David Z Goodman, who died on September 26 aged 81, wrote the screenplay for the controversial thriller Straw Dogs (1971), one of the great banned films of the 1970s, which revealed rural Britain to be just as brutal as the mean streets of downtown America. Though based on The Siege Of Trencher’s Farm, a 1969 novel by the Scottish author Gordon Williams, the director, Sam Peckinpah, ordered Goodman to write in some controversial scenes that do not occur in the original.
David Zelag Goodman was born on January 15 1930 in New York. His orthodox Jewish parents wanted him to become a rabbi, sending him to a yeshiva to be trained. But at 18 he became totally secular, took a degree in English at Queens’ College, studied Drama at Yale University, and became a playwright.
His film breakthrough came in England in 1959, at the Bray studios in Berkshire, with the script for the Hammer adventure film Stranglers of Bombay. During the 1960s he wrote American television episodes of The Untouchables, Combat! and Mr Broadway.
For Hollywood Goodman scripted the mystery thriller Man on a Swing (1974), starring Cliff Robertson, and Farewell, My Lovely (1975), a remake of the Raymond Chandler story starring Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe.