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Ben Hecht (1) (1894–1964)

Author of Gone with the Wind [1939 film]

For other authors named Ben Hecht, see the disambiguation page.

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About the Author

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Works by Ben Hecht

Gone with the Wind [1939 film] (1939) — Screenwriter — 968 copies
His Girl Friday [1940 film] (1940) — Screenwriter — 283 copies
Notorious [1946 film] (1946) — Screenwriter; some editions — 244 copies
Spellbound [1945 film] (1945) — Screenwriter — 118 copies
A Child of the Century (1954) 114 copies
The Shop Around the Corner [1940 film] (1940) — Screenwriter — 103 copies
The Man with the Golden Arm [1955 film] (1955) — Screenwriter — 88 copies
Monkey Business [1952 film] (1952) — Screenwriter — 68 copies
Perfidy (1961) 63 copies
Wuthering Heights [1939 film] (1939) — Screenwriter — 62 copies
Gunga Din [1939 film] (1939) — Original story — 56 copies
Scarface [1932 film] (1932) — Screenwriter — 56 copies
Gaily, Gaily (1963) 47 copies
A guide for the bedevilled (1944) 38 copies
Design for Living [1933 film] (1933) — Screenwriter — 38 copies
The Black Swan [1942 film] (1942) — Screenwriter — 35 copies
Erik Dorn (1921) 35 copies
Portrait of Jennie [1948 film] (1948) — Writer — 30 copies
Ulysses [1954 film] (1960) — Screenwriter — 29 copies
Twentieth Century [1934 film] (2005) — Screenwriter — 26 copies
Hollywood Mystery (1944) 25 copies
Where the Sidewalk Ends [1950 film] (1950) — Screenwriter — 24 copies
Gargoyles (1922) 22 copies
A Jew in Love (1932) 21 copies
Miracle in the rain (1943) 21 copies
A Farewell to Arms [1957 film] (1957) — Screenwriter — 21 copies
Ride the Pink Horse [1947 film] (1947) — Screenwriter — 18 copies
Kiss of Death [1995 film] (1995) — Writer — 15 copies
The Sensualists (1959) 15 copies
Count Bruga (1926) 14 copies
Queen of Outer Space [1958 film] (1958) — Screenwriter — 13 copies
It's a Wonderful World [1939 film] (2011) — Screenwriter — 10 copies
Letters from Bohemia (1964) 10 copies
Twentieth Century (2004) — Author — 10 copies
Cutie: a Warm Mamma (1924) 9 copies
Comrade X [1940 film] (2011) — Screenwriter — 9 copies
The Miracle of the Bells [1948 film] (1998) — Writer — 8 copies
Hallelujah, I'm a Bum! [1933 film] (1933) — Writer — 8 copies
A Book of Miracles (1939) 7 copies
Angels Over Broadway [1940 film] (1940) — Director, Screenwriter & Producer — 7 copies
Humpty Dumpty (1924) 6 copies
John Paul Jones [1959 film] (1994) — Writer — 6 copies
Miracle in the Rain [1956 film] (1956) — Screenwriter — 6 copies
The Goldwyn Follies [1938 film] (1938) — Screenwriter — 6 copies
Selected Great Stories (1943) 5 copies
To Quito and Back (1937) 5 copies
Actor's Blood (1936) 5 copies
Snowfall in Childhood (1934) 2 copies
John Wayne: American Hero • Hollywood Legend (2006) — Screenwriter — 1 copy
The Shadow 1 copy
Woman Of Sin 1 copy
Specter of the Rose (1989) 1 copy
Poor People 1 copy
No Casting 1 copy

