[Christopher Fry; Dino De Laurentiis; John Houston.] Photostat pages of the first part of Fry's screenplay of the 1966 American-Italian religious epic film 'The Bible: In the Beginning...', produced by De Laurentiis and directed by Huston

Christopher Fry (1907-2005) [Dino De Laurentiis; John Houston; 20th Century Fox]
Publication details: 
On p.2: 'Property of: | DINO DE LAURENTIIS CINEMATOGRAFICA S. p. A. | Via Pontina Km. 23-270 | ROMA'.
SKU: 21955

Photostat pages of the first part of Christopher Fry's screenplay of the lavish 1966 American-Italian 20th Century Fox religious epic film 'The Bible: In the Beginning...', produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by John Huston. [2] + 7pp, 4to. Photostats of a typescript, on seven leaves. From the Fry papers, and with one autograph addition of dialogue by Fry (p.5), reading: 'VOICE | And the gathering together of the waters called seas.' (The photostat includes the copying of several autograph emendations by Fry, but this is the only autograph addition, rather than a facsimile of one.) In fair condition, lightly aged, and with wear to first page. The film was intended as the first instalment of a series telling the entire story of the Old Testament, but the others were not made. Clearly an early draft, as the title is not named, and the first page is a table of contents headed 'PART ONE | Book of Genesis'. The page lists six lettered sequences, with page ranges ending at 200: Creation; The Fall; Cain and Abel; The Deluge; Tower of Babel; Abraham. (The film also includes an interlude on Sodom and Gomorrah.) The second page is a sequence title, reading: 'CREATION | Sequence No. “A” | Property of: | DINO DE LAURENTIIS CINEMATOGRAFICA S. p. A. | Via Pontina Km. 23-270 | ROMA'. The seven pages of typescript have the dialogue in right-hand column, and directions in right-hand column. A 2001 letter (offered separately) from Fry's friend Jon Stallworthy, Professor of Poetry at Oxford, recalls how he and John Bell (1922-2008), senior editor at the Oxford University Press, were 'desolated' when 'the film company's lawyers wouldn't allow' OUP to publish Fry's screenplay, and begs a copy of this 'opening stage-direction description of the first days of creation'. (Isherwood's screenplay was published by New English Library at the time of release.) The directions are certainly poetic, with Fry writing, for example: 'The darkness of the screen is like the inside of a man's eye-lids when the eyes are shut. There is an indeterminate sensation of movement, and perhaps also a gradually increasing sense of music; but if so, hardly more than a [facsimile of autograph addition: 'still undefined'] vibration. | High on the screen appears a pale shape, at first suggesting a pair of hands, crossed at the wrists, the fingers, stretching towards each side of the screen: then suggesting the stretched wings of a white bird – hardly more than a luminous shape, and again the hands, and again the bird, in a series of pulsations.' At the foot of p.5, supporting the suggestion that the item is an early draft: 'NOTE: It may be better that the next three speeches should be spoke here, rather than divided to coincide with the images.'