Description

    Sunset Boulevard Preliminary Draft with Original Opening Scenes and Montgomery Clift Listed on Cast Sheet, 1948. A fascinating early script draft for Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder's classic 1950 film noir with Gloria Swanson and William Holden. A simply typed warning from Wilder and screenwriter Charles Brackett graces the cover page: "This is the first act of Sunset Boulevard. Due to the peculiar nature of the project, we ask all our coworkers to regard it as top secret." And top secret it remained, especially since Wilder had not finished writing the script. These preliminary pages were all he turned in to Paramount. Interestingly, the second, unnumbered, prologue page lists the film's characters and corresponding "Actors We Hope To Get", under which is listed Montgomery Clift as the lead, Dan Gillis (the character's name would go from "Dan" to "Dick" to "Joe"). Clift was originally slated for the role, and was offered a $60,000 paycheck, but withdrew from the production for personal reasons purportedly having to do with the film's plotline and his affair with the much older singer Libby Holman. The first five pages of the script are most fascinating: there is no handsome screenwriter floating face-down in a pool, rather, this original version opens with Gillis' corpse arriving in a morgue, surrounded by other corpses. The conversation and eventual narration that followed was received by screening audiences as humorous. Wilder cut it, of course, but a few hundred lucky individuals saw Wilder's original vision for the now infamous opening scene. An intriguing memo page is mingled in between dialogue pages, changing Gillis' first name from "Dan" to "Dick" and his quarters from a storage space to the chauffeur's room, as well as making Norma's car a Hispano-Suiza, rather than a Rolls, and her writing project the Salome script, rather than her memoirs (though the idea of "Norma Desmond's Memoirs, a Norma Desmond Production, starring Norma Desmond" is gruesomely fascinating). The draft's 54 pages are in overall Very Good condition, on cream/faded yellow paper displaying moderate chipping to borders, with dates on pages ranging from December 21, 1948 (page one) to February 14, 1949 (last page), pre-dating the film's published script by by over a month. The cover page bears a narrow 1" hole along the base, discoloration, minor smudges, and chipping. Though the top corner has dislodged, the back cover indicates the entirety of this draft, no pages have been removed according to the markings left by folded brad fixtures and mild discoloration. Ready for your close-up?

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    5th-6th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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    Just received the catalog. Incredible! Never seen such a catalog and have been collecting since 1974. Congratulations!
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