The Screenwriter
Isobel Lennart

Frank Sinatra, Isobel Lennart, and Jack

From the book:

Unfortunately, none of Jack’s plays had been produced. His sole known writing effort was his collaboration, with his wife, Isobel Lennart, already extremely successful in her own right, on the screenplay of The Kissing Bandit, universally acknowledged to be Frank Sinatra’s worst movie, ever—bar none.

The Bachelor

After the untimely death of his wife, Isobel, Jack did what he could to alleviate the tedium of life, but remained oh-so-bored.
John Harding with Darlene
Jack with Darlene
(Her job - please him - not easy)

The Granddad

Jack with his granddaughter and her husband

Jack with granddaughter, Domitilla, and her husband, Marc Getty


Order
Escape from Paradise
It is a remarkable story and so full of intrigue that it reads at times like fiction. ” Jonathan Burnham, Editor in Chief & President,
Miramax Books.

This Property is Condemned

John Harding, the movie star, called “Jack” by his family, is not to be confused with his son, the coauthor of Escape from Paradise. The two John Hardings were nothing alike, which enabled them to enjoy each other’s company. You may not have heard of Jack, even though he was in thirty-five movies, but if you met him, you would know you were in the presence of a star.

From the book:

Jack was nothing like John. Jack spoke with a cultivated theatrical accent. His mannerisms, while masculine, bordered on the foppish, something from the Noel Coward era.

On the Set With Natalie
Natalie Wood
Natalie & Jack

Jack’s career in films started with a very small part in a movie written by his wife, Isobel Lennart, Love Me or Leave Me. This was followed by a succession of equally small parts in about thirty films, many of them also written by wife, Isobel. Finally, Jack got a featured role in This Property is Condemned, playing a dopey railroad conductor, in which he loses Natalie Wood to Robert Redfordsurprise!

Television reruns have stretched Jack's fifteen minutes of fame into a lifetime.

Dinner with Jack

May Chu met Jack on her trip with John to see what life would be like in America. Jack’s favorite restaurant was a place called “Alberto’s.” It was on Melrose, just outside of Beverly Hills, and a million miles from Singapore.

From the book:

A tall, thin, white-haired headwaiter in a tuxedo stepped up quickly to meet us. John, so good to see you, he said, meaning, of course, John's father. As we were ushered to the table, the pianist stuck up the chords of The Way We Were.

Oh, God, they're playing my theme song, said Jack as he slid slowly into the booth.

Your theme song? I asked, taking the bait.

Jack arched a jaded eyebrow, It's from that dreadful movie that Ray Stark made about Isobel and me.

Yes, John chimed in with an irreverent chuckle, Robert Redford played Dad, and Barbra Streisand, Isobel. How could Robert Redford ever hope to play Dad?

Jack made no response, but looked away with a bored-you'd-better-please-me face.


John Harding
Apprehensive May Chu with Smiling Jack

Thanks to Joan
(what are best friends for?)

It was a lucky break that May Chu had the chance to travel to America, thanks to her best friend, Joan.

From the book:

I had many reasons to visit the States. Since John and I would probably wind up there, I needed to find out all I could about the place. I wanted to check the schools, see about getting a divorce there, and get an idea of where we might live. I told Hin Chew that Joan had asked me to go to Chicago with her. Surprisingly, he thought it was a good idea.

May Chu Harding
May Chu & Joan in America


While we are talking Hollywood, here are the films of Isobel Lennart.

  1. Funny Girl IMDB (1968) (Isobel Lennart wrote the play, and the screenplay)
  2. Fitzwilly IMDB (1967) (writer)
    ... aka A Garden of Cucumbers
    ... aka Fitzwilly Strikes Back (UK)
  3. Two for the Seesaw IMDB (1962) (screenplay)
    On Amazon.com Two for the Seesaw
  4. Period of Adjustment IMDB (1962) (screenplay, based on Tennessee William's play)
  5. The Sundowners IMDB (1960) (screenplay)
  6. Please Don't Eat the Daisies IMDB (1960) (writer, with John Harding as Reverend Norman McQuarry)
    On Amazon.com Please Don't Eat the Daisies
  7. The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) (screenplay)
  8. Merry Andrew (1958) (screenplay)
  9. This Could Be the Night IMDB (1957) (writer)
  10. Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) (screenplay) (story) with John Harding in the role of the worried pit boss
    ... aka Viva Las Vegas! (UK) =
  11. "Lux Video Theatre" (1 episode, 1955)
    ... aka Summer Video Theatre (USA: = summer=20 title)
        - Holiday Affair=20 (1955) TV episode (screenplay)
  12. Love Me or Leave Me IMDB (1955) (screenplay with John Harding as Greg Trent)

  13. Latin Lovers (1953) (writer)
  14. The Girl Next Door (1953) (writer)
  15. My Wife's Best Friend (1952) (screenplay, story by John Harding)
  16. Skirts Ahoy! (1952) (writer)
  17. It's a Big Country (1951) (story) (segment 4)
  18. A Life of Her Own (1950)
  19. East Side, West Side (1949) (writer)
  20. Holiday Affair (1949) (screenplay)
  21. The Kissing Bandit (1948) (written with John Harding)
  22. It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) (writer)
  23. Holiday in Mexico (1946) (writer)
  24. Anchors Aweigh (1945) (screenplay)
  25. Lost Angel (1943) (writer)
  26. A Stranger in Town (1943) (original screenplay)
  27. The Affairs of Martha (1942) (original screenplay "Once Upon a Thursday")

On her trip to see if she could live in America, May Chu met...
The Movie Star

John Harding
John Harding, the Movie Star

As He Was...

lThe Tiger Balm Kings