Ted Allan started out in life as Alan Herman. In addition to screenplays he also wrote books, stage plays and he wrote for radio and television. Raised in Montreal’s St. Urbain Street neighbourhood, Allan had joined the communist party while still a teenager in Montreal — the only party opposing the fascists in the 1930s — and became the youngest member of the Canadian Mackenzie- Papineau battalion in the Spanish Civil War. In Spain he met and lost his great love, Gerda Taro. He was part of a gang of talented Canadians, along with Mordecai Richter, Ted Kotcheff, Stanley Mann and Sidney Newman, who invaded the British media and entertainment business in the 1950s. He became a pioneering writer in early British television. Back in Canada, his career was adversely affected by the Communist blacklist. He had served with the famous Canadian, Dr. Norman Bethune in Spain during the Civil War and co-wrote the 1952 biography The Scalpel, The Sword. He fought for more than 30 years to get a film made on Bethune. When the film was finally made in 1990 Allan and Donald Sutherland, who was to play the title charcater, clashed constantly over how to portray Bethune. Critics almost universally hated the film. Several years before that his script for Lies My Father Told Me won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award. The film LOvestreams, which was his mentally ill sister, won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. In the 1970s Allan had been shuttling back and forth across the Atlantic from London to New York, Montreal, Los Angeles and decided in the late ’70s to settle near Hollywood. He became close with John Cassavetes and his wife Gena Rowlands. He co-wrote Love Streams with Cassavetes and the film went on to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. He also wrote a draft of Yental for Barbra Striesand.
These are his credits as a Screenwriter:
Also see: A biography about Ted Allan
Photo of Ted Allan Copyright © Lois Siegel. Used with permission. The US poster for Lies My Father Told Me was scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Features & TV Movies:
Son copain (1950)
The Webster Boy (1962)
Seven Times a Day (1975)
It Rained All Night the Day I Left (1980)
Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990)