Nunnally Johnson


Screenwriter
Nunnally Johnson

About

Birth Place
Columbus, Georgia, USA
Born
December 05, 1897
Died
March 25, 1977
Cause of Death
Pneumonia

Biography

Though not consistently successful, Johnson's overall output clearly marks him as one of the best scenarists to work within the Hollywood system. Prolific and versatile, he wrote or co-wrote impressive American portraits ("Jesse James" 1939, "The Grapes of Wrath" 1940), urban thrillers ("The Woman in the Window" 1944) and tough action capers ("Flaming Star" 1960, "The Dirty Dozen" 1967),...

Family & Companions

Dorris Bowdon
Wife
Actor. Married in 1940; played in "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940).

Bibliography

"There Ought To Be A Law"
Nunnally Johnson (1930)

Biography

Though not consistently successful, Johnson's overall output clearly marks him as one of the best scenarists to work within the Hollywood system. Prolific and versatile, he wrote or co-wrote impressive American portraits ("Jesse James" 1939, "The Grapes of Wrath" 1940), urban thrillers ("The Woman in the Window" 1944) and tough action capers ("Flaming Star" 1960, "The Dirty Dozen" 1967), as well as a host of memorable comedies. His occasional attempts during the 1950s to direct his own screenplays were generally less successful, though he did well enough by "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" (1956) and "The Three Faces of Eve" (1957). Johnson married actress Dorris Bowdon in 1940 and co-wrote the screenplay for "The World of Henry Orient" (1964) with his daughter Nora, author of the original novel.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

The Angel Wore Red (1960)
Director
The Man Who Understood Women (1959)
Director
Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957)
Director
The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
Director
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)
Director
How To Be Very, Very Popular (1955)
Director
Black Widow (1954)
Director
Night People (1954)
Director
Holy Matrimony (1943)
Fill-In Director

Cast (Feature Film)

The Big Show (1957)

Writer (Feature Film)

Dirty Dozen: The Next Mission (1985)
Characters As Source Material
Dark Mirror (1984)
From Screenplay ("Dark Mirror")
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Screenwriter
The World of Henry Orient (1964)
Screenwriter
Take Her, She's Mine (1963)
Screenwriter
Cleopatra (1963)
Screenplay cons for original production
Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962)
Screenwriter
Flaming Star (1960)
Screenwriter
The Angel Wore Red (1960)
Screenwriter
The Man Who Understood Women (1959)
Screenwriter
Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957)
Screenwriter
The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
Screenwriter
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)
Screenwriter
How To Be Very, Very Popular (1955)
Screenwriter
Black Widow (1954)
Screenwriter
Night People (1954)
Screenwriter
My Cousin Rachel (1953)
Screenwriter
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Screenwriter
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)
Screenwriter
We're Not Married! (1952)
Screenwriter
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
Screenplay of "The Ransom of Red Chief"
The Desert Fox (1951)
Screenwriter
The Long Dark Hall (1951)
Screenwriter
The Mudlark (1950)
Screenwriter
Three Came Home (1950)
Screenwriter
Everybody Does It (1949)
Screenwriter
Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)
Screenwriter
The Dark Mirror (1946)
Writ for the Screenplay by
The Keys of the Kingdom (1945)
Screenwriter
Along Came Jones (1945)
Wrt for the Screenplay by
Casanova Brown (1944)
Written for Screen by
The Woman in the Window (1944)
Written for Screen by
Holy Matrimony (1943)
Written for Screen by
The Moon Is Down (1943)
Wrt for the Screenplay by
The Pied Piper (1942)
Written for Screen by
Roxie Hart (1942)
Written for Screen by
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942)
Wrt for the Screenplay by
Moontide (1942)
Contract Writer
Tobacco Road (1941)
Screenwriter
Scotland Yard (1941)
Contract Writer
Chad Hanna (1940)
Screenwriter
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Screenwriter
Wife, Husband and Friend (1939)
Screenwriter
Jesse James (1939)
Original Screenplay
Rose of Washington Square (1939)
Screenwriter
The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)
Screenwriter
Banjo on My Knee (1936)
Screenwriter
The Road to Glory (1936)
Contract Writer
Dimples (1936)
Original idea
Baby Face Harrington (1935)
Screenwriter
Thanks a Million (1935)
Screenwriter
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (1935)
Screenwriter
Cardinal Richelieu (1935)
Contract Writer
Moulin Rouge (1934)
Screenwriter
The House of Rothschild (1934)
Screenwriter
Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934)
Screenwriter
Kid Millions (1934)
Original Screenplay and story
Moulin Rouge (1934)
Story
Mama Loves Papa (1933)
Screenwriter
A Bedtime Story (1933)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

