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Ben Hecht
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message 1: by Mala (last edited May 02, 2016 07:26AM) (new)

Mala | 146 comments Writer suggestion via Sketchbook's review.

Despite some misgivings, adding Ben Hecht 'cause BBC is a fun place too. ( Our moderator listens to Thrash Metal all the time!). If I were to hazard a guess– I'd say his books will be like Tarantino flicks 'cause if the quality of Hecht's film work is anything to go by, then his fiction can't be all that bad. Even among Buried Writers– there shd be sufficient variety to cater to different tastes, I think.
I'm quoting here from Sketchbook's email–"He ( Hecht) has wide vocabulary, so splays his fawncy words in CENTURY memoir. Today, most ppl seem to have vocab of 300's sad..."

Here's a link that does the bio & bibliography job neatly:

Some Details from the SFE: Science Fiction Encyclopedia–

(1894-1964) US journalist, novelist, playwright, film scriptwriter and publisher, associated with Bohemian literary circles before becoming prominent in Hollywood night-life in the early 1930s. His writings are particularly notable for their cynicism, iconoclasm and irony. Many of his short stories border on Science Fantasy, most vividly "The Adventures of Professor Emmett" (in A Book of Miracles, coll 1939) ( Hive Minds); some were influenced by the works of Charles Fort. Hecht is best known in the sf field for the Fantazius Mallare sequence comprising Fantazius Mallare (1922) and The Kingdom of Evil (1924), an erotic and supposedly decadent account of a descent into madness; the first volume was successfully prosecuted for obscenity on the grounds of its illustrations (by Wallace Smith).

Individual Titles

Erik Dorn, 1921 (fiction)
Fantazius Mallare, 1922 (fiction)
Gargoyles, 1922 (fiction)
1001 Afternoons in Chicago, 1922 (fiction)
The Florentine Dagger, 1923 (fiction)
Tales of Chicago Streets, 1924
The Kingdom of Evil, 1924 (fiction)
Humpty Dumpty, 1924 (fiction)
Cutie, A Warm Mamma, 1924 (fiction; with M. Bodenheim)
Broken Necks, 1926 (fiction)
Count Bruga, 1926 (fiction)
The Unlovely Sin, and Other Stories of Desire's Pawns, 1927
Jazz, and Other Stories of Young Love, 1927
Infatuation: And Other Stories of Love's Misfits, 1927
The Sinister Sex; And Other Stories of Marriage, 1927
The Policewoman's Love-Hungry Daughter: And Other Stories of Chicago, 1927
A Jew in Love, 1931 (fiction)
The Champion From Far Away, 1931 (fiction)
Actor's Blood, 1936 (fiction)
The Book of Miracles, 1939 (fiction
Miracle in the Rain, 1943 (novella)
Eleven Selected Great Stories (New York: Avon Book Co, 1943)
I Hate Actors!, 1944 (fiction; as Hollywood Mystery, 1946)
The Collected Stories of Ben Hecht, 1945
Concerning a Woman of Sin and Other Stories, 1947 (fiction)
The Cat That Jumped Out of the Story, 1947 (fiction)
A Child of the Century, 1954 (autobiography)
The Sensualists, 1959 (fiction)
A Treasury Of Ben Hecht: Collected Stories And Other Writings, 1959
In the Midst of Death, 1964 (fiction

You can check out his titles here:

There have been some recent books on Hecht but as they deal with areas other than novels, the writer gets to keep his place in the BBC.

