Ben Hecht

Ben Hecht (n. 28 of February of 1894 – 18 of April of 1964 ) was a writer , film director , producer, playwright and novelist American . Called “the Shakespeare of Hollywood”, received credit on the screen, alone or in collaboration, for the stories or scripts of some 70 films. As a prolific author, he wrote 35 books and created some of the most successful scripts or plays in the United States. According to film historian Richard Corliss, he was “the” Hollywood scriptwriter, someone who “personified Hollywood himself.” The Dictionary of Literary Biography – American Screenwriters calls him “one of the most successful screenwriters in the history of cinema”.

It was the first screenwriter who received an Academy Award for best original screenplay for the film The Underworld ( Underworld ) in 1927 . According to the Newberry Library in Chicago, the screenplays written by Hecht or in which he collaborated, which are now considered “classics” is “astonishing”. This list includes films like Scarface ( 1932 ), The Front Page , Tweentieth Century ( 1934 ), Barbary Coast ( 1935 ), Stagecoach , Some Like It Hot , Gone with the Wind , Gunga Din , Wuthering Heights ( 1939 ) His Girl Friday ( 1940 ), Spellbound ( 1945 ), Notorious ( 1946 ), Monkey Business , Farewell to Arms ( 1957 ), Mutiny on the Bounty ( 1962 ) and Casino Royale (posthumous in 1967 ). In 1940 , a film that wrote, produced and directed, Angels Over Broadway , was nominated for best script in the Academy Awards. In total, six of his films have been nominated for Academy Awards , resulting two of them winning.

It is estimated that many of the 70-90 screenplays he wrote were anonymously due to the British boycott of his work in the late 1940s and early 1950s . The boycott was a response to Hecht’s active support for the Zionist movement in Palestine , coming to be called one of the supply ships to Palestine in honor of him, SS Ben Hecht.

Early years

Hecht was born in New York City , a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Hecht’s father, Joseph Hecht, was a textile worker whose specialty was cutting clothes into molds. He and his future wife, Sarah Swernofski, immigrated to the Lower East Side from Minsk , in Belarus , then part of the Russian Empire . The language spoken within the family was Yiddish . The Hechts were married in 1892 and Ben was born the following year. 1

The Hecht family moved to Racine , Wisconsin , where Ben attended school. In his teens, Hecht spent many summers with an uncle in Chicago . From the age of 10 years, Hecht was considered a child prodigy , apparently on his way to a career as a violinist, but two years later was acting like an acrobat of circus . 2

After graduating from high school in 1910 , Hecht moved to Chicago , where he lived with relatives and began a career in journalism . At age 16, he fled to live permanently in Chicago and found work as a journalist, first in the Chicago Journal and then in the Chicago Daily News . 3 After the First World War , Hecht was sent to Berlin as a correspondent for the Chicago Daily News . There, in 1921 , he wrote his first and most successful novel, Erik Dorn .

The 1969 film , Gaily, Gaily , directed by Norman Jewison and starring Beau Bridges as “Ben Harvey”, was based on his early years working as a journalist in Chicago, being taken from a portion of his autobiography, A Child of the Century . The film was nominated for three Oscar Awards .

Career as a writer

Journalist

From 1918 to 1919, Hecht was a war correspondent in Berlin for the Chicago Daily News . According to Siegel, “in addition to being a war journalist, he began to be known in literary circles in Chicago.” 2

In 1921, Hecht inaugurated a column in the Daily News column called ” One Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago” . While it lasted, the column had an enormous influence. Its publisher, Henry Justin Smith, later claimed that it represented a new concept in journalism . 4

In the Chicago Daily News , Hecht reported in 1921 the story of the “Rogue Killer Case” about the murder of Carl Wanderer’s wife, who led the trial and execution of war hero Carl Wanderer. In Chicago, Hecht met and became friends with Maxwell Bodenheim , an American poet and novelist who became known as the bohemian king of Greenwich Village , and of whom he became a close friend.

After concluding “The Thousand and One Afternoons,” Hecht devoted himself to producing novels, plays, scripts and memoirs, but none of these eclipsed his previous success. Recalling this period, Hecht wrote

He frequented streets, brothels, police stations, courts, theaters, prisons, bars, slums, insane asylums, fires, murders, riots, banquets and bookstores. I scoured all the places of the city like a fly buzzing in the mechanism of a clock, I tried more than any form abdomen could hold, I learned not to sleep and I got caught up in a ticking of hours without stopping that still echo in me . 5

Playwright

In 1914 , Hecht began to write works with a series of pieces of a single act. His first full length piece was El egotista , which was produced in New York in 1922 . While living in Chicago, Hecht met the expert journalist Charles MacArthur , with whom he moved to New York to collaborate in his work First floor . This was widely acclaimed and had a season on Broadway that featured 281 presentations, begun in August 1928. In 1931, it was made into a film and turned out to be a successful film with three Oscar nominations.

