Dreiser Sells the Movie Rights to AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY

Document Signed ("Theodore Dreiser") three times, agreement with Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, also signed by Jesse Lasky, of the Players-Lansky corporation.

[Hollywood]: March 19, 1926.

Price: $7,500.00

About the item

Carbon typescript, 6 pp., with 2 ink corrections, signed by Dreiser in the margin. 4to. Dreiser Sells the Movie Rights to AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY. Bound with brads In blue wrappers stamped, numbered, and dated by the Legal Dept of the Players-Lasky Corporation, with typed title on upper cover: “THEODORE DREISER | with | FAMOUS PLAYERS - LASKY CORPORATION | Agreement. Central vertical crease, minor stains on back wrappertwo holes at top of front wrapper; overall, very good.

Item #252026

Dreiser sells the film rights to his classic novel for $80,000. Interestingly, Horace Liveright — Dreiser’s publisher — was to receive the sum of $10,000, which, In the initial version of this contract, was to be paid by “The Seller“ (i.e., Dreiser); that small detail was corrected by hand in this copy to “The Purchaser” (i.e., Lasky) -- and the correction duly signed and approved “OK Theodore Dreiser” in the margin!

The first treatment of Dreiser’s classic was written in the late 20s by the Russian master, Sergei Eisenstein, who was actually hired by Lasky to come to Hollywood in 1930 to direct a film. Untimately, however, Eisenstein proved incompatible with the more commericial orientation of Hollywood, and the first film version appeared in 1931, directed by Josef Von Sternberg — a film version which Dreiser strongly disapproved of. A second version was film in 1951 starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, entitled “A Place in the Sun”.