The University of South Carolina's F. Scott Fitzgerald Screenplay Archive, acquired in April 2004, preserves 2,000 pages of Fitzgerald's manuscripts, revised typescripts, and working drafts for the screenplays he wrote for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1937 - 38.
This previously unknown archive, the largest assemblage of Fitzgerald manuscripts offered for sale at one time, clarifies the distorted record of his Hollywood work and provides evidence for his seriousness as a screenwriter.
During his 18 months on the MGM payroll, Fitzgerald worked on three major screenplay assignments: Three Comrades, for which he received hisonly screen credit; Infidelity, intended for Joan Crawford but cancelled because the subject of adultery was unfilmable in 1938 - unless the offending partner was punished; and The Women, which was rewritten by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin before production.
Budd Schulberg, the last writer to have collaborated with Fitzgerald on a movie assignment, remembers Fitzgerald's determination to develop his screen-writing skills. Schulberg, who later wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay for On the Waterfront, said, "Unlike all the famous Eastern writers who came to Hollywood to replenish lost fortunes and ‘take the money and run,' Fitzgerald regarded the motion pictures a unique 20th-century art form that demanded as serious attention as their novels and plays."
Dr. Matthew J. Bruccoli, Jefferies Professor of English, said the new documentary evidence "fills the largest gap in our knowledge of Fitzgerald's career and his professionalism. It will yield long-term benefits for teaching and research."
The collection has been purchased for the library through Bart Auerbach Ltd. (New York) and William Reese Company (New Haven), from private funds, including an initial $100,000 contribution from an anonymous USC alumnus, a multiyear commitment from library endowment income, and bridging support from the USC Research Foundation and the USC Educational Foundation. Fitzgerald’s writing in Hollywood was “work for hire,” under contact to MGM, and this archive has been acquired by the University following formal agreement as to rights in the material between the University and Warner Bros/Turner Entertainment, as successors to MGM’s interest in the material.