Search Results for “Coppola

GREAT GATSBY, THE (1974) Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola / Rev Version by J.C.

GREAT GATSBY, THE (1974) Screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola / Revised Version by J.C. [Jack Clayton] F. Scott FItzgerald (source) New York: [Paramount Pictures, 1974]. Vintage original film script, 11 ½ x 9:” (29 x 23 cm.), leatherette Studio Duplicating Service covers with stenciled title, brad bound, mimeograph, light wear to extreme edges of yapped covers, signed on title page by crew member Jack Stager, with a few MS notations in his hand. Just about fine in near fine wrappers, 131 pp.

Jack Clayton directed this, the third screen adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, with a cast which included Robert Redford as Gatsby and Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan, Bruce Dern as Tom Buchanan, Karen Black as Myrtle Wilson, and Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway.

GODFATHER: PART II, THE (1974) First Draft screenplay prepared Jul 4th 1973 [by] F.F. [Francis Ford] Coppola

Mario Puzo (source) Francis Ford Coppola (screenwriter, director) Vintage original film script, USA. Beverly Hills: Paramount Pictures, 1973. Plain wrappers, brad bound, 165 pp., Xerographic duplication. Light stains to wrappers, overall NEAR FINE, in a quarter morocco clamshell case.

This first draft screenplay of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece – arguably, one of the greatest of American films – is unfinished. As Coppola himself explains in his preface to the screenplay:




Remarkably, given the complex and innovative structure of the narrative, this detailed first draft is fairly close to the completed film, as if Coppola had the entire movie in his mind – knew exactly where it was going and how it would end – but hadn’t yet put it all on paper.

GODFATHER: PART II, THE (1974) Second Draft screenplay by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola dated Sep 24, 1973

From the Richard Manney collection of film scripts, with his name on a 1990 bill of sale, which is laid in.

One of the great American films, and one of the cornerstone classics of the New American Cinema movement of the 1970s. Winner of six Oscars, including for Best Picture and Best Screenplay.
Brad-bound, pictorial wrappers, 200 pp., studio mimeograph, this script belonged to an uncredited member of the crew, and has various notations in holograph ink, including a few on front wrapper, NEAR FINE in VERY GOOD+ wrappers.

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1991-92) Revised film script with storyboards

San Francisco: American Zoetrope, 1991-1992. Vintage original film script, quarto, bound in a binder with three holes punched, 437 page script,1991, with storyboards bound behind each page of script in three hole punched binder, and with 12 pages of revisions (storyboards on versos) dated 11-18-91 laid-in. Also a 33 pp.SCENES REMAINING TO BE SHOT, dated 1-7-92. Near fine or better. 

A massive script, with an utterly complete set of storyboards printed on the verso of each page, for Coppola’s visually compelling treatment of the story of Dracula. 

According to director Francis Ford Coppola, James V. Hart’s DRACULA screenplay had already been written before he agreed to direct it. The screenplay was brought to Coppola by actress Winona Ryder while Coppola was completing GODFATHER III. Ryder was originally supposed to star in GODFATHER III, but had to drop out for health reasons, and she offered the DRACULA screenplay to Coppola as a way of making amends. As it happened, Coppola had always loved Bram Stoker’s novel and the movies made from it, so he was more than willing to tackle the project. 

James V. Hart was a Texas-born novelist who had previously written the screenplay for Stephen Spielberg’s HOOK. His subsequent screenplays included BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN (produced by Coppola, but directed by Kenneth Branagh), and the Robert Zemeckis sci-fi epic, CONTACT. 

Just as Coppola insisted on titling his Godfather films, MARIO PUZO’S THE GODFATHER, he decided to call his Dracula movie BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA out of respect for the source material. Though in many ways the movie is extraordinarily faithful to the novel, in some ways the most faithful film adaptation of Stoker’s book, Hart and Coppola added elements, including a prologue based on the real-life history of Vlad Tepes aka Vlad the Impaler, the Romanian warrior king who inspired Stoker’s vampire, and they also chose to elaborate the romantic/erotic aspects of the story, i.e., the relationship of Dracula and Mina who, in the Hart/Coppola retelling, is presented as the reincarnated version of Vlad’s original great love. (The reincarnation concept derives not from Stoker’s novel, but from the 1932 Universal film, THE MUMMY, directed by Karl Freund who had photographed the Tod Browning/Bela Lugosi DRACULA one year earlier.) 

