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Joan Harrison and Alfred Hitchcock at Movie Morlocks

Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock
Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca

At the Turner Classic Movies blog Movie Morlocks, Moira Finnie discusses screenwriter-producer Joan Harrison:

"'Women,' writer-producer Joan Harrison (1907-1994) told the New York Times in 1943, 'must have something to pull for, you know, whether it's a dog, a horse, an old beggar - or even another woman!'

"If pioneering writer and producer Harrison is remembered today at all, it is often likely for her contributions, along with those of the key figure of Alfred Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, to helping to shape and present to the world the talent and the image of the great director of suspense and anxiety. An educated Englishwoman, becoming his secretary while in her 20s, Harrison, who claimed that she was pretty hopeless when it came to normal secretarial duties such as typing and shorthand, helped to shaped [sic] six of Hitchcock's films in the 1930s and 1940s."


The five movies Joan Harrison wrote or co-wrote for Alfred Hitchcock are Jamaica Inn (1939), Rebecca (1940, above, with Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Saboteur (1942).

In the 1950s, Harrison was involved as a producer in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents series.

Harrison was nominated for two Academy Awards, both for 1940 releases: in the best original screenplay category for Foreign Correspondent (with Charles Bennett) and in the best screenplay category for Rebecca. (In those days there were three writing categories. The third one was for best original story. Curiously, there was no specific category for "best adapted screenplay.")

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