- Robert Ardrey
Robert Ardrey (b.
October 16, 1908, Chicago, Illinois—d. January 14, 1980, South Africa) was an American playwrightand screenwriterwho returned to his academic training in anthropologyand the behavioral sciencesin the 1950s.cite web |url= http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf5w1006sq/?&query=%22Robert%20Ardrey%22&brand=oac |title= Finding Aid for the Robert Ardrey Papers, 1935-1960 |format= html|work= Online Archive of California ] cite news |url= http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=173054&mod=bio |title= Robert Ardrey |author= Bruce Eder |format= html|work= Allmovie|publisher= " The New York Times" |quote= Equally comfortable dealing with literary editors such as Bennett Cerfor moguls like Darryl F. Zanuck, he also retained his credibility in the intellectual realm by authoring texts on anthropology, history, and sociology that remain widely respected decades after their publication. The widening dates between Ardrey's film projects came as a result of his increasing literary activity, as he began generating screenplays and novels on his own in the early '50s and subsequently returned to his academic training in anthropology and the behavioral sciences. From the end of the 1950s, he kept his oar in both fields, film and academia, and occupied a virtually unique position in the Hollywood pecking order because of his dual career. In 1962, he took on the daunting task of turning the World War I-era novel "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" into relevant entertainment for the early '60s, authoring the screenplayfor Vincente Minnelli's gargantuan 1962 all-star release. ]
"African Genesis" and "The Territorial Imperative", two of Robert Ardrey's most widely read works, as well as
Desmond Morris's " The Naked Ape" (1967), were key elements in the public discourse of the 1960s which challenged earlier anthropological assumptions. Ardrey's ideas notably influenced Arthur C. Clarkeand Stanley Kubrickin the development of ,cite web |url= http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0073.html |title= 2001 Diary (excerpts) |author= Arthur C. Clarke|work= The Lost Worlds of 2001 |publisher= Kubrick Site |date= New American Library, 1972 |quote= ] cite web |url= http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0037.html |title= Letter to the editor |author= Stanley Kubrick|work= The New York Times|publisher= Kubrick Site |date= 27 February 1972|quote= ] cite web |url= http://www.users.muohio.edu/erlichrd/350/odyssey.php |title= Strange Odyssey: From Dart to Ardrey to Kubrick and Clarke |author= Richard D. Erlich et al |work= English studies/ Film theorycourse, Science fictionand Film|publisher= Miami University|date= 1997-2005 |quote= ] cite web |url= http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/arthur-c-clarke/moonwatchers-memoir.htm |title= "Moonwatcher's Memoir: A Diary of 2001, a Space Odyssey" |author= Daniel Richter |publisher= New York: Carroll & Graf. ASIN|078671073X. ISBN 978-0786710737 |date= 2002 |quote= …the longest flash forward in the history of movies: three million years, from bone club to artificial satellite, in a twenty-fourth of a second. (From the [http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0099.html Foreword] by Arthur C. Clarke.) ] as well as Sam Peckinpah, to whom Strother Martingave copies of two of Ardrey's books.cite web |url= http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,879005,00.html |title= Peckinpah: Primitive Horror |author= |work= Time |date= 20 December 1971|quote= ] David Weddle. "If They Move . . . Kill 'Em!: The Life and TImes of Sam Peckinpah" (p. 396). 1994 first hardcover edition: Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-3776-8, ASIN|0802137768.] cite web |url= http://cremmers.blogspot.com/2006/05/peckinpahs-west-vs-manns-metropolis.html |title= Peckinpah's West vs. Mann's Metropolis |author= Paul Cremean |work= Grover Watrous' Golden Egg |date= 23 May 2006|quote= Drawing heavily from the work of Robert Ardrey, controversial sociologist and author of ‘African Genesis’ and ‘The Territorial Imperative,’ Peckinpah ascribed to the belief that man is by nature territorial, brutal and elementally animal. ] Garner Simmons. "Peckinpah: A Portrait in Montage" (p. 128). 1982 first edition: University of TexasPress, ISBN 0-29276-493-6, ASIN|0292764936. 2004 paperback edition: Limelight, ISBN 978-0879102739, ASIN|087910273X.] Marshall Fine. "Bloody Sam: The Life and Films of Sam Peckinpah." 1991 first hardcover edition: Dutton Books, ISBN 155611236X, ISBN 978-1556112362. 2006 paperback edition: Miramax Books, ISBN 1-40135-972-8, ISBN 978-1401359720.]
As a science writer for the informed non-specialist reader in
paleoanthropology, which encompasses anthropology, ethology, paleontologyand human evolution, Robert Ardrey was among the proponents of the hunting hypothesisand the killer ape theory.
Ardrey postulated that precursors of
Australopithecussurvived millions of years of drought in the Mioceneand Plioceneepochs, as the savannahspread and the forests shrank, by adapting the hunting ways of carnivorous species. Changes in survival techniques and social organisationgradually differentiated pre-humans from other primates. Concomitant changes in diet potentiated unique developments in the human brain.
killer ape theoryposits that aggression, a vital factor in hunting prey for food, was a fundamental characteristic which distinguished prehuman ancestors from other primates.
These themes have also been investigated in
academiaby, among others:
Konrad Lorenz: " On Aggression" (1966)
University of Chicago"Man the Hunter" symposium (1966): Richard B. Lee and Irven DeVore, eds., "Man the Hunter: Symposium on Man the Hunter", University of Chicago. Chicago: Aldine Publishing.
* Sherwood Washburn and Chet Lancaster: "Man the Hunter" (1968). ( [http://socialsciences.ucsc.edu/giving/endowments/Endowments_list/Anthropology/Sherwood%20Washburn.pdf Washburn's students] Lee and DeVore organised the1966 Chicago conference.)
