Alan Sharp

Alan Sharp (12 January 1934 – 8 February 2013) was a Scottish novelist and screenwriter. He published two novels in the 1960s, and subsequently wrote the screenplays for about twenty films, mostly produced in the United States.[1]

Alan Sharp
Born12 January 1934
Alyth, Scotland
Died8 February 2013 (aged 79)
Los Angeles, California, United States
OccupationNovelist, screenwriter

Life and career

Sharp was raised in Greenock, Scotland, the son of a single mother, and he was adopted at the age of six weeks by Margaret and Joseph Sharp, a shipyard worker. His adoptive parents belonged to a Salvation Army church. Alan left school at 14 to apprentice in the yards, the first of a long series of odd jobs he held prior to his national military service and marriage. Eventually he married four times.[2] He ultimately relocated to London with the intention of becoming a writer.[3] One of his screenplays was broadcast on British television in 1963, and his play A Knight in Tarnished Armour was broadcast in 1965. His first novel, A Green Tree in Gedde, was published in 1965 to acclaim and won the 1967 Scottish Arts Council Award.[3][4] It was the first part of a proposed trilogy, and Sharp published the second novel, The Wind Shifts, in 1967. The third novel, which had the working title The Apple Pickers,[4][5] was left incomplete when Sharp emigrated to Hollywood and focused on screenwriting.

In the 1970s, six of Sharp's screenplays became high-profile Hollywood feature films, most of them dealing with quintessentially American themes and characters. Walter Chaw writes of Sharp's screenplays from this period, "On the strength of his scripts for The Hired Hand, Ulzana's Raid, and Night Moves, Scottish novelist Alan Sharp seems well at home with the better-known, more highly regarded writers and directors of the New American Cinema. Sharp's screenplays are marked by a narrative complexity and situations gravid with implication and doom."[6] Trevor Johnston had written recently, "There's an argument to suggest that a certain seventysomething Scot could well be Britain's greatest living screenwriter. Much is made of pre-Star Wars '70s Hollywood as a kind of celluloid golden age, and Alan Sharp was there in the thick of it, working with the very best, generating the sort of track record few British screenwriters are likely to match."[7]

David N. Meyer has incorporated an appreciation of Sharp's writing in his review of Night Moves (directed by Arthur Penn-1975). Following a description of an important seduction scene from the film, Meyer adds: "These delicious, poisonous moments – these cookies full of arsenic – come courtesy of Alan Sharp's venomous, entrapping, perfectly circular screenplay. It's hard not to regard him – rather than Penn – as the engine of Night Moves' enduring power. Sharp had an unbroken forty year career writing features and television."[8]

From the 1980s, most of Sharp's screenplays were for American television productions. His 1993 television screenplay (with Walter Klenhard) for The Last Hit was nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award (best TV feature or miniseries).[9] His feature film projects included The Osterman Weekend (Sam Peckinpah's swan song-1982), Rob Roy (1995), and Dean Spanley (2008). Quentin Curtis called the screenplay for Rob Roy "one of the best screenplays in the last decade".[10]

The actress Rudi Davies is the daughter of Sharp and novelist Beryl Bainbridge, who used Sharp as the inspiration for the main character in the novel Sweet William (1975). Sharp was also the inspiration for a character in one of Brian Pendreigh's short stories.[11]

A second daughter, Rachel Minnie Sharp, also briefly an actress, was married to Luke Perry.[12] Sharp was survived by his fourth wife, Harriet Sharp, and a total of six children, two stepsons and 14 grandchildren, though Harriet Sharp and Sharp's daughter Nola both died very shortly after him.[2]


  • A Green Tree in Gedde (New Edition). Richard Drew. 1985. ISBN 978-0-86267-129-7. OCLC 59871279. Re-issue of Sharp's 1965 novel.
  • The Wind Shifts. London: Michael Joseph. 1967. ISBN 978-0-450-00362-2. OCLC 758296950.
  • The Hired Hand. Bantam Books. 1971. ISBN 978-0-552-08772-8. OCLC 252406292.
  • Night Moves. Warner Paperback Library. 1975. ISBN 978-0-446-76626-5. OCLC 466207452.
  • Lord Dunsany (2008). Dean Spanley: The Novel. Harper. ISBN 978-0-00-729045-1. OCLC 606056670. Film tie-in incorporating the original 1936 novella and Sharp's screenplay.