Due in part to the complexity of the special effects, almost all of which were done in-camera (the same way filmmakers created special effects in the 1920-30s), BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA was perhaps the most meticulously pre-planned of all of Coppola’s movies; and this pre-planning is reflected in the 437-page screenplay which includes printed storyboard illustrations of every shot in the film, facing the pages containing the scene descriptions and dialogue. 

Notwithstanding the shot-by-shot pre-planning that we see in this illustrated screenplay, there are a number of noteworthy differences between the script and the completed film. For example, Winona Ryder’s part was built up in the prologue, so that the film has a shot of her 15th Century alter ego getting married (with Gary Oldman as Prince Vlad, and Anthony Hopkins, who also plays Dr. Van Helsing, as the Priest who marries them), and the movie adds a shot of her character in puppet form leaping from a tower to her doom after she hears the falsely reported news that her Prince is dead. 

There is also some significant reordering of scenes. For example, in the screenplay the first scene taking place in the London present is that of Mina (Ryder) and her best friend Lucy (Sadie Frost) in a parlor discussing their respective boyfriends, whereas the film’s first scene after the prologue is mad Renfield (Tom Waits) in the insane asylum of Dr. Seward (Richard E. Grant). The movie has more Coppola-style cross-cutting than the screenplay, and some of the screenplay’s visual ideas were omitted from the film, for example, during the scene where Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) is being seduced by Dracula’s vampire brides, a shot of the shadow of a woman “being decapitated on the silks, repeated over and over.” A sequence in which Jonathan is stalked outside by the three vampire brides during daylight is omitted. A scene in which Dracula and Mina make love in a coach prior to her marriage to Jonathan is also omitted from the film. 

Shadows that move independently from the characters who cast them are a recurring visual motif. Anti-gravity and superimposition effects abound. Coppola self-consciously references the expressionistic horror of F.W. Murnau (NOSFERATU) and Carl Dreyer (VAMPYR) along with the surrealist poetry of Jean Cocteau (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST). The film’s references to the early days of cinema even include a visit by Mina and Dracula to a turn-of-the-century kinematograph (an early form of movie theater). The scene at the kinematograph is expanded in the movie to include interaction between Mina, Dracula, and a wild wolf loose in the theater – the beast likes her. 

This is a film in which the costume designer, Eiko Ishioka, can be credited as one of its principal auteurs. (She received an Academy Award for her contribution). Screenwriter James V. Hart should be commended for creating the most complex of screen Draculas, a character who is noble and tragic as well as a monster. 

Can Coppola be considered a true horror director? In light of his work on Roger Corman’s THE TERROR, DEMENTIA 13, DRACULA, and, more recently, 2011’s TWIXT, the answer is a definite yes. The horror genre frees a director like Coppola to be more experimental and romantically expressionistic than would be popularly acceptable in more “serious,” less dream-like genres. 

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA is one of Coppola’s finest and most underrated achievements. The director has often spoken of his admiration for British filmmaker Michael Powell, in particular his 1940 THIEF OF BAGDAD and 1951 THE TALES OF HOFFMANN. The combination of magic, eroticism, and visual lushness in BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA makes it the most Powell-like of Coppola’s features. 


Revised Scenes – November 4, 1991. 8 pp. (light yellow) 

  • A slightly revised version of the scene with Quincey, Van Helsing, and Lucy lying in bed after she has been vampirised. 
  • A slightly revised version of the scene with Jonathan, Mina, and Van Helsing at supper as Van Helsing describes how he cut off Lucy’s head and drove a stake through her heart. 


Revised Scenes – November 18, 1991. 12 pp. (orange) including storyboard illustrations facing dialogue and description 

  • A revised version of the scene where Dracula consummates his love with Mina by having her drink is blood. In this version, he hesitates before letting her drink, but she encourages him. 
  • A scene where Van Helsing trepinates (drills a hole in) Renfield’s head – not in the movie. 
  • A slightly revised version of the scene where Jonathan and Van Helsing confront Dracula as he is vampirising Mina. 


SCENES REMAINING TO BE SHOT – January 7, 1992. 33 pp. plus title page (white, bound) 

  • Slightly revised version of the Prologue, Dracula’s victory over the Turks, Elizabeth’s suicide.
  • Shots pertaining to Jonathan’s visit to Castle Dracula and his interactions with the Count. His seduction by the Brides.
  • Dracula’s journey to London by sea. A wolf escapes from London zoo. 
  • Shots and inserts remaining to be photographed involving Lucy and Mina in London, and the final pursuit of Dracula by Van Helsing et al. as the vampire returns to his Romanian homeland, now including Van Helsing’s final movie line, “We have all become God’s madmen.” 

