JOHN STEINBECK - CONTRACT SIGNED 06/03/1946 - HFSID 347986
This contract, signed by the American author, authorized a German production of Of Mice and Men
Typewritten contract signed: "John Steinbeck", 2p, 7½x12½ New York, New York, 1946 June 3. John Steinbeck signed this contract, dated June 3, 1946, allowing German-speaking actors to perform Of Mice and Men, his 1937 novelette featuring the tragic characters of Lennie and George, two migrant laborers. The work had been chosen by the Book-of-the-Month Club and quickly became a best seller, sparking both Broadway's and Hollywood's interest in adapting it into a play. While writing Of Mice and Men in 1936, Steinbeck was growing increasingly interested in the theater, believing it to be the best medium to reach the common working man. In fact, Steinbeck actually wrote the book with the intention of making it a novel/play - a novel which could be performed as it was without needing to be revised for the stage. However, this experiment failed, and Steinbeck was forced to adapt it - his first attempt at writing a screen play. He was advised and encouraged by dramatist George S. Kaufman and Annie Laurie Williams, the agent who handled film and stage contracts at McIntosh and Otis, the literary agency which represented Steinbeck for more than 40 years. Using Steinbeck's script, Kaufman directed the first production Of Mice and Men, which premiered on November 23, 1937. The play won that year's New York Drama Critics Circle Award as best American play. Of Mice and Men received even more critical acclaim when it was released as a film, starring Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr., in 1939; it was nominated for an Academy Award as best picture. This work brought Steinbeck fame and success while The Grapes of Wrath (1939) earned him the Pulitzer Prize. Steinbeck granted the Oprecht & Helbling Company permission to stage a German production of Of Mice and Men only one year after World War II ended. Prior to becoming a correspondent for the New York Herald-Tribune in 1943, he wrote several patriotic works, including The Moon Is Down (1942), which deals with the Nazi occupation of an unspecified European country. Using occupied Norway as a basis, Steinbeck wrote the book as a contribution to the war effort while associated with the Coordinator of Information, an agency created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) to combat Nazi propaganda with Allied films and literacy works. The play was well-received in Europe since it inspired members of the underground resistance movement.Lightly creased with folds. Staple holes at upper left. Otherwise, fine condition. Framed in the Gallery of History style: 41¼x22¾.
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