Charles Brackett

Charles William Brackett (November 26, 1892 – March 9, 1969) was an American novelist, screenwriter, and film producer, best known for his long collaboration with Billy Wilder.

Charles William Brackett
Charles Brackett
BornNovember 26, 1892
DiedMarch 9, 1969 (aged 76)
Alma materWilliams College
OccupationWriter, screenwriter
Years active1925–1962
AwardsBest Original Screenplay
1950 Sunset Boulevard
1953 Titanic
Best Adapted Screenplay
1945 The Lost Weekend
Academy Honorary Award
1959 Lifetime Achievement WGA AwardBest Written Drama
1950 Sunset Boulevard

Life and career

Brackett was born November 26, 1892 in Saratoga Springs, New York, the son of Mary Emma Corliss and New York State Senator, lawyer, and banker Edgar Truman Brackett. The family's roots traced back to the arrival of Richard Brackett in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629, near present-day Springfield, Massachusetts. His mother's uncle, George Henry Corliss, built the Centennial Engine that powered the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. A 1915 graduate of Williams College, he earned his degree from Harvard University. He joined the Allied Expeditionary Force during World War I. He was awarded the French Medal of Honor. He was a frequent contributor to the Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, and Vanity Fair, and a drama critic for The New Yorker from 1925-29. He wrote five novels: The Counsel of the Ungodly (1920), Week-End (1925), That Last Infirmity (1926), American Colony (1929),[1] and Entirely Surrounded (1934).

Brackett was president of the Screen Writers Guild (1938–1939). He was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 1949 through 1955. Brackett either wrote or produced over 40 films during his career, including To Each His Own, Ninotchka, The Major and the Minor, The Mating Season (1951), Niagara, The King and I, Ten North Frederick, The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker, and Blue Denim.

From 1936-50, Brackett worked with Billy Wilder as his collaborator on thirteen movies, including The Lost Weekend (1945) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), which won Academy Awards for their screenplays. The duo's professional partnership ended in 1950, after the completion of Sunset Boulevard. Brackett then went to work at 20th Century-Fox as a screenwriter and producer. His script for Titanic (1953) won him another Academy Award. He received an Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1958.

Marriages

Brackett married Elizabeth Barrows Fletcher, a descendant of Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower, on June 2, 1919, in Indianapolis, Indiana. They had two daughters, Alexandra Corliss Brackett, Mrs. Larmore (1920–1965) and Elizabeth Fletcher Brackett (1922–1997). Elizabeth Fletcher Brackett died on June 7, 1948. In 1953, Brackett married his sister-in-law (Elizabeth's sister, Lillian Fletcher); that union was childless.[2]

Death

Charles Brackett died on March 9, 1969, aged 76, in Beverly Hills, California.[3] His diaries covering the years 1932 until the breakup with Wilder were edited by Anthony Slide under the title It's the Pictures That Got Small: Charles Brackett on Billy Wilder and Hollywood's Golden Age (Columbia University Press, 2014).

Partial filmography

("*" indicates collaboration with Billy Wilder)

Award and Nominations

Academy Awards

Year Category Film Result Shared with
1939 Best Adapted Screenplay Ninotchka Nominated Billy Wilder & Walter Reisch
1941 Best Adapted Screenplay Hold Back the Dawn Nominated Billy Wilder
1945 Best Picture The Lost Weekend Won N/A
1945 Best Adapted Screenplay The Lost Weekend Won Billy Wilder
1946 Best Story To Each His Own Nominated
1948 Best Adapted Screenplay A Foreign Affair Nominated Billy Wilder & Richard L. Breen
1950 Best Picture Sunset Boulevard Nominated N/A
1950 Best Original Screenplay Sunset Boulevard Won Billy Wilder & D. M. Marshman Jr.
1953 Best Original Screenplay Titanic Won Richard L. Breen & Walter Reisch
1956 Best Picture The King and I Nominated N/A
1957 Honorary Award N/A Won N/A

External links

References

  1. ^ See Drewey Wayne Gunn, Gay American Novels, 1870-1970: A Reader's Guide (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2016), 21-22.
  2. ^ Hopper, H. (December 27, 1953). Charlie Brackett marries sister of his first wife. Los Angeles Times (1923–Current File); accessed January 18, 2016.
  3. ^ "Charles Brackett Dies at 77; Made Oscar-Winning Movies. 'Sunset Boulevard,' 'The Lost Weekend' and 'Titanic' among his successes". The New York Times. March 10, 1969. Retrieved January 2, 2011. Charles Brackett was born in Saratoga Springs, NY, and graduated in 1915 from Williams College, where he was editor of the literary monthly and a member of…
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Jean Hersholt
President of Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences
1949–1955
Succeeded by
George Seaton
A Foreign Affair

A Foreign Affair is a 1948 American romantic comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Jean Arthur, Marlene Dietrich, and John Lund. The screenplay by Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Richard L. Breen is based on a story by David Shaw adapted by Robert Harari. The film is about a United States Army captain in occupied Berlin who is torn between an ex-Nazi cafe singer and the United States congresswoman investigating her. Though a comedy, the overall project had a cynical, serious tone.

