Walter Reuben, Inc. Archives - Rare Book Insider

Walter Reuben, Inc.

  • Showing all 25 results

book (2)

Sidney Lumet (director) (Holocaust film) THE PAWNBROKER (ca. 1963) Film script

Morton S. Fine, David Friedkin [New York]: The Landau Company, [ca. 1963]. Vintage original film screenplay, 11 x 8 1/2" (28 x 22 cm.), printed leatherette covers, brad bound, mimeograph, 121 pp., light vertical creasing to front wrapper, near fine. Historians have called The Pawnbroker the first feature produced entirely in the United States to deal with the Holocaust from the point of view of a survivor. Years before the term "survivor guilt" became part of the common vocabulary, The Pawnbroker took a look at that phenomenon. The Pawnbroker is not just a classic Jewish film. Shot on location in New York's Harlem district, it is a movie of extraordinary groundbreaking diversity that includes Jewish characters, Black characters, Hispanic characters, and gay characters. There are memorable performances by Black actors Juano Hernandez, Brock Peters and Raymond St. Jacques. It introduced the first of forty film scores by legendary Black jazz composer and music producer Quincy Jones. The second lead is played by Jaime Sánchez, an actor of Puerto Rican descent. Rod Steiger, who plays the title role, considered it the finest performance of his career. Sol Nazerman, the pawnbroker, is a man who lost everything in a concentration camp - his wife, his parents, his daughter and his little son. At present, he lives in the suburbs of Long Island with his sister-in-law and her family. Everyday he commutes from Long Island to his pawnshop in Harlem. He has an assistant, an ambitious young Puerto Rican named Jesus Ortiz, whose energy and cheerfulness contrasts sharply with Sol's dour demeanor. The pawn shop's clients whom Sol deals with on a daily basis are a wretched lot, desperately in need of money, or in one case, just someone to talk to. Sol has a mistress, the wife of Sol's best friend who died in the camp. She lives in a New York apartment with her elderly father who asks Sol, "Does blood flow through you, Nazerman? Do you feel pain?" To which Sol replies, (Very quiet) "No." The screenplay by Morton S. Fine and David Friedkin periodically flashes back from the Harlem present to Sol's concentration camp past. The story's narrative arc is a series of disturbing events, culminating in the death of Sol's assistant during an attempted robbery, that force Sol to feel again -- even if what he ends up feeling is his own extreme grief. The film, directed by Sidney Lumet, follows the screenplay quite closely, at least as far as its dialogue is concerned. When it comes to the screenwriters' description of action and how a scene should be shot, Lumet tends to disregard the screenwriters' detailed instructions and shoot things his own way. The film's extraordinary visuals are due in large part to its great cinematographer, Russian-born Boris Kaufman, a frequent Lumet collaborator and a master of his craft who worked on films as classic and diverse as Jean Vigo's L'Atalante and Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront. The film differs from the script structurally. A scene showing Sol at home with his Long Island family is moved from the middle of the screenplay to the film's beginning. A scene involving a corrupt cop who enters Sol's pawnshop is omitted altogether. One of the most striking and memorable aspects of the film -- not in the screenplay -- are the frequent flash cuts, sometimes as brief as two frames, from the present to the past, a device which the film's editor Ralph Rosenblum claims to have contributed. Other instances of cross-cutting, such as between the enthusiastic lovemaking of Jesus and his girlfriend, and the tired near-lifeless lovemaking of Sol and his mistress, derive from the screenplay. In the scenes at the richly furnished apartment of the Harlem crime boss Rodriguez, played by Brock Peters, director Lumet makes another significant (non-verbal) addition: the presence of a beautiful young man attending to Rodriguez, indicating that the crime boss is gay. Flash cuts to the bare breasts of Jesus's girlfriend, seen from Nazerman's point of view, were made in defiance of the 1964 Production Code and signaled the eventual end of that Code. The Pawnbroker is an unabashed art film, a foundational independent movie that helped to jump-start America's New Wave. Its remarkable New York location shooting, combining neo-realism with cinematographer Boris Kaufman's extraordinary use of light and shadow, makes this one of the definitive New York movies, and one of the movies that established Sidney Lumet as the definitive New York film director.
book (2)

Alain Resnais (director) MON ONCLE D’AMÉRIQUE [MY AMERICAN UNCLE] (1979) French film script

