Playwright and American novelist born in New Orleans (Louisiana), on June 20, 1907, and died on June 30, 1984 in Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts). His works are characterized by the condemnation of evil, both personal and social, through complex plot plots and characters well constructed. He studied at New York and Columbia universities, and entered into the world of theatre as a press agent, and as a reader of works for the producer of Broadway, Herman Shumlin. His first work, The Children completo Hour (slander, 1934) rose a huge interest in its subject matter on the defamatory accusation of a neurotic girl, who accuses her teachers of lesbianism. The success did not accompany his second work, Days to Come (1936), a penetrating work on labor struggles, but confirmed it with The Little Foxes (the met, 1939) and Watch on the Rhine (1941). The first try of a southern family who, after the civil war, engages in a fight without scruples for the family fortune, and the title alludes to the small foxes that destroy the fields. Watch on the Rhine overreacting the struggle of an anti-Nazi leader against a nazi agent, a Romanian Aristocrat who lives with the American mother of the hero near Washington, and implies that the United States of America could not remain neutral before the rise of fascism. The Searching Wind (the restless wind, 1944) is an incomplete Chronicle that reviewed the mistakes of an American diplomat who maintained a double standard between his public life and his private life. This work won the prize of circle of critics of theatre in New York. In Another Part of The Forest (another area of forest, 1946), Hellman returned to the theme of The Little Foxes with a picaresque comedy in the style of Jonson. Hellman's concern about the problem of evil in the world makes it sometimes take misanthropes views, and his plots are based on old-fashioned's "job well done" technique of Sardou. However, his work is reinforced by the detailed characterization of the interiority of the characters and respect for an active idealism.
Other works are the Lark (1955), an adaptation of the homonymous work of French playwright Jean Anouilh, based on the life of Juana de Arco, and Candide (1956), based on the works of Voltaire. Toys in the attic (1960) returns to talk about life and the decline of the South. All of these works (with the exception of Candide) have been taken to the cinema.In 1952, Hellman was called to appear before the House UN-American activities Committee. He declared on his collaboration with the so-called left-wing movements, but refused to denounce any of their friends or acquaintances. Despite this, not was jailed, in contrast to many of his friends and his partner, the writer Dashiell Hammett.In 1970, he received the national prize of Arts and letters which continued in Pentimento (1973), a collection of biographical sketches in prose about herself and others who influenced his life for his autobiography an unfinished woman (1969). Hellman completed his autobiography with time of rogue (1976). Julia (1977) film is based on one of the portraits of Pentimento.
NICOLL, Allardyce, history of World Theatre, Madrid, Aguilar, 1964.
VV.., contemporary American Theatre, Mexico D. F., Ediciones El Milagro, 1995.
VV.., The Cambridge Guide to World Theatre, ed. Martin Banham, Cambridge University Press, 1988.