Corliss–Brackett House

The Corliss–Brackett House, also known as Charles Brackett House, is an historic house at 45 Prospect Street in the College Hill neighborhood of Providence, Rhode Island.

The Italian Villa style house was built in 1875 by George Henry Corliss, inventor of the Corliss Steam Engine. It was later acquired by his relative, Charles Brackett, a screenwriter who donated the house to Brown University in 1955. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. From 1973-2013, the house served as the Admission Office for Brown. It is currently shared by the Brown University Department of Economics and the Department of Philosophy.

The exterior of its carriage house was used on the television series Doctor Doctor to represent Dr. Stratford's office.

D-Day the Sixth of June

D-Day the Sixth of June is a 1956 CinemaScope romance war film made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Henry Koster and produced by Charles Brackett from a screenplay by Ivan Moffat and Harry Brown, based on the novel, The Sixth of June by Lionel Shapiro.

The film stars Robert Taylor, Richard Todd (who participated in the Normandy landings in real life), Dana Wynter, and Edmond O'Brien.

Garden of Evil

Garden of Evil (1954) is a Western film, directed by Henry Hathaway, about three somewhat disreputable 19th-century soldiers of fortune, played by Gary Cooper as an ex-lawman, Richard Widmark as a gambler, and Cameron Mitchell as a bounty hunter, who are randomly hired by a woman, portrayed by Susan Hayward, to rescue her husband (Hugh Marlowe). Rita Moreno appears at the beginning of the film as a Mexican cantina singer/dancer. The picture was shot on location in mountains, villages and jungle of western Mexico except for interiors in Mexico City.

Hold Back the Dawn

Hold Back the Dawn is a 1941 American romantic drama film in which a Romanian gigolo marries an American woman in Mexico in order to gain entry to the United States, but winds up falling in love with her. It stars Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, Paulette Goddard, Victor Francen, Walter Abel, Curt Bois and Rosemary DeCamp.

The movie was adapted by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder from the book by Ketti Frings. It was directed by Mitchell Leisen.

It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Olivia de Havilland), Best Writing, Screenplay, Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959 film)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (also called Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth) is a 1959 adventure film adapted by Charles Brackett from the novel of the same name by Jules Verne. Journey to the Center of the Earth was directed by Henry Levin and stars James Mason, Pat Boone and Arlene Dahl.

Niagara (film)

Niagara is an American 1953 film noir thriller film directed by Henry Hathaway, produced by Charles Brackett, and written by Brackett, Richard L. Breen and Walter Reisch. The film stars Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters and Max Showalter. It was one of 20th Century Fox's biggest box office hits of the year.

Unlike other film noirs of the time that were filmed in black and white, Niagara was filmed in "three-strip" Technicolor (one of the last films to be made at Fox in that format, as a few months later Fox began converting to CinemaScope, which had compatibility problems with "three-strip" but not with Eastmancolor).

Monroe was given first billing in Niagara which elevated her to star status. Her following two films of that year, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with Jane Russell, and How to Marry a Millionaire, with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall, were even bigger successes.

Ninotchka

Ninotchka is a 1939 American film made for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by producer and director Ernst Lubitsch and starring Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas. It is written by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Walter Reisch, based on a screen story by Melchior Lengyel. Ninotchka is Greta Garbo's first full comedy, and her penultimate film. It is one of the first American movies which, under the cover of a satirical, light romance, depicted the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin as being rigid and gray, in this instance comparing it with the free and sunny Parisian society of pre-war years.

State Fair (1962 film)

State Fair is a 1962 American musical film directed by José Ferrer and starring Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, Ann-Margret, Tom Ewell, Pamela Tiffin and Alice Faye. A remake of the 1933 film State Fair and the 1945 State Fair films, it was considered to be a financially and critically unsuccessful film.

Richard Rodgers wrote additional songs, both music and lyrics, for this version. His partner Oscar Hammerstein had died in 1960.

