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Borden Chase

Highest Rated: 100% The Far Country (1955)

Lowest Rated: 50% Night Passage (1957)

Birthday: Not Available

Birthplace: Not Available

Screenwriter Borden Chase led a life that sounded more like something out of a novel. Born in Chicago in 1900 with the name Frank Fowler, he came of age just in time to become a driver for Frankie Yale, a gangster who made the mistake of trying to muscle in on territory controlled by Al Capone. Following Yale's sudden demise, Fowler was left without a job and ended up in New York working as a sandhog on the building of the Holland Tunnel. After leaving that job, he began driving a taxi, and it was while driving a cab that he also started writing. The result, in 1934, was his first novel, Sandhog, which was subsequently made into a movie by 20th Century Fox, entitled Under Pressure (1935). That production brought the author to Hollywood, where one of the first things he did was change his name; Frank Fowler became Borden Chase, the first name taken from the milk company and the last name from the bank. Chase later sold the stories Midnight Taxi and Blue White and Perfect; Dr. Broadway and Devil's Party were also filmed, and by the mid-'40s, Chase had begun writing screenplays, starting with The Fighting Seabees, a John Wayne vehicle for Republic Pictures. Chase showed a penchant for scripts involving unusually complex motivations (by Hollywood standards) and complex interrelationships. The Fighting Seabees was among a group of scripts for Wayne in which he played characters whose flaws made them almost into antiheroes. In the film, Wayne plays a top construction engineer recruited into service with the United States Navy whose inability to follow orders results in the deaths of many members of his crew, and who redeems himself in the end by sacrificing his life to halt a Japanese advance. Chase subsequently wrote the screenplay for I've Always Loved You, a story steeped in art and male/female jealousy that keeps a couple apart for years and thwarts a woman's music career for most of her life. Although his work carried over into many genres, Chase's output from the mid-'40s until the mid-'60s was weighted very heavily toward Westerns and stories of life on the frontier. The first flourish of greatness in his work was Red River, based on his novel Guns on the Chisholm Trail, which became the second great Western (after Stagecoach) in Wayne's career. In it, Wayne plays a frontiersman who becomes one of the biggest cattlemen in post-Civil War Texas, but whose forcefulness includes a single-minded stubbornness that costs him the woman he might have married and nearly kills the younger man he might have treated as a son. Perhaps not surprisingly, the script got Chase his first Academy Award nomination, and the resulting movie offered one of the finest dramatic performances of Wayne's entire career. Chase followed this with a pair of scripts for James Stewart, Winchester '73 and Bend of the River, which, in the hands of director Anthony Mann, introduced a tougher, edgier screen persona for the star. Chase's Lone Star was a similar vehicle for Clark Gable and Broderick Crawford, one of the most violent films of Gable's career and one of the most interesting (if fanciful) movies ever made about the founding of the State of Texas. Chase's scripts for Night Passage and Vera Cruz had similar impact with the public, and he was recognized by the second half of the 1950s as one of the top writers of Westerns in Hollywood. Chase also authored many novels, several of which served as the sources for his screenplays, and he once admitted to a colleague that he'd rewritten the same Western story dozens of times. In addition to his writing activities in Hollywood, he was an active member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, an innocuous enough sounding name for an anti-Communist group that was active in Hollywood during the years of the Red Scare and the Hollywood blacklist. This membership slotted in very neatly with his screenplays for Wayne and Stewart during the 1940s and '50s. As the production of Westerns de

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Backtrack Screenwriter 1969
No Score Yet A Man Called Gannon Screenwriter 1968
No Score Yet Gunfighters of Casa Grande Screenwriter 1964
No Score Yet Sendas Torturosas Screenwriter 1958
50% Night Passage Screenwriter 1957
No Score Yet Backlash Screenwriter 1956
100% The Far Country Screenwriter 1955
No Score Yet Man Without a Star Screenwriter 1955
No Score Yet His Majesty O'Keefe Screenwriter 1954
100% The World in His Arms Screenwriter 1952
100% Bend of the River Screenwriter 1952
No Score Yet Lone Star Screenwriter 1952
100% Winchester '73 Screenwriter 1950
No Score Yet Montana Screenwriter 1950
No Score Yet The Man from Colorado Screenwriter 1949
100% Red River Screenwriter 1948
No Score Yet Tycoon Screenwriter 1947
No Score Yet I've Always Loved You Screenwriter 1946
No Score Yet Flame of Barbary Coast Screenwriter 1945
100% The Fighting Seabees Screenwriter 1944
No Score Yet Destroyer Screenwriter 1943
No Score Yet Under Pressure Screenwriter 1935


No Score Yet Bonanza
Screenwriter 1962


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