1938 · Burbank, CA
by Hellinger, Mark (screenwriter); Busby Berkeley (director); Faith Baldwin, Robert Buckner (screenwriters); Kay Francis, Ian Hunter, John Litel, Donald Crisp (starring)
Burbank, CA: Warner Brothers, 1938. Final Draft script for the 1938 film. From the library of producer Mark Hellinger, who wrote the film's screenplay, bound in red three-quarter leather with gilt titles and designs, marbled endpapers, raised bands, trimmed edges, and Hellinger's name in gilt on the front board. Also included is a typescript on onionskin stock, with the title and credits for Hellinger and story writer Faith Baldwin on the front wrapper in holograph ink. Finally, laid in is a typed letter signed by Bette Davis (dated March 31, 1939), on Davis' stationery, thanking Hellinger for kind words regarding her film "Dark Victory" (1939), and discussing her dismay with the script for "Comet Over Broadway," and her resulting decision to part ways with the film. Mark Hellinger's first screenplay for Warner Brothers. His other credits include the noir antecedent, "The Roaring Twenties" (1939, screenwriter), "It All Came True" (1940, producer), and his notable series of foundation noir films, "High Sierra" (1941, associate producer), "The Killers" (1946, producer), and "The Naked City" (1948, producer). Based on a story by Faith Baldwin (published in "Cosmopolitan" in 1937), about Eve Appleton (Francis), wife of garage owner Bill Appleton (Litel) and aspiring actress. Bill gets into an argument with an actor over Eve, and accidentally kills him. Eve takes her infant daughter and tries to make her way on Broadway while Bill is imprisoned. Set in New York. Bound script: Noted as FINAL on the distribution page, dated 3/28/38, with credits for Hellinger, Robert Buckner, N. Brewster Morse, Fritz Falkenstein, and Frank Cavett on the following page, flatsigned by Walter MacEwen. Distribution page present, with receipt intact. 155 leaves, mimeograph duplication, dated August 19, 1938 and August 22, 1938 (screenwriters' credit page). Pages and binding Near Fine. Typescript: Blue wrappers. "Comet Over Broadway by Mark Hellinger / (after a story by Faith Baldwin)" in holograph ink on the front wrapper. Title page present, with credits for screenwriter Hellinger and story writer Baldwin. 78 leaves, typed, watermarked "MILLERS FALLS." Pages Near Fine, wrapper Very Good plus, bound with two gold brads. Bette Davis letter and envelope: Light soil and a closed tear to the envelope. Letter folded horizontally, else Near Fine.
(Inventory #: 133673)