Jean Gruault [Paris, 1979]. Vintage original French screenplay, 11 x 8" (28 x 20 cm.), printed production company wrappers, 100+ pp. Wrappers lightly smudged. Many pages have actual 35 mm clips from the film on verso, illustrating the specific shots designated in the script (some of these have come loose). The script was presented to legendary French cinematographer Sacha Vierny by Arthur Cloquet, who was his assistant cameraman. Mon oncle d'Amà rique is a classic of French cinema -- and one of only a handful of foreign-language films to be Oscar-nominated as of 1980. Besides its nomination for Best Original Screenplay, it received many other plaudits, including the 1980 winner for Best Foreign Film from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes. Alain Resnais (1922-2014), along with Jean-Luc Godard, was considered one of the most formally innovative filmmakers of the French New Wave. Resnais' first three features -- Hiroshima mon amour (1959), Last Year at Marienbad (1961) and Muriel (1963) -- employed the full vocabulary of cinema, particularly montage, to redefine the way movies treated the themes of time and memory and had a revolutionary effect on the way those themes were treated in movies generally thereafter. Mon oncle d'Amà rique is no less revolutionary, formally speaking. It's a film that blends essay and narrative, starting with the lectures of real-life theoretical psychologist and biologist Henri Laborit, and illustrating Laborit's behavioral theories with the interweaving fictional stories of three characters: Jean (Roger Pierre) a would-be politician, Janine (Nicole Garcia) a would-be actress, and Renà (Gà rard Depardieu) the son of a farmer who becomes an executive in a textile factory. The stories of the three leading characters are, in turn, intercut with film clips of three iconic French actors, Danielle Darrieux, Jean Marais and Jean Gabin, who helped to define the self-images of the three protagonists. To write the narrative portions of his film, Resnais turned to veteran French screenwriter, Jean Gruault, whose other distinguished credits include Paris Belongs to Us (Jacques Rivette, 1960), Vanina Vanini (Roberto Rossellini, 1961), Jules et Jim (François Truffaut, 1962), La Religieuse (Rivette, 1966), Two English Girls (Truffaut, 1971) and The Story of Adà le H. (Truffaut, 1975). To shoot the film, Resnais employed one of the world's greatest cinematographers, Sacha Vierny, a long-time collaborator who had shot most of Resnais' previous films including Hiroshima mon amour, Last Year at Marienbad and Muriel. This particular copy of the Mon oncle d'Amà rique screenplay was formerly the property of Vierny, and includes physical film clips taped onto the back of many pages of the script to serve as color and lighting references. Professor Laborit's theories focus on four main types of animal behavior -- consumption, escape, struggle, and inhibition -- and he is particularly concerned with how an organism, human or otherwise, responds to crisis. Resnais illustrates Laborit's theories not only with human behavior, but with clips of all kinds of animal life, ranging from sea anemones to crabs and tortoises. Sometimes Resnais' illustrations have a surreal quality, as for example when we see performers interacting while wearing the heads of white rats. Mon oncle d'Amà rique is a thoroughly accomplished and entertaining work, and it is utterly singular. There has never been anything quite like it.
book (2)

Paul Schrader/John Guare (screenplays), Martin Scorsese (director) GERSHWIN (1985; 1993) Set of 2 film scripts

