The Man with Blond Hair

The Man With Blond Hair is a play by Norman Krasna based on a true story. Although Krasna became better known for comedy this was a drama; the writer later said that he "really wrote" the play "to win the Nobel Peace Prize".[1] The play only ran for 7 performances on Broadway. This failure prompted him to return to comedy and Krasna wrote Dear Ruth his most popular hit.

The Man with Blond Hair
Written byNorman Krasna
Date premiered4 November 1941
Place premieredNew York
Original languageEnglish
SubjectNazis
GenreDrama
SettingRoof of an East Side tenement; The Hoffman living room

Plot

Two Nazi airmen, Rudolph and Stumer, escape internment in Canada and find themselves in New York where they are arrested. A policeman arranges for them to escape so the policeman may recapture and beat them.

Stumer escapes but Rudolph is captured by a gang of kids. They are about to force him to jump off a roof when Ruth, fiancee of one boy Involved, takes him away to her apartment via the fire escape.

At Ruth's apartment he is fed and well treated by her mother, while the boys search for him. One of the boys is shot by the police before he is about to spot Rudolph. Rudolph gives himself up to the police.

Original cast

  • Eleanor Lynn as Ruth Hoffmann
  • Rex Williams as Rudolph
  • Bernard Lenrow as Stumer
  • Dora Weissman as Mrs Hoffmann
  • Coby Ruskin as Harry
  • Robert Williams as Matt
  • Alfred Ryder as John
  • James Gregory as Frank Connors
  • Curt Conway as Sidney
  • Rex Williams as Carl
  • George Wallach as messenger boy
  • Francis de Sales as McCarthy
  • Owen Martin as Harvey

Background

In September 1941 Krasna arrived in New York to begin rehearsals. The play was then called Fire Escape. RKO were financing the entire production and Krasna was making his Broadway directorial debut.[2][3]

Reception

The Christian Science Monitor called the play "essentially immature and inconclusive."[4]

The New York Times said it "contains several interesting scenes, offers two excellent tenement settings... and bits of engaging acting... this correspondent was never bored... but it could never believe his melodrama. It looked very like a loosely contrived and whimsical play, more interested in bravaura scenes than integrity."[5]

Production History

The Broadway production closed after seven performances.[6] This led to Krasna delay plans to put on a play he had written with Groucho Marx, The Time of Elizabeth. "I got burned on the other one; we want to be careful next time," said Krasna.[7]

Krasna sold the story to the movies. In October 1943 Warners announced they purchased Night Action as a vehicle for Helmut Dantine and were to make it after Dantine finished Northern Pursuit. [8] Warners did not say how much they paid for it.[9] In October George Sklar was assigned to write the script.[10] However the film was not made.[11]

References

  1. Patrick McGilligan, "Norman Krasna", Backstory: Interviews with Screenwriters of Hollywood's Golden Age, California Press p 225
  2. Notes on the Theatre as the New Season Gets Slowly Under Way: GOSSIP OF THE RIALTO New York Times ]21 Sep 1941: X1.
  3. ANNE OF ENGLAND' TO ARRIVE TONIGHT New York Times 7 Oct 1941: 27.
  4. 'The Man With Blond Hair' By a Staff Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor 5 Nov 1941: 20.
  5. THE PLAY By BROOKS ATKINSON. New York Times 5 Nov 1941: 30.
  6. FIVE PLAYS LISTED TO OPEN THIS WEEK New York Times (10 Nov 1941: 20.
  7. DARK HORSE' OFF TO SUNDAY NIGHT New York Times 13 Nov 1941: 34.
  8. SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD New York Times 27 Oct 1943: 27.
  9. LOOKING BACKWARD AT THE 1943-44 SEASON: Being a Summary and Many Figures of the Year's Activities New York Times 4 June 1944: X1.
  10. Of Local Origin New York Times (1923-Current file); New York, N.Y. [New York, N.Y]28 Oct 1943: 28.
  11. "Columbia Pictures vs Krasna". Supreme Court Appellate Division-First Department.


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