550. Mailer (Norman) 42 Original Sketches for the Film Adaptation of The Naked and the Dead, pencil on paper, many signed by Mailer, all but 13 on headed paper for the St. Moritz Hotel, 2 pinned together, each 280 x 220mm., [c.1955].
9 of the sketches relate to scenes in the novel, including views of the island from the invasion fleet, views of the pass, the structure of the rapids traversed by Croft and Wilson and a scence from Croft's 'time machine', one of a series of flash-backs that populate the novel. The remaining sketches depict characters in the novel as follows: Croft (3); Minetta (2); Cummings (3); Roth (2); Goldstein (2); Red (3); A Soldier (1); Dalleson (1); Hearn (1); Brown (1); Polack (1); Stacey (1); Ridges (1); Toglio (1); Wyman (1); Wilson (3); Hennessey (1); Gallagher (4); Martinez (1).
In the cases of Cummings and Croft, Mailer has supplied sketches for both 'outer' and 'inner' appearance. Dalleson is referred to as 'Wallace Beery the younger' and one of Wilson's sketches has the comment 'should be more handsome'. The sketches provide an insight into the rather jocular nature of this nascent collaboration.
The screen rights for The Naked and the Dead were sold by Mailer for an almost unprecedented sum of $250,000 to an independent production company owned by Charles Laughton and Paul Gregory, with the idea that Laughton would direct. Even though he had no control over the screenplay, Mailer was called in to help on the adaptation. Sadly, in part due to the reception of The Night of the Hunter, Laughton dropped out of the project and Raoul Walsh ultimately took over as director.
'Charles Laughton was to do it, and we spent a week together in New York at Laughton’s St. Moritz Hotel penthouse. He had a great dedication to the novel, and he was coming off . . . The Night of the Hunter, which he thought would do extraordinarily. It didn’t. Laughton was not a young man, and it took everything out of him. He never directed again.' Norman Mailer, in interview with Gerald Peary.
Provenance: The estate of Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester.
est. £20000 – £30000
The product of a collaborative effort between Norman Mailer and Charles Laughton, concept artwork for the great film that never was.