- Fox Engages Moss Hart". New York Times. p. 22.
  31. ^ THOMAS F BRADY (Aug 14, 1947). "BUCKNER TO MAKE A COMEDY FOR U-I". New York Times. ProQuest 107812661.
  32. ^ F. D. (Jul 16, 1948). "O'brien will star in film of war aces". The Christian Science Monitor. ProQuest 516146759.
  33. ^ THOMAS F BRADY (May 1, 1950). "BOGART AND LORD BUY 'BUTCHER BIRD'". New York Times. ProQuest 111402475.
  34. ^ R. S. (Apr 23, 1950). "NO COMPLAINTS". New York Times. ProQuest 111416331.
  35. ^ Schallert, Edwin. (Jan 5, 1950). "Drama: Beverly Tyler Signs for 'Challenge;' Dane Clark Launches Company". Los Angeles Times. p. B9.
  36. ^ THOMAS F BRADY (Jan 25, 1950). "METRO PLANNING NEW WAR PICTURE". New York Times. ProQuest 111556795.
  37. ^ THOMAS F BRADY (Jan 26, 1950). "STILLMAN TO MAKE NEW AVIATION FILM". New York Times. ProQuest 111552121.
  38. ^ THOMAS M PRYOR (Nov 18, 1955). "FONDA WILL FILM 'STAKED PLAINS'". New York Times. ProQuest 113379091.
  39. ^ "DISNEY TO UNVEIL TV VARIETY SERIES". New York Times. Aug 20, 1955. ProQuest 113390356.
  40. ^ THOMAS M PRYOR (Feb 21, 1957). "UNIVERSAL SUES ACTOR IT OUSTED". New York Times. ProQuest 113899056.
  41. ^ Hopper, H. (Dec 17, 1957). "Looking at hollywood". Chicago Daily Tribune. ProQuest 180210876.
  42. ^ THOMAS M PRYOR (Mar 20, 1959). "LAST MILE' CREDIT IS BASIS FOR SUIT". New York Times. ProQuest 114923385.
  43. ^ "Alimony of $2000 sought from writer". Los Angeles Times. Jun 18, 1940. ProQuest 165081048.
  44. ^ Hopper, Hedda. (Jan 25, 1946). "Film Producer to Wed Actress". Los Angeles Times. p. A2.

External links

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