Song of the Eagle [The Beer Story]

Ralph Murphy (director)
Gene Towne and C. Graham Baker (screenwriters)
Charles R. Rogers and Harry Joe Brown (producers)
Charles Bickford, Richard Arlen (starring)

Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, 1933. Draft script for the 1933 film "Song of the Eagle," seen here partially under the early working title "The Beer Story." Presentation copy belonging to uncredited producer Harry Joe Brown, with his name in gilt titles on the front board, presumably gifted to Brown by prop man William Carr, as the script itself has Carr's ownership name in manuscript pencil on the title page. Throughout the script are Carr's annotations, accompanied by 17 black-and-white film stills on tipped-in leaves. Missing two pages, likely as used or issued.

Otto Hoffman (Jean Hersholt) and his sons, Bill (Richard Allen) and August (George Meeker), own a successful brewery, until August dies in World War I and Prohibition forces the brewery to close. The Hoffman's brew a "near-beer" beverage to keep the business out of bankruptcy, but soon the brewery is overcome by gangsters, and Otto is killed for refusing to sell out. Bill is forced to break the bad news to his mother, Emma, who in a fit of loss and rage, kills the lead gangster.

The script was written in early 1933, the same year Prohibition was repealed, and the "near-beer" brewed by the Hoffman's foreshadows the 3.2 percent beer (thought to be too low an alcohol concentration to be intoxicating) and wine, authorized for legal sale by the Cullen-Harrison Act, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on March 22, 1933. The Twenty-first Amendment was fully ratified on December 5, 1933, repealing Federal laws enforcing Prohibition. "Song of the Eagle," like the same year's "The Little Giant" with Edward G. Robinson, would be one of the last films made about Prohibition before its repeal.

Brown full sheepskin boards with gilt titles, bound by James Allen. Distribution page present, with receipt removed. Title page present, dated February 1933, with credits for screenwriters Towne and Baker, director Murphy, and producers Rogers and Brown. 130 leaves, mimeograph duplication, with black and white publicity photos laid in throughout. Very Good.

[Book #131504]