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 ?
I remember Odets drove me three times around the Biltmore, where the Oscars were given out, because I was so full of tears.
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).
The tree stands in front of the picture window, where legend has it Rainer and Odets exchanged their vows.
In Six Plays of Clifford Odets (Reprint edition, pp.
Their influences are a who's who of independent theatre notables, like left-leaning playwrights George Bernard Shaw and Bertolt Brecht, along with Clifford Odets and the Group Theater of 1930s New York, and Dario Fo's Italian theatrical collectives.
Long under the spell of radical writers such as Dalton Trumbo and Clifford Odets, Hollywood was "a town that welcomed Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista junta but never took up the cause of a single Soviet or Eastern European dissident.
See this negative judgment of the play's ending in the treatments of it by Gabriel Miller, Clifford Odets [NY: Continuum, 1989]; Gerald Weales, Odets: The Playwright [NY: Methuen, 1985]; Malcolm Goldstein, The Political Stage: American Drama and the Theater of the Great Depression [NY: Oxford University Press, 1974]; Gerald Rabkin, Drama and Commitment: Politics in the American Theatre of the Thirties [Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1964]; R.
Her leading men included Cary Grant in None But the Lonely Heart (1944) directed by Clifford Odets, and Gary Cooper in Task Force (1948).
2) Although a Broadway and Hollywood professional, Odets was a self-taught artist, something that might qualify him for "outsider" status, not that he should want for it.
Miller also disliked the overlong psychoanalytic biography of Clifford Odets by Margaret Brenman-Gibson and cut the comment that "[begin strikethrough] "He'd 'rather shoot himself than become as deluded as Odets--though the deluded don't recognize their delusions
When he brings up Sweet Smell of Success, it is to focus--at fascinating length--on the screen-writing genius of Clifford Odets as, by a tortuous process, he shapes a rudimentary episode into the classic 21 Club sequence, that most Shakespearean of movie scenes.