Albert Hackett


Screenwriter

About

Also Known As
Albert M Hackett, Albert Maurice Johnson, Albert M. Hackett
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
February 16, 1900
Died
March 16, 1995
Cause of Death
Pneumonia

Biography

This celebrated American screenwriter wrote such classics features as "The Thin Man" (1934), "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) and "Father of the Bride (1950) as well as the play and screen versions of "The Diary of Anne Frank" with his wife Frances Goodrich. Their collaboration resulted in four Academy Award nominations and a Pulitzer Prize and earned the pair a place as one of the top hus...

Family & Companions

Frances Goodrich
Wife
Screenwriter. Married from 1931 until her death in 1984 at age 93; frequent collaborator.
Gisele Svetlik Hackett
Wife
Married in 1985; survived him.

Bibliography

"The Real Nick and Nora: Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Writers of Stage and Screen"
David L Goodrich, Southern Illinois University Press (2001)

Biography

This celebrated American screenwriter wrote such classics features as "The Thin Man" (1934), "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) and "Father of the Bride (1950) as well as the play and screen versions of "The Diary of Anne Frank" with his wife Frances Goodrich. Their collaboration resulted in four Academy Award nominations and a Pulitzer Prize and earned the pair a place as one of the top husband-and-wife writing teams in cinema. The prolific pair turned out witty, sophisticated screwball comedy as easily as musicals and films that on the surface may have seemed charged with mere sentiment but which delved deep into characters.

This son of stage actress Frances Hackett and brother of silent screen actor Raymond Hackett attended the Professional Children's School in his native NYC and began in show business as a child actor playing a little girl in "Lottie, the Poor Saleslady" (1906). He toured in vaudeville and in such productions as "Peter Pan," and as late as 1941 was still occasionally acting on stage. From age 12 he also acted in motion pictures, beginning with the now-lost "Poor Jimmy" (1912), and including such classics as "Anne of Green Gables" (1919), directed by William Desmond Taylor. But while his brother's acting career was in full swing during the 20s, Hackett's began to sputter, and by 1930 he had made his final film, "Whoopee!" (the Eddie Cantor vehicle in which Hackett had also co-starred on Broadway).

Although he more or less gave up on a performing career, Hackett turned to screenwriting with his spouse Goodrich (whom he married in 1931). With "Penthouse" (1933), their initial screenwriting collaboration, they demonstrated an ability to mix comedy and melodrama. Although under contract with MGM, Hackett and Goodrich were not elevated to the top of the writers' list, but, instead were assigned what were considered lesser pictures. One such film was "The Thin Man," which paired William Powell and Myrna Loy as sophisticated sleuths Nick and Nora Charles in a mix of screwball comedy and murder. Although MGM did not expect much from the effort, "The Thin Man" was a hit with audiences and brought the duo their first Academy Award nomination. Now firmly on the "A" list, they went on to pick up a second Oscar nod for the squel "After the Thin Man" (1936).

Able to tap into the human spirit as well as the American consciousness, Hackett and Goodrich adapted the Eugene O'Neill play "Ah, Wilderness!" for the screen in 1935, but perhaps their most lasting achievement is "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), directed by Frank Capra. Centering on the premise of what the world would be like if one had not lived, "It's a Wonderful Wonderful Life" began as a cult favorite but has blossomed into not just a cult favorite and a holiday perennial Hackett and Goodrich adapted to the MGM big-budget musical cycle of the 40s and 50s, writing the Fred Astaire-Judy Garland classic "Easter Parade" (1948) and earned Oscar nominations for the satirical "Father of the Bride" (1950) and the musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954).

With the demise of the studio system in the 50s, Hackett and Goodrich returned to the theater after being selected to adapt "The Diary of Anne Frank" for the Broadway stage. Their literate and moving version was awarded both a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award as Best Play. When it came time to bring the material to the big screen, it seemed only natural that the married couple should pen the screenplay. In 1962, Goodrich and Hackett adapted Peter Shaffer's play "Five Finger Exercise" for the screen with lackluster results, and soon permanently retired. Frances Goodrich died in 1984 and Hackett remarried. He succumbed to pneumonia in 1995.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Whoopee! (1930)
Chester Underwood
The Darling of the Rich (1923)
Fred Winship
The Cynic Effect (1922)
Other brother
The Country Flapper (1922)
Another brother
A Woman's Woman (1922)
Kenneth Plummer
The Good-Bad Wife (1921)
Leigh Carter
Molly O' (1921)
Billy O'Dair
Away Goes Prudence (1920)
Jimmie Ryan
The Good-Bad Wife (1920)
Leigh Carter
The Career of Katherine Bush (1919)
Bert Bush
Anne of Green Gables (1919)
Robert
Come Out of the Kitchen (1919)
Charles Daingerfield
The Venus Model (1918)
Boy
Black Fear (1915)
George Martindale

Writer (Feature Film)

