Bank Square Books and the Garde Arts Center presents a celebration of the publication of Adina Hoffman’s Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures, a vivid portrait of the man Pauline Kael called “the greatest American screenwriter” and Jean-Luc Godard described as “a genius” who “invented 80 percent of what is used in Hollywood movies today.”
Besides tossing off dozens of now-classic scripts—including Scarface, Twentieth Century, and Notorious—Hecht was known in his day as ace reporter, celebrated playwright, taboo-busting novelist, and the most quick-witted of provocateurs. During World War II, he also emerged as an outspoken crusader for the imperiled Jews of Europe and later became a fierce propagandist for pre-1948 Palestine’s Jewish terrorist underground, a fact that brought about his own private blacklisting by Hollywood. Whatever the outrage he stirred, this self-declared “child of the century” came to embody much that defined America—especially Jewish America—in his time.
“Adina Hoffman’s superb [book]… loads Hecht’s staggering contradictions into a compact but abounding two hundred twenty pages… She writes with enormous flair.” David Denby, The New Yorker
Adina Hoffman is an award-winning essayist and biographer. Her books include House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood, My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness: A Poet's Life in the Palestinian Century, Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architects of a New City, and, with Peter Cole, Sacred Trash: The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, which won the American Library Association's prize for the best Jewish book of 2011. Formerly a film critic for the Jerusalem Post and the American Prospect, she is a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and one of the inaugural winners of the Windham Campbell Literary Prizes. She lives Jerusalem and New Haven.
From the prizewinning Jewish Lives series, a vibrant portrait of one of the most accomplished and prolific American screenwriters, by an award-winning biographer and essayist
He was, according to Pauline Kael, “the greatest American screenwriter.” Jean-Luc Godard called him “a genius” who “invented 80 percent of what is used in Hollywood movi