Los Angeles: Paramount, 1936. The earliest screenplay treatment for Graham Greene's "This Gun for Hire," written by screenwriter Dore Schary. Boldly SIGNED by Schary across the title page. Yellow carbon typescript sheets, 157 pages, bound with two gold brads. A Paramount file copy, with the Paramount Pictures file stamp and a holograph date notation of 5/28/37 at the top right corner of the title page (though the typed date on the title page is July 7, 1936). Very Good or better, with light wear at the corners and some tearing of the title page at the brads. In a custom quarter-leather clamshell box.
From the AFI catalog:
"Graham Greene's novel was originally published in England as A Gun for Sale, but the title was changed to This Gun for Hire for American publication. Material in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals the following information: The studio intended to produce the film as early as May 1936, shortly after Greene's novel was purchased for $12,000 in London. The story was also known as "Guns for Sale." Producer A. M. Botsford assigned Dore Schary to write the script and was considering Peter Lorre to play the role of 'Raven.' Two directors, E. A. DuPont and Robert Florey, were interested in the project, but because of production delays, Florey would not commit to the project. Botsford then began to have second thoughts about casting Lorre, who he felt might deliver a 'one-key performance.' In August 1936, Maurice Geraghty was signed to work on a script with Jack Moffitt, and Botsford considered James Hogan for director. By October 1936, two other writers, Thomas Monroe and Robert Wyler, contributed continuities and scripts, but when costs for producing the film appeared to be prohibitive, Botsford abandoned the project and soon after left Paramount. The project was taken up again in 1939 and 1940, and for a time, Paramount London considered making the film in Great Britain. Correspondence in the file reveals that in April 1940, actor Anthony Quinn and writer Lester Koenig worked on a version of the script, which apparently was rejected. Finally in June 1941, Albert Maltz, who wrote the final screenplay with W. R. Burnett, began a story outline, and, according to modern sources, the film was rushed into production to capitalize on the growing popularity of Veronica Lake, who had been chosen as the female lead. Modern sources note that the film was called 'The Redemption of Raven' on the Paramount studio lot. According to HR news items, Paramount considered Charlie Ruggles for a role in the film, but ultimately chose Alan Ladd." Selby (1984) 427. Silver, pp. 289-290. Spicer, pp. 50-51.
Ladd and Lake would go on to be one of the most popular screen couples in film history. The earliest screen treatment for a key 1940s film noir, and the first of several films in the noir cycle to be adapted from novels by Graham Greene.
Hardy, The BFI Companion to Crime, p. 324. Selby (1984) 427. Silver, pp. 289-290. Spicer, pp. 50-51.