Hollywood: Paramount Pictures, 1943. Shooting script for the cornerstone 1944 film noir, dated September 25, 1943, based on the 1943 novella by James M. Cain, and written for the screen by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder. The AFI Catalog indicates that shooting began on September 27, 1943, this script being dated two days earlier.
The script includes two ending sequences: (1) the one that was used, with Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) dying in the hallway of the insurance office outside of his boss’ door (Edward G. Robinson), and (2) one that was not used, with MacMurray awaiting his death in the gas chamber while Robinson and others look on from behind the glass.
The second, more brutal ending, totaling three pages here with no dialogue whatsoever, was shot, but ultimately didn't work thematically with the film and replaced. The well known substitute sequence is a more subtle one, with Neff dying slowly as he dictates the last of the confession that has been the substance of the story. The footage for the “gas chamber” sequence is lost, and only still photographs remain.
Billy Wilder, making the right decision at the right time as usual, decided it was time to bring in lauded hard-boiled crime fiction author Raymond Chandler to work on a great crime drama. The source material was Cain’s seminal hard-boiled novella. The two worked on the script for several weeks together, and at one point Cain was even brought in to resolve some questions. The result was a film that set the standard for all that would follow in what came to be known as the noir style, using a cut-up time structure, Barbara Stanwyck in a blonde wig, Fred MacMurray as a soulless sucker, and Edward G. Robinson as the straight man who brings pathos to the proceedings. Nominated for seven Academy Awards (a rare feat for a genre picture), including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenwriter, Best Cinematography, and Best Actress.
In a custom quarter leather binding with gilt titles, design, and rule, with raised bands. Binding housed in a cloth chemise, with chemise housed in a matching quarter-leather slipcase, also with gilt titles, design, and raised bands.