STEINBECK, JOHN. 1902-1968.
Autograph Letter Signed ("John Steinbeck"), 1 p, 4to, Pacific Grove, November 4, 1949, to Darryl Zanuck, on personal letterhead, two holes punched at upper margin, sheet creased and very mildly toned. WITH: Mimeographed Manuscript, shooting final screenplay of Viva Zapata!, 128 pp, 4to, [Los Angeles], May 16, 1951 (a few blue revision pages dated June 2, 1951 bound in), housed in yellow Twentieth Century-Fox wraps with production number in pen (2480.27) to upper left corner, and with #71 and "New York legal department" stamp to lower left corner, light wear.
Provenance: Serendipity Books; the Richard Manney Collection.
The idea to write the story of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata came to John Steinbeck in the late 1940s. Steinbeck struggled with the script, however, until producer Darryl Zanuck requested in the fall of 1949 that the writer send what he had. It turned out that while Steinbeck had extensively researched Zapata and the revolution, he didn't have anything resembling a screenplay. Zanuck sent his assistant Jules Buck to Pacific Grove, and after a short conference period, Steinbeck and Buck banged out a first draft of the script in 11 days. The letter included in this lot dates from the early part of the collaboration. In part: "Dear Darryl: It was a brilliant thing to send me Jules Buck. He is a hell of a man. We work well together, are going very fast and I think a good script is coming out of it."
It would take two more years of rewrites before the film went into production, however. The manuscript present here is legal department's copy of the shooting final.