BLACK ORCHID, THE (Jan 10, 1958) Final White script by Joseph Stefano

[Hollywood]: Paramount Pictures, 1958. Vintage original film script designated “Final White Script” by Joseph Stefano and dated January 10, 1958, With blue pages dated 1/15/58 and orange pages dated 1/15/58 and 1/24/58. Quarto, brad bound, mimeograph, 127 pp. Self-wrappers, just about fine.

Ghosts, aliens, and psychological horror were the specialties of Joseph Stefano (1922–2006), best known for authoring the screenplay of Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO (1960), and as the producer/showrunner/chief writer of the classic gothic science fiction television series THE OUTER LIMITS (1963-1964). But Stefano had another side, a penchant for realistic drama that reflected his Italian-American background. We see this in one of his last screenplays, TWO BITS (James Foley, 1995) starring Al Pacino as an immigrant grandfather, and in his first original screenplay, THE BLACK ORCHID (Martin Ritt, 1959).

The title THE BLACK ORCHID refers to Rose Bianco, the character played by Sophia Loren in the movie, a gangster’s widow who earns the nickname “Black Orchid” because she is beautiful and because she is never seen wearing anything but black mourning clothes. She works alone in her urban apartment making artificial flowers. (Stefano’s original title for the screenplay was “The Flower Maker.”)

Rose is sweetly courted by the widower Frank Valente, a genial businessman played by Anthony Quinn. She has a young son Ralphie who has been sentenced to a work farm for a minor crime. Frank has an adult daughter Mary who takes care of him. There are two more characters who cast their shadows over Rose and Frank, but appear on-screen only briefly in flashback or not at all. One is Rose’s late husband, Tony, who became a gangster mainly to provide Rose with the material things she desired. The other is Frank’s late wife, a mentally disturbed woman who spent the last ten years of her life isolated in her room. (We may think of Stefano’s PSYCHO screenplay with its principal male character Norman Bates dominated by the memory of his dead mother.)

Stefano’s screenplay is a fine example of understated American realism, reminiscent of Paddy Chayefsky screenplays like MARTY and MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. The film’s director, Martin Ritt, had a continuing interest in the lives of ordinary people of various ethnic types, black people in EDGE OF THE CITY and SOUNDER, white southerners in CONRACK and NORMA RAE, New York Jews in THE FRONT, and Italian-Americans here. Stefano’s BLACK ORCHID screenplay emphasizes a trio of Italian-American obsessions — the Family, the Church, and Food.

There are a few differences between Stefano’s screenplay and the completed film. Notably, a flashback at the beginning to Tony and Rose’s wedding and the gathering of friends and neighbors after the wedding is much more elaborate in the screenplay — crammed with behavioral detail — than it is in the movie. One can easily imagine what a Coppola or a Scorsese might have done with a scene like this. The other differences are comparatively minor. The director doesn’t always follow the screenwriter’s detailed visual descriptions of how a scene should be shot, and there is the usual sort of trimming and polishing of dialogue that one expects in the transition from script to screen.

The screenplay for the most part is a gentle love story. Though Rose is wracked with the guilt she feels over her husband Tony’s death — it was her desire for the American “good life” that pushed him into crime — she finds it impossible to resist Frank’s charm, amiability, humor, and genuine affection for her and her son. The story turns momentarily dark in the script’s final act when Frank’s daughter Mary’s fear of losing her father to Rose causes her to retreat into near-madness, locking herself in her room as her mother had before her. But things miraculously work out.

Stefano’s distinctive flair for dialogue places him in the company of some of America’s finest playwrights and screenwriters. For example:


Working at night? Even God doesn’t work at night.

To make a living, people do a lot of things God don’t do.


Re the death of Rose’s gangster husband:


That insurance company shoulda gave you the money! Natural or unnatural, dyin’ is dyin’.


Or what Frank says about the tuxedo he is having made for his wedding to Rose:


I’ll never use it again, but at my age a man should have a tux hangin’ in his closet. The moths have more respect for him.


Joseph Stefano’s THE BLACK ORCHID is remarkable for a first original screenplay, accurately observed, psychologically persuasive, and filled with warmth, humanity, and the writer’s love for his characters. 

