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The Deer Park: Film Production Archive

 
The Deer Park: Film Production Archive  by MAILER, Norman; Joan Didion, John Gregory Dunne; Sidney Lumet, Cubby Broccoli, Elliott Kastner (1976)
Author: MAILER, Norman; Joan Didion, John Gregory Dunne; Sidney Lumet, Cubby Broccoli, Elliott Kastner
Title: The Deer Park: Film Production Archive
 
Year: 1976
Publisher: Unpublished
Place: New York
Dust Jacket: No
Signed: Yes
 
Price: £2500
 
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Added under Manuscripts  

Hollywood Producer Elliott Kastner’s film production archive of screenplays by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne (including their NYC hotel bills) together with signed contracts from Sidney Lumet as well as letters from the likes of Cubby Broccoli, contracts and legal documents relating to a movie adaptation of Norman Mailer’s novel.

Elliott Kastner (1930-2010) was a larger than life American film producer, whose best known credits include Where Eagles Dare and The Long Goodbye. This collection is the product of Kastner’s determined efforts to make a movie of Mailer’s portrayal of the story of a director on the Hollywood Blacklist in the 1950. Provenance: from Kastner’s former office suite at Pinewood Studios near London.

Screenplays:

The Deer Park, Screenplay by Mann Rubin c 1975, From the novel by Norman Mailer, blue printed card wrappers labelled: The E K Corporation, Samuel Goldwyn Studios, ‘R2’ in pencil, head of title page; bound with brads; printed by Barbara’s Place, 9255 Sunset Boulevard, ff 138

The Deer Park, From the novel by Norman Mailer, Screenplay by Joan Didion & John Gregory Dunne, c 1985, blue card wrappers, two brads; ‘Third Draft’ in biro, verso of title page, ‘Script Department’ printed in red, verso of final leaf. ff138, printed on one side of paper only.

The Deer Park, Screenplay by John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion, From the novel by Norman Mailer, Cinema Seven Productions Limited, Pinewood Studio, computer printout, disbound but held with a large paperclip

The Deer Park, From the novel by Norman Mailer, Screenplay by Joan Didion & John Gregory Dunne, Cinema Seven Productions Limited, Carnegie Hall, plastic spiral bound, pp124


Archive

The archive of correspondence sits two inches high and contains several hundred items which chart Kastner’s acquisition of the movie rights to The Deer Park in the 1970s through Mann Rubin’s first screenplay with several lengthy assessments of this text that include Robert Lantz’s critique of ‘all the stereotypes, the homosexuals, the studio tycoons’, records of Kastner’s joint venture in 1976 with the E K Corporation and his efforts to get Jack Nicholson to play Marion. Rubin’s screenplay attracted further considered critiques including a long letter from Arthur G Hiller and Shawn Slovo that describes ‘an erotic, sensitive and profane view of American society’ as well as a TLS from James Bond producer, Cubby Broccoli declining to be involved.

Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne’s involvement in the project is charted from the early 1980s in their contractual negotiations and invoices for screenwriting submitted through lawyers as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenses, mostly hotel bills from The Carlyle on Madison Avenue in New York City. This phase of writing seems to have been successful with a letter from EK to ‘Mr and Mrs John Dunne... supportive of your first go’ but ‘I do not like at all, the last scene between Sergius and Lulu… Her attitude and her put-downs and her cock-teasing has already been seen the previous last two scenes…’ From this period is a signed contract by Sidney Lumet undertaking to direct the film, casting notes, plans for ‘Below the line budget for Deer Park’ and a 1984 TLS from John Gregory Dunne to EK: ‘Joan talked to Sidney Lumet….’ and arranging a meeting with Kastner himself. There are copies of contracts signed by Norman Mailer and the inevitable negotiations over payment.

However Didion and Dunne’s involvement also prompted an incandescent letter to EK from the original screenwriter Mann Rubin: ‘First you’re an asshole and a putz! Why the hell didn’t you fight harder for me?.... The Dunnes are fine novelists, fine essayists, but I’m not sure they’re up to Mailer’ followed by more considered assessments and letters from the literary agent Scott Meredith writing on behalf of Mailer’s interests. Despite there being three versions of the Dunne/ Didion screenplay Kastner eventually had to bow to the inevitable, accepting: ‘No major studio is interesting in financing Deer Park’.

Book:

Norman Mailer, The Deer Park, Panther Books, 1978 - Kastner’s copy.
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