Culver City, CA: RKO Radio Pictures, 1946. Estimating script for the 1947 film, dated April 3, 1946. James M. Cain’s ultimately uncredited rewrite of Geoffrey Homes’ early draft, based on Homes’ 1946 novel, "Build My Gallows High," which was at that time still unpublished.
A rare script, which confirms a claim still listed as unsubstantiated by the AFI Catalog, which notes: “The working title of this film was Build My Gallows High. In September 1945, RKO outbid Warner Bros. for the rights to Geoffrey Homes’ ... unpublished novel, according to a Los Angeles Times article. ... Modern sources also claim that James M. Cain rewrote Homes’ script with Frank Fenton. Fenton is credited as a contributing writer by SAB, but Cain’s contribution has not been confirmed by contemporary sources.”
Ultimately, sole credit for the script went to Homes, who would make a permanent switch from novels to screenplays after the success of the film, later under his real name Daniel Mainwaring. Cain would also spend many years in Hollywood, though he only received screenwriting credits on two films, "Stand Up and Fight" (1939) and "Gypsy Wildcat" (1944).
A former private detective lives a quiet life in a small town until his past catches up with him, forcing him to return to the world of crime. An unimpeachable high spot of the genre.
Set in Bridgeport, California, shot in the High Sierra Mountains of Nevada and Reno, as well as locations throughout California.
Red titled wrappers, noted as ESTIMATING SCRIPT on the front wrapper, rubber-stamped copy No. 1495, dated April 3, 1946, with credits for screenwriter Cain and novelist Homes. Title page integral with front wrapper. 120 leaves, with last page of text numbered 120. Carbon typescript on onionskin stock. Pages Near Fine, wrapper Very Good plus, bound with two gold brads.
National Film Registry. Grant US. Hardy, The BFI Companion to Crime. Selby Masterwork. Silver and Ward Classic Noir. Spicer US Classic Noir.