AFRICAN QUEEN, THE (1951) Screenplay by James Agee, John Collier and John Huston, From the novel by C. S. Forester

C. S. Forester (source) London: Romulus Films, [1951]. Vintage original film script, 11 x 8.5″ (28 x 22 cm.), 138 pp., brad-bound, plain wrappers (with a fragment of the original mimeographed label), mimeograph, many pages exhibit marginal chewing (not affecting any text), final page has a large blank area at bottom torn off, one page has paint stains, overall very good-.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and poet James Agee (1909-1955) was also considered one of the leading film critics of his era. In 1950 he wrote an admiring profile of director John Huston for Life Magazine (“Undirectable Director”) that is one of the first true auteurist studies published in the United States. Huston returned the compliment by inviting Agee to adapt the screenplay of C.S. Forester’s 1935 adventure novel, The African Queen.

The film that resulted, THE AFRICAN QUEEN, is one of the most honored movies of the 1950s. It earned Academy Award nominations for Best Director (Huston), Best Adapted Screenplay (Agee and Huston), Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn), and Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart), the last of which Bogart won (his only Oscar). In 1998 and again in 2007, it was included in the American Film Institute’s list of “100 Years…100 Movies”, and it has been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.

The story takes place in Africa in 1914 at the start of World War I, and the film attracted much attention at the time of its release for having been shot entirely on location. Like many of director Huston’s works (e.g., THE MALTESE FALCON, KEY LARGO, MOBY DICK and the American theatrical premiere of Sartre’s NO EXIT), it focuses on the interactions of a small group of eccentric characters in a confined situation. In this case, it is only two characters — Rose, an English missionary spinster in her thirties, and Charlie Allnutt, a grizzled riverboat captain — thrown together on a small steamer boat (the eponymous African Queen) traveling downriver with the goal of blowing up a 100-ton German gunboat. The river journey motif links it with such prior literary works as THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN and Conrad’s HEART OF DARKNESS, and subsequent movies like Herzog’s AGUIRRE THE WRATH OF GOD and Coppola’s APOCALYPSE NOW.

The screenplay — a shooting script very close to what was actually filmed — appears to be mostly Agee’s work, and it reflects the author’s novelistic style with scene descriptions that are detailed both visually and psychologically. For example:

Rose at dead center, Brother at he left, in profile, Allnutt at her right, opposite Brother, in profile. The room is so shaded against heat, it is gloomy. The silence, gloom, and heat are stifling. Rose is pouring the second of the three cups of tea; she pours a third. Brother is deep in the news of a Mission paper. Allnutt sits oppressed by the silence, like a child on his good behavior. A long silence, while Rose leisurely pours.

Conceived as a vehicle for two star performers, the charm of the screenplay and film emerges from the initial comedic incompatibility of prim Rose and earthy Charlie who over the course of their journey inevitably fall in love. Huston was so enamored with his characters that he changed the conclusion of the story to give them a happy ending. In the book, Charlie and Rose fail in their attempt to sink the German ship, and it is instead sunk by the British Navy as Rose and Charlie watch from the shore. In the Agee/Huston screenplay, their mission is a success.

LITTLE BIG MAN: A Screenplay by Calder Willingham, Based on the Novel… by Thomas Berger (1968) Pre-shooting draft script

Arthur Penn (director) New York: Stockbridge Productions, 1968. Vintage original film script, 11 x 8 1/2″ (28 x 22 cm.),mimeograph, brad bound, 160 pp. The original leatherette covers from Studio Duplicating Service is mostly gone, with only a fragment of it at the spine and adjacent to the spine. Overall, very good.

This script is autographed by Dean Tavoularis, who was production designer for this (and so many other now legendary films); after designing Penn’s BONNIE AND CLYDE and this film, went on to design Francis Coppola’s THE GODFATHER I, II, and III, THE CONVERSATION, and APOCALYPSE NOW, among many others.

LITTLE BIG MAN was an epic, picaresque Western brought to the screen by the accomplished theater, television, and film director Arthur Penn (1922-2010). It was the second of three films made by Penn in the Western genre — the other two being THE LEFT-HANDED GUN (1958) and THE MISSOURI BREAKS (1976). It was one of a series of revisionist “anti-Westerns” made by Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s, films that critiqued the conventions of the genre, in particular, the way the genre had traditionally treated Native Americans. It is also a movie that appears to intentionally recall two of the most popular and influential counter-cultural films of the 1960s, Mike Nichols THE GRADUATE (same male star, Dustin Hoffman, and same screenwriter), and Arthur Penn’s own BONNIE AND CLYDE (same female star, Faye Dunaway, and same director).

