Irving Ravetch


Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Newark, New Jersey, USA
Born
November 14, 1920
Died
September 19, 2010
Cause of Death
Pneumonia

Biography

Irving Ravetch began his Hollywood career with a notorious flop -- co-writing the screenplay for "Living in a Big Way" in which Gene Kelly returns from World War II and tries to make a go of it with his war bride. Yet, Ravetch went on to prosper, writing and occasionally producing some of the more heralded movies of the past 40 years, including "Hud" (1963) and "Norma Rae" (1979), both o...

Family & Companions

Harriet Frank Jr
Wife
Screenwriter.

Biography

Irving Ravetch began his Hollywood career with a notorious flop -- co-writing the screenplay for "Living in a Big Way" in which Gene Kelly returns from World War II and tries to make a go of it with his war bride. Yet, Ravetch went on to prosper, writing and occasionally producing some of the more heralded movies of the past 40 years, including "Hud" (1963) and "Norma Rae" (1979), both of which he co-wrote with his wife, Harriet Frank, Jr., and both of which earned Academy Award nominations. Besides working with Gregory LaCava on "Living in a Big Way" for MGM in 1947, Ravetch also wrote "The Outriders" for MGM in 1950, a standard Civil War story. His output in the 50s was nearly non-existent until he teamed with his wife in 1958, co-writing "The Long, Hot Summer" based on works by William Faulkner. This also marked their first collaboration with director Martin Ritt. The success of that film, moved Ravetch and Frank to co-write "The Sound and the Fury" (1959), also based on a Faulkner novel. The married duo adapted the William Inge play "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" for the big screen in 1960. In 1963, Ravetch co-produced "Hud" with its director, Marty Ritt, and co-wrote the screenplay with Frank. The story of moral degradation in the modern west, the film was a comeback of sorts for Ritt, who had been blacklisted, and actor Melvyn Douglas, who also had been away from the screen in the 50s due to blacklisting. It won an Academy Award for Patricia Neal. The collaboration between Ritt, Ravetch and Frank continued in 1967 with "Hombre," which Ritt and Ravetch produced, Ritt directed, and Ravetch and Frank wrote. Like "Hud," it starred Paul Newman, this time as a man raised by Native Americans trying to survive in the white man's world. Ravetch and Frank wrote "The Reivers" in 1969, which became a hit for Steve McQueen and was, again, based on a novel by Faulkner. Ravetch produced the film as well. Ravetch and Frank adapted Pat Conroy's autobiographical "Conrack" as a vehicle for John Voight in 1974, as a white teacher on an all-black gullah island trying to help them have a future. "Conrack" was again directed by Ritt, as was "Norma Rae," which starred Sally Field in her first Oscar-winning performance as a Southern woman who finds her inner resources through working for a union. Ritt, Field, Ravetch and Frank joined together again in 1985 for "Murphy's Romance," and Ravetch and Frank wrote "Stanley and Iris" for Ritt to direct in 1990, starring Jane Fonda as a woman teaching Robert De Niro how to read.

Life Events

1947

Began Hollywood career by co-writing "Living in a Big Way" for MGM

1955

Began collaboration with wife Harriet Frank, Jr. by co-writing the story for the Randolph Scott western "Ten Wanted Men"

1958

First screenwriting collaboration with wife was on "The Long, Hot Summer"; also first collaboration with Martin Ritt, who directed

1959

Collaborated with Martin Ritt (director) and wife Harriet Frank Jr. (co-writer) for "The Sound and the Fury"

1960

Co-scripted "Home from the Hill," directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Robert Mitchum

1960

Adapted Inge's play "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" into a film directed by Delbert Mann

1963

Co-produced (with Martin Ritt) and co-wrote (with Frank) "Hud," a drama set in modern Texas and starring Paul Newman; shared an Oscar nomination with his wife for the screenplay

1969

Produced "The Reivers"; also adapted William Faulkner's novel with Frank

1972

Co-penned " The Cowboys," a western starring John Wayne

1974

Adapted Giles Tippette's novel The Bank Robber into the film "The Spikes Gang"

1979

Earned an Academy Award nomination for co-writing (with Frank) the Martin Ritt directed "Norma Rae"

1985

Co-wrote (with Frank) "Murphy's Law," which was directed by Martin Ritt

1990

Final screen collaboration with Ritt and Frank "Stanley and Iris"

