Monday, June 9, 2014

Frances Glessner Lee & Nutshell Studies Documentary Film Update

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death - Parsonage - Dorothy Dennison. This Nutshell was based on a pretty intriguing case. Only slight details were changed. If you are a good researcher, with some time on your hands, you will be able to find out the answer to this case. But I warn you: once you find out the answer, it takes all the fun and mystery out of it. 

Dorothy Dennison body wasn't as decompose as the meat she purchased from the butcher. Why is that? I watched a FBI agent figure it out in a couple seconds flat. 

Here's a research tip for all you people who want to know what happened to Dorothy Dennison - keep in mind that not all research can be done online. Shocking, I know. Filmmakers, writers and yes even detectives, get offline for the bulk of their research. We don't wait for anyone to hand us the answers, we dig for it. There are 100s of cases that Frances Glessner Lee could have based "Parsonage" on, so don't trust what you read online. (Sadly, young women murdered in a domestic setting is far from rare.)

So, happily get out of your comfort zone and think like someone in the pre-internet era. Having said that, we did discover a case that one Nutshell was based upon through google books and then confirmed it at a library.

I hope I don't come across as preachy, just truthful. And hopefully helpful.

On that note: despite what you've read - Murder She Wrote was NOT based on Frances Glessner Lee. 

Know how I know? 

I asked one of the producers of the tv show and he said no, Jessica Fletcher was based on Miss Marple from Agatha Christie's crime novels. 

Again, I asked an actual person that worked on the show instead of believing (and I so wanted to believe!) what I read about Frances being the inspiration for Jessica. So hopefully I've given you some insights into beyond-the-internet research. (I know a few professional researchers who also need to be reminded of some universal truths of research in the internet era.)

Want to know more about Frances Glessner Lee? Read on:

The recent Slate article and the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast on Frances Glessner Lee has people pretty excited about our documentary film Of Dolls & Murder and our new, forthcoming documentary film and screenplay on Frances Glessner Lee, Her Miniature Life of Crime. 

So here's a run down for the folks that are new to our blog:

  •  We are filmmakers Susan Marks and John Kurtis Dehn
  • If you want to know more about the actual cases the Nutshell Studies were based on, you will have to wait for our film to be finished. I'm not saying we will hand you the answers, you smartypants types (and you know who you are) will be able to figure out a few very important clues. If you want updates on our film, you can like us on facebook
  • We are currently filming the final interviews for the Frances documentary this summer! 
  • We've finished our interviews with Frances Glessner Lee descendents, as well as her carpenter, Alton Mosher and we are, again, thrilled. 
  • We found the missing Nutshell as well as the unfinished ones! 
  • We will be attending the HAPS Conference next month in Baltimore. 
  •  You can only get the DVD extras with John Waters when you buy the DVD of Of Dolls & Murder from our website
  •  Feel free to be in touch with any questions.