Like BONNIE AND CLYDE and many of Penn’s other movies, LITTLE BIG MAN was a film of mixed tones, combining raucous comedy and social satire with sequences of serious grisly violence.

This screenplay adaptation of Thomas Berger’s novel was by Georgia-born Calder Willingham (1922-1995) whose prior screen credits — in addition to THE GRADUATE — included Jack Garfein’s THE STRANGE ONE (based on Willingham’s novel) (1957), Stanley Kubrick’s PATHS OF GLORY (1957), David Lean’s THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957), Richard Fleischer’s THE VIKINGS (1958), and Marlon Brando’s ONE-EYED JACKS (1961).

Willingham’s “Pre-Shooting Draft” screenplay includes most of the dialogue, characters, and incidents that appear in the completed movie. The script is heavily dependent on the first-person narration of its central character (Dustin Hoffman), much of which is borrowed directly from Berger’s novel. However, the screenplay has been considerably edited, tweaked, and polished in its transition from 1968 shooting script to 1970 film.

One of the most obvious examples of how the script was revised is the way it opens. The screenplay opens with images of the Cheyenne braves and the Cavalry soldiers who oppose them just before the Battle of the Little Big Horn — foreshadowing the story’s climax. This is followed by our introduction to 121-year-old Jack Crabb (Hoffman), the “sole white survivor” of the Little Big Horn, who narrates the story as he is being interviewed in our present.

The movie dispenses with the introductory images of Indians and Cavalry and, instead, begins directly with a black screen and the voice of Jack Crabb speaking to his interviewer. The dialogue between 121-year-old Jack Crabb and the interviewer has also been substantially revised. The dialogue in the screenplay is comparatively innocuous, with the interviewer mainly expressing his skepticism regarding Crabb’s actual presence at the Battle. The dialogue in the filmed version of the same scene is considerably more pointed, with the interviewer characterizing Jack’s story as “tall tales” (letting the audience know what the tone of the film will be) and explicitly referring to the “genocide” of Native Americans (establishing one of the film’s central themes). In the movie, but not the screenplay, Jack tells the interviewer to shut up and turns on the tape recorder himself, firmly establishing his control of the narrative.

The ending was similarly revised. The screenplay ends with the last incident of Jack’s flashback, he and his Native American father figure “Old Lodge Skins” (Chief Dan George) climbing a ridge to the place to where the old Chief thinks he is going to die. (The death does not occur. “Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn’t,” says the Chief.) The movie ends with a coda to the flashback, taking us back to the present, with 121-year-old Jack Crabb turning off the tape recorder and staring into the darkness.

Rather than a traditional three-act structure, the screenplay is structured as a series of almost-random episodes in the life of Jack Crabb, split between the white and Native American cultures — Jack as a white boy captured and raised by the Cheyenne, Jack as a teenager adopted by a preacher and his randy wife (Faye Dunaway), Jack as an assistant to a snake-oil salesman (Martin Balsam), Jack as a gunslinger, Jack as a merchant married to a Swedish woman, Jack returning to the Indians who raised him, Jack as a mule skinner working for General Custer until Custer and his troops massacre an Indian village, Jack as a trapper having turned his back on people altogether (changed in the movie from “trapper” to “hermit”), Jack returning to his Native American friends, this time acquiring an Indian wife and family until an even more horrible massacre by the Cavalry, Jack finally returning to General Custer and participating in his defeat by Native Americans at the Little Big Horn.

The main structural principal is that Jack encounters every important character twice over a period of many years — two sequences involving his older sister, two erotic sequences involving the preacher’s wife (in the second sequence she has become a prostitute working in a brothel), two sequences with the snake-oil salesman, two sequences with Wild Bill Hickok, two main sequences with General Custer, and so on.

This is one of filmmaker Penn’s most explicitly counter-cultural films. Traditional heterosexuality is contrasted with a gay Native American character, fully accepted by the Cheyenne society, and traditional white monogamous marriage is contrasted with polygamy when Jack briefly has three additional Native American wives (sisters of his chosen wife whose husbands were killed). Most significantly, the film contrasts white and Native American attitudes toward nature and life — “The Human Beings [the Cheyenne] believe that everything is alive. Not only men and animals, but water and earth and stones . . . . But white men believe that everything is dead. Stones, earth, animals and people, even their own people. If things persist in trying to live, white men will rub them out. That is the difference between white men and Human Beings.”