Father of the Bride Part II (1995)
Story By
Father of the Bride Part II (1995)
From Story
Father of the Bride (1991)
Story By
Father of the Bride (1991)
From Story
The Diary of Anne Frank (1980)
Screenwriter
The Diary of Anne Frank (1980)
Play As Source Material
Five Finger Exercise (1962)
Screenwriter
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
Screenwriter
A Certain Smile (1958)
Screenwriter
Gaby (1956)
Screenwriter
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Screenwriter
The Long, Long Trailer (1954)
Screenwriter
Give a Girl a Break (1954)
Screenwriter
Father's Little Dividend (1951)
Screenwriter
Too Young to Kiss (1951)
Screenwriter
Father of the Bride (1950)
Screenwriter
In the Good Old Summertime (1949)
Written for Screen by
The Pirate (1948)
Screenwriter
Easter Parade (1948)
Original Story
Easter Parade (1948)
Screenwriter
Summer Holiday (1948)
Screenwriter
Miss Tatlock's Millions (1948)
Contract Writer
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Screenwriter
The Virginian (1946)
Screenwriter
The Hitler Gang (1944)
Writer
Lady in the Dark (1944)
Screenwriter
Society Lawyer (1939)
Screenwriter
Another Thin Man (1939)
Screenwriter
The Firefly (1937)
Screenwriter
After the Thin Man (1936)
Screenwriter
Rose-Marie (1936)
Screenwriter
Small Town Girl (1936)
Screenwriter
Ah, Wilderness (1935)
Screenwriter
Naughty Marietta (1935)
Screenwriter
Fugitive Lovers (1934)
Screenwriter
The Thin Man (1934)
Screenwriter
Hide-Out (1934)
Screenwriter
Chained (1934)
Contr to dial
The Secret of Madame Blanche (1933)
Screenwriter
Penthouse (1933)
Screenwriter

Cast (Special)

James Cagney: City Boy, Country Gentleman (1992)

Life Events

1906

Made stage debut playing a little girl in "Lottie, the Poor Saleslady"

1912

Made film acting debut in "Poor Jimmy"

1930

Made last film as an actor, "Whoopee!"

1933

Began screenwriting collaboration with wife Frances Goodrich with "Penthouse"

1934

Hit stride as screenwriters with adaptation of "The Thin Man"

1941

Made final appearance on stage, "Mr. and Mrs. North"

1942

Did some script work for the Office of Co-ordinator of Inter-American Affairs

1946

With Goodrich, wrote the screenplay for "It's a Wonderful Life"

1948

With Goodrich, wrote the screenplay for "Easter Parade"

1950

Penned the screenplay for "Father of the Bride" with Frances Goodrich

1954

With Goodrich, wrote screenplays for "The Long, Long Trailer" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

1955

Selected to pen the "official" stage adaptation of "The Diary of Anne Frank" with Frances Goodrich

1959

With Goodrich, adapted "The Diary of Anne Frank" for the screen

1962

Wrote final produced screenplay with Goodrich, "Five Finger Exercise"