  1. ^ Barnes, Mike (11 February 2013). "'Rob Roy' Screenwriter Alan Sharp Dies at 79". The Hollywood Reporter.
  2. ^ a b Vitello, Paul (13 February 2013). "Alan Sharp, Writer of Dark Screenplays, Dies at 79". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b Pendreigh, Brian (18 September 2002). "Sharp Shooter". iofilm. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b Nichols, Lewis (28 April 1968). "American Notebook" (PDF). The New York Times. Alan Sharp, the young British writer who began a trilogy with the well-received "Green Tree in Gedde" and continued with the recently published but less well-received "The Wind Shifts," is halfway through the final volume, to be called "The Apple Pickers." No free online access.
  5. ^ "Alan Sharp, screnwriter of 'Rob Roy,' 'Night Moves,' dies". Variety. 11 February 2013. This obituary claims that Sharp's unfinished novel was titled "Don't Cry, It's Only a Picture Show.
  6. ^ Chaw, Walter (14 April 2010). "Night Moves". Film Freak Central. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010.
  7. ^ Johnston, Trevor (13 January 2009). "Dean Spanley". The Script Factory. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010. Trevor Johnston is a film critic for Time Out London. His article is a detailed appreciation of Sharp's adaptation of Lord Dunsany's 1936 novella, My Talks with Dean Spanley, for the film Dean Spanley (2008).
  8. ^ Meyer, David N. (3 May 2009). "Any Kennedy: The Merciless, Blinding Sunshine of Night Moves". Film Noir of the Week. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010.
  9. ^ Search at "The Edgar Awards Database".
  10. ^ Curtis, Quentin (21 May 1995). "Cinema / Och aye, such noble derring-do!". The Independent. The first point to make about Alan Sharp's script is that it travesties history, bearing only the flimsiest resemblance to the facts of Rob's life, and importing a great deal of sensationalism (such as the rape of Rob's wife by Cunningham). The second point is that it's one of the best screenplays of the last decade. Sharp, who is returning to his roots, after scripting Hollywood classics such as Ulzana's Raid and Night Moves, has married the narrative complexity of the classic Western and film noir, to an earthy Scottish naturalism. The result is not so much like Walter Scott (whose novel Rob Roy barely dealt with the hero) as James Boswell, when in tumultuous mood, with the whoring rage upon him.
  11. ^ Pendreigh, Brian (15 February 2013). "Obituary: Alan Sharp, writer". The Scotsman. Alan Sharp was one of the greatest Scottish writers of the 20th century, even though many people have never heard of him.
  12. ^ "Luke Perry (I)-Biography". Retrieved 14 February 2013.

Further reading

External links

1934 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 1934.

2013 in literature

This article presents lists of the literary events and publications in 2013.

28th New Zealand Parliament

The 28th New Zealand Parliament was a term of the New Zealand Parliament. It was elected at the 1946 general election in November of that year.

Ben Hur (miniseries)

Ben Hur is a TV miniseries that first aired in 2010. Based on Lew Wallace's 1880 novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the series was produced by Alchemy Television Group in association with Drimtim Entertainment and Muse Entertainment in Montreal. It aired on Canada's CBC network on April 4, 2010, and aired later in 2010 on ABC in the United States.

Ben-Hur was directed by Steve Shill, and stars Kristin Kreuk, Ray Winstone, Art Malik, Hugh Bonneville and Joseph Morgan as Judah Ben-Hur. The film was written by Alan Sharp.

Billy Two Hats

Billy Two Hats is a 1974 Western film directed by Ted Kotcheff. It stars Gregory Peck, Jack Warden and Desi Arnaz, Jr.

Filmed on-location in Israel, Billy Two Hats is from a script by Scottish writer Alan Sharp, the screenwriter of Rob Roy and Ulzana's Raid.

Chef (software)

Chef is a company and the name of a configuration management tool written in Ruby and Erlang. It uses a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language (DSL) for writing system configuration "recipes". Chef is used to streamline the task of configuring and maintaining a company's servers, and can integrate with cloud-based platforms such as Internap, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud, OpenStack, SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace to automatically provision and configure new machines. Chef contains solutions for both small and large scale systems, with features and pricing for the respective ranges.

Damnation Alley

Damnation Alley is a 1969 science fiction novel by American writer Roger Zelazny, based on a novella published in 1967. A film adaptation of the novel was released in 1977.

