Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan: The Story of a Friendship
Devised and directed by Tristram Powell
Produced by Honor Borwick
Lead actors: TBC
In 1947 the young playwright Arthur Miller and theatre director Elia Kazan were riding high on the success of Death of a Salesman. They had brought socially committed drama to Broadway and become close friends. Now they wanted to do the same for Hollywood.
They arrived in tinsel town with a hard-hitting screenplay set amongst the corruption of the New York docks, adding to their reputation as left-wing firebrands. Meanwhile the House Un-American Activities Committee had come to Hollywood determined to root out Communist infiltration in the movie business. The blacklist was initiated. Elia Kazan had taken up with the soon-to-be-discovered Marilyn Monroe and introduced her to Arthur Miller.
A cast of five actors tells their story by means of contemporary accounts and extracts from Arthur Miller's plays. An American Friendship explores the moral dilemmas the two men faced, the role of Marilyn Monroe, and the fate of their friendship.
Tristram Powell has had an extensive career making BBC arts documentaries. He made the first long documentary on Marchel Duchamp and also put on the first Samuel Beckett dramas specially written for television. He worked with Melvyn Bragg in the early 70s, persuading many writers unfamiliar with TV to appear on BBC2. He also developed a number of drama docs on lesser known writers and made the first serious documentary on the Hollywood Blacklist. Moving into drama, Powell made films for both the BBC and ITV. His credits include adaptations of Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer and Jane Howard's Falling. He also worked for Lynda La Plant, many crime procedurals, and was involved in a number of episodes of Foyle's War. His feature film American Friends starred and was co-written with Michael Palin.
Honor Borwick has worked in the theatre, publishing, independent television and film, theatre, radio, and as a script editor. This will be her third year producing a theatrical piece for Jewish Book Week.