Screenwriter Howard Rodman offers a poignant appreciation of Walter Bernstein, the blacklisted screenwriter and director who died in January 2021 at the age of 101. Bernstein had been a fixture in Rodman’s life since the 1950s, when Rodman’s father served as a “front” for Bernstein’s television work. Bernstein would later use that experience as inspiration for The Front (dir. Martin Ritt, 1977), his trenchant and mordantly funny account of life on the blacklist. Rodman surveys Bernstein’s long career, from his years as a journalist for the US Army publication Yank and The New Yorker, to his post-blacklist work of the 1960s and 1970s, to his work at the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, where he and Rodman both served as advisors, closing the circle.
Remembering Walter Bernstein
Howard A. Rodman wrote the films Joe Gould’s Secret, Savage Grace, August, and the novels The Great Eastern and Destiny Express. He is past president of the Writers Guild of America West; professor of screenwriting at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts; an artistic director of the Sundance Screenwriting Labs; and a member of the National Film Preservation Board.
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Howard A. Rodman; Remembering Walter Bernstein. Film Quarterly 1 June 2021; 74 (4): 43–47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2021.74.4.43
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