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[OSBORNE, John] KNEALE, Nigel

Look Back In Anger

N.p.: Woodfall Film Productions Ltd., 1958

First draft: 8vo, 100 typed pp., secured in a manilla folder. Title label to front page.

Second draft: 8vo, 130 mimeographed pp., secured between reddish-brown stiff paper wrappers by three split pins. Title label to front panel. Edges uncut. First draft: Some edgewear to the oversized folder wrappers, but contents very well preserved.

Second draft: Lower right corner to title label missing (not affecting text), front panel darkened, corners a little bumped, but a very well preserved copy.

First edition. RICHARD BURTON'S COPIES OF THE SCREENPLAY OF LOOK BACK IN ANGER:

i) FIRST DRAFT SCREENPLAY IN TYPESCRIPT, DATED 17 JUNE 1958, IDENTIFIED ON TITLE LABEL AS 'COPY NO. 2'.

ii) SECOND DRAFT SCREENPLAY, DATED 9 JULY 1958, AND IDENTIFIED ON TITLE LABEL AS 'COPY NO. 3'. ALS FROM SALLY BURTON TO FILM MAKER TONY PALMER LAID IN.

Richard Burton first met John Osborne in the spring of 1958 at a New York party thrown by Lawrence Olivier. Two years earlier Look Back In Anger had premiered at London's Royal Court theatre, directed by Tony Richardson and starring Kenneth Haigh as Jimmy Porter. Critical opinion was far from unanimous -- one headline babbled BACKSTREET HAMLET TALKS BOSH -- but Kenneth Tynan and Harold Hobson (as ever) saw the play for the landmark it was. A commercial if not critical success in London, the play transferred to New York where it was nominated for a Tony Award.

By the time of Olivier's party Osborne had written a screenplay in collaboration with Nigel Kneale, and the search for financial backers for the film had begun. Kenneth Haigh had been widely praised for his stage performance, but the film would need a major star in the role of Jimmy Porter to attract the necessary financial backing. At the party Osborne marched up to Burton and offered him the part on the spot. Burton accepted. The film was as good as greenlit.

Osborne and Tony Richardson formed Woodfall Films to produce Look Back In Anger; theirs would be a highly volatile relationship played out over many years, but Woodfall went on to make almost every important British independent film of the 1960s. Jack Warner had been trying to sign Burton to Warner Brothers for many years, and stumped up the $625,000 budget for the film. He also appointed the experienced Harry Saltzman to oversee production. Saltzman ensured the ongoing success of Woodfall by sticking around for its next two films, The Entertainer and Saturday Night And Sunday Morning. He also established a handy little franchise for himself in 1962 by producing a film called Dr. No.

The scripts offered here remained in Burton's possession for the rest of his life; after his death they were part of a presentation to the documentarian and film director Tony Palmer, made by the actor's widow Sally. In 1983 Palmer had directed Burton in the ten-part TV miniseries Wagner, a very happy experience for its star, whose health was already failing. Laid in to the second draft is a handwritten letter:

'Dear Tony,

I hope I will say thank you often enough and tell you that you have made a wonderful film.

Here are some things to remind you of Richard -- his film work, but, as ever, something amusing as well. They come with much love and gratitude.

Sally'

Look Back In Anger changed the British theatrical scene for good -- and not only theatre's subject matter, but its employment practices too. Suddenly, working class accents -- more accurately, working class voices -- could be heard on the English stage and, in the words of Albert Finney, 'casts were no longer drawn from a stud farm that seemed to be located in Mayfair.'

Look Back In Anger was revolutionary. These scripts come from the front line.



Keywords: John OSBORNE Nigel KNEALE Richard BURTON Sally BURTON Tony PALMER"
£12,500.00


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