The Man Who Understood Women (1959)
Producer
The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
Producer
Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957)
Producer
How To Be Very, Very Popular (1955)
Producer
Black Widow (1954)
Producer
Night People (1954)
Producer
My Cousin Rachel (1953)
Producer
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Producer
We're Not Married! (1952)
Producer
Phone Call from a Stranger (1952)
Producer
The Desert Fox (1951)
Producer
Three Came Home (1950)
Producer
The Mudlark (1950)
Producer
The Gunfighter (1950)
Producer
Everybody Does It (1949)
Producer
The Dark Mirror (1946)
Producer
Casanova Brown (1944)
Producer
The Woman in the Window (1944)
Producer
The Moon Is Down (1943)
Producer
Holy Matrimony (1943)
Producer
The Pied Piper (1942)
Producer
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942)
Producer
Roxie Hart (1942)
Producer
Chad Hanna (1940)
Associate Producer
I Was an Adventuress (1940)
Associate Producer
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Associate Producer
Rose of Washington Square (1939)
Associate Producer
Wife, Husband and Friend (1939)
Associate Producer
Jesse James (1939)
Associate Producer
Slave Ship (1937)
Associate Producer
Nancy Steele Is Missing! (1937)
Associate Producer
Love Under Fire (1937)
Associate Producer
Café Metropole (1937)
Associate Producer
The Country Doctor (1936)
Associate Producer
The Road to Glory (1936)
Associate Producer
Banjo on My Knee (1936)
Associate Producer
Dimples (1936)
Associate Producer
The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936)
Associate Producer
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (1935)
Associate Producer

Music (Feature Film)

The Pied Piper (1942)
Composer

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Senator Was Indiscreet (1948)
Company
Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (1948)
Company
Casanova Brown (1944)
Company

Writer (Special)

Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days (2001)
Other Writer

Special Thanks (Special)

Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days (2001)
Other Writer

Life Events

1927

Made feature debut (uncredited), co-wrote the screenplay for Frank Capra's "For the Love of Mike"

1931

Official screenwriting debut, also from story, "It Ought to Be a Crime"

1935

First feature as associate producer, also credited for his screenplay, "The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo"

1937

Produced, "Cafe Metropole"

1943

Formed International Pictures; later absorbed by Universal

1950

TV debut as a writer on "Robert Montgomery Presents Your Lucky Strike Theater"

1954

Feature directorial debut, also wrote and produced, "Night People"

1958

Received credit for the TV series, "How to Marry a Millionaire", from his screenplay of the same title

1959

Produced final feature, also wrote and directed, "The Man Who Understood Women"

1960

Final feature as director, also credited for screenplay, "The Angel Wore Red"

1963

Served as a script consultant for the initial shooting of "Cleopatra"

1967

Final feature, wrote the screenplay for "The Dirty Dozen"