Paul Schrader/John Guare Archive of two vintage original screenplays for an unproduced film, contemporary production company scripts sent out to possible funders, in plain wrappers (with no photocopied punchholes), 11 x 8 1/2" (28 x 22 cm.), brad bound, both fine. -- GERSHWIN by Paul Schrader First Draft Revised November 7, 1985. 118 pp. Culver City: Winkler Films, 1985. One of Martin Scorsese's most ambitious unrealized projects was a musical biopic of George Gershwin, starring Robert De Niro as Gershwin. Writer/director Paul Schrader, who had previously scripted Taxi Driver and Raging Bull for Scorsese and De Niro, was hired to author the 1985 screenplay. For various reasons -- personality conflicts? maybe because it was too expensive? maybe because it was too avant-garde? -- the Schrader version was never made. Paul Schrader's 1985 film, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, was his most formally ambitious directorial achievement to date, divided into chapters that intercut scenes from Mishima's novels with episodes from his life. Schrader's Gershwin screenplay, also biographical and written shortly after the release of Mishima, was equally ambitious. Schrader's conception was to divide Gershwin's life into nine thematic chapters, the dramatic portion of each chapter to be shot in black-and-white, followed by a musical coda to be shot in color. Skipping back and forth in time, scenes that begin in one chapter continue in subsequent chapters. The nine chapters are as follows: 1. Tin Pan Alley -- We see George trying to earn a living as a piano player and sheet music salesman in New York's legendary Tin Pan Alley. His Jewish background. His earliest work as a composer. Chapter concludes with a performance in color of Gershwin's "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise" as staged in George White's Scandals. 2. Ira -- Contrasting the extroverted, energetic George Gershwin writing music on a piano, with his quieter brother Ira, who writes the lyrics. Their almost telepathic relationship. The coda, in color, is a performance of "S'Wonderful" in Broadway musical style. 3. Rhapsody in Blue -- Bandleader Paul Whiteman has the idea of bringing jazz to the concert hall. He commissions George to write the concerto, "Rhapsody in Blue". The coda, in color, is the premiere of "Rhapsody in Blue" with Whiteman conducting and George on the piano. 4. Broadway -- Rehearsal and performance of the Broadway musical Funny Face starring Fred and Adele Astaire. George is now living the life of an international celebrity. Coda, in color, is a performance of the title song from George and Ira's political satire Of Thee I Sing. 5. High Society -- George is the toast of the town. Highlighted by Elsa Maxwell's 1929 "Come as Your Opposite" party. Color coda -- party guests crowded around George's piano for a rendition of "Who Cares". 6. Porgy and Bess -- George and Ira attempt grand opera, collaborating with Southern playwright DuBose Heyward, on an adaptation of Heyward's play about Black people, Porgy. The radical idea of performing it with an all-Black singing cast. Color coda -- the stage performance of a spiritual choral number from Porgy and Bess. 7. Women -- George's many casual affairs. His serious relationship with a married woman, Kay Swift. Color coda -- A jazz club torch singer sings, "But Not for Me". 8. Psychoanalysis -- George sees a psychiatrist to deal with the recurring stomach pains he thinks are psychosomatic. "The entire chapter is a single, uncut monologue." Color coda -- A montage of images from the previous chapters while on the soundtrack, a "Fifties Sinatra-like voice" sings "How Long Has This Been Going On?" 9. Hollywood -- George writing music for the movies and dealing with symptoms of the brain tumor that eventually kills him at the age of 38. Color coda -- Mark Sandrich directing a scene from the movie Shall We Dance, with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers performing the Gershwin classic, "They Can't Take That Away from Me", cutting to a scene of George, Ira and Astaire happily belting out the same song at home as George plays it on the piano. -- MINE a screenplay for Martin Scorsese by John Guare. 1 February, 1993. 141 pp. John Guare (born February 5, 1938) is an American dramatist best known for the plays The House of Blue Leaves and Six Degrees of Separation, and for his original Oscar-nominated screenplay of Louis Malle's Atlantic City (1980). In the 1990s, Guare was commissioned by Martin Scorsese to write a completely different version of the Gershwin biopic, entitled Mine, which would have starred Robert De Niro as George and Richard Dreyfuss as his brother, Ira. The most striking difference between the Schrader and Guare screenplays is that Guare's script looks at George's life through Ira's eyes. Ira is effectively the main character. Where Schrader's script is composed of thematic blocks, the Guare script has a traditional linear narrative. We begin with Ira, George, brother Arthur and sister Frankie as children in New York's Lower East Side, and proceed chronologically from there. Only occasionally does the script cut to the future, Ira in 1937 after George's death telling his story to a psychiatrist. Where Schrader's script borders on the avant-garde, Guare's script feels comparatively retro, like a Warner Brothers film from the 1940s starring John Garfield as Ira and Robert Alda (who actually played Gershwin in a biopic) as George. Where Schrader's screenplay carves out space for big musical production numbers, one at the end of each of its nine chapters, the Guare script integrates the music with the narrative, usually with George playing piano. The relationship between the brothers is also presented differently. When young, Ira, an aspiring writer, considers himself to be the genius of the family, and only gradually comes to realize how talented his younger brother is. Where Schrader described the relationship between the brothers as telepathic, in Guare's script they are rivals. Guare emphasizes their relat