Novelist

In addition to working as a journalist in Chicago, Hecht contributed literary magazines that included Little Review . After World War I , he was sent by the Chicago Daily News to Berlin to report the revolutionary movements that provided him material for his first novel, Erik Dorn ( 1921 ). Also, his subsequent column One Thousand and One Afternoon in Chicago was collected in a book that brought Hecht to fame. Thus, these books enhanced his reputation in the literary scene as a journalist, columnist, short story writer and novelist. After leaving the Chicago Daily News in 1923, Hecht began his own newspaper, the Chicago Literary Times . 6

According to biographer Eddy Applegate,

Hecht voraciously read the works of Gautier , Adelaide, Mallarme, and Verlaine , and developed a style that was extraordinary and imaginative. The use of metaphor , imagery and vivid phrases made his writings different … again and again Hecht showed a great ability to portray the strange jumble of events in strokes as vivid and moving as the brushstrokes of a novelist. 7

For author Sanford Sternlicht, Ben Hecht was the enfant terrible of American letters in the first half of the twentieth century . If Hecht oppose something was to censorship in literature, art and film by any government or self – appointed guardians of public morals. Even if he never attended college, Hecht became a successful novelist, playwright, journalist and screenwriter. During his lifetime, Hecht became one of the most famous literary figures and entertainment industry in the United States. 1

Eventually, Hecht teamed up with writers Sherwood Anderson , Theodore Dreiser , Maxwell Bodenheim , Carl Sandburg and Pascal Covici . He met Margaret Anderson and contributed to his Little Review , the magazine of the “literary revival” of Chicago, and Smart Set . 7

Scripts

  • Casino Royale (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Circus World
  • 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Cleopatra (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Billy Rose’s Jumbo
  • Mutiny on the Bounty (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Walk on the Wild Side (not included in the credit titles)
  • Alaska, land of gold (not included in the titles of credit)
  • John Paul Jones (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Bullets of contraband ( The Gun Runners , 1958, does not figure in the titles of credit)
  • Queen of Outer Space
  • Legend of the Lost
  • The Sun Also Rises
  • Goodbye to guns
  • Miracle in the Rain
  • The Iron Petticoat
  • Notre Dame de Paris (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Trapezoid (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Indian Fighter
  • The man with the golden arm (does not figure in the titles of credit)
  • Guys and Dolls (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Living It Up (based on his work Hazel Flagg )
  • Ulises
  • Light’s Diamond Jubilee (for television)
  • Terminal Station (not included in credit bills)
  • Angel Face (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Hans Christian Andersen (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Monkey Business
  • Actors and Sin (also directing and producing)
  • The Wild Heart (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Thing from Another World (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Secret of Convict Lake (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Strangers on a train (not included in the titles of credit)
  • September Affair (not included in credit titles)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends
  • Edge of Doom (does not figure in credit titles)
  • Perfect Strangers
  • Canned love (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Inspector General (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Whirlpool
  • Roseanna McCoy (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Big Jack (not included in the credit titles)
  • Portrait of Jennie (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Cry of the City (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Rope (not included in credit bills)
  • The Miracle of the Bells
  • Dishonored Lady (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Her Husband’s Affairs
  • The Paradine Case (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Ride the Pink Horse
  • The Kiss of Death
  • Duel in the sun (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Notorious
  • Flag is Born
  • Specter of the Rose (also directing and producing)
  • Gilda (not included in the debt securities)
  • Cornered (not included in credit titles)
  • Spellbound
  • Watchtower Over Tomorrow
  • Lifeboat (not included in the credit titles)
  • The Outlaw (not in credit titles)
  • China girl
  • Journey into Fear (not included in the credit titles)
  • The Black Swan
  • Ten Gentlemen from West Point (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Roxie Hart (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Lydia
  • The Mad Doctor (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Comrade X
  • Second Chorus (not included in credit titles)
  • Angels Over Broadway (also directing and production)
  • Foreign Correspondent (final scene, not included in the credit titles)
  • The bazaar of surprises (not included in the titles of credit)
  • His Girl Friday
  • I Take This Woman (not included in the titles of credit)
  • What the wind took (it does not figure in the titles of credit)
  • An afternoon at the circus (not included in the credit titles)
  • Lady of the Tropics
  • It’s a Wonderful World
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Let Freedom Ring
  • The diligence (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Gunga Din
  • Angels with dirty faces (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Goldwyn Follies
  • Nothing Sacred
  • The Hurricane (not included in credit titles)
  • The Prisoner of Zenda (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Woman Chases Man (not included in the titles of credit)
  • King of Gamblers (not included in titles of credit)
  • A Star Is Born (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Soak the Rich (also director)
  • The Scoundrel (also direction)
  • Spring Tonic
  • Barbary coast
  • Once in a Blue Moon (also direction)
  • The Florentine Dagger
  • The President Vanishes (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Crime Without Passion (also director)
  • Shoot the Works
  • Twentieth Century (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Upperworld
  • Viva Villa!
  • Riptide (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Queen Christina of Sweden (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Design for Living
  • Turn Back the Clock
  • Topaze
  • Hallelujah, I’m a Bum
  • Back Street (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Rasputin and the Empress (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Million Dollar Legs (not included in the debt securities)
  • Scarface
  • The Beast of the City (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Unholy Garden
  • The Sin of Madelon Claudet (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Freshwater gunmen (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Homicide Squad (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Quick Millions (not included in the titles of credit)
  • Le Specter vert
  • Roadhouse Nights
  • Street of Chance (not included in the titles of credit)
  • The Unholy Night
  • The Great Gabbo
  • The Big Noise
  • American Beauty (not included in credit titles)
  • Underworld
  • The New Klondike (not included in the debt securities)