LAST DETAIL, THE (1973) Shooting script by Robert Towne

Burbank, CA: Acrobat Films, [1973]. Vintage original film script, pictorial wrappers, brad bound, mimeograph, 11 x 8 1/2″ (28 x 22 cm.), 135 pp. lacking pages 120-121, perhaps as issued. There is a vertical crease to front wrapper and to first pages of text, overall near fine in very good+ wrappers.

THE LAST DETAIL (Hal Ashby, 1973) is essentially a road picture, the story of two Navy Shore Patrolmen, Billy “Badass” Buddusky (Jack Nicholson) and Richard “Mule” Mulhall (Otis Young), who are ordered to transport an 18-year-old sailor prisoner, Larry Meadows (Randy Quaid), from their Norfolk, Virginia naval base to the Portsmouth Naval Prison in Maine. Their journey, which lasts several days, takes the three of them through Washington, D.C.; New York City; Camden, New Jersey (where the prisoner’s mother lives), and Boston, Mass. Buddusky, in particular, feels sorry for the naïve young prisoner and wants to show him a good time in the few days preceding his (obviously unjust) eight-year incarceration.

The Academy Award-nominated screenplay is by Robert Towne (born Los Angeles, California, 1934), adapted from a first novel by former Navy serviceman, Darryl Ponicsan (born Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, 1938). It was Towne’s fourth screenplay credit, following his scripts for two Roger Corman features (THE LAST WOMAN ON EARTH – 1960, and THE TOMB OF LIGEIA – 1964), VILLA RIDES (Buzz Kulik, 1968), and uncredited writing contributions (“script-doctoring”) to several major productions, including Arthur Penn’s BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967), Richard Fleischer’s THE NEW CENTURIONS (1972), and Francis Coppola’s THE GODFATHER (1972). Long associated with Jack Nicholson and the Corman group, Towne specifically tailored THE LAST DETAIL’s Buddusky character to Nicholson’s acting talents. For some critics, e.g., Pauline Kael, it was Nicholson’s greatest performance. Towne’s and Nicholson’s next project together, Roman Polanski’s CHINATOWN (1974), based on an original screenplay by Towne, would be a career peak for both of them.

The most significant differences between this “Shooting Script” and the completed film have to do with length. The movie’s memorably profane dialogue is the same in the completed film as it appears in the script, but almost every scene has been trimmed by 20 to 40 percent, and some sequences were omitted from the movie altogether.

For example, early in the screenplay, there is an elaborate montage sequence intercutting the two Shore Patrolmen putting on their dress uniforms (“BUDDUSKY spit polishes his shoes …”). This kind of thing was typical of director Hal Ashby (1929-1988) who was a renowned film editor before he became a director. However, if the sequence was shot, it was deleted from the completed film. A scene shortly thereafter in which a Navy “carryall” driver drives Buddusky, Mulhall, and Meadows to a bus station was shot, but with all dialogue removed so that what we see on the screen is wordless.

The famous sequence in which a bartender refuses to sell the underage Meadows a beer —



I’m gonna kick your ass around the block for drill.



Try it and I’ll call the Shore Patrol.



I am the Shore Patrol, motherf*cker!


— ends shortly after the high point of Buddusky’s exclamation, whereas in the shooting script, the scene goes on for another half page.

Not all of the profanity of the shooting script made it into the completed film. For example, in the script, Buddusky uses the phrase “a coon’s age,” Mulhall, who is black, objects to it, and the two of them briefly discuss whether it’s “just an expression.”

Some of the bits of business that are in the shooting script were eliminated, for example, when Meadows, who is a compulsive shoplifter, steals the keys to his handcuffs. A sequence in which the three sailors attempt to sight-see Washington, DC’s most famous landmarks — the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial — does not appear in the completed film.

With respect to the two Shore Patrolmen, THE LAST DETAIL is a character study looking at what kind of person stays in the military for life. With respect to the prisoner, Meadows, the film is a coming-of-age story in which the young sailor, with the aid of his two captors, drinks beer for the first time, throws a punch, smokes grass, learns to get what he asks for in a restaurant, roller skates, has sex for the first time, and acquires a backbone of sorts which — tragically — leads to a failed escape attempt, ending the story on a sour note for all concerned.