Rediscovering Ben Hecht, Volume 1: Selling the Celluloid Serpent, 1999 (edited by Florice Whyte Kovan)
Rediscovering Ben Hecht, Volume 2: Art and Architecture on 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, 2000 (edited by F.W. Kovan)
Art & Architecture on 1001 Afternoons in Chicago: Essays and Tall Tales of Artists and the Cityscape of the 1920s, 2002 (book & commentary by F.W. Kovan)
101 Hard-to-Find Stories by Ben Hecht. Vol. 1 2008 (Snickersnee Press)
Hard-to-Find Ben Hecht Stories, Vol. 2, 2010 (Snickersnee Press)

message 2: by Mala (new)

Mala | 146 comments Sketchbook: Hechtie was all over the scribe & scribble map. Mostly journalists were aware of him becos (postwar2) he seemed to rep the individualism of the trade (read: superficiality). When "Century" was pub'd, c 1954, it got press salutes.

He guided some fine screenplays, but stumbled on novels, and this memoir is crammed w godawful writing, yet > it's compelling ! ~~ 600 pages, pls. ~~ You gulp, shake yer head, No!, and continue reading.

In early 20s, Paris, while visiting Edie Wharton, Fitzgerald said he & Zelda had accidentally spent their first nights in a brothel. (Ow, that fantasy again..) Wharton, reigning supreme, coolly asked, "And what do they do there ?" Humiliated, Fitzie fled her tea party. Hecht recycles this yarn for himself decades later. ~~ Ah, there are no accurate memoirs. ~~
And we dunt want em.

Hecht gets indexed in almost every serio film book. Pauline Kael quotes some No-No-No dialogue fr another arty-indie catastrophe of his, "Specter of the Rose," 1946. Ready? "My heart is dancing a minuet in an ashcan."

What's so embarrassing : he thinks it's a whopper-fine line. He turned out marvelous witticism-wisecracks for Hitch & Hawks & Lubitsch. In his vu, that was grunt work. On his own, aaah, aaah, he could take flight. Yes, and produce turds. No ashcan in sight.

Btw, "Specter" is another film abt madness in the ballet. Blame it on Nijinsky. (There is no madness in Hollywd.)

Hechtie novels : Erik Dorn, Fantazius Mallare, Gargoyles, The Florentine Dagger, Count Bruga, A Jew in Love, Miracle in the Rain, I Hate Actors, The Cat That Jumped Out of the Story, The Kingdom of Evil.

Usually he doesnt "list" his megaflop plays.

He is a Character. #

message 3: by Mala (new)

Mala | 146 comments Sketchbook: I notice his novel, Erik Dorn, (selecting 1 bk), is on GR. I think Hecht might/would belong to a separate category, "Ellusive" (??), Mmm-uhhh. I havent read his fiction. His memoir is a zappo gasbag, but may be unto itself. I think GRs would find it v entertaining.

message 4: by Mala (new)

Mala | 146 comments By Michael:
Sketchbook wrote: "He is a Character."

So was his first wife, Marie Armstrong Essipoff, who was actually a natural and excellent writer. Her slender output deserves a bountiful readership. She wrote a memoir about their marriage, almost impossible to get.

And cookbooks. But no boring recipe bundles---more in Gladys Taber style the recipes are tertiary at best, after precedence of sentence and story, and yes these things are good reading: opinionated, sometimes crazy, often funny, usually digressing into anecdote, and in the same class as Vincent and Mary Price, Jeff Smith, Jay Jacobs, Montagné's Larousse, and De Gouy's standard Gold.

I remember something in one of her books about how fish should always be cooked and presented whole, but never shown with its one dead eye---you should pluck it before bringing to table, and if you can't do it get someone else to do their best Dali and replace with a cherry or anything that'd artistically fit. Anyway, her books are full of that.

(The two had a child, Edwina Jackson, an actress & São Paulo resident, who eventually reedited the posthumous reissue of Essipoff's masterwork (on home freezers!). Tried locating her a year ago but no dice, not sure if even alive although I suspect yes, and still in Brazil.)

message 5: by Mala (new)

Mala | 146 comments Sketchbook:Valuable info, most interesting. Jenny, Hecht's daught w 2d wife, also became an actress, got into drugs and died in her 20s fr OD a few years after his death. Ben adored her.

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