Videos

Movie Clip

Too Young To Kiss (1951) - In Winnipeg It Is Not Cold? After just a glance of co-star June Allyson in his waiting room, concert promoter Wainright (Van Johnson), blowing off a German tenor, makes excuses for French singer Denise (Paula, a.k.a. Rita, Corday) early in MGM’s Too Young To Kiss, , 1951 from a Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett screenplay.
Too Young To Kiss (1951) - There's No Room At The Top Having just realized she could fake being a teenager in order to get an audition, ambitious classical pianist Cynthia (June Allyson) is intercepted at home by her boyfriend John (Gig Young), early in MGM’s Too Young To Kiss, , 1951, also starring Van Johnson.
Too Young To Kiss (1951) - She's Box Office! Thinking he’s discovered a prodigy, concert promoter Wainright (Van Johnson) arrives with contracts at the apartment of pianist Cynthia (June Allyson) who, having posed at her audition as her fictional kid-sister Molly, takes a stab at making things right, in MGM’s Too Young To Kiss, , 1951.
Too Young To Kiss (1951) - Revolutionary Etude Both billed above the title in their 4th picture starring together, June Allyson is twenty-something pianist Cynthia posing as her fictional kid sister Molly, and Van Johnson is Wainright, the impresario holding auditions for a youth orchestra, Hans Conreid introducing her, for the familiar Chopin composition, in MGM’s Too Young To Kiss, , 1951, with impressive fake playing by June, who had some piano training as a child.
Rose-Marie (1936) - Romeo And Juliet Opening in a fancy Montreal theater, Jeanette MacDonald as the star Marie de Flor, performing in the French opera Romeo et Juliette by Charles Gounod, Jules Barbier and Marcel Carre, big troubles coming in her personal life, in Rose-Marie, 1936 also starring Nelson Eddy.
Summer Holiday (1948) - Our Home Town From the top, Walter Huston as dad Nat Miller introduces the gimmick, original tunes by Harry Warren and Ralph Blane serving as exposition in the musical adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness, bringing in Butch Jenkins, Michael Kirby, Marilyn Maxwell, Selena Royle, Frank Morgan and Agnes Moorehead, in Summer Holiday, 1948, produced by Arthur Freed for MGM.
Summer Holiday (1948) - Afraid To Fall In Love Setting may look a little more Hollywood than the purported Danville, Connecticut, but Mickey Rooney as graduating Richard is lobbying for a smooch from girlfriend Muriel (Gloria De Haven), director Rouben Mamoulian giving them rope with a Harry Warren/Ralph Blane original, in Summer Holiday, 1948, from producer Arthur Freed for MGM.
Summer Holiday (1948) - The Stanley Steamer Graduation from Danville, CT High School, June 1906, Mickey Rooney as ebullient Richard hears first from Gloria De Haven as girlfriend Muriel, then joins Agnes Moorehed (“Cousin Lily”) and his dad (Walter Huston) as they board the genuine car, with another original song by Harry Warren and Ralph Blane, in the musical adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Ah, Wilderness!, from MGM’s Arthur Freed unit, Summer Holiday, 1948.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Have You Seen My Shoes? Life in the attic apartment, Anne (Millie Perkins) first writing and narrating, then taunting Peter (Richard Beymer), his mother (Shelley Winters) and her father (Joseph Schildkraut) supporting, in George Stevens' The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - I'm Living A Great Adventure In Amsterdam just after the war, Joseph Schildkraut as Otto Frank has just been identified, greeted by Miep (Dody Heath) and Kraler (Douglas Spencer), whom we surmise helped him and his family hide from the Nazis, leading to the introduction of the diary and the title character (Millie Perkins), early in George Stevens' The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Bring Only What You Can Carry Delivered by the hosts (Douglas Spencer, Dody Heath) and introduced to the hidden family (including Joseph Schildkraut, Shelley Winters, Millie Perkins as the title character and Lou Jacobi as Van Daan), dentist Dussell (Ed Wynn) brings harrowing news of Amsterdam, in George Stevens’ The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.
Diary Of Anne Frank, The (1959) - Was It A Very Bad Dream? A dream sequence from screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, from their play and directed by George Stevens, Millie Perkins as the title character, in Amsterdam ca. 1944, imagining scenes of German concentration camps that have been described only by hearsay, Gusti Huber as her mother, in The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959.

Trailer

Diary of Anne Frank, The (1959) -- (Original Trailer) Theatrical trailer for producer-director George Stevens’ adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hacket, based on the original diary, The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959, starring Millie Perkins.
Father's Little Dividend - (Original Trailer) In the sequel to Father of the Bride (1950), Spencer Tracy discovers the joys and pains of grandfatherhood.
Rose-Marie (1936) - (Original Trailer) An opera singer goes undercover in the Canadian wilderness to hunt for her criminal brother in Rose Marie (1936) starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
Easter Parade (1948) -- (Re-issue Trailer) When his partner leaves him, a vaudeville star trains an untried performer to take her place in Easter Parade (1948) starring Judy Garland & Fred Astaire.
Gaby - (Original Trailer) Gaby (1956), Waterloo Bridge in color and widescreen with Leslie Caron as the woman left behind in World War II.
Firefly, The - (Original Trailer) A Spanish spy (Jeanette MacDonald) masquerades as a singer to sabotage Napoleon's forces in this MGM adaptation of the Rudolf Friml operetta.
After the Thin Man - (Original Trailer) Married sleuths Nick and Nora Charles try to clear Nora's cousin of a murder charge in After the Thin Man (1936).
Pirate, The - (Original Trailer) An actor (Gene Kelly) poses as a notorious buccaneer to court a romantic Caribbean girl (Judy Garland) in The Pirate (1948).
Secret Of Madame Blanche, The - (Original Trailer) Irene Dunne must do the noble thing to keep The Secret of Madame Blanche (1933) from the son she gave up long ago.
Ah, Wilderness! - (Original Trailer) A small-town boy (Eric Linden) at the turn of the century, longs for a taste of the wild life in Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness! (1935).
Naughty Marietta - (Re-issue trailer) A French princess in colonial America gets involved with an Indian scout in the musical, Naughty Marietta (1935).
Long, Long Trailer, The - (Original Trailer) Life on the road becomes a comic nightmare for a honeymooning couple in an oversized motor home in The Long, Long Trailer (1954), starring Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz.

Family

Arthur V Johnson
Father
Actor.
Florence Hackett
Mother
Actor.
Raymond Hackett
Brother
Actor. Appeared in silent films.
Blanche Sweet
Sister-In-Law
Actor.

Companions

Frances Goodrich
Wife
Screenwriter. Married from 1931 until her death in 1984 at age 93; frequent collaborator.
Gisele Svetlik Hackett
Wife
Married in 1985; survived him.

Bibliography

"The Real Nick and Nora: Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Writers of Stage and Screen"
David L Goodrich, Southern Illinois University Press (2001)