Edward Anhalt

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Edward Anhalt (March 28, 1914, New York City – September 3, 2000, Pacific Palisades, California) was a noted screenwriter, producer, and documentary film-maker. After working as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for Pathé and CBS-TV he teamed with his wife Edna Anhalt during World War II to write pulp fiction. (Edna was one of his five wives.)

Career[edit]

During World War II, Anhalt served with the Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California as a scenarist for training films. After the war, the Anhalts graduated to writing screenplays for thrillers, initially using the joint pseudonym Andrew Holt. Put under contract by Columbia, the Anhalts scripted Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1947). After a stint at Twentieth Century Fox during which they earned an Oscar for the screen story to the urban thriller Panic in the Streets (1950), the husband and wife team returned to Columbia as writer-producers, scoring another Academy Award nomination for their story to the gritty thriller The Sniper in 1952.

Perhaps their most notable effort was the 1952 screen version of Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding which preserved the stage performances of Julie Harris, Brandon deWilde and Ethel Waters.

After the couple divorced, Anhalt proved a versatile, consistently effective (and reputedly speedy) scenarist. He penned the superb adaptation of Irwin Shaw's World War II novel The Young Lions (1958) and the slick Wives and Lovers (1963). The screenwriter earned a second Academy Award for his excellent adaptation of Jean Anouilh's play Becket (1964).

Subsequent solo outings included The Boston Strangler (1968), The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) and two for Ely A. Landau's American Film Theater, Luther (1973) and The Man in the Glass Booth (1975). He scored some solid box office successes with The Satan Bug (1965) and Jeremiah Johnson (1972). In the early 1970s, Anhalt returned to the small screen, earning a well-deserved Emmy nomination for the acclaimed ABC miniseries QB VII (1974). Three years later, he scripted the Frank Sinatra vehicle Contract on Cherry Street (NBC) and contributed to the small screen remake of Madame X (NBC, 1981) and the biblically inspired The Day Christ Died (CBS, 1982). Anhalt was also the guiding force behind the lavish 1985 NBC miniseries Peter the Great.

His feature film output towards the end of his life was much more erratic, with films like Escape to Athena (1979), Green Ice (1981) and The Holcroft Covenant (1985) being lambasted by critics and failing to find an audience.

References[edit]

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