SAND PEBBLES, THE (Nov 1, 1965) Shooting script by Robert Anderson

[Hollywood]: Twentieth Century Fox, November 1, 1965. Vintage original film script, 11 x 8 1/2″ (28 x 22 cm.), 188 pp., printed wrappers, brad bound, mimeograph. There is much wear and spotting to yapped wrappers, especially at edges and along spine, with blank back wrapper detached although present. This script was heavily used by a crew member from the wardrobe department, with extensive annotations throughout in marker or pen to indicate what the characters were wearing. Also, many pages have had blank right bottom corners torn off (apparently as this crew member had completed work on a specific scene).

Following the outstanding critical and commercial successes of WEST SIDE STORY (1961) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), producer/director Robert Wise (1914-2005) was at the peak of his career when he filmed THE SAND PEBBLES (1966), a movie about American involvement in China in 1926, which many have interpreted as an allegory of the Vietnam War.

Though among the most expensive films that Wise ever directed, it is also, paradoxically, one of his most personal. As C. Jerry Kutner wrote in the introduction to his interview with Wise that appeared in ACTION! (Editor: Gary Morris. Anthem Press, 2009):                          “The Sand Pebbles masterfully showcases Wise’s anti-militarism (this time directed at America’s intervention in Vietnam), his fascination with odd couples (Steve McQueen as Jake, and Mako as the ‘coolie’), interracial romance (Frenchy and his girl), existential courage and isolation (Jake at the film’s conclusion), and the metaphysical darkness that lurks at the edges of Wise’s widescreen frame, ready to engulf even the noblest of his characters.”

It is also one of four films directed by Wise that takes place mostly aboard a ship or vessel of some kind: RUN SILENT, RUN DEEP (1958) — submarine; THE SAND PEBBLES (1966) — gunboat; THE HINDENBERG (1975) — zeppelin; STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979) — starship.

This shooting script, adapted from a 1962 novel by Richard McKenna, is by New York City-born playwright Robert Anderson (1917-2009), who had previously authored the screenplays for TEA AND SYMPATHY (Vincente Minnelli, 1956), based on his own stage play, UNTIL THEY SAIL (Robert Wise, 1957), and THE NUN’S STORY (Fred Zinnemann, 1959). Two of his screenplays, THE NUN’S STORY and I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER (Gilbert Cates, 1970 — adapted from Anderson’s 1968 stage play), received Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay Based on Material From Another Medium. Unlike most of Anderson’s screenwriting, THE SAND PEBBLES is an epic work in the manner of Robert Bolt’s screenplays for David Lean.

Anderson’s task as adapter was to balance intimate character-driven scenes with elaborately choreographed action sequences, and the screenwriter rises to the challenge.

THE SAND PEBBLES also provided actor Steve McQueen, who plays ship’s engineer Jake Holman, with one of his most effective starring roles. As director Wise observed in the interview referenced above:

“[Holman’s] basically a loner. Steve wasn’t a loner, but he was one of these guys who loved his machines. He built these cars, motorcycles, he loved guns, loved to handle them, it was a macho thing with him. He had a very strong understanding of what made Holman tick.”

The novel and film’s title derives from the name of Holman’s gunboat, the USS San Pablo, which is nicknamed the “Sand Pebble,” and its sailors, the “Sand Pebbles.” Since this is a shooting script, the differences between the screenplay and the completed film are minor. Some changes were made to accommodate the locations where scenes were actually filmed, e.g., Keelung City, a Taiwan harbor, and the screenplay has been generally tightened. Director Wise recalled how McQueen often requested that his dialogue be trimmed or cut when he felt he could express the same thing with a look, and Wise was more than happy to oblige. Occasionally, a scene is completely deleted (most likely in the cutting room), for example, a brief scene where a tailor coolie measures Jake for a uniform.

For a big-budget Hollywood epic, THE SAND PEBBLES is remarkably radical in its politics. More than anything else, it is a critique of Euro-American imperialism, the exploitation of the Chinese coolies for cheap labor, the exploitation of the bar girls for sex, all of which inevitably leads to revolution. The film not only rejects militarism and imperialism in all of its forms, it rejects the very idea of nationalism, as when the missionary Jameson (Larry Gates) says to the American captain, Lt. Collins (Richard Crenna), who has come to “rescue” him: 



Damn your flag! Damn all flags! It’s too late in the world for flags!