While the stage musical, 1933 and 1945 film were set at the Iowa State Fair, this 1962 version was set in Texas (the family drives through Dallas where the State Fair of Texas is held.) It was filmed in Visalia, California at Mooney's Grove park. The Tilt-A-Whirl that was used in the film is currently at a small theme park in Golden, Colorado.

Teenage Rebel

Teenage Rebel is a 1956 American drama film directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Ginger Rogers and Michael Rennie. It was nominated for two Academy Awards; Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction (Lyle R. Wheeler, Jack Martin Smith, Walter M. Scott, and Stuart A. Reiss).The film was an adaptation of the play A Roomful of Roses by Edith Sommer, with Betty Lou Keim reprising her Broadway role. Teenage Rebel was the first black-and-white CinemaScope film.

The Bishop's Wife

The Bishop's Wife, also known as Cary and the Bishop's Wife, is a Samuel Goldwyn romantic comedy feature film from 1947, starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven in a story about an angel who helps a bishop with his problems. The film was adapted by Leonardo Bercovici and Robert E. Sherwood from the 1928 novel of the same name by Robert Nathan, and was directed by Henry Koster.

It was remade in 1996 as The Preacher's Wife starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, and Courtney B. Vance.

The Emperor Waltz

The Emperor Waltz (German: Ich küsse Ihre Hand, Madame) is a 1948 American musical film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Bing Crosby and Joan Fontaine. Written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, the film is about a brash American gramophone salesman in Austria at the turn of the twentieth century who tries to convince Emperor Franz Joseph to buy a gramophone so the product will gain favor with the Austrian people. The Emperor Waltz was inspired by a real-life incident involving Franz Joseph I of Austria. Filmed on location in Jasper National Park in Canada, the film premiered in London, Los Angeles, and New York in the spring of 1948, and was officially released in the United States July 2, 1948. In 1949, the film received Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Music, as well as a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Written American Musical.

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing is a 1955 American film directed by Richard Fleischer from a screenplay by Walter Reisch and Charles Brackett, and starring Joan Collins, Ray Milland, and Farley Granger. The CinemaScope film was released by Twentieth Century-Fox, which had originally planned to put Marilyn Monroe in the title role, and then suspended her when she refused to do the film.

The Last Outpost (1935 film)

The Last Outpost is a 1935 American adventure film directed by Charles Barton and Louis J. Gasnier and written by Charles Brackett, Frank Partos and Philip MacDonald. It is based on F. Britten Austin's novel The Drum. The film stars Cary Grant, Claude Rains, Gertrude Michael, Kathleen Burke, Colin Tapley, Margaret Swope and Billy Bevan. The film was released on October 11, 1935, by Paramount Pictures.

The Lost Weekend (film)

The Lost Weekend is a 1945 American film noir directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman. The film was based on Charles R. Jackson's 1944 novel of the same name about an alcoholic writer. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also shared the Grand Prix at the first Cannes Film Festival, making it one of only two films (the other being Marty) to win both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the highest award at Cannes.

In 2011, The Lost Weekend was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 100% based on 33 reviews, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Director Billy Wilder's unflinchingly honest look at the effects of alcoholism may have had some of its impact blunted by time, but it remains a powerful and remarkably prescient film."

The Mating Season (film)

The Mating Season is a 1951 film made by Paramount Pictures. A farce with elements of screwball comedy, it was directed by Mitchell Leisen, and produced by Charles Brackett from a screenplay by Charles Brackett, Richard Breen, and Walter Reisch, based on the play Maggie by Caesar Dunn. The ensemble cast stars Gene Tierney, John Lund, Miriam Hopkins, and Thelma Ritter.

The Model and the Marriage Broker

The Model and the Marriage Broker is a 1951 romantic comedy film about a marriage broker. Though Jeanne Crain (as the model) is top billed, the movie revolves around Thelma Ritter's character (the broker), in a rare leading role for Ritter. Scott Brady also stars. The film is directed by George Cukor and produced by Charles Brackett.

Titanic (1953 film)

Titanic is a 1953 American drama film directed by Jean Negulesco. Its plot centers on an estranged couple sailing on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, which took place in April 1912. The film was released a day after the 41st anniversary of the sinking of the ocean liner.

To Each His Own (film)

To Each His Own is a 1946 American romantic drama filmdirected by Mitchell Leisen and starring Olivia de Havilland, Mary Anderson, Roland Culver, and John Lund in his first on-screen appearance, where he played dual roles as father and son. The screenplay was written by Charles Brackett and Jacques Théry. A young woman bears a child out of wedlock and has to give him up.

De Havilland won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Brackett and Théry were nominated for Best Writing, Original Story. The title song became a hit.

Awards for Charles Brackett

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