This presentation includes a discussion on the book The Notorious Ben Hecht and the incredible life of Ben Hecht, a brief reading, and a Q&A, all to be followed by a screening of the Alfred Hitchcock 1946 classic, Notorious, written by the one and only Ben Hecht.
"As a screenwriter, Hecht defined Hollywood’s Golden Age with scripts that included Scarface, Gone with the Wind, and Notorious. Though he started as a crime reporter on Chicago's gritty streets, he became famous as a Broadway playwright with his classic newspaper comedy, The Front Page. And above and beyond his incredible career, he is arguably even more significant as the man who shattered the American media silence about the Nazi slaughter of European Jews.
A ferocious wit with a genius for spectacle and controversy, Hecht responded to the rise of Hitler with a massive publicity campaign that awoke the American public to the Holocaust. Soon afterward, he earned infamy when he embraced the label of Jewish “terrorist,” joining with the gangster Mickey Cohen to smuggle weapons to Palestine in the fight for a Jewish state. Gorbach's biography, The Notorious Ben Hecht: Iconoclastic Writer and Military Zionist (Purdue University Press, March 2019), investigates the life and multifaceted character of this storytelling virtuoso and provocateur.
Julien Gorbach spent most of his ten years as a daily newspaper reporter on the police beat, covering drive-by shootings and murder trials, and publishing an investigative series on gang killings. As a freelancer, he contributed to the Boston Phoenix, Time Out New York, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the New Orleans Gambit, among other publications. He covered Hurricane Katrina for the Boston Globe. Gorbach earned a doctorate in media history at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2013 and is now an assistant professor in the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.