Carl Foreman

Active - 1941 - 1984  |   Born - Jul 23, 1914 in Chicago, IL  |   Died - Jun 26, 1984 in Beverly Hills, CA  |   Genres - Drama, War, Comedy, Western, Action

Share on

The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, American writer/producer/director Carl Foreman studied for a law career before choosing to enter the publicity business. Foreman's first screenwriting credits were for Monogram's low-budget East Side Kids 6-reelers of the early '40s. After wartime service with the Signal Corps, Foreman joined novice film producer Stanley Kramer, receiving his first "prestige" screenplay credit for the 1948 Henry Morgan vehicle So This is New York. Foreman remained with the Kramer Company until High Noon (1952), at which time he was threatened with blacklisting due to his "hostile" testimony before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. While everyone involved in High Noon stood by Foreman, including the picture's rabidly anti-communist star Cooper, the film would be the writer's last screen credit for many years. He subsequently wrote under a series of pseudonyms, and often for no billing whatsoever. Though it was an open secret in Hollywood that Foreman wrote the screenplay for the 1957 Oscar-winning Bridge on the River Kwai, the political climate of the era dictated that the "Best Screenplay" Oscar for River Kwai would go to French writer Pierre Boule, the Frenchman who'd written the novel on which the film was based--and who spoke no English (the Academy would not honor Foreman for this film until after his death in 1985).

Retreating to England, Foreman set up a production company called Open Road, producing and writing such films as The Key (1958) and The Guns of Navarrone (1961). In 1963, Foreman made his directing bow with The Victors, a sloppy wartime epic laden with sledgehammer political statements which made a pile of money at the box office. (Foreman took the opportunity of The Victors to reactivate his dream of adapting William Bradford Huie's book The Execution of Private Slovik for the screen; in Victors, a Slovik-like soldier is executed while the soundtrack booms forth a cheery rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"). The president of the British writer's guild from 1965 through 1971, Foreman was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1970. By the time he returned to Hollywood in 1975, Carl Foreman's most creative days were behind him; typical of his final projects was a halfhearted rehash of his Guns of Navarrone triumph, 1978's Force Ten From Navarrone.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography