After graduating from university, Carl Foreman moved to Hollywood where he used his writing talents and training to work as a screenwriter. From 1941 to 1942 he was involved with writing three films but his career was interrupted by service in the United States military during World War II. Returning to writing commercial scripts, by the end of the 1940s, Foreman had become one of the top writers in Hollywood whose successes included the 1949 Kirk Douglas film Champion for which Foreman received an Academy Award nomination.
In 1951, during production of the film High Noon, Carl Foreman was summoned to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He testified that he had been a member of the American Communist Party more than ten years earlier while still a young man but had become disillusioned with the Party and quit. As a result of his refusal to give the names of fellow Party members, Foreman was labeled as an "uncooperative witness" and blacklisted by all of the Hollywood studio bosses.
Carl Foreman was the screenwriter of High Noon, a film that is seen as an allegory for McCarthyism. He was not credited for his associate producer role when the film was released in 1952 but he did receive an Academy Award nomination for his script from his fellow members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Western film is considered an American classic and was #33 on American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Movies, and has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. This would be the last film he would be allowed to work on by a Hollywood studio for the next six years. Unemployed, Foreman and some others who had also been blacklisted such as Ring Lardner, Jr. moved to England where they wrote scripts under pseudonyms that were channeled back to Hollywood. As such, High Noon, the film that was Foreman's greatest screenwriting accomplishment, made no mention of his name as associate producer but did credit him for the screenplay. In 1956 he co-wrote the screenplay with fellow blacklisted writer, Michael Wilson for the equally acclaimed The Bridge on the River Kwai. Based on the novel by Pierre Boulle, the two were not given screen credit and as such the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay went to Pierre Boulle, who did not speak English. This was only rectified posthumously in 1984 and his name was added to the award.
In addition to his writing of screenplays, Carl Foreman produced ten films, including both producing, writing, and directing 1963s anti-war epic The Victors filmed entirely in the United Kingdom. He is credited as "presenter" on the smash hit 1966 film Born Free, and both presented and produced its (unsuccessful) sequel, Living Free in 1972. In 1965 he was made a governor of the British Film Institute, serving until 1971. In 1970, Foreman was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Such is his influence on the British film industry, that there is a British Academy Award or BAFTA that bears his name - the Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer.
Near the end of his life, Carl Foreman returned to the United States where he died of a brain tumor in 1984 in Beverly Hills, California. His first marriage produced a daughter, Katie, with his wife Estelle; his second marriage produced two additional children, who were born in London. His daughter, Amanda Foreman, graduated from Columbia University and Oxford University, where she received a Ph.D. in history. His son, Jonathan Foreman, has a degree in modern history from Cambridge University, a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and was an editorial writer and senior film critic for the New York Post; more recently, he has relocated to London to work for Daily Mail.
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