Odds Against Tomorrow WGA locked credits need correcting with a twist

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 1 month ago
  • Solved
The writing credits for Odds Against Tomorrow are out of order and not as they appear on screen. There is a twist to this and I'm not sure how IMDb wants to handle it. More on that in a moment. The credits should appear as:

Abraham Polonsky           (screenplay by)                         1,1,1
Nelson Gidding                 (screenplay by)                         1,2,1
William P. McGivern          (based on a novel by)              2,1,1

The John O. Killens...(front for Abraham Polonsky) credit should be deleted as it does not appear on screen. Now here is the twist. Polonsky was a blacklisted writer. The original credits listed the screenplay by John O. Killens and Nelson Gidding. In 1997, the WGA restored Polonsky's writing credit for the movie and any copy of this movie that anyone is likely to see will have the credits I've shown below so it would confuse any editing the data, like it did me, to have the credit as:

Abraham Polonsky           (screenplay by(as John Killens)                       1,1,1

This seems more like a trivia item, which I did enter for the movie but not sure how blacklisted writers should be handled once their credits are restored in the movie.



Photo of Adrian

Adrian, Champion

  • 1727 Posts
  • 2108 Reply Likes

Posted 2 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Grayson

Grayson, Employee

  • 233 Posts
  • 445 Reply Likes
So credits on IMDb should always reflect the original release, so if John O. Killens was credited then the attribute should stay.

I've updated the credits to show as they do above.
Photo of Adrian

Adrian, Champion

  • 1727 Posts
  • 2108 Reply Likes
The attribute should be on Polonksy's credit, not listed separately as it was never listed separately. There's a great unknown as I have no access to a pre-1997 version of the film. I have no idea how Killen's name appeared on screen. From what I read it was "John Killens" not "John O. Killens" but there is no way for me to confirm that.
Photo of Adrian

Adrian, Champion

  • 1727 Posts
  • 2108 Reply Likes
I'm not sure that this will get any attention but John O. Killens credit is still there. That credit does not appear anywhere on screen. It would be illogical on the original print as his name was used for a blacklisted writer and as you can see above, it does appear in current prints either.

Also, the credits are still out of order. The screenplay credits are first and the based on a novel credit is second.
(Edited)
Photo of Grayson

Grayson, Employee

  • 233 Posts
  • 445 Reply Likes
Thinking on this - I think we shouldn't edit or change anything until we have seen a pre-1997 copy of the film. Updating WGA credits on a title that we don't actually have the credits for isn't our policy. If you can track down the original credits I am happy to update.
Photo of Adrian

Adrian, Champion

  • 1727 Posts
  • 2108 Reply Likes
At the very least, you need to remove the "firont for" credit as that would not ever have already as a credit. It would defeat the whole purpose of having a front.
Photo of Adrian

Adrian, Champion

  • 1727 Posts
  • 2108 Reply Likes
Another note: We know that the credits as shown and provided by the WGA are not correct. They are out of order and there is no way that Polonsky was credited. This is indisputable history. Leaving Polonsky's credited as is will leave those that are unfamiliar with blacklisted writers with the impression Polosnky was never wronged. From DVDTalk:

One important point concerning the screenplayOdds Against Tomorrow was written by Abraham Polonsky and Nelson Gidding. Polonsky was blacklisted at the time, and originally received no screen credit. (His work was credited to a front, John O. Killens). As with the DVD of Bridge on the River Kwai and possibly others, this version has "restored" Polonsky's name.The decision to do this was, presumably, made at the behest of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), but whoever is responsible, such re-writing of movie history is, in this reviewer's opinion, a well-intentioned but singularly inappropriate response. It would be completely understandable before the picture to include a card stating something along the lines of, "Abraham Polonsky co-wrote Odds Against Tomorrow, but was blacklisted and credited here as John O. Killens." But to simply insert Polonsky's name into the credits without explanation is, really, an injustice to blacklist victims in general and Polonsky in particular. Presenting the film in this manner is to suggest, particularly for audiences unaware of the blacklist, that Polonsky was never wronged, that his name had always appeared on the picture as it is now.


Also, I don't know where anyone would find a print of the film before this change was made. The first DVD release, by MGM, was in 2003. The Criterion release was later. The VHS was also released in 1996 which probably contains the "corrected" writing credits. (I was wrong about the year when they were restored. It was 1996).
(Edited)
Photo of dijec

dijec

  • 50 Posts
  • 71 Reply Likes
1- American Film Institute which is one of the most trusted sources for movie credits, lists the credit as "John O. Killens" not John Killens : https://catalog.afi.com/Catalog/MovieDetails/53473

2- They have "Viewed by AFI" flag for their listings of this movie which makes it extra trustworthy. They use that flag when they verified every single credit they list by watching the movie.

Explanation of that flag: This film was viewed in its entirety by AFI for the Synopsis and Credits.

3- They also list Abraham Polonsky and John O. Killens separately like IMDB, with a note on Polonsky's credit.

4- This is their bibliography for all the information they list on their page: https://i.imgur.com/ND3v6XN.png

5- And most important part, this is a screengrab of the original credits, from a tape of a broadcast of it in around 1980s or something.


Photo of Adrian

Adrian, Champion

  • 1727 Posts
  • 2108 Reply Likes
Thanks for the excellent research. I was going to search through my old VHS tapes to see if I had taped this off of TCM.

I have no idea how this should be handled by IMDb as there are several different rules that may conflict here. I still think the credit should be:

Abraham Polonsky           (screenplay by)  (as John O. Killens)               1,1,1

But this may be odd as John O. Killens is an actual person and not a pseudonym or alternate name. I could see this as well:

John O. Killens                  (screenplay by)  (credit only)               1,1,1
Abraham Polonsky           (screenplay by)  (uncredited)
Photo of dijec

dijec

  • 50 Posts
  • 71 Reply Likes
Yeah I'm not sure how it should be handled either. AFI lists Polonsky as uncredited but he's credited in at least one of the releases after all.