A vibrant portrait of one of the most accomplished and prolific American screenwriters, by an award-winning biographer and essayist.
He was, according to Pauline Kael, “the greatest American screenwriter.” Jean-Luc Godard called him “a genius” who “invented eighty percent of what is used in Hollywood movies today.” Besides tossing off dozens of now-classic scripts – including Scarface, Twentieth Century, and Notorious – Ben Hecht was known in his day as ace reporter, celebrated playwright, taboo-busting novelist, and the most quick-witted of provocateurs. During World War II, he also emerged as an outspoken crusader for the imperiled Jews of Europe, and later he became a fierce propagandist for pre-1948 Palestine’s Jewish terrorist underground. Whatever the outrage he stirred, this self-declared “child of the century” came to embody much that defined America – especially Jewish America – in his time.
Hecht’s fame has dimmed with the decades, but Adina Hoffman’s vivid portrait brings this charismatic and contradictory figure back to life. Hecht was a renaissance man of dazzling sorts, and Hoffman – critically acclaimed biographer, former film critic, and eloquent commentator on Middle Eastern culture and politics – is uniquely suited to capture him in all his modes.
Narrator: Adina Hoffman
Duration: 6 hours 17 minutes
Released: 19 Oct 2012
Publisher: Tantor Audio