November 5, 1912|
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
|Died||September 30, 1976
Paul Dehn (5 November 1912 – 30 September 1976) was an Oscar nominated British screenwriter, best known for Goldfinger, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Planet of the Apes sequels and Murder on the Orient Express.
Biography and work
Dehn was born in 1912 in Manchester, England. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, and attended Brasenose College, Oxford. While at Oxford, he contributed film reviews to weekly undergraduate papers.
During World War II he was stationed at Camp X in Canada. This was one of several training facilities operated by Special Operations Executive to train spies and special forces teams. He was the Political Warfare officer from 1942–44 and held the rank of Major. Dehn took part in missions in France and Norway.
In 1949 or 1950, Dehn began a professional relationship with composer James Bernard, who later became his life partner. Dehn asked Bernard to collaborate with him on the original screen story for the Boulting Brothers film Seven Days to Noon (1950).
Through the 1960s, Dehn concentrated on screenwriting for espionage films, notably Goldfinger (1964), The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965), and The Deadly Affair (1967). He later wrote the screenplays for the four Planet of the Apes sequels and the libretto for William Walton's opera The Bear; he also wrote libretti for two operas by Lennox Berkeley, A Dinner Engagement and Castaway.
His last screenplay was for Sidney Lumet's all-star Murder on the Orient Express (1974), based on the Agatha Christie whodunit, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Dehn (pronounced “Dane,” as in “the melancholy”) resurrected or reinvented at least three genres given up for dead at the time: the British mystery, the Shakespeare adaptation, and the spy film.
- Seven Days to Noon (1950)
- Waters of Time (1951)
- On Such a Night (1956)
- Orders to Kill (1958)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
- The Deadly Affair (1966)
- The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
- Beryl Reid Says Good Evening (1968)
- Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
- Fragment of Fear (1970)
- Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
- Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
- Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Awards and nominations
- Academy Award for Best Screenplay, 1950
- BAFTA Award Nomination for Best British Screenplay, 1959
- Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Foreign Film, 1965
- Writers Guild of America Award Nomination for Best American Drama, 1966
- Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture, 1966
- BAFTA Award Nomination for Best British Screenplay, 1968
- Edgar Allan Poe Award Nomination for Best Motion Picture, 1974
- Writers Guild of Britain Award for Best British Screenplay, 1974
- Academy Award Nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, 1975
- Clifford Dyment, Roy Fuller and Montagu Slater (editors), New Poems 1952 (1952), p. 161.
- Paul Dehn at the Internet Movie Database