Damnation Alley (film)

Damnation Alley is a 1977 post-apocalyptic film directed by Jack Smight, loosely based on the novel of the same name by Roger Zelazny. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith and the notable cinematography was by Harry Stradling Jr.

Dean Spanley

Dean Spanley is a 2008 British comedy drama film, with fantastic elements, from Miramax, Atlantic Film Group (UK) and General Film Corporation (NZ), directed by Fijian New Zealander Toa Fraser. Set in Edwardian England, the film is based on an Alan Sharp adaptation of Irish author Lord Dunsany's 1936 novella My Talks with Dean Spanley. It stars Sam Neill as the Dean, Jeremy Northam and Peter O'Toole as Fisk Junior and Fisk Senior respectively and Bryan Brown as Wrather.

Descending Angel

Descending Angel is a 1990 television film that aired on HBO starring George C. Scott, Diane Lane and Eric Roberts.

ITV Playhouse

ITV Playhouse is a British television anthology series that ran from 1967 to 1983, which featured contributions from playwrights such as Dennis Potter, Rhys Adrian and Alan Sharp. The series began in black and white, but was later shot in colour and was produced by various companies for the ITV network, a format that would inspire Dramarama. The series would mostly include original material from writers, but adaptations of existing works were also produced (such as the 1979 production of M.R. James' horror story Casting the Runes).

Actors appearing in the series included Leslie Anderson, Gwen Nelson, Ricky Alleyne, Pat Heywood, Michael Elphick, Ian Hendry, Edward Woodward, Margaret Lockwood, Jessie Matthews, Basdeo Panday, and Lloyd Peters.

List of Scottish novelists

List of Scottish novelists is an incomplete alphabetical list of Scottish novelists. This list includes novelists of all genres, writing in English, Scots, Gaelic or any other language. Novelists writing in the Scottish tradition are part of the development of the novel in Scotland.

This is a subsidiary list to the List of Scottish writers.

Little Treasure

Little Treasure is a 1985 American action drama film starring Margot Kidder, Ted Danson and Burt Lancaster. The film, written and directed by Alan Sharp, deals with the strained relationship between a bank robber father and his daughter, a stripper.

Night Moves (1975 film)

Night Moves is a 1975 American neo-noir film directed by Arthur Penn. It stars Gene Hackman, Jennifer Warren, Susan Clark, and features early career appearances by Melanie Griffith and James Woods.

Hackman was nominated for the BAFTA Award for his portrayal of Harry Moseby, a private investigator. The film has been called "a seminal modern noir work from the 1970s", which refers to its relationship with the film noir tradition of detective films. The original screenplay is by Scottish writer Alan Sharp.

Although Night Moves was not considered particularly successful at the time of its release, it has attracted viewers and significant critical attention following its videotape and DVD releases. In 2010, Manohla Dargis described it as "the great, despairing Night Moves (1975), with Gene Hackman as a private detective who ends up circling the abyss, a no-exit comment on the post-1968, post-Watergate times."

Novel in Scotland

The novel in Scotland includes all long prose fiction published in Scotland and by Scottish authors since the development of the literary format in the eighteenth century. The novel was soon a major element of Scottish literary and critical life. Tobias Smollett's picaresque novels, such as The Adventures of Roderick Random and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle mean that he is often seen as Scotland's first novelist. Other Scots who contributed to the development of the novel in the eighteenth century include Henry Mackenzie and John Moore.

There was a tradition of moral and domestic fiction in the early nineteenth century that included the work of Elizabeth Hamilton, Mary Brunton and Christian Johnstone. The outstanding literary figure of the early nineteenth century was Walter Scott, whose Waverley is often called the first historical novel. He had a major worldwide influence. His success led to a publishing boom in Scotland. Major figures that benefited included James Hogg, John Galt, John Gibson Lockhart, John Wilson and Susan Ferrier. In the mid-nineteenth century major literary figures that contributed to the development of the novel included David Macbeth Moir, John Stuart Blackie, William Edmondstoune Aytoun and Margaret Oliphant. In the late nineteenth century, a number of Scottish-born authors achieved international reputations, including Robert Louis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Sherlock Holmes stories helped found the tradition of detective fiction. In the last two decades of the century the "kailyard school" (cabbage patch) depicted Scotland in a rural and nostalgic fashion, often seen as a "failure of nerve" in dealing with the rapid changes that had swept across Scotland in the industrial revolution. Figures associated with the movement include Ian Maclaren, S. R. Crockett and J. M. Barrie, best known for his creation of Peter Pan, which helped develop the genre of fantasy, as did the work of George MacDonald.

