The Matthew J. & Arlyn Bruccoli Collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Introduction | Archive Description | Three Comrades | Infidelity | Women
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THREE COMRADES
 

Fitzgerald went to MGM in July 1937 with a six-month contract at $1000 a week.  He was assigned to write the screenplay for Three Comradesa 1929 novel about postwar Germany by Erich Maria Remarque, for producer Joseph Mankiewicz. He submitted two-thirds of the screenplay on September. On September 4, Fitzgerald wrote to Mankiewicz requesting that he be allowed to work alone on the revisions. Mankiewicz replied on September 9 that what Fitzgerald had submitted was "simply swell" and that he could continue alone. However, Fitzgerald was assigned E.E. Paramore as a collaborator to help with construction. Fitzgerald and Paramore disagreed over the latter’s role; Paramore regarded himself as an equal partner, but Fitzgerald wrote to him on October 24, "I prefer to keep the responsibility for the script as a whole."

Fitzgerald and Paramore submitted six revisions of the screenplay, dated November 5, 1937, December 7, December 13, December 21, January 21, 1938 and February 1. Mankiewicz heavily revised the final script, but screen credit was shared by Fitzgerald and Paramore. Fitzgerald resented Mankiewicz’s interference, noting in his copy of the shooting script, "37 pages mine about 1/3, but all shadows + rhythm removed."

Three Comrades, directed by Frank Borzage and starring Robert Taylor, Margaret Sullavan, Francheot Tone, and Robert Young, was released on June 1938; a box office success, it ranked as one of the 10 best movies of the year.  The movie brought Fitzgerald his only screen credit; and MGM renewed his contract for a year at $1,250 per week.

[Revised from Tate, Fitzgerald A to Z]
 

The archive for this motion picture consists of approximately 1300 manuscript, revised typescript, and mimeographed pages, including hundreds of pages in Fitzgerald’s hand,  made up in part of the following:

  1. Working manuscript draft of script, dated 8/2/37, ca. 150 leaves.
     

  2. Revised typescript draft, 104 leaves, plus inserts and interleaves, dated 8/4/37, with revisions in Fitzgerald’s and others’ hands.
     

  3. Miscellaneous manuscripts material, mostly in Fitzgerald’s hand, including various drafts of portions of the script, conference notes, etc.
     

  4. Miscellaneous manuscripts, including FSF’s manuscript of script opening (21 leaves), a substantial treatment, and associated material, between 200-300 pages, mixed FSF manuscripts and other hands (most likely Paramore’s), many items dated variously between October and November 1937.
     

  5. Substantive portion of a mimeographed script, dated 5 November 1937, with revisions in another hand (most likely in Paramore’s). Remaining portions of this mimeo script are interspersed in lot immediately below. 
     

  6.  Approximately 150 pages, largely typescript, but with some manuscript, dated variously October – December 1937.
     

  7.  Mimeographed script, approximately 120 leaves, dated 2/1/38.
         

  8.  Additional related manuscript leaves in Fitzgerald’s hand.

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