Daniel Mainwaring (February 27, 1902 – January 31, 1977) was an American novelist and screenwriter.
A native of Oakland, California, he began his professional career as a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle and enjoyed a successful career as a mystery novelist (under the name Geoffrey Homes).He worked as a film publicist and eventually abandoned fiction for a successful career as a screenwriter.
His first novel (and the only one he ever published under his own name), One Against the Earth, was a proletarian novel about a young man born on a California ranch who becomes a drifter and is eventually unjustly accused of attacking a child, was published in 1932. He made his real mark, however, with a string of hard-boiled mystery novels (mostly with small-town California settings), the first of which was The Man Who Murdered Himself (1936).
His final published novel, Build My Gallows High (William Morrow & Co., 1946), is generally regarded as his best—and its adaptation (by "Homes" himself) into the 1947 film noir classic Out of the Past assured his place in film history.Mainwaring explained to interviewer Pat McGilligan that he regarded the novel as a departure from his earlier literary efforts:
With Build My Gallows High, I wanted to get away from straight mystery novels. Those detective stories are a bore to write. You've got to figure out "whodunit". I'd get to the end and have to say whodunit and be so mixed up I couldn't decide myself.
By the time Out of the Past appeared Mainwaring had already begun to devote himself exclusively to screenwriting, first under the Homes pseudonym and later under his real name.Other notable credits during this period included The Big Steal (1949, directed by Don Siegel) and This Woman is Dangerous (1952, with Joan Crawford). His first important film work bearing his real name were the 1954 shot-on-location crime thriller The Phenix City Story (1954) and the original version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956).
As director Joseph Losey, whose The Lawless was adapted by Mainwaring from the writer's own short story (publication undetermined) "The Voice of Stephen Wilder", noted:
This is one of the things that makes me very close to Dan Mainwaring—his experience of Americana, the nostalgia of the good things about small towns. I remember the smell of burning leaves at night in the autumn too. And I remember the smell of Christmas, the sparkle in the air at football games, and the sound of distant trains. And Dan remembers them all. He's a much underrated writer and he's a really quite noble man. He damaged himself with drink and he was very badly hurt by the blacklist.
According to Frank Krutnik's book "Un-American" Hollywood, [ citation needed ]Losey’s memory seems to serve him wrong here. Mainwaring's widow claims her husband actually acted as a front for blacklisted author Paul Jarrico. Also, Mainwaring's name appears on several movie credits in the 1950s which would have been impossible for a blacklisted author. The first film to break the blacklisting rule by naming a "banned" screenwriter (Dalton Trumbo) in the credits was Otto Preminger's 1960 film, Exodus . Mainwaring's work on Ida Lupino's film noir The Hitch-Hiker was not credited.
In 1960, Mainwaring was hired by fantasy-film producer-director George Pal to write the screenplay for the MGM Studios film Atlantis, the Lost Continent , released in 1961. He based his script on a play written by Gerald Hargreaves in 1945. Toward the end of his career, in the 1960s, he wrote for TV shows like The Wild Wild West and Mannix . He did not live long enough to see Out of the Past remade as Against All Odds (1984).
James Dalton Trumbo was an American screenwriter who scripted many award-winning films, including Roman Holiday (1953), Exodus, Spartacus, and Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944). One of the Hollywood Ten, he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1947 during the committee's investigation of alleged Communist influences in the motion picture industry.
Billy Wilder was an Austrian-American film director, producer and screenwriter. His career in Hollywood spanned five decades, and he is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Classic Hollywood cinema. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director eight times, winning twice, and for a screenplay Academy Award 13 times, winning three times.
Kiss Me Deadly is 1955 American film noir produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez, and Wesley Addy. It also features Maxine Cooper and Cloris Leachman appearing in their feature film debuts. The film follows a private investigator in Los Angeles who becomes embroiled in a complex mystery after picking up a female hitchhiker. The screenplay was written by Aldrich and A. I. Bezzerides, based on the 1952 crime novel Kiss Me, Deadly by Mickey Spillane.
Crime fiction, detective story, murder mystery, mystery novel, and police novel are terms used to describe narratives that centre on criminal acts and especially on the investigation, either by an amateur or a professional detective, of a serious crime, generally a murder. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as historical fiction or science fiction, but the boundaries are indistinct. Crime fiction has multiple subgenres, including detective fiction, courtroom drama, hard-boiled fiction, and legal thrillers. Most crime drama focuses on crime investigation and does not feature the courtroom. Suspense and mystery are key elements that are nearly ubiquitous to the genre.
