By Elia Kazan
This number of approximately 300 letters offers us the lifetime of Elia Kazan unfiltered, with all of the ardour, power, and uncooked honesty that made him such a massive and bold degree director (A Streetcar Named hope, demise of a Salesman), movie director (On the Waterfront, East of Eden), novelist, and memoirist.
Elia Kazan’s lifelong selection to be a “sincere, wide awake, working towards artist” resounds in those letters—fully annotated throughout—in each section of his occupation: his interesting apprenticeship with the recent and wonderful team Theatre, as stagehand, degree supervisor, and actor (Waiting for Lefty, Golden Boy) . . . his first tentative after which winning makes an attempt at directing for the theater and flicks (The dermis of Our Teeth, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) . . . his cofounding in 1947 of the Actors Studio and his codirection of the nascent Repertory Theater of Lincoln heart . . . his leading edge and celebrated paintings on Broadway (All My Sons, Cat on a sizzling Tin Roof, J.B.) and in Hollywood (Gentleman’s contract, beauty within the Grass, A Face within the Crowd, child Doll) . . . his start as a writer.
Kazan directed nearly back-to-back the best American dramas of the era—by Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams—and contributed to shaping their destiny productions. right here we see how he collaborated with those and different writers: Clifford Odets, Thornton Wilder, John Steinbeck, and Budd Schulberg between them. The letters provide us a different grab of his luminous insights on appearing, directing, generating, as he writes to and approximately Marlon Brando, James Dean, Warren Beatty, Robert De Niro, Boris Aronson, and Sam Spiegel, between others. We see Kazan’s heated dealings with studio moguls Darryl Zanuck and Jack Warner, his principled resistance to movie censorship, and the upheavals of his testimony sooner than the home Committee on Un-American actions.
those letters list besides the interior lifetime of the artist and the guy. We see his startling candor in writing to his first spouse, his confidante and adviser, Molly Day Thacher—they didn't mince phrases with one another. And we see a father’s letters to and approximately his children.
a rare portrait of a posh, extreme, monumentally gifted guy who engaged the political, ethical, and inventive currents of the 20 th century.
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Although I see no this is why they shouldn’t supply me a 3 month deferment at your request, in order that we will be able to anticipate my doing J and the C. the placement with Warners, particularly the declaration, is especially untimely. i've got signed not anything. we now have had a chain of conversations on a foundation that's very appealing to me: to direct one photograph a 12 months in the summertime months unavoidably, and with a method veto. which means I shall now not be known as to direct images other than one each summer time, and that to be an image i love. I’ll retain you involved with this because it progresses, however it certainly not impacts our dating. one of many purposes that i've been so dilatory approximately writing is Odets. I easily couldn’t make him out while I first arrived. (please maintain the subsequent to your self) His perspective used to be, to claim the least, passive. He want to see the exhibit on, he stated, yet it seems that with as little attempt from him as attainable. good, might be that's being a bit unfair, yet definitely he had no savour for the task of rewriting, no lively curiosity in it. And in addition to he used to be as much as his neck in that cozy, perfumed dust tub that everybody out the following lies buried in. there has been whatever inert approximately him. i started to pray, secretly, that I didn’t need to paintings at the play with him. Then i found that he used to be such a lot apprehensive to make a spot for himself at a studio, be declared necessary to the conflict attempt (people within the are) and used to be within the technique of promoting rules of his to images. One was once a play, part written, that he and that i had labored on 8 months in the past in N. Y. I instructed to Jack Warner that he purchase this; Warner did. It was once used as one of many focal issues for our conversations, Warner and that i, a couple of deal among us. once the lunch the place the deal used to be consummated used to be over, I took Odets apart and mentioned that he now couldn't paintings on Jacob. He notion a second [and] agreed. Then I acknowledged that i needed to herald one other writer, Behrman. He idea back and agreed back. That’s all there has been to it. I’m more than pleased in regards to the improvement among you and me. in the intervening time i'm watching for notice from you approximately Behrman. by the way Odets is aware that he’ll need to quit a few royalty. On casting: I’ve been operating. Its very tricky. And I’m a truly cautious fellow. The play needs to be taken care of, in a few respects, like a Shaw play. The speeches are a main asset; now not the plot. As you recognize I’m petrified of a goulash of dialects. For an afternoon i used to be very popular approximately Franchot Tone doing the Colonel. yet Franchot is way too cozy and too settled, doesn’t are looking to budge. Then I had an notion: Michael Chekhov to play Jacobowsky. How this geared up into my feeling approximately dialects, I refuse to debate. Mr. Chekhov, it seems that, can be too settled and too satisfied the following. So now I’ve stopped with suggestion. within the subsequent days I’m seeing thirty chances, together with your feedback. Nils Asther for instance, is coming in the next day. I had a pleasant lunch with Lem Ayers, whom i do know good (Harriet). He’s analyzing the script, and we’re assembly the following day and conversing.
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