Craig Stanford: "The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior", Princeton University Press(2001).
Erich Fromm: "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness" (1973)
Matt Cartmill: "A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature Through History" (1996)
Some of the scientists whose
researchparticularly informed Robert Ardrey's scientific investigations, and with several of whom Ardrey consulted at length while developing his four major works in Africafrom the 1940s through the 1970s, include:
Warder Clyde Allee
Charles Kimberlin Brain
Clarence Ray Carpenter
* "World's Beginning" (1944) (Cited in
Everett F. Bleiler's "The Checklist of Fantastic Literature," 1948.)
* "The Brotherhood of Fear" (1952)
African Genesis: A Personal Investigation into the Animal Origins and Nature of Man" (1961)
The Territorial Imperative: A Personal Inquiry into the Animal Origins of Property and Nations" (1966) [http://www.ditext.com/ardrey/imperative/imperative.html]
* "The Social Contract: A Personal Inquiry into the Evolutionary Sources of Order and Disorder" (1970) [http://www.ditext.com/ardrey/contract.html]
The Hunting Hypothesis: A Personal Conclusion Concerning the Evolutionary Nature of Man" (1976)
* "Aggression and Violence in Man: A Dialogue Between Dr
Louis Leakeyand Mr Robert Ardrey" (1971) ISBN 0-03649-184-6.
Star Spangled" (1936)
* "Casey Jones" (1938)
God and Texas" (1938)
How To Get Tough About It" (1938)
* "Thunder Rock" (1939) (filmed in 1942 in the UK, released 1944 in the US)
Sing Me No Lullaby" (1954)
Shadow Of Heroes" (1958) (produced in Londonas "Stone and Star")
They Knew What They Wanted" (1940)cite web |url= http://www.amctv.com/person/detail?CID=8167-1-GMT |title= Robert Ardrey (10/16/1908 - 1/14/1980) Other Credits |format= html|work= AMC (TV network)website |quote= ]
A Lady Takes a Chance" (1943)
* "The Green Years" (1946)
Song of Love" (1947)
* "The Three Musketeers" (1948)
* "Madame Bovary" (1949)
* "The Secret Garden" (1949)
* "The Schumann Story" (1950) short film adaptation [imdb title|0438971|The Schumann Story (1950)] of "
Song of Love"
The Adventures of Quentin Durward" (1955)
The Power and the Prize" (1956)
The Wonderful Country" (1959)
* "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (1962)
* "Khartoum" (1966)cite web |url= http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_list_cast.asp?userid=&cast_id=60379 |title= Robert Ardrey Filmography |format=
html|work= DVDEmpire.com|quote= Most Worked With: 1. Peter Ustinov2. Pandro S. Berman3. Raoul Walsh4. Van Heflin5. Angela Lansbury6. Christopher Kent7. Frank Allenby8. Gene Kelly9. George Sidney10. Gladys Cooper] Nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay
* "The Animal Within" (1975) documentary
* 1935: Sergel Drama prize.
* 1940: Sidney Howard Memorial prize.
* 1961: Theresa Helburn memorial award.
* 1963: Willkie Brothers grant for anthropology.
* Fellow of the
Royal Society of Literature
Robert Ardrey was the son of Robert Leslie Ardrey, an editor and publisher, and the former Marie Haswell. He graduated
Phi Beta Kappafrom the University of Chicago, where his mentor was Thornton Wilder. Ardrey was married to Helen Johnson, whom he met at the University, from 1938 until they divorced in 1960. They had two sons, Ross and Daniel. Ardrey married the South African stage actressBerdine Grunewald, who later illustrated his books, in 1960.
The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center in the
Mugar Memorial Libraryat Boston University currently houses the Robert Ardrey Collection.cite web |url= http://www.bu.edu/phpbin/archives-cc/app/details.php?id=7338&return=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bu.edu%2Fphpbin%2Farchives-cc%2Fapp%2Fbrowse.php%3Fletter%3DA%26sort_column%3Dcomposite_name%26sort_direction%3DASC%26per_page%3D10%26offset%3D20%26set_page%3Dnext |title= Ardrey, Robert |author= |work= Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center (HGARC), Mugar Memorial Library, Boston University |quote= Also included in the collection is Ardrey’s last manuscript, "The Education of Robert Ardrey: An Autobiography" ("ca." 1980), edited and prefaced by Ardrey’s son, Daniel Ardrey. ]
* [http://www.answers.com/topic/robert-ardrey Answers.com on Robert Ardrey.]
;Plays and screenplays
* [http://www.doollee.com/PlaywrightsA/ArdreyRobert.htm Synopses] of "Thunder Rock" and "Sing Me No Lullaby."
* [http://www.livescience.com/humanbiology/041117_running_humans.html "The First Runner's High: Jogging Separated Humans From Apes."] Robert Roy Britt, "LiveScience," November 2004 (aspects of
Miocene/ Pliocenetransition - from forestto savannah- central to Ardrey's theses).
* [http://www.nmnh.si.edu/anthro/outreach/anthnote/fall97/anthnote.htm "Exploring Our Basic Human Nature: Are Humans Inherently Violent?"] Robert W. Sussman, "Anthro Notes:
National Museum of Natural HistoryBulletin for Teachers", Vol. 19 No. 3, Fall 1997.
* [http://www.users.muohio.edu/erlichrd/vms_site/afric.htm Excerpts from "African Genesis".]
* [http://www.ditext.com/ardrey/contract.html "The Social Contract: A Personal Inquiry into the Evolutionary Sources of Order and Disorder."]
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