Daniel Taradash


Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Born
January 29, 1913
Died
February 22, 2003
Cause of Death
Pancreatic Cancer

Biography

Daniel Taradash was born in Kentucky and raised in Chicago and Miami Beach. While an undergraduate at Harvard, he met his future producing partner Jules Blaustein. After completing his studies at Harvard, including obtaining a law degree and passing the New York State bar, he seemed set on a legal career. But when his play "The Mercy" won the 1938 Bureau of New Plays contest (the two pre...

Family & Companions

Madeleine Forbes
Wife
Married on November 29, 1944.

Biography

Daniel Taradash was born in Kentucky and raised in Chicago and Miami Beach. While an undergraduate at Harvard, he met his future producing partner Jules Blaustein. After completing his studies at Harvard, including obtaining a law degree and passing the New York State bar, he seemed set on a legal career. But when his play "The Mercy" won the 1938 Bureau of New Plays contest (the two previous winners were Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams), it seemed likely Taradash would find success on stage. While his play received a staging at NYU, it was enough of a calling card to land him work in Hollywood, where he proved a smart, capable scripter, often of adaptations. His first assignment was as one of four credited writers on the screen version of Clifford Odets' "Golden Boy" (1939).

During WWII, Taradash served in the US Army and eventually underwent training in the Signal Corps Officer Candidate program and found himself assigned to the Signal Corps Photo Center. There, he became reacquainted with college chum Jules Blaustein and worked as a writer and producer of training films. After the war, Taradash attempted to find success on Broadway with an American version of Jean-Paul Sartre's "Red Gloves," but the show folded quickly and he returned to Hollywood. He first garnered attention as the co-writer (with John Monks Jr) of the Humphrey Bogart vehicle "Knock on Any Door" (1949). The Fritz Lang Western "Rancho Notorious" and the psychodrama "Don't Bother to Knock" (both 1952) were routine scripts saved by strong performances (Marlene Dietrich and Arthur Kennedy in the former, Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe in the latter). Taradash achieved his high-water mark with his skillful adaptation of James Jones' massive novel "From Here to Eternity" (1953), which earned him an Oscar. Hamstrung by social mores, he toned down much of the original material yet still managed to create a powerful story, realized by director Fred Zinnemann. His subsequent film work was generally in adaptations, including "Desiree" (1954), about Napoleon and Josephine, "Picnic" (1955), from the William Inge play, and "Bell, Book and Candle" (1958), from John Van Druten's stage comedy.

In the mid-50s, Taradash and Jules Blaustein formed Phoenix Corporation. He also tried his hand at directing with the earnest but not very interesting "Storm Center" (1956), about a librarian fighting censorship. Taradash and Zinnemann had planned to make two films from James Michener's massive novel "Hawaii" but were unable to raise the financing. (When George Roy Hill did make the film in 1965, he utilized Taradash's script with emendations by Dalton Trumbo.) By the 70s, Taradash's efforts had slowed and his final two scripts were for the glossy soap operas "Doctors' Wives" (1971) and "The Other Side of Midnight" (1977).

Life Events

1937

Passed New York bar exam

1938

Won the Bureau of New Plays nationwide playwrighting contest previously won by Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams

1939

First feature credit as one of four credited screenwriters on the film adaptation of "Golden Boy"

1941

Served in the US Army

1948

Debut as a Broadway playwright, "Red Gloves", adapted from the work by Jean-Paul Sartre

1949

Breakthrough screen credit as co-writer of "Knock on Any Door"

1953

Earned Academy Award for his screenplay for "From Here to Eternity", adapted from the James Jones novel

1956

Adapted William Inge's "Picnic"

1956

Directorial debut, "Storm Center" (also wrote)

1958

Wrote the screenplay adaptation of "Bell, Book and Candle"

1959

Made one-shot return to Broadway as playwright of "There Was a Little Girl", starring Jane Fonda

1966

Received co-writer credit on "Hawaii"; originally he and director Fred Zinnemann had hoped to make two films based on the James Michener novel but financing could not be raised

