Clifford Odets

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Clifford Odets
BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Playwright, screenwriter, director

Odets, Clifford

(ōdĕts`), 1906–63, American dramatist, b. Philadelphia. After graduating from high school he became an actor and in 1931 joined the Group TheatreGroup Theatre,
organization formed in New York City in 1931 by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford, and Lee Strasberg. Its founders, who had worked earlier with the Provincetown Players, wished to revive and redefine American theater by establishing a permanent company to present
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. Turning his attention from acting to playwriting, Odets soon came to be regarded as the most gifted of the American naturalistic social-protest dramatists of the 1930s. His first work for the Group, Waiting for Lefty (1935), a vernacular, Marxian drama of the awakening and insurgency of the impoverished working classes, aroused immediate international attention. Awake and Sing (1935), his first full-length play and widely considered his best work, compassionately portrays the struggles and rebellion of a financially destitute Jewish-American family. Other plays include Till the Day I Die (1935), Paradise Lost (1935), Golden Boy (1937), Night Music (1939), and Clash by Night (1942). Odets spent many years in Hollywood writing film scripts, e.g., Sweet Smell of Success (1957). In his later plays he turned from social drama to self-conscious dramas of the individual, such as The Big Knife (1949), The Country Girl (1950), and The Flowering Peach (1954).


See The Time is Ripe: The 1940 Journal of Clifford Odets (1988); biographies by E. Murray (1968), G. C. Weales (1971), G. Miller (1989), and M. Brenman-Gibson (2002); studies by M. J. Mendelsohn (1969), H. Cantor (1978, repr. 2000), G. Miller, ed. (1991), and C. J. Herr (2003).

Odets, Clifford

(1906–63) playwright, film director, actor; born in Philadelphia. Leaving high school to be a poet, he took up acting, appearing on the radio and in repertory theater. In 1931 he helped found the Group Theatre, which in 1935 produced his Waiting for Lefty and Awake and Sing! These plays immediately established him as a major American social realist and spokesman for the downtrodden, but he himself was soon enjoying the good life in Hollywood where he wrote screenplays and eventually turned to directing films, including None But the Lonely Heart (1949) and Wild in the Country (1961). He also continued to write a series of realistic and increasingly disillusioned dramas such as Golden Boy (1937) and The Big Knife (1949).
References in periodicals archive ?
The aspirations of the New York Jewish Left became part of his screen identity (especially since some of his most successful films were either written and/or directed by those who were schooled--politically if not also artistically--in this milieu: for example, Clifford Odets, Robert Rossen, Abraham Polonsky, Elia Kazan and Albert Maltz).
See the following critics on Ralph's purportedly unchanged immaturity: Gabriel Miller, Clifford Odets [NY: Continuum, 1989], pp.
Marilyn's] roster of ideal lovers--all of them older men--ended with Ernest Hemingway, Charles Laughton, Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller and Albert Einstein.
In addition to offering crisp explications and fact-filled stage histories of Kushner's varied canon, Fisher insightfully links Kushner and his work to a rich thematic heritage, including the works of Bertolt Brecht, Clifford Odets, and Tennessee Williams (lines from A Streetcar Named Desire are cited in Angels).
Mackendrick, with writers Ernest Lehman and Clifford Odets, paints Broadway as an open sewer of corruption, ego, tragedy and naked ambition.
Similarly, why include the complete Clifford Odets play Awake and Sing and omit anything by or about David Mamet, whose plays have galvanized the American stage, and whose orientation seems to be tilting more an more to an awareness of what it means to be a Jew?
Whitfield looks closely at Clifford Odets, Arthur Miller, David Mamet, and Wendy Wasserstein.
Radical drama, some of it put on by the New Deal's own Federal Theater, was producing a rich crop of future film talent, from Clifford Odets, Elia Kazan, and Jules Dassin to John Garfield and (among the child actors) Sidney Lumet.
Clifford Odets was among the leaders of the school, attracting attention (and critical approval) with plays like Waiting for Lefty, in which a group of downtrodden workers play out sketches of working-class oppression and misery while waiting for a union organizer who never comes, ending with the cry--famous in its time--of "Strike
Clifford Odets provides the acidic screenplay for a tale which takes a dim view of the media industry.
Clifford Odets, for a few years in the mid-Thirties, was more wildly and lavishly celebrated than any playwright before or since.
He's no social activist in the vein of an Upton Sinclair or a Clifford Odets, but he doesn't aspire to be and shouldn't be judged according to that standard.