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December 26, 2003 - Image 70

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-12-26

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"A downtown basement that hides a treasure.

— Detroit Free Press, November 2003

"A Subterranean Charmer.


— Hour Magazine, December 2003

Christmas Classic


Jewish writers also contributed to
"It's a Wonderful Life."

The Hacketts kept several scenes
written by Odets, but quit the film
before it was finished rather than con-
tinue to confront what they considered
Capra's unethical practices.
Behind their backs, he had started to
work on the screenplay with Jo
(Joseph) Swerling, a high-powered
Diary of Anne Frank.
Jewish screenwriter and
David L. Goodrich's biography .
playwright (he co-wrote Guys and
The Real Nick and Nora (Southern
Dolls); the director also brought in
Illinois University Press; $30) pro-
satirist Dorothy Parker (born Dorothy
vides insight into these productions
Rothschild) to do a "dialogue polish."
as it profiles the late Frances
In the final screen
Goodrich and Albert
following a
Hackett, highly success-
ful writers who were his
arbitration, the
aunt and uncle and
Hacketts received
worked together from
I ki
first and second
credits, followed by
Although the Hacketts
Frames Ctoahrkh and Albert Hackett,
Capra; Swerling,
were not Jewish, their
Writers of Stage sirti.Sueen (tassio
early on had
lives intertwined with the
penned a play called
Jewish community
The Kbitzer, got
through their work and
credit for "additional
social activities, known
and related by the
With The Diary of
nephew who has memo-
rialized them.
Goodrich and
"I believe It's a
Hackett worked
Wonderful Life celebrates
closely with Anne's
the finest qualities we all
The story of the creation of
father, Otto Frank,
have, but my aunt and
a Wonderful Life" is told whom their nephew
Uncle experienced a great
in this biography of Frances
met while traveling
deal of unpleasantness as
Goodrich and Albert
with his famous aunt
the film was being
and uncle. They
made," Goodrich says
donated some of
about what is reported in
their earnings from
his book. "They felt that The Diary of
the play to Jewish organizations,
Anne Frank was the most important
including Brandeis University and the
work they ever did."
Israel Cultural Foundation. .
Its aWonderfid Life, which follows a
"My aunt and uncle had great affec-
man saved from suicide by a guardian
tion for their Jewish friends," says
angel pointing out his value to family
Goodrich, who tells abOut their associ-
and friends, was made difficult for the
ations with composer Irving Berlin,
Hacketts by producer-director Frank
playwright Lillian Hellman, artist Al •
Capra, an Italian immigrant who'd
Hirschfeld and writer S.J. Perelman.
become famous for his fable-like come-
The title of the book comes from the
dies (Mr Smith Goes to Washington).
couple's work on the Thin Man movie
Jewish playwright Clifford Odets
series starring Myrna Loy and William
was one of three screenwriters who'd
Powell. The main characters, Nick and
initially penned screenplays for Life for
Nora Charles, are highbrow detectives
the RKO studio, based on a 1938
short story written by novelist/historian solving whodunits with sophisticated
dialogue that might have been spoken
Philp Van Doren. None was satisfacto-
by the duo creating it all.
ry however, and Capra bought the
With stage performance backgrounds,
story and its various versions from
the couple acted out their written dia-
RKO for his newly formed Liberty
logue as they came up with scripts.


he couple credited with writ-
ing the script for It's a
Wonderful Life, the 1946 film
classic starring James Stewart and
shown on TV every year around
Christmas, also wrote the script for
the stage and screen versions of The

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