1971

Scripted "Doctors Wives"

1977

Final screenplay credit, "The Other Side of Midnight"

Videos

Movie Clip

Morituri (1965) - One Can't Choose One's Parents Complex bit, as German merchant ship captain Mueller (Yul Brynner) realizes Marlon Brando might be (in fact, is!) a spy and saboteur working for the Brits, but accepts his thanks, having just vouched for him with his Nazi superiors, before he confronts his new passenger (Janet Margolin), whom he has deduced is a Jewish refugee, in Morituri, 1965.
Morituri (1965) - You Are Under My Authority Posing as an SS officer catching a lift from Japan to occupied France, but actually a German defector working as an undercover British agent, Crain (a.k.a. "Kyl," Marlon Brando) tangles with the suspicious German merchant ship captain Mueller (Yul Brynner), Nazi 2nd officer Kruse (Martin Benrath) steering clear, in Morituri, 1965.
Morituri (1965) - Must Have Been A Rat Clever shooting, Academy Award-nominated cinematography by Conrad Hall, with director Bernhard Wicki, following Marlon Brando as Nazi defector engineer Crain, blackmailed by the Brits into posing as a Gestapo officer in order to defuse the self-destruct system on a German merchant ship carrying precious rubber from Japan, in Morituri, 1965.
Morituri (1965) - You Have No Family First scene for both, British Colonel Slatter (Trevor Howard) in India advises "Crain" (Marlon Brando) that he knows he faked his identity, and he's about to help the allies, in Morituri, 1965, from the novel by Werner Joerg Luddecke.
Knock On Any Door (1949) - Open, Nick Romano Director Nicholas Ray's 1949 version of a gritty crime scene, opening Knock On Any Door, starring Humphrey Bogart and John Derek, and the first venture by Bogart's "Santana Pictures."
Knock On Any Door (1949) - Mea Culpa Inside a flashback, lawyer Morton (Humphrey Bogart) meets the mother (Argentina Brunetti) of Nick Romano (John Derek) at a key moment, in Nicholas Ray's Knock On Any Door, 1949.
Knock On Any Door (1949) - What About This Jury? The D-A (George MacReady) inflames the jury, then defense attorney Morton (Humphrey Bogart) narrates his own internal assessment, in director Nicholas Ray's Knock On Any Door, 1949.
Knock On Any Door (1949) - To Keep You Quiet! A clever monologue coming out of a phone call, by lawyer Morton (Humphrey Bogart), with girlfriend Adele (Susan Perry), then a meeting with suspect Nick (John Derek) from Nicholas Ray's Knock On Any Door, 1949.
From Here To Eternity (1953) - I Was Born Smart Pearl Harbor, 1941, Warden (Burt Lancaster) telling Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) he will end up boxing for the regiment, escorts him to Leyva (Mickey Shaughnessy), arrival of commander's wife Karen (Deborah Kerr) switching the focus, early in Fred Zinnemann's From Here To Eternity, 1953.
From Here To Eternity (1953) - Nobody Ever Kissed Me... The landmark surf scene in its entirety, Sergeant Warden (Burt Lancaster) with his commanding officer's wife Karen (Deborah Kerr), a good deal of exposition following the action, in From Here To Eternity, 1953, from the James Jones novel, directed by Fred Zinnemann.
From Here To Eternity (1953) - Don't Tell Me The Princess Is Your Style Angelo (Frank Sinatra) beginning his routine at the New Congress Club, annoyed by Judson (Ernest Borgnine) on piano, Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) being shown around by Annette (Jean Willes), until he spies "Lorene" (Donna Reed), in From Here To Eternity, 1953.
From Here to Eternity (1953) - Fatso Judson Sergeant Warden (Burt Lancaster) rescues Maggio (Frank Sinatra) from a dust-up with the cruel Pearl Harbor stockade Sergeant Fatso Judson (Ernest Borgnine), Prewitt (Montgomery Clift) ready to help, in From Here to Eternity, 1953.

Trailer

Companions

Madeleine Forbes
Wife
Married on November 29, 1944.

Bibliography