Similarly, in the same scene, Collins orders Holman to return to the ship, and Holman refuses, preferring instead to remain with the missionaries: 


Do you know what this is?

(Holman nods)

Desertion — in the face of the enemy.

Holman glances quickly at Shirley, then back at Collins. 


Captain, I ain’t got no more enemies. Shove off.

This is fundamentally a dark story with almost everyone who Holman forms a relationship with — Frenchy (his best friend on the ship), Po Han (the coolie who assists him in the engine room), Frenchy’s Asian girlfriend, and Holman himself — meeting a tragic end. The one exception is the young missionary teacher, Shirley, played by Candice Bergen, who is Holman’s romantic interest. Only she survives at the film’s conclusion, escaping over the mountains like the Trapp family at the conclusion of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

As a metaphor for the Vietnam War, THE SAND PEBBLES foreshadows one of the greatest of all Vietnam War films, APOCALYPSE NOW (Francis Coppola, 1979), which is also structured around the central image of a boat traveling upriver. 

CONVERSATION, THE (1974) Press kit

New York: Paramount Pictures, [1974]. Vintage original press kit. Printed folder, 11 1/2 x 9″ (29.5 x 23 cm.), with extensive text, consisting of thirteen 2 pp. inserts, one 3 pp. insert, three 4 pp. inserts and one 6 pp. insert, and five 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm.) black-and-white print still photos laid in loosely. Covers lightly creased, overall NEAR FINE.

As the Watergate scandal was unfolding in 1974, writer-director Francis Ford Coppola created this haunting film about a paranoid surveillance expert (Gene Hackman) who increasingly comes to believe that a couple whom he is surveilling are about to be murdered.

The film, which can surely be considered a major neo-noir movie, makes very effective use of its San Francisco locations, making it a rather eerie time capsule of early 1970s San Francisco.

COTTON CLUB, THE (1984) Two variant drafts scripts

Francis Ford Coppola (director) Mario Puzo, William Kennedy (screenwriters) Set of two (2) vintage original variant draft film scripts:

Fourth Draft Screenplay by Mario Puzo. Beverly Hills: [Robert Evans Productions], October 16, 1982. Gray wrappers, with the William Morris Agency logo on front wrapper. 132 leaves. Brad bound, quarto, ABOUT FINE in VERY GOOD+ wrappers, with small tears at edges.

[offered with]:

Final Script by William Kennedy and Francis Coppola. Astoria, NY: Totally Independent LTD., December 8, 1983. 110 pp., followed by 8 pp. continuity breakdown of scenes, quarto, self-wrappers, brad bound. Front leaf a bit loose from brads, one stain in blank area near spine, overall VERY GOOD+.

COTTON CLUB, THE (1985) French insert poster ft. Gregory Hines

(African American cinema) Vintage original 62 x 23″ (157 x 58 cm.) pantalon poster, France. Folded (as issued), NEAR FINE. Gregory Hines, dir: Francis Ford Coppola; Gaumont. A wonderful large-scale portrait of Gregory Hines in this film about the heyday of the famed Cotton Club, the African American artists who[…]

THX 1138 (1971) Special teaser poster

Vintage original 24 x 38″ (61 x 99 cm.) special teaser poster, USA. Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie, dir: George Lucas; American Zoetrope / Warner Brothers.  Silver foil on heavy paper. Folded, very good.

George Lucas’ first feature film, adapted from his own university short film. His USC short garnered so much attention that Francis Ford Coppola, under his then newly-formed American Zoetrope company, gave Lucas the chance to make a feature.

The story is of a futuristic society located beneath the earth’s surface where people are named in codes and controlled by drugs, and where sex is forbidden. When two members go off the drugs and one becomes pregnant, they are in big trouble, thrown in jail and must escape.

With its bleak outlook, political commentary and moral story, Lucas started his career in a vein different from the more escapist road it has taken.

Very rare and unusual poster.

GODFATHER: PART II, THE (1974) Press kit

Vintage original press kit, USA. Printed folder, with twenty-five (25) 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm.) photos, with affixed printed captions, and with 141 pp. of promotional text. Al Pacino, Talia Shire, Robert De Niro, dir: Francis Ford Coppola; Paramount. This press kit is an unusually scarce one; most of them were long ago broken up and sold for their individual photos.
There is some wear to the printed folder, overall NEAR FINE in VERY GOOD folder.