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Obit: 'Night Moves' Screenwriter Alan Sharp, Memorial Planned

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by Anne Thompson
February 13, 2013 3:40 PM
2 Comments
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Alan Sharp

I had the pleasure of meeting novelist/screenwriter Alan Sharp while preparing the production notes for the 1983 Sam Peckinpah movie "The Osterman Weekend," which was to be the director's last. While that film did not mark either man's finest hour, Sharp was one of Hollywood's most respected screenwriters; he specialized in muscular western noir. He died last weekend at the age of 78 after a long illness.

Born in Scotland, after writing a series of novels, Sharp wrote the screenplays for Peter Fonda's 1971 follow-up to "Easy Rider," "The Hired Hand," co-starring Fonda and Warren Oates; Robert Aldrich western "Ulzana's Raid" (1972), starring Burt Lancaster; Arthur Penn's iconic private eye thriller "Night Moves" (1975), starring Gene Hackman and Melanie Griffith; and Michael Caton-Jones' 1995 Highland outlaw epic "Rob Roy," starring Liam Neeson and Jessica Lange.

Sharp also directed the Margot Kidder comedy "Little Treasure" (1985). Writing for television on such series as "Ben-Hur" (2010) well into his mid-70's, Sharp was one of the eldest working members of the Writers Guild. His final feature was "Dean Spanley," a New Zealand picture starring Peter O'Toole and Jeremy Northam that was never released theatrically stateside. A few trailers are below.

Seattle critic Richard Jameson long deemed Sharp as "one of the great living screenwriters."

A Memorial for Sharp will be held on Saturday, March 2 at the Jim Henson Studios on La Brea Boulevard in Los Angeles.  For details, please email: alansharpmemorial@sbcglobal.net. In lieu of flowers, Sharp's family asks that you make donations in Sharp’s name to the Johnnie Cochran Jr. Brain Tumor Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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2 Comments

  • Steven Gaydos | February 14, 2013 3:12 PMReply

    Richard Jameson is right. The tragedy is that the window for Sharp-type writing opened in mid-60s and was already closing by mid-70s. The joy is that he stilled slipped some good ones in there! And LITTLE TREASURE is a GREAT script that's ripe for a remake!

  • Joseph Angier | February 13, 2013 4:29 PMReply

    What an amazing talent! "The Hired Hand" ... "Night Moves": both great movies that are stand-outs, even in from era when brilliant movies were opening every other week. But what etched Alan Sharp's name in my consciousness was my first viewing of "Ulzana's Raid." I still recall coming out slack-jawed from a Times Square theater, where it had been ignominiously released as part of a double-bill. The draw for me at the time was Robert Aldrich as director, but I resolved to follow the work of its writer, and have been miffed that I've been given so few chances since then to see what he was capable of. Rest In Peace, Alan Sharp.

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