Saturday, February 04, 2017

The man who wrote for kings

Edward Anhalt was one of the great screenwriters of all-time. A multi-Oscar winner he amassed a tremendous body of impressive work.

In the early 60’s he learned that producer Hal B. Wallis was planning to make a movie of the play BECKET. That subject matter was Anhalt’s absolute passion. He considered himself an expert on the era. No one knew the period as well. He went to Wallis with an impassioned plea that he and he alone was right for this assignment. Wallis made him a deal. Anhalt could write BECKET but he had another project that also needed a writer. If Anhalt would do that first he could have his coveted assignment. Anhalt happily agreed.
So in the same year Mr. Edward Anhalt wrote BECKET and GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS starring Elvis Presley and Stella Stevens.

Moral of this story: If you’re lucky enough to get an assignment on some horrible cheesy Disney Channel show about kids in leprechaun jr. high take heart. Next year you could be on GAME OF THRONES.

12 comments :

Barry Traylor said...

Wow! That should have made his head fly off. Becket is a marvelous film.

Matt said...

I wonder which made more money, Girls, Girls, Girls or Becket?

iain said...

Matt, astoundingly enough, it would appear Becket stomped the King, 9.1 to 2.6 million!

In fairness, there only seems to be USA box office numbers for "Girls," so it's unclear if that had an international release or not.

Jeff Maxwell said...

In the seventies, I lived in an apartment complex in Studio City, CA, filled with talented actors, writers, singers and wannabe corporate pit bulls. The weekend pool crowd was invigorating. One tenant, a terrific actor from Texas named Gene Ross, had famous friends he called the "Texas Mafia." One Saturday, I met a gorgeous member sunning herself named Morgan Fairchild. She interrupted her chat with me to take a call from her new beau, Mikhail Baryshnikov. Later that evening, as the tequila and BBQ started up, a stocky fellow with a bald head and twinkly grin sat down to drink a martini. Well dressed, funny and charming, he introduced himself to me as Edward, a friend of Gene's. We chatted it up about the interesting apartment characters until he got a call from his wife and had to leave. He said he'd love to talk about the apartment again and trotted off. Gene later revealed to me that Edward was Edward Anhalt.

His demeanor was more Girls, Girls, Girls than Becket. Very cool to meet him. It was quite a Saturday.

SamK said...

Beckett! An amazing accomplishment on Film. The diversity of the two projects must've struck him as ironic to say the least.

Dixon Steele said...

That's very interesting, as whenever I watch GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS I see the same themes of loyalty and betrayal that I experience watching BECKETT.

Fred Nerk said...

Thanks Jeff, now I have a vision of a wet 1970's Morgan Fairchild sunbaking in a bikini stuck in my head.

Mike Doran said...

There's an interview with Edward Anhalt in The Screenwriter Looks At The Screenwriter, a collection put together by William Froug in the early '70s.
Definitely worth your time, if you can find it.

Don K. said...

It is eerie how much Edward Anhalt resembles this guy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric_Prinz_von_Anhalt

Charles H. Bryan said...

Off topic: Ken, watch the Sean Spicer sketch from tonight's SNL. It's pretty good.

Mike said...

I'll say one thing for Trump - he's made late night comedy funny again.

Looking forward to Tracey Ullman's take on Trump. And May. Maureen Lipman absolutely nailed May on Have I Got News For You. "Her voice is in two registers at once."

Brian said...

I'll happily be corrected on this, but I read that David Lynch directed Dune, with the understanding that he would have full control over his next project, which was "Blue Velvet"