Videos

Movie Clip

Hud (1962) - You Can Charge A Stud Fee We follow Brandon De Wilde as Lonnie searching a Texas Panhandle town (director Martin Ritt shooting on location in Vernon, Texas) for his uncle, the notorious womanizer, the title character (Paul Newman), unhappy at being found, and encountering a jealous husband (George Petrie), opening director Martin Ritt’s Hud, 1962.
Hud (1962) - Watch That Cigarette Ash Martin Ritt directs his first scene with two Academy Award winners, as grumpy Paul Newman (title character) and nephew Lonnie (Brandon De Wilde) join father Homer (Melvyn Douglas, Best Supporting Actor) and his housekeeper Alma (Patricia Neal, Best Actress), over an issue at the family cattle ranch, early in Hud, 1962.
Hud (1962) - You're An Unprincipled Man Having just heard from the state authorities that their cattle ranch may need to be quarantined due to a risk of foot-and-mouth disease, Paul Newman (title character) tangles with his father (Melvyn Douglas), the main owner, his nephew (Brandon De Wilde) trying to be neutral, in Hud, 1962.
Hud (1962) - How About Some Colored Beads And Wampum? Ever more cynical, Paul Newman as the title character, heir to his father's troubled Texas cattle ranch, has another candid conversation with his father’s housekeeper Alma (Patricia Neal, in her Best Actress Academy Award-winning role), Martin Ritt directing from the Larry McMurtry novel, in Hud, 1962.
Norma Rae (1979) - It Goes Like It Goes Real photos of the young Sally Field (title character), Martin Ritt directing factory scenes from Opelika, Alabama, and Jennifer Warnes' much-praised rendering of the Oscar-winning song by David Shire and Norman Gimbel, opening Norma Rae, 1979.
Norma Rae (1979) - Things Can Get To You Still not comfortable in her new job as a floor supervisor, Sally Field (title character) strikes up a sudden acquaintance with fellow mill worker Sonny (Beau Bridges), her dad (Pat Hingle) not approving, in Martin Ritt's Norma Rae, 1979.
Norma Rae (1979) - What A Union Is Sally Field (title character) in the crowd as New York union organizer Reuben (Ron Liebman) makes his famous speech in a back-woods North Carolina church, her pal Bonnie Mae (Gail Strickland) among his supporters, in Martin Ritt's Norma Rae, 1979.
Conrack (1974) - Treat Your Babies Stern Following credits in which he crossed from the South Carolina mainland (actually Brunswick to Sea Island, Ga), Jon Voight as the title character, from the memoir by Pat Conroy, meets Mary (Tina Andrews) then his new boss, principal Mrs. Scott (Madge Sinclair), Martin Ritt directing, in Conrack, 1974.
Conrack (1974) - A Red Neck And A Small Brain On his second day teaching on Dafuskie Island, South Carolina (shot on location at Sea Island, Ga), 1969, Jon Voight as author Pat Conroy goes for an unorthodox physical approach, tangling with Top Cat (Ellis Lamar Cash) and riling his principal (Madge Sinclair), in Conrack, 1974.
Conrack (1974) - We're Mostly Black Taking his class afield in coastal South Carolina, 1969, Jon Voight as the author Pat Conroy in the film based on his memoir, mixing English poets and botany, surprised to meet Paul Winfield, as moonshiner Mad Billy, in director Martin Ritt’s Conrack, 1974.
Conrack (1974) - Milkin' The Rat More unorthodox teaching, by Jon Voight as the title character, from the memoir by Pat Conroy, getting the usual mixed results from his South Carolina island pupils, observed by Hume Cronyn as his superintendent, visiting from the mainland, in Martin Ritt’s Conrack, 1974.
Hombre (1967) - I Was Thinking About It In English Cocky cowboys (Skip Ward, David Canary) hassle colleagues (Pete Hernandez, Merrill C. Isbell) of John Russell (Paul Newman, title character), a white man raised Apache, visiting with station agent Mendez (Martin Balsam), about an inheritance from his former guardian, early in Hombre, 1967.

Trailer

Family

I Shalom Ravetch
Father
Rabbi.
Sylvia Ravetch
Mother

Companions

Harriet Frank Jr
Wife
Screenwriter.

Bibliography