An American Tragedy

Adaptations

The novel has been adapted several times into other forms and the storyline has been used, not always unattributed, as the basis for other works:

  • A first stage adaptation written by Patrick Kearney for Broadway premiered at the Longacre Theatre in New York on October 11, 1926.
  • Sergei Eisenstein prepared a screenplay in the late 1920s which he hoped to have produced by Paramount or by Charlie Chaplin during Eisenstein's stay in Hollywood in 1930.
  • In April 1929 Dreiser agreed that German director Erwin Piscator should produce a stage version of An American Tragedy. Piscator's stage adaptation premiered in Vienna in April 1932 and made its US debut in April 1935 at the Hedgerow Theatre, Rose Valley. The play was produced as well by Lee Strasberg at the Group Theatre in March 1936 and again by the Hedgerow Theatre in September 2010 (where it was wrongly credited to Piscator's wife Maria Ley).
  • Dreiser strongly disapproved of a 1931 film version directed by Josef von Sternberg and also released by Paramount.
  • In the 1940s the novel inspired an episode of the award-winning old-time radio comedy Our Miss Brooks, an episode known as "Weekend at Crystal Lake" and sometimes known as "An American Tragedy." The episode revolved around the characters' misinterpreting the intentions of biology teacher Philip Boyton (played by Jeff Chandler), Connie Brooks's (Eve Arden) high school colleague and love interest. The characters fear that Boynton plans to kill Miss Brooks during a leisurely weekend at their boss's lakeside retreat. The episode was broadcast twice, on September 19, 1948, and — with very minor changes — on August 21, 1949. The episode was also repeated in 1955, at a time when the show was a hit on both radio and television.[3]
  • The 1951 Paramount Pictures film A Place in the Sun, directed by George Stevens and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, is strongly based on the novel.
  • Further television or film adaptations of An American Tragedy have been produced in Brazil (Um Lugar ao Sol, TV series, 1959, director: Dionísio Azevedo), Italy ("it:Una tragedia americana", Rai 1, 1962, regista: Anton Giulio Majano), Czechoslovakia (Americká tragédia, TV series, 1976, director: Stanislav Párnicky), Philippines (Nakaw na pag-ibig, film, 1980, director: Lino Brocka) and Japan (Hi no ataru basho, TV series, 1982, director: Masami Ryuji).
  • It was transformed into an opera by composer Tobias Picker. It premiered at the Metropolitan Opera starring Nathan Gunn in New York on December 2, 2005.
  • Critics and commentators have compared elements of Woody Allen's film, Match Point (2005) to the central plot of the novel.[4][5]
  • The novel has also been adapted into a musical of the same title by three-time Tony Award winning composer and lyricist Charles Strouse. It had its premiere at Muhlenberg College, located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States on March 24, 2010.

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