Associated Works

My Story (1974) — Contributor — 348 copies
75 Short Masterpieces: Stories from the World's Literature (1961) — Contributor — 289 copies
Sixteen Famous American Plays (1777) — Playwright — 177 copies
Black Water 2: More Tales of the Fantastic (1990) — Contributor — 152 copies
Read With Me (1965) — Contributor — 128 copies
The Inspector General [1949 film] (1949) — Writer — 88 copies
A golden treasury of Jewish literature (1937) — Contributor — 74 copies
Wolf's Complete Book of Terror (1979) — Contributor — 74 copies
American Christmas Stories (2021) — Contributor — 57 copies
Desert Island Decameron (1945) — Contributor — 56 copies
Point of Departure (1967) — Contributor — 45 copies
The Bedside Tales: A Gay Collection (1945) — Contributor — 43 copies
Nothing Sacred [1937 film] (1937) — Screenwriter — 43 copies
50 Best Plays of the American Theatre [4-volume set] (1969) — Contributor — 31 copies
Stories for the Dead of Night (1957) — Contributor — 28 copies
Rogues' Gallery: The Great Criminals of Modern Fiction (1945) — Contributor — 27 copies
The Moon Is Blue (1951) — Introduction — 24 copies
The Bedside Playboy (1963) — Contributor — 23 copies
Alone By Night ( Tales of Unlimited Horror ) (1961) — Contributor — 19 copies
Lethal Black Book (1965) — Contributor — 18 copies
Kill or Cure (1985) — Contributor — 17 copies
20 Best Film Plays (1943) — Contributor — 16 copies
The Front Page [1931 film] (1931) — Original play — 14 copies
Nonsenseorship (2006) — Contributor — 13 copies
The World of Law, Volume I : The Law in Literature (1960) — Contributor — 12 copies
Trapeze [1956 film] (2011) — Screenwriter — 11 copies
A Treasury of Doctor Stories (1946) — Contributor — 9 copies
The Great Gabbo [1929 film] (1929) — Story — 9 copies
The Fireside Treasury of Modern Humor (1963) — Contributor — 5 copies
Best Film Plays - 1945 (1945) — Contributor — 4 copies
The Bathroom Reader (1946) — Contributor — 3 copies
Playboy Magazine ~ May 1963 (1963) — Contributor — 3 copies
Gaily, Gaily [1969 film] (1969) — Original book — 2 copies
15 Great Stories of Today (1946) — Contributor — 1 copy
The PL book of modern American short stories (1945) — Contributor — 1 copy
The Avon Annual 1945: 18 Great Modern Stories (1945) — Contributor — 1 copy


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Common Knowledge



Coming on the heels of Garbo’s “Ninotchka” this film was somewhat dismissed as lightweight, but in retrospect it is a delightfully hilarious blend of political satire and slapstick comedy from King Vidor. The writing team of Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer gave Vidor a script which poked fun at Communism while still allowing its stars, Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr, to be themselves. The result was a film perhaps less sophisticated than Ninotchka, but funnier throughout and generally more entertaining.

Gable portrays a hard drinking and fun-loving American reporter named McKinley B. Thompson. Thompson has been secretly sending unflattering reports about the goings on in Russia back to the States as “Comrade X.” The Russian Chief of Police is desperate to expose him and shut him up for good. When Thompson gets a photo of that same police chief being knocked off by the soon to be new Chief of Police, who just happens to be the Communist guru of revolutionist Hedy Lamarr, he’s got a big story.

All that may have to wait, however. It just so happens that Thompson’s hotel valet, Vanya (Felix Bressart), knows McKinley is Comrade X. You can guess who his daughter is, and what he wants is for Thompson to get her out of Russia before she gets killed. She is in much danger, as Vanya tells Thompson, because Communist are being shot so that Communism can prosper! Thompson doesn’t have much choice and that’s when the real fun begins.

Even a stoic Communist can make your jaw drop if she’s Hedy Lamarr; even if she’s running a Russian street car. Gable and Lamarr are marvelous together, and how he convinces her he loves Communism and needs to take her back to America to educate the masses is a riot! Not even Russian tanks can keep Thompson from getting the story, and the entire Red Army couldn't keep him from falling for the cutest little Commie you’ve ever seen.

