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Ben Hecht filmscript collection

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Hecht2

Scope and Content of the Collection

Filmscripts as well as material associated with those scripts, dating from early treatments of The Paradine Case in 1933 (later a 1947 Hitchcock film on which Hecht worked uncredited) to a 1968 screenplay by Abram S. Ginnes based on a collection of Hecht pieces entitled Gaily, Gaily.

The scripts and other writing in this collection for which Hecht received credit are: A Farewell to Arms, Monkey Business (originally, Darling, I am Growing Younger), Notorious, Ride a Pink Horse, Spellbound, and Wuthering Heights. The bulk of the collection consists of material associated with Hecht’s Hollywood career as an uncredited script doctor, most notably Duel in the Sun, Gone with the Wind, The Paradine Case, and Portrait of Jennie. The two manuscript items relating to Gone with the Wind are interesting: a shooting script for the first part of the movie with copious penciled annotations, and four production memos written on Selznick International Pictures, Inc. stationery. These two items, plus the final shooting script for Ride a Pink Horse, are boxed separately and placed at the end of the collection.

The range of material includes not only scripts in various stages, but such miscellaneous items as cutting and dialogue continuity, Spanish dialogue, footage schedules, physical descriptions, story treatments, music lists, outlines, research, publicity handouts and trailer continuity.


  • Creation: 1933-1968



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Ben Hecht filmscript collection is open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Ben Hecht filmscript collection is the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of Ben Hecht

Chicago and New York journalist, novelist, playwright, and Hollywood screenwriter.

Hecht’s early career was as a reporter and newspaperman in Chicago, where among other writing jobs, he achieved some success with columns entitled “1001 Afternoons in Chicago” for the Chicago Daily News. He moved to New York after being fired from the newspaper, and in 1928 he collaborated with his friend Charles MacArthur on the play The Front Page. Shortly after that Hecht went to Hollywood and began his next career as a movie scriptwriter.

It is estimated Hecht wrote or anonymously worked on from seventy to ninety screenplays as well as many story treatments and unproduced projects. When he died of a heart attack in 1964, besides the innumerable credited and uncredited film scripts and some television work, Hecht left behind plays, novels, essays, more than three hundred short stories, countless newspaper articles and his autobiography, A Child of the Century.

For the complete Ben Hecht story, see Ben Hecht, The Man Behind the Legend, a biography by William MacAdams; New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1990.


5.2 Linear Feet (14 boxes)


Collection of cinema scripts and associated material, both credited and uncredited to Ben Hecht. The range of material includes not only scripts (including draft, first, and final), but also such items as footage schedules, dialogue continuity, budget estimates, publicity memorabilia, trailer information, research, story treatments, and synopses.


Materials arranged alphabetically.

Collection Stack Location

1 22 2-3


Purchase, Society of Collectors, 2009.

Processed by

Virginia Hay Smith, 2011.

Inventory of the Ben Hecht filmscript collection, 1933-1968
Virginia Hay Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States