Harriet Frank Jr.


Screenwriter

About

Birth Place
Portland, Oregon, USA

Biography

Screenwriter of important American films from the late 50s, Harriet Frank Jr. collaborated with her husband, Irving Ravetch, beginning with "The Long Hot Summer" (1958), which also marked the first of many collaborations with director Martin Ritt and the first of several adaptations of the works of William Faulkner. Unlike her east coast bred husband, Frank was from Oregon. She attended ...

Family & Companions

Irving Ravetch
Husband
Writer. They collaborated on numerous scripts from 1957.

Biography

Screenwriter of important American films from the late 50s, Harriet Frank Jr. collaborated with her husband, Irving Ravetch, beginning with "The Long Hot Summer" (1958), which also marked the first of many collaborations with director Martin Ritt and the first of several adaptations of the works of William Faulkner. Unlike her east coast bred husband, Frank was from Oregon. She attended UCLA at the same time as Ravetch, but they did not meet until both were in the MGM young writer's training program after World War II. While they soon married, they did not write together at this time. Instead, Frank collaborated with Stephen Longstreet for her first produced credit, the obscure "B" picture, "Steel River" at Warner Bros. in 1948. Also in 1948, Frank collaborated with Maurice Geraghty on "Whiplash," a minor film about an artist turned fighter. She worked without production success in the early 50s, then, in 1955, she joined with Ravetch to write a storyline which was bought by Columbia and adapted with another writer as "Ten Wanted Men" starring Randolph Scott. Ravetch and Frank began writing together in earnest and in 1958, they adapted three Faulkner stories as "The Long, Hot Summer," with Ritt directing. Ritt directed their next collaboration, "The Sound and the Fury" (1959), also based on a Faulkner novel. Their "Home From the Hill," a southern melodrama, was directed by Vincente Minnelli in 1959, and in 1960 Frank and her husband adapted William Inge's Pulitzer Prize winning drama "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" for the screen. Firming their collaboration with Martin Ritt, Ravetch began producing with Ritt, with Ritt directing scripts by Frank and Ravetch. This was the team on "Hud" (1963), which starred Paul Newman as a moral sleaze in the modern west. It earned Frank and Ravetch their first Academy Award nomination. Newman again starred under Ritt's direction in "Hombre" (1967) playing a young man raised by Native Americans who must acclimate to the "white" world. Without Ritt, but with a novel by Faulkner, Frank and Ravetch adapted "The Reivers" for the big screen in 1969, a well-received Steve McQueen vehicle. But, it was back with Ritt in 1974 for "Conrack," which was based on Pat Conroy's autobiographical writings of his experiences teaching African American children shut off on an island off the coast of South Carolina. Ritt, Ravetch and Frank were together again with the acclaimed "Norma Rae," which, like "Conrack" was set in the south and dealt with socio-political issues. In this case, Sally Field was a poor mill worker who finds her inner resources through working to unionize the mill. The 1979 film earned Frank and Ravetch their second Academy Award nomination. Ritt directed Field in "Murphy's Romance" in 1985, a different kind of script by Frank and Ravetch in that it was an easy going comedy about the relationship with Field and James Garner. But Frank and Ravetch got serious again in 1990, with Ritt directing "Stanley and Iris," with Jane Fonda teaching Robert De Niro to read.

Life Events

1948

Co-wrote (with Stephen Longstreet) "Steel River" for Warner Bros.

1955

Began writing with husband, Irving Ravetch

1958

Had first produced collaboration with husband Irving Ravetch, "The Long Hot Summer" (MGM)

1963

Nominated for Academy Award for co-writing (with Ravetch) "Hud"

1979

Nominated for Academy Award for co-writing (with Ravetch) "Norma Rae"

1985

Adapted "Murphy's Romance" for the screen

1990

Co-wrote (with Ravetch) "Stanely 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

Companions

Irving Ravetch
Husband
Writer. They collaborated on numerous scripts from 1957.

Bibliography