Eve Arden has a nice turn as Thompson’s fellow Foreign Correspondent gal-pal in director King Vidor’s hilarious take on apple pie vs. Communism. They don’t make stars or films like this anymore. The last two lines of this film are unforgettable.
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Matt_Ransom | 3 other reviews | Nov 26, 2023 |
Still a powerhouse gangster saga full of raw violence and barely-clothed lust after all these years, this may have been the defining moment in the genre. Maurice Coons had a heart attack before the film’s release and didn't get to witness his story reaching immortality as Howard Hawks’s treatment blazed across screens like a wildfire that couldn’t be contained. Both Paul Muni and Ann Dvorak gave their second unforgettable performance of the year as gangster Tony Camonte and the sister he has a yen for, Cesca. Dvorak’s Cesca is nowhere to be seen during the middle portion of this film, but such an impression does she make at the beginning and end, that her character seems to frame the entire story.

Muni is equally memorable as the inarticulate and brash gangster with animal magnetism to spare. All he wants is more. Following his moving performance in I am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang, and Dvorak’s as the doomed and restless Vivian who finds redemption at the shattering climax of Three On a Match, both cemented their place in screen history with this film.

Though not as often mentioned when this film is talked about, Karen Morley’s turn as the gangster’s moll who gets off on the animalistic behavior of Tony, but wont let him get a taste until he’s the man in charge’ is splendid. Of all the fine performances here, however, it is George Raft’s as the cool, coin-flipping gunman, Guino Rinaldo, which has that extra something special called star power. Raft would not want to foster this image and intentionally chose to portray the good guy after this, but his underplayed “Little Boy” was admired by the real gangsters he had grown up and continued associating with during his career. He had a charisma and honesty on-screen that those critical of his talents only wished they had.

If one of the gangsters looks a bit like Boris Karloff to you, that’s because it is Boris Karloff. He is quite good as Gaffney, who introduces the machine gun to the streets when Tony makes a grab for the North Side. Partially shot at Harold Lloyd Studios, Howard Hughes would tire of Hays Office interference and told Hawks to make it as real as he could, resulting in a bona-fide screen classic.

Ben Hecht and a host of others worked on adapting Armitage Trail's (Maurice Coon) story for Hawks, which became a thinly veiled bio of Al Capone’s rise to crime boss. The power of the infamous massacre on St. Valentine's Day still shocks, despite decades of more explicit cinema since. Morley is terrific in conveying Poppy’s desire for the brutality Tony brings to the table, but denies him until he’s taken complete control. Helping him do that more than a little is Tony’s right arm, the cool Guino (George Raft). Tony's sister Cesca wants to live life to the fullest, and that means Guino. Dvorak is magnificent and when she disappears for a time as this gangster saga gets hot, viewers are left chomping at the bit for her return, despite the mesmerizing story unfolding before them.

The cops know Tony is just like any other guy without Guino and his boys, however, and Hawks uses this aspect of the story to condemn the mob, using one of the cops to highlight the difference between outlaws of the West and this new type of street gangster. There is a marvelous scene where Poppy shows where her real allegiance lies by simply lighting of a cigarette. Perhaps the finest scene in the film comes after Guino gives in to temptation with Tony’s sister and makes it permanent while he's away on business. What happens in a doorway and Cesca’s reaction is still powerful. Violent and raw, Hawks gave up trying to please the Hays office with an ending they’d approve of, and Hughes finally released it in selected cities to packed houses, with Hawks’s original in tact.

Dvorak was something else and this is a good glimpse of what that something was. She moved to Britain for a time with her husband during the war and offered her services to drive an ambulance. Morley would become a casualty of the Blacklist but later serve the state of New York as Lt. Governor. Four powerhouse performances and the fine direction of Howard Hawks add up to a screen classic, and perhaps the finest gangster saga ever put on film.
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Matt_Ransom | 2 other reviews | Nov 22, 2023 |
Hitchcock framed this wartime noir film around a debonair Cary Grant and the youthful beauty of Ingrid Bergman. Luxuriant black and white cinematography was added to this elegant love story set in the world of secret agents, giving it a lusciously romantic glow not found in his other films. The love story plays out against mounting suspense, making this one of his best films.