Joseph Walton Losey III was an American theatre and film director, producer, and screenwriter. Born in Wisconsin, he studied in Germany with Bertolt Brecht and then returned to the United States. Blacklisted by Hollywood in the 1950s, he moved to Europe where he made the remainder of his films, mostly in the United Kingdom. Among the most critically and commercially successful were the films with screenplays by Harold Pinter: The Servant (1963) and The Go-Between (1971).
James Mallahan Cain was an American author and journalist. Cain vehemently opposed labeling, but he is usually associated with the hardboiled school of American crime fiction and is seen as one of the creators of the roman noir. His crime novels The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934), Serenade (1937), Mildred Pierce (1941) and Double Indemnity became well known movies.
A mystery film is a genre of film that revolves around the solution of a problem or a crime. It focuses on the efforts of the detective, private investigator or amateur sleuth to solve the mysterious circumstances of an issue by means of clues, investigation, and clever deduction.
Hardboiled fiction is a literary genre that shares some of its characters and settings with crime fiction. The genre's typical protagonist is a detective who battles the violence of organized crime that flourished during Prohibition (1920–1933) and its aftermath, while dealing with a legal system that has become as corrupt as the organized crime itself. Rendered cynical by this cycle of violence, the detectives of hardboiled fiction are often antiheroes. Notable hardboiled detectives include Philip Marlowe, Mike Hammer, Sam Spade, Lew Archer, Slam Bradley, and The Continental Op.
Robert Adrian Scott was an American screenwriter and film producer. He was one of the Hollywood Ten and later blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studio bosses.
Abraham Lincoln Polonsky was an American film director, screenwriter, essayist and novelist. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Body and Soul but in the early 1950s was blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios, after refusing to testify at congressional hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee, in the midst of the McCarthy era.
Philip Ives Dunne was a Hollywood screenwriter, film director and producer, who worked prolifically from 1932 until 1965. He spent the majority of his career at 20th Century Fox crafting well regarded romantic and historical dramas, usually adapted from another medium. Dunne was a leading Screen Writers Guild organizer and was politically active during the "Hollywood Blacklist" episode of the 1940s–1950s. He is best known for the films How Green Was My Valley (1941), The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947), The Robe (1953) and The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965).
The Prowler is a 1951 American film noir thriller film directed by Joseph Losey that stars Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes. The film was produced by Sam Spiegel and was written by Dalton Trumbo. Because Trumbo was blacklisted at the time, the screenplay was credited to his friend, screenwriter Hugo Butler, as a front.
John Paxton was an American screenwriter.
Reginald Mills was a British film editor and one-time film director with more than thirty feature film credits. Among his prominent films are The Red Shoes (1948), for which he received his only Academy Award nomination, The Servant (1963), and Romeo and Juliet (1968).
Kenneth Martin Edwards is a British crime novelist, whose work has won awards in the UK and the United States. As a crime fiction critic and historian, and also in his career as a solicitor, he has written non-fiction books and many articles. He is the current President of the Detection Club and in 2020 was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association’s Diamond Dagger, the highest honour in British crime writing, in recognition of the ‘sustained excellence’ of his work in the genre.
Time Without Pity is a 1957 British film noir thriller film about a father trying to save his son from execution for murder.
Film gris, a term coined by experimental filmmaker Thom Andersen, is a type of film noir which categorizes a unique series of films that were released between 1947 and 1951. They came in the context of the first wave of the communist investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee.
The Hollywood blacklist was the colloquial term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist put in effect in the mid-20th century in the United States during the early years of the Cold War. The blacklist involved the practice of denying employment to entertainment industry professionals believed to be or to have been Communists or sympathizers. Not just actors, but screenwriters, directors, musicians, and other American entertainment professionals were barred from work by the studios. This was usually done on the basis of their membership in, alleged membership in, or sympathy with the Communist Party USA, or on the basis of their refusal to assist Congressional investigations into the party's activities. Even during the period of its strictest enforcement, from the late 1940s through to the late 1950s, the blacklist was rarely made explicit or easily verifiable, as it was the result of numerous individual decisions by the studios and was not the result of official legal action. Nevertheless, it quickly and directly damaged or ended the careers and income of scores of individuals working in the film industry.
The Intimate Stranger is a 1956 British film-noir, drama film directed by Joseph Losey, under the pseudonym Alec C. Snowden, and starring Richard Basehart, Mary Murphy, Constance Cummings and Roger Livesey. It was released in the U.S. as Finger of Guilt.
No Hands on the Clock is a 1941 American comedy mystery film directed by Frank McDonald starring Chester Morris as detective Humphrey Campbell.