Abby Mann, who won an Oscar for writing the 1961 drama "Judgment at Nuremberg" and devoted his career to exposing failings in the U.S. criminal justice system, has died, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site on Thursday.
He died of heart failure in Beverly Hills on Tuesday at age 80.
Mann, the son of a Russian-Jewish immigrant jeweler, grew up in the 1930s in East Pittsburgh--a predominantly Catholic working-class neighborhood he describes as a "tough steel area." As a Jewish youth in these surroundings, Mann felt himself an outsider. Perhaps this in part explains the persistent preoccupation, in his scripts, with the working poor and racial minorities--outsiders who are trapped in a social system in which prejudice, often institutionalized in the police and judicial apparatus, is used to deprive them of their rights.
"A writer worth his salt at all has an obligation not only to entertain but to comment on the world in which he lives," Mann said when he accepted his Oscar for "Judgment at Nuremberg," the Stanley Kramer film that dramatized one of the many post-war trials of top Nazis.
Judgment at Nuremberg is a fictionalized film account of the post-World War II Nuremberg Trials, written by Abby Mann and directed by Stanley Kramer, starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, Werner Klemperer, and William Shatner. Originally written for television, the film depicts the trial of certain judges who executed Nazi law. Such a trial did occur: the film was inspired by the Judges' Trial before the U.S. Nuremberg Military Tribunal in 1947. By the time the film was made, all of the convicts had already been released, including four of them who were sentenced to life in prison.(read more...)
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