Alec Coppel (17 September 1907 – 22 January 1972) was an Australian-born screenwriter, novelist and playwright. He spent the majority of his career in London and Hollywood, specialising in light thrillers, mysteries and sex comedies. He is best known for the films Vertigo (1958), The Captain's Paradise (1953), Mr Denning Drives North (1951) and Obsession (1949), and the plays I Killed the Count and The Gazebo.
Coppel was born in Melbourne and attended Wesley College. He moved to England in the 1920s to study medicine at Cambridge University, but dropped out before graduating and went to work in advertising, writing in his spare time. Coppel's first big success was his play I Killed the Count, which saw him receive screenwriting offers.
He returned to Australia during the early days of World War II, where he co-founded and worked as a director for Whitehall Productions, operating out of the Minvera Theatre in Kings Cross. He also wrote for radio and contributed to the script of Smithy (1946), one of the few feature films made in Australia during this time.
Coppel moved back to London towards the end of the war, and continued to alternate between novels, plays and screenplays. He became the first Australian to receive an Academy Award nomination for screenwriting with The Captain's Paradise, which was nominated for Best Story in 1953. Many of his British screenplays featured American characters in sympathetic roles (e.g. Obsession, Mr Denning Drives North, Hell Below Zero).
Coppel moved to Los Angeles in 1954, where he wrote a number of scripts, including an early draft of Vertigo (1958), and a popular play, The Gazebo. He spent the 1960s mostly working in Europe and London. His last two credits were a pair of sex comedies co-written with Denis Norden, The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom and The Statue. Coppel died of liver cancer on 22 January 1972, in London.
|1937||Over the Moon||Co-screenplay|
|1939||I Killed the Count||Screenplay, based on his play|
|1939||Just Like a Woman||Co-screenplay|
|1948||Woman Hater||Based on short story|
|1949||Obsession||Screenplay, dialogue director, based on original story|
|1950||Two on the Tiles||Screenplay|
|1951||The Smart Aleck||Screenplay, based on his play Mr Smart Guy|
|1951||No Highway in the Sky||Co-screenplay|
|1951||Mr. Denning Drives North||Screenplay, based on his novel|
|1953||The Captain's Paradise||Co-screenplay|
|1954||Hell Below Zero||Co-screenplay|
|1954||The Black Knight||Co-screenplay|
|1954||To Catch a Thief||Uncredited contribution to script|
|1957||Appointment with a Shadow||Screenplay|
|1959||The Gazebo||Based on his play|
|1962||Swordsman of Siena||Co-screenplay|
|1966||Moment to Moment||Co-screenplay|
|1968||The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom||Co-screenplay, based on his play A Bird in the Nest|
|1971||The Statue||Co-screenplay, based on his play|
- Short Circuit (1935)
- The Stars Foretell (1936)
- I Killed the Count (1937)
- Let's Pretend (1938) – contributed to book of a revue
- Believe it Or Not (1940)
- Mr Smart Guy (1941)
- My Friend Lester (1947)
- A Man About a Dog (1949)
- The Genius and the Goddess (1957)
- The Joshua Tree (1958) – from a story by Myra and Alec Coppel
- Oh, Captain! (1958) – based on his story only
- The Gazebo (1959) – from a story by Myra and Alec Coppel
- Viva Le Difference (1960)
- The Captain's Paradise (1961)
- Not in My Bed, You Don’t (1968) – with Myra Coppel
- Cadenza (1977)
- A Bird in the Nest
- Chip, Chip, Chip
- I Killed the Count (London: Blackie, 1939)
- A Man About a Dog (London: George G Harrap and Company Ltd, 1947) (US: Over the Line)
- Mr Denning Drives North (London: George G Harrap & Co Ltd, 1950)
- The Last Parable (London: Arthur Baker, 1953)
- Moment to Moment (Greenwich: Fawcett Publications, 1966)
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1967)
- "HE KILLED THE COUNT!—and became a Famous Playwright!.". Table Talk. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 7 September 1939. p. 6. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- "Belated £3,000 for playwright.". The Argus. Melbourne: National Library of Australia. 3 August 1951. p. 7. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Whitehall Productions at AusStage
- Vagg, Stephen. 'Alec Coppel: Australian Playwright and Survivor.' Australasian Drama Studies, No. 56, Apr 2010: 219-232.
- "FILMLAND EVENTS: Miss Lindfors Will Appear on Broadway" Los Angeles Times 12 Sep 1960: C11.
- Guests for Dinner at AustLit
- The Australian Women's Weekly. 24, ([?]). Australia, Australia. 12 December 1956. p. 40 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page4817416. Retrieved 11 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia. Missing or empty
- "BROADCAST FEATURES From A.B.C. Stations.". Riverine Herald. Echuca, Vic.: National Library of Australia. 15 November 1940. p. 1. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- "RADIOPINION.". Sunday Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 28 May 1950. p. 8. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
- Alec Coppel at the Internet Movie Database
- Alec Coppel at the Internet Broadway Database
- Alec Coppel Australian theatre credits at AusStage
- Alec Coppel at National Film and Sound Archive