From sun-drenched Miami to exotic Brazil, this intertwined story of spies and romance is exciting to watch. American secret agent Delvin (Grant) is forced to use Alicia (Bergman) to get close to a suspected Nazi, Alexander Sebastion (Claude Rains). Alicia's father was convicted of being a German agent, and his playgirl daughter has been living fast and hard trying to forget ever since. Delvin reluctantly recruits her under orders from above and the vulnerable Alicia falls hard for him.

Her assignment must take top priority, so Delvin cannot let on that he too has fallen for her. Claude Rains does a good job as the deceptively dangerous Sebastion, in love with Alicia but growing more suspicious by the moment. His suspicions reach a fever pitch when her old friend Delvin arrives on the scene.

All Alicia wants is for Delvin to tell her not to get close to Sebastion. He can't, of course, and the romantic tension builds side by side with the suspense, creating an almost unbearable anxiety on two fronts.

The romance gets equal billing until Alicia and Delvin discover something in the wine cellar and Sebastion realizes she is a spy. Since Delvin has been reassigned to Spain, he may not be in time to save her. The famous staircase scene is just one highlight in a film filled with memorable images.

Hitchcock took an alluring Bergman, a handsome Grant, and a tightly written and suspenseful script, and made one of the most exciting and lusciously beautiful films in screen history. Ingrid Bergman is lovely and vulnerable and Cary Grant has his hands full keeping his feelings to himself so he can do his job. Don't miss this one. It is one of Hitchcock's best.
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Matt_Ransom | 6 other reviews | Nov 19, 2023 |
An interesting look at big-city life, in the first decades of the 20th century, through the eyes of someone who was there and was charged with keeping a sharp eye on the goings on. That would be Ben Hecht, who was a cub reporter from Racine, Wisconsin and looking for the exciting life in Chicago. He was in over his head but adapted quickly. Often short of funds, often in the company of prostitutes
thosgpetri | 1 other review | Nov 12, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

David O. Selznick Producer, Screenwriter
Clark GABLE Actor, Performer
Charles MacArthur Writer, Original story
Charles Lederer Screenwriter, Writer
George Cukor Director, Uncredited director
Ernest Haller Cinematographer
Ray Rennahan Cinematographer
Lee Garmes Cinematographer
Sidney Howard Screenwriter
Sam Wood Uncredited director
Joel Sayre Screenwriter, Author
Samson Raphaelson Screenwriter
Walter Newman Screenwriter
Lewis Meltzer Screenwriter
I. A. L. Diamond Screenwriter
Fred Guiol Screenwriter
Noel Coward Original play
John Osborn Screenwriter
Leo McCarey Director
Howard Hawks Director
Irwin Shaw Screenwriter
William L. Stuart Original story
Charles Beaumont Screenwriter
Charles Millholland Author, original play
John Huston Director
Max Steiner Composer
Ann Doran Actor
Pat West Actor
Ted Tetzlaff Cinematographer
Nelson Algren Author, Introduction
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Mary Carr Actor
Kim Novak Actor
Gregg Toland Cinematographer
Howard Hughes Producer
William Faulkner Contributor
Armitage Trail Original novel
Sam Jaffe Actor
Lester Cohen Contributor
Rudyard Kipling Original book
Rafael Sabatini Original novel
Tony Barr Actor
Ernest Hemingway Original story
Joan Harrison Producer
Ken Ludwig Adaptor
Al Jolson Actor
Clements Ripley Original story
Fay Baker Actor
Sidney Lumet Direction.
Amy Ryan Cast.
Roy Web Music
Edith Head Costume Designer.
Albert D'Agostino Art Director.
Carroll Clark Art Director.
Herman Rosse Illustrator
William Savage Introduction
Wallace Smith Illustrator
Anthony Angarola Illustrator


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