Thursday, February 4, 2010

Screenwriter Anne Froelich R.I.P.

Anne Froelich, the screenwriter responsible for the Joan Crawford movie Harriet Craig, passed on January 26. She was 96 years old.

Anne Froelich was born in Hinsdale, Massachusetts on December 8, 1913. Her family eventually moved to Princeton, New Jersey. There she attended Smith College for a brief time, before moving to New York to pursue acting. She was an actress and a model for a time in New York City. It was in 1938 while serving as a secretary to Howard Koch, then a writer for The Mercury Theatre on the Air. Froelich assisted Koch in his legendary adaptation of War of the Worlds, which aired on The Mercury Theatre on the Air on October 30, 1938. When Howard Koch signed with Warner Brothers, he tried to convince the studio to also hire Froelich as a writer. Warner Brothers informed him that she would have to start as his secretary, to be promoted to a writer after six months. As it turned out, it took 18 months. After Froelich helped Koch rewriting scenes for The Letter, Warner Brothers hired her as a writer.

Anne Froelich's first screen credit was for Shining Victory in 1941, which she co-wrote with Howard Koch. Over the next several years Anne Froelich wrote the screenplays for The Master Race, Miss Susie Slagle's, Easy Come, Easy Go, and Harriet Craig. Unfortunately, Froelich's personal life would bring an end to her professional life as a screenwriter. Sympathetic to leftist causes Anne Froelich joined the Communist Party. In 1953 two fellow screenwriters outed her as a Communist. She was immediately blacklisted and never again wrote a screenplay.

Anne Froelich did continue to write. Using her married name of Taylor, she wrote four plays which were produced locally. With Fern Mosk she co-wrote the novel Press On Regardless, published in 1956.

Anne Froelich was a talented writer whose career was sadly cut short by the blacklist. Her screenplays were well crafted, careful examinations of psychological themes. Had her career been allowed to continue,she might well have created some truly great screenplays. As it is, in her short career she left behind a oeuvre  that is admirable.

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