Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Film Festival: Leigh Brackett

I'm going to change the format of these posts a little. Rather than featuring a television series episode or film I'm going to concentrate on a particular author. This week is a look at the screen life of science fiction and mystery novelist Leigh Brackett.

Bill Pronzini, in his anthology Hardboiled, called Brackett "one of the top hardboiled writers of all time." Her first novel was published in 1944. It was a Raymond Chandler-type mystery titled No Good from a Corpse. It was well received and, according to the Thrilling Detective website, it is this novel that impressed director Howard Hawks and won her the job of writing the screenplay for The Big Sleep with William Faulkner.

Leigh Brackett was a versatile writer. She is best known for her work in the science fiction genre. She wrote the screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back. It was her final work and the film was released two years after her death. One of Brackett's best known science fiction novels was also her first: The Nemisis from Terra. It was originally published in Startling Stories in 1944 and has since been published in book form by the ACE Double line in 1961 (F-123 with Robert Silverberg's Collision Course) and the short lived TOR Double line in 1989 (#8 with Edmond Hamilton's Battle for the Stars).

Brackett also wrote in the Western genre. She was credited as co-writer for the screenplay of both Rio Bravo and Rio Lobo--she also wrote a novelization based on the screenplay--as well as several other Western films. She wrote one Western novel, Follow the Free Wind, in 1963 that won her the Golden Spur Award.

Leigh Brackett was an exceptional storyteller from the golden age of the paperback. She straddled the line between Hollywood and prose and did it all startling well.

Her IMDb page.

Television -- Full Episodes

Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Death of a Cop (Season 1, episode 32; original air date May 24, 1963)

The Hulu page.

Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Terror at Northfield (Season 2, episode 3; original air date October 11, 1963)

The Hulu page.

The Rockford Files: The Four Pound Brick (Season 1, episode 21; original air date February 21, 1975)

The Hulu page.

Feature Film Trailers

The Big Sleep, 1946

Rio Bravo, 1959

Hatari!, 1962

El Dorado, 1966

Rio Lobo, 1970

The Long Goodbye, 1973

The Empire Strikes Back, 1980

1 comment:

Tosser said...

Such an underrated writer. She and Ray Bradbury collaborated on a longish story-"Lorelai of the Red Mist"-that was wonderful, everything you could hope for in a Planet Stories piece.

Glad there are still people out there who remember her.