Videos

Movie Clip

Desert Fox, The (1951) - Already A Legend Michael Rennie is narrating but it's the author of the original book Desmond Young playing himself, in this scene introducing Erwin Rommel (James Mason), the title character, in Henry Hathaway's The Desert Fox, 1951.
O. Henry's Full House (1952) - The Ransom Of Red Chief Droll Alabamians Kathleen Freeman and Irving Bacon are little moved when their son (Lee Aaker) is kidnapped by bumbling Yankee interlopers Sam Brown (Fred Allen) and William Smith (Oscar Levant), who hope to turn a quick profit, Howard Hawks directing, in the literary anthology O. Henry’s Full House, 1952.
Woman In The Window, The (1944) - Thanks For The Dime Having committed no offense but justifiable homicide, Professor Wanley (Edward G. Robinson) leaves Joan Bennett (title character) with the body of her sponsor, flees New York to the north, and encounters a toll collector (Joe Devlin), Fritz Lang making it more than tense, in The Woman In The Window, 1944.
Woman In The Window, The (1944) - Some Psychological Aspects Of Homicide Opening doesn’t seem for a moment incidental, establishing Edward G. Robinson as composed professor Wanley, Dorothy Peterson his wife departing for the summer with the kids, Raymond Massey and Edmond Breon as his friendly colleagues, and a portrait of Joan Bennett, in Fritz Lang’s chilling The Woman In The Window, 1944.
Phone Call From A Stranger (1952) - You're All Married Binky (top-billed Shelley Winters), nervous about the weather before her first airplane flight, makes a second approach to Gary Merrill, whom we know is leaving his wife and traveling under an assumed name, when they’re joined by Keenan Wynn and Michael Rennie, with extensive exposition, in Jean Negulesco’s Phone Call From A Stranger, 1952, produced and written by Nunnally Johnson from an I.A.R. Wylie novelette.
Phone Call From A Stranger (1952) - He's Had A Great Deal To Drink In his flashback to events pre-dating the airline flight by about seven years, Michael Rennie as Dr. Fortness (Michael Rennie) shouldn’t be driving, his wife (Beatrice Straight) and colleague Dr. Brooks (Hugh Beaumont) trying to intervene, in Phone Call From A Stranger, 1952.
Phone Call From A Stranger (1952) - Even Though You're Still In Love With Her? Gary Merrill as lawyer Trask visits Bette Davis (Mrs. Merrill, at the time) as Marie, last of the next-of-kin of his fellow travelers who didn’t survive the airline crash, surprised she isn’t the swimsuit ingenue from the photograph her boorish husband showed, in Phone Call From A Stranger, 1952, from an I.A.R. Wylie story.
Three Faces Of Eve, The (1957) - Opening, Introduction Opening credits and the most dignified introduction by Alistair Cooke from Nunnally Johnson's The Three Faces of Eve, starring Academy Award-winner Joanne Woodward, Lee J. Cobb and David Wayne.
Three Faces Of Eve, The (1957) - On Your Way To Hollywood Georgian Ralph White (David Wayne) discovers some gaudy wardrobe purchases and confronts his wife (Joanne Woodward, title character), early in Nunnally Johnson's The Three Faces of Eve, 1957.
Angel Wore Red, The (1960) - The War Is On! Reporter Hawthorne (Joseph Cotten) is pleased to tell his editor that war has come to his nameless Spanish city, Soledad (Ava Gardner) makes her first appearance, with newly-ex priest Aturo (Dirk Bogarde), while his superiors (Finlay Currie, Aldo Fabrizi) make emergency plans, in The Angel Wore Red, 1960.
How To Marry A Millionaire - Those Income Tax People Director Jean Negulesco beginning with slick shots of Manhattan, landing in Midtown East at Sutton Place, equally sharp Lauren Bacall (as "Schatze") confers with the rental agent (Percy Helton), in How To Marry A Millionaire, 1953, also starring Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe.
How To Marry A Millionaire (1953) - Only One Cure For Loneliness Director Jean Negulesco has skipped the actual event at “The Oil Institue,” instead following gold-digging models Schatze (Lauren Bacall, with William Powell), Loco (Betty Grable, with Fred Clark) and Pola (Marilyn Monroe, with Alex D’Arcy) dining with the men they met, in How To Marry A Millionaire, 1953.

Trailer

Gunfighter, The - (Re-issue Trailer) The fastest gun in the West (Gregory Peck) tries to escape his reputation in The Gunfighter (1950).
Night People - (Original Trailer) Communists kidnap a U.S. officer (Gregory Peck) in cold war Berlin in Night People (1954).
Grapes of Wrath, The - (Original Trailer) Henry Fonda stars in John Ford's movie version of the John Steinbeck novel about Depression-era migrants, The Grapes of Wrath (1940).
Dirty Dozen, The - (Original Trailer) A renegade officer trains a group of misfits for a crucial mission behind enemy lines in The Dirty Dozen (1967) starring Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, and Jim Brown.
How to Marry a Millionaire - (Original Trailer) Three models pool their resources to rent a posh penthouse in hopes of snaring rich husbands in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) starring Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe & Betty Grable.
Baby Face Harrington - (Original Trailer) A milquetoast has to fight off cops and gangsters when he's mistaken for the notorious Baby Face Harrington (1935).
O. Henry's Full House - (Original Trailer) Five stories reveal O. Henry's gift for the surprise ending with the help of five directors and a host of stars in O. Henry's Full House (1952).
Along Came Jones -- (Original Trailer) Gary Cooper spoofs his screen image playing a mild-mannered cowboy who is mistaken for a notorious outlaw in Along Came Jones (1945).
Woman in the Window, The - (Original Trailer) Joan Bennett gets innocent professor Edward G. Robinson mixed up in murder in Fritz Lang's The Woman in the Window (1944).
Rose of Washington Square - (Re-issue Trailer) A singer (Alice Faye) struggles to keep her criminal boyfriend (Tyrone Power) from trouble in Rose of Washington Square (1939).
Roxie Hart - (Original teaser trailer) To try and kick-start her show-business career, a woman (Ginger Rogers) admits to a Chicago murder in Roxie Hart (1942).
Take Her, She's Mine - (Original Trailer) James Stewart attempts to protect his college-age daughter from trouble which leads to scandal in Take Her, She's Mine (1963).

Family

Marjorie Fowler
Daughter
Editor.
Nora Johnson
Daughter
Author. Wrote novel "The World of Henry Orient" and co-wrote, with father, the screenplay.
Scott Johnson
Son
Scenic and lighting designer.
Gene Fowler Jr
Son-In-Law
Editor.

Companions

Dorris Bowdon
Wife
Actor. Married in 1940; played in "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940).

Bibliography

"There Ought To Be A Law"
Nunnally Johnson (1930)