The brilliant Ben Hecht and an all-star cast combine with Republic Studios for this unusual drama about mercurial dancer Andre Sanine (Ivan Kirov), who is suspected of killing his first wife. Sensitive ballerina Haidi (Viola Essen) marries him, but can she cure his madness? When they dance in the ballet that induces Sanine’s hallucinations, Haidi fends off his attacks, but Sanine must resort to drastic measures to curb his violent outbursts.
Ben Hecht, one of Hollywood & Broadway’s greatest writers, won an Oscar for best original story for Underworld (1927) at the first Academy Awards in 1929 and had a hand in the writing of many classic films. He was nominated five more times for the best writing Oscar, winning (along with writing partner and friend Charles MacArthur, with whom he wrote the classic play The Front Page) for The Scoundrel (1935) (the other nominations were for Viva Villa! (1934) in 1935, Wuthering Heights (1939) (shared with MacArthur), Angels Over Broadway (1940), and Notorious (1946). The latter two for best original screenplay. Hecht wrote fast and he wrote well, and was called upon by many producers as a highly paid script doctor. He was paid $10,000 by producer David O. Selznick for a fast doctoring of the Gone with the Wind (1939) script, for which he received no credit and for which Sidney Howard won an Oscar, beating out Hecht and MacArthur’s “Wuthering Heights” script.
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