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Lot #438
Ray Bradbury

Bradbury on he and Orson Welles not receiving film credits for King of Kings

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Estimate: $200+
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Bradbury on he and Orson Welles not receiving film credits for King of Kings

TLS, one page, 8.5 x 11, personal letterhead, February 7, 1989. Letter to John Adams, in full: "Thanks for your kind letter. The facts are these: I was working at MGM Studios in 1960 o a screenplay of The Martian Chronicles, which was never made by MGM but, years later, by NBC-TV, a production that will live in infamy. The head of the studio, Sol Siegal called me to his office one day and said they had just finished shooting King of Kings in Spain, directed by Nicholas Ray. But, he added, they had no ending for the film. Have you tried the Bible? I asked. That got me nowhere, They wanted me to write an ending, plus a scene for Judas and Barabbas leading into the Intermission, plus the entire Narration for the film, to fill in the holes left by Philip Yordan, the screenwriter. I proceeded to do so, and had a glorious time re-reading the Bible, writing the Narration, and reading it onto a tape so it could be played on a sound stage when Miklos Rozsa was conducting the score. I worked closely with Rozsa and Maggie Booth, the head film editor. It was grand hearing my own voice narrating the scenes with the fine score. Then they brought in Orson Welles who spoke my words. Neither of us received credit. Welles because he wanted additional money to have his name on the screen. Myself because Yordan refused to let me have a Narration credit. I enclose with this letter a single frame of film which was shot with our credits. As you can see, other credits are fading out behind Orson's and my, names. I have a whole roll of film on these credits; a nice momento. Thanks for asking. It's a good film. Not a great one. The Italian Zefferelli version was far superior, and there are some nice moments in The Greatest Story Ever Told, which I turned down a year or so later. Carl Sandburg wound up writing that screenplay/….and there you have it. Happy 1989!" The referenced film frame is affixed to the lower left margin. In fine condition.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #604 - Ended March 10, 2021

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