Books

  • 1001 Afternoons in Chicago , McGee / Covici ( 1922 ); University of Chicago Press, 296 pp. ( 2009 ), ISBN 978-0-226-32274-2 .
  • Fantazius Mallare, to Mysterious Oath , Pascal Covici, 174 pp. ( 1922 )
  • The Florentine Dagger: A Novel for Amateur Detectives , with illustrations by Wallace Smith, Boni & Liveright, 256 pp. ( 1923 )
  • Kingdom of Evil , Pascal Covici, 211 pp. ( 1924 )
  • Broken Necks {Containing More 1001 Afternoons} , Pascal Covici, 344 pp. ( 1926 )
  • Count Bruga , Boni and Liveright, 319 pp. ( 1926 )
  • The Champion From Far Away ( 1931 )
  • Actor’s Blood ( 1936 )
  • The Book of Miracles , Viking Press, 465 pp. ( 1939 )
  • A Guide for the Bedevilled , Charles Scribner’s Sons, 276 pp. ( 1944 ); Milah Press Incorporated, 216 pp. ( 1999 ), ISBN 0-9646886-2-X
  • The Collected Stories of Ben Hecht , Crown, 524 pp. ( 1945 )
  • Perfidy (with critical supplements), Julian Messner, 281 pp. ( 1962 ).
    • Perfidy Milah Press, 288 pp. ( 1961 ); Inc. ( 1997 ) ISBN 0-9646886-3-8
  • Concerning a Woman of Sin , Mayflower, 222 pp. ( 1964 )
  • Gaily, Gaily , Signet ( 1963 )
  • A Child of the Century Plume, 672 pp. ( 1954 )
  • A Treasury Of Ben Hecht: Collected Stories And Other Writings ( 1959 , anthology)
  • The Front Page , Samuel French Inc Plays ( 1998 )

References

  1. ↑ Jump to:a b Sternlicht, Sanford V. (2004). The Tenement Saga: The Lower East Side and Early Jewish American Writers , Terrace Books
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b Siegel, Scott and Barbara Siegel (2004). The Encyclopedia of Hollywood , Checkmark Books, 2nd edition.
  3. Back to top↑ Clark, Randall (1984). Dictionary of Literary Biography – American Screenwriters . Gale Research
  4. Back to top↑ Kerrane, Kevin, Yagoda and Ben (1998). The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism , Simon and Schuster
  5. Back to top↑ Eszterhas, Joe (2006). The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God , Macmillan
  6. Back to top↑ Florice Whyte, Kovan (2000). Rediscovering Ben Hecht . Art & Architecture on 1001 Afternoons (in English) (Snickersnee Press) 2 . Retrieved on June 7, 2009 .
  7. ↑ Jump to:a b Applegate, Eddy (1996). Literary Journalism: A Biographical Dictionary of Writers and Editors , Greenwood Publishing Group