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Hal Ambro

Hal Ambro

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Thriller novelist Eric Ambler, often credited with elevating the spy genre to the level of esteemed literature, was introduced into the film business while serving in World War II. He worked with luminaries such as Carol Reed and Peter Ustinov in the Royal Army Film Unit, producing propaganda movies like "The Way Ahead" (1944). Before he turned scriptwriter, the author's fiction was brought to the screen in film adaptations of his novels including "Journey Into Fear" (1942) and "Hotel Reserve" (1944). Also in 1944, Peter Lorre starred in "The Mask of Demetrios," a thriller based on Ambler's 1939 novel "A Coffin for Demetrios." Both the film and the novel enjoyed popularity and acclaim, and Ambler's Balkan set story has even been called prophetic, as the novel mirrors the political upheaval in the area that occurred decades later.After leaving the military in 1946 with a lieutenant-colonel rank and a US Bronze Star, the former advertising copywriter joined J Arthur Rank in London as a producer and screenwriter. His screen credits included "The Clouded Yellow" (1950), "The Promoter" (1952), and "The Purple Plain" (1954). Ambler was nominated for an Academy Award for his script "The Cruel Sea," a 1953...

Thriller novelist Eric Ambler, often credited with elevating the spy genre to the level of esteemed literature, was introduced into the film business while serving in World War II. He worked with luminaries such as Carol Reed and Peter Ustinov in the Royal Army Film Unit, producing propaganda movies like "The Way Ahead" (1944). Before he turned scriptwriter, the author's fiction was brought to the screen in film adaptations of his novels including "Journey Into Fear" (1942) and "Hotel Reserve" (1944). Also in 1944, Peter Lorre starred in "The Mask of Demetrios," a thriller based on Ambler's 1939 novel "A Coffin for Demetrios." Both the film and the novel enjoyed popularity and acclaim, and Ambler's Balkan set story has even been called prophetic, as the novel mirrors the political upheaval in the area that occurred decades later.

After leaving the military in 1946 with a lieutenant-colonel rank and a US Bronze Star, the former advertising copywriter joined J Arthur Rank in London as a producer and screenwriter. His screen credits included "The Clouded Yellow" (1950), "The Promoter" (1952), and "The Purple Plain" (1954). Ambler was nominated for an Academy Award for his script "The Cruel Sea," a 1953 film starring Stanley Baker and Denholm Elliot, adapted from a novel by Nicholas Monsarrat. He moved into disaster dramas, writing the screenplays for "A Night to Remember" (1958), the British adaptation of Walter Lord's popular Titanic chronicle, and "The Wreck of the Mary Deare" (1959), starring Gary Cooper and Charlton Heston.

While writing screenplays, Ambler continued to work on novels, putting out over a dozen more during and after his foray into film. Another of his visions hit the big screen in 1964, when "Topkapi," an adaptation of his 1962 novel "The Light of Day" was released, starring former war buddy Peter Ustinov. That novel also earned him the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1964. Besides his successful work in film and literature, the prolific author also ventured into television, most notably as a writer on the legendary "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS 1955-60, 1962-64; NBC 1960-62, 1964-65). He was also involved in Hitchcock's later suspense anthology program "Suspicion," aired on NBC during the 1957-58 season while "Checkmate" (CBS, 1960-62) was an Ambler-created detective series. Additionally. he was the producer of the ABC anthology series "Alcoa Premiere" (1961-1963), hosted by Fred Astaire. In 1981, Ambler published his last novel "The Care of Time" and four years later issued his autobiography "Here Lies Eric Ambler."

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