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Guide to Michael Neyman's Screen adaptation, stills, and film for the original version of John Steinbeck's story FLIGHT, 1957-1961
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Included are Neyman's original versions: some preliminary film shots, his film, such of it as has been preserved, stills from the film and related prints, correspondence, publicity from his day, and ephemera.
Neyman had read FLIGHT in Berkeley High School; he wrote a screenplay in 1955; succeeded in obtaining the rights to film it in 1956 "through the kindness of John Steinbeck," and by 1959 succeeded in obtaining $80,000 from 27 shareholders in a corporation. He was then 23. But he went over budget and the picture was taken away from him by the principal investor, Barnaby Conrad, and both script and footage changed considerably. Michael Neyman studied cinema at USC, continued his career as a professional cameraman, but never again tackled a theatrical feature. A 1959 column by Paine Knickerbocker quotes Steinbeck at the time on Neyman: "Your script of 'FLIGHT' is the most exact translation of story to film I have ever seen. There is no softening, no sweetening, no attempt to sentimentalize. But I have not the slightest idea wehter it will work." In 1955 Steinbeck gave Neyman a two-year option, with the proviso he would approve the finished work. In 1959 Steinbeck extended the option and withdrew the demand. By the time Neyman was out of the picture and the investors had ponied up $240,000, Steinbeck spent a weekend writing and recording a commentary to soup up the picture, for producer Conrad.
3.5 linear ft.
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