"Budd Schulberg, who exposed the dark side of American ambition in his acclaimed Hollywood novel What Makes Sammy Run? and won an Academy Award for his screenplay depicting the mob-controlled longshoremen's union in the film classic On the Waterfront, has died," reports Dennis McLellan in the Los Angeles Times. "He was 95."
"He collaborated with F Scott Fitzgerald, arrested the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl and named names before a Communist-hunting Congressional committee," writes Tim Weiner in the New York Times. "But he was best known for writing some of the most famous lines in the history of the movies." The one that leaps to mind, of course, was spoken by Marlon Brando: "I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody. Instead of a bum, which is what I am." Weiner: "It was Adam's fall in New York argot."
To appreciate the impact Sammy had on Hollywood, take a quick look at a 2005 GreenCine Daily entry; Movie City News reminds us of Robert Chalmers's long talk with Schulberg for the Independent back in February; and see, too, more thoughts from Ted Johnson, Noel Murray and Bob Westal. Online listening: Don Swaim's 1990 interview.
In other news, people are talking about AO Scott (NYT) and Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune) taking over At the Movies; they're speculating about Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio teaming up for a new adaptation of Brave New World and Larry Fessenden taking on New Line's remake of The Orphange; they're watching the trailers for Nation's Pride, a film that doesn't actually exist, though it plays a role in Inglourious Basterds, and for Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones; and they're following the flow charts in Matt Shepherd's entry, "In Which I Ruin Rashomon For Everyone, Forever."
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Updates: More on Budd Schulberg from Richard Brody (New Yorker), Richard Corliss (Time), James Terence Fisher (via Glenn Kenny), Eric Kohn and Julian Sancton (Vanity Fair, linking to Schulberg's 2005 piece on Brando and James Wolcott in 2007 on A Face in the Crowd).
Update, 8/8: "When the Siren sees a recent movie, what she often misses is the verve and crackle of glorious midcentury American speech. When it came to using that speech for film, Budd Schulberg, who died this week age 95, was one of the best." And she reminds us of the best of the best.