Among the most important novels of the early twentieth century was The House with the Green Shutters by George Douglas Brown, which broke with the Kailyard tradition. John Buchan played a major role in the creation of the modern thriller with The Thirty-Nine Steps and Greenmantle. The Scottish literary Renaissance attempted to introduce modernism into art and create of a distinctive national literature. It increasingly focused on the novel. Major figures included Neil Gunn, George Blake, A. J. Cronin, Eric Linklater and Lewis Grassic Gibbon. There were also a large number of female authors associated with the movement, who included Catherine Carswell, Willa Muir, Nan Shepherd and Naomi Mitchison. Many major Scottish post-war novelists, such as Robin Jenkins, Jessie Kesson, Muriel Spark, Alexander Trocchi and James Kennaway spent most of their lives outside Scotland, but often dealt with Scottish themes. Successful mass-market works included the action novels of Alistair MacLean and the historical fiction of Dorothy Dunnett. A younger generation of novelists that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s included Allan Massie, Shena Mackay and Alan Spence. Working class identity continued to be explored by Archie Hind, Alan Sharp, George Friel and William McIlvanney.

From the 1980s Scottish literature enjoyed another major revival, with figures including Alasdair Gray, James Kelman, Irvine Welsh, Alan Warner, Janice Galloway, A. L. Kennedy, Iain Banks, Candia McWilliam, Frank Kuppner and Andrew O'Hagan. In genre fiction Iain Banks, writing as Iain M. Banks, produced ground-breaking science fiction and Scottish crime fiction has been a major area of growth with the success of novelists including Frederic Lindsay, Quintin Jardine, Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Christopher Brookmyre, and particularly Ian Rankin and his Inspector Rebus novels.

Rudi Davies

Ruth Emmanuella Davies (born 24 March 1965), known professionally as Rudi Davies, is an English actress, the daughter of Alan Sharp (1934-2013) and the writer, Dame Beryl Bainbridge (1932–2010).

The Hired Hand

The Hired Hand is a 1971 American western film directed by Peter Fonda, with a screenplay by Alan Sharp. The film stars Fonda, Warren Oates, and Verna Bloom. The cinematography was by Vilmos Zsigmond. Bruce Langhorne provided the moody film score. The story is about a man returning to his abandoned wife after seven years of drifting from job to job throughout the Southwestern United States. The embittered woman will only let him stay if he agrees to move in as a hired hand.

Upon release, the film received a mixed critical response and was a financial failure. In 1973, the film was shown on NBC-TV in an expanded version, but soon drifted into obscurity. In 2001, a fully restored version was shown at various film festivals, gaining strong critical praise, and it was released by the Sundance Channel on DVD. It is now considered a classic Western of the period.

Ulzana's Raid

Ulzana's Raid is a 1972 American western film starring Burt Lancaster, Richard Jaeckel, Bruce Davison and Joaquin Martinez. The film, which was filmed on location in Arizona, was directed by Robert Aldrich based on a script by Alan Sharp.

One critic, Emanuel Levy, wrote: "Ulzana's Raid, one of the best Westerns of the 1970s, is also one of the most underestimated pictures of vet director Robert Aldrich, better known for his sci-fi and horror flicks, such as Kiss Me Deadly and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane."Set in 1880s Arizona, it portrays a brutal raid by Chiricahua Apaches against European settlers.

The bleak and nihilistic tone showing U.S. troops chasing an elusive but murderous enemy has been seen as allegorical to the United States participation in the Vietnam War.


UpGuard Inc. is an Australian cyber-resilience startup company founded by Alan Sharp-Paul, Leo Venegas, and Mike Baukes; and presently based in Mountain View, California. UpGuard provides products and services to help companies stand up securely configured systems and guard against outages and breaches. In 2016, the company raised $17m in a series B funding round. As of 2018, the company employs around 46.

Upguard's Cyber Resilience platform determines a company's cyber-security risk factors by scanning both internal and external computer systems. The platform automatically scans every server, application, network and mobile devices in IT environments to create a living model of their configuration state, thereafter continually assessing this system of record for security vulnerabilities, configuration drift and procedural changes. From this model, the platform dynamically derives a unified cyber-security risk score, CSTAR, that determines the cyber risk posture of IT assets against multivariate factors.

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