Oscar nominated screenwriter and former president of the Writers Guild Ernest Lehman has died. Lehman leaves behind an impressive body of work, including the screen adaptation of West Side Story; Billy Wilder's Sabrina; and one of my top five favorite Hitchcock films, North by Northwest. He produced Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the film version of Hello, Dolly!, and wrote, produced and directed a 1972 adaptation of Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint. He also wrote The Sound of Music, and is thus, for better or for worse, directly responsible for one of  Pauline Kael's best lines (she called that film "a sugarcoated lie people seem willing to eat.") That misstep aside, any combination of the above films would make for a pretty fantastic Netflixestival; but while we're memorializing one of the last survivors of the tail end of the studio system, we really ought to throw in one of his "its-a-living" paycheck pieces. My vote goes to Executive Suite, one of those weirdly-formal yet still totally camptastic '50s workplace dramas, with an all-aging-star cast including William Holden and Barbara Stanwyck.
categories Cinematical