Ben Hecht (1893-1964) wrote or helped write the scripts to an estimated 140 films over his five-decade career. His work was so respected that Jean-Luc Godard, a leader in the 1960s French New Wave film movement, called him a “genius” who “invented 80 percent of what is used in Hollywood movies today.”

But the multiple Oscar winner also got steady gigs as a director, foreign correspondent, journalist, novelist, Broadway playwright, and producer.

This weekend, the Museum of the Moving Image hosts Ben Hecht: Fighting Words, Moving Pictures to celebrate the publication of Adina Hoffman’s biography of the same name that looks at the many hats he wore.

The six-movie program includes some of the Native New Yorker’s best-loved films, while also offering two movies that he and his frequent writing partner Charles MacArthur wrote, directed, and produced at the Paramount Eastern Service Studios, which is the current site of the Museum of the Moving Image.

Admission is $15. Here’s the schedule.

  • Alfred Hitchock’s “Notorious” is on March 1 at 7 p.m.

This 1946 thriller stars Cary Grant as a government agent who recruits a good-time girl played by Ingrid Bergman to infiltrate a group of Nazis in Brazil. They fall in love and share one of the longest kisses in cinema before things get complicated.

  • The 1927 silent “Underworld” runs on March 2 at 2 p.m.

This gangster film won the first Academy Award ever for best original story. Plus, Hoffman will be on hand to sign and sell her new book after the screening.

  • The two Paramount products are the double feature on March 2 at 5 p.m.

“Crime Without Passion (1934)” is about an amoral defense attorney who tries to free himself of his mistress. It’s the first of four films that Hecht and MacArthur wrote, produced, and directed for Paramount. “The Scoundrel” is a 1935 Dickensian morality tale about a hated publisher who dies in a plane crash. He comes back to life and hits the NYC streets looking for someone — anyone — who regrets his demise.

John Barrymore plays a Broadway impresario on the way down, while Carole Lombard is a Hollywood starlet soaring to the skies. At a fast and funny pace, they fight like caged animals on a train ride.

Dana Andrews plays a violent NYC detective who accidentally murders an informer. Things go from bad to worse during his attempted cover up as he accidentally puts his girlfriend’s father on the hot seat.

The Museum of the Moving Image is located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.

Images: Museum of the Moving Image


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