Written By January 2012 : Page 38

Fifty-eight years after the premiere, this letter resulted in the WGAW restoring the credits for Roman Holiday : Story by DAlton trumbo ScreenplAy by DAlton trumbo AnD IAn m c lellAn Hunter AnD JoHn DIGHton January 11, 2011 John Wells, President, WGAW Dear Mr. Wells: I’m writing on behalf of myself and Chris Trumbo, who died on January 8, about the Roman Holiday Screenplay credit. Dalton Trumbo’s Oscar-winning Original Story credit on the 1953 classic was restored in 1991, as you know. But there remains the matter of the Screenplay credit, still currently attributed to my father, Ian McLellan Hunter, and John Dighton, the English writer who came on for William Wyler before shooting began to do a final production draft. During the last round of WGA blacklist-era credit restorations in 2000, Chris Trumbo had proposed that the credit should read “Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter, and John Dighton.” But at that time there was still some doubt about the genesis of the actual screenplay. As an occasional archivist I’ve never been happy to see the visible records of history disappear. The existing screen credit (and others) in a small sense keep the blacklist era alive for later generations who don’t know about it or are in-clined to forget. For me, also, it was tangible proof of a friendship, a symbol on celluloid of many friendships, and the manifestation of a pact between friends during a time of political persecution. Nonetheless I believe Dalton Trumbo did write the first draft, and according to WGA policy and tradition, Chris and I think the WGA should now restore his name to the Screenplay as well as the Original Story credits. The conventional wisdom had been that Trumbo wrote a full treatment, not a first draft screenplay, and the Trumbos avowed this in public well into the ‘70s. According to Chris, a script was never found among Trumbo’s possessions after he died. Chris had said to me, perhaps being kind, that this meant Ian probably penned the actual first draft. Apparently, the arrangement was that Ian would do the studio rewrite and he did do a rewrite of the script, which pos-sibly survives as the Paramount Studio draft from Ian’s files—he kept 2 copies—that I deposited at the AMPAS Library, the earliest script that anyone has found. This is probably Trumbo’s original polished by Ian, but I don’t know for sure and it could simply be Trumbo’s first draft. Beyond that, regarding Ian’s contribution, I only know my mother, Alice, once a story editor under Irene Lee (Diamond) at WB, always said he did a lot of work on it, and the film certainly can be seen as reflecting some of Ian’s particular wit and often distinctive charm. Ian, very English, was closemouthed about the whole thing and never spoke of it; I don’t believe he ever regretted fronting for Trumbo but he didn’t enjoy the ongoing experience either, in any way. Regardless of how much he col-laborated or didn’t on Roman Holiday , he would never talk about who did what on any script as a matter of personal principle, and never said a word about it to me, a kid who otherwise knew quite a lot about the blacklist. Trumbo came to New York City a week or so after the Spartacus opening in 1960 and he took me, 13, out one after-noon and told me he had written Roman Holiday . It was a gracious enough thing to do and clearly something he felt he had to do (after that he bought me the Spartacus soundtrack album and we went to see Generale Della Rovere at the Paris). He didn’t talk about what work Ian may have done on the script, though he said, merrily, that Ian had come up with the title. After Chris brought it up in 2000, I wanted to finally confirm it if I could, so I called Ring Lardner Jr., then very ill but always amazing on details and dates (especially about jobs and when people joined the Party). Regarding whether the original material from Trumbo had been a treatment or a script, Ring said, “No, certainly there was a script.” So I think that’s clear evidence now that Trumbo wrote the first draft and should at the very least have first position on the Screenplay credit. Ian and Dalton and Ring remained close friends until the end. I miss them all enormously. Obviously, it was important for Chris Trumbo to know before he died that his father’s credit would be restored, and under the circumstances I readily agreed to see if we could get it done. He died last week knowing that I would try. How exactly you’ll “arbitrate” the credit is, of course, up to you, and you’ll have to decide if my father belongs on it at all. In those days, Story and Screenplay were judged a bit differently than they are now. Please let me and the Trumbo family know your thoughts once you’ve reviewed the matter. Best wishes, as always. Tim Hunter 38 • WG A W Written By j anu ar y 20 12

Roman Holiday: A Positive Legacy Of The Blacklist

January 11, 2011 <br /> <br /> John Wells, President, WGAW <br /> <br /> Dear Mr. Wells: <br /> <br /> I’m writing on behalf of myself and Chris Trumbo, who died on January 8, about the Roman Holiday Screenplay credit. <br /> <br /> Dalton Trumbo’s Oscar-winning Original Story credit on the 1953 classic was restored in 1975, as you know. But there remains the matter of the Screenplay credit, still currently attributed to my father, Ian McLellan Hunter, and John Dighton, the English writer who came on for William Wyler before shooting began to do a final production draft. <br /> <br /> During the last round of WGA blacklist-era credit restorations in 2000, Chris Trumbo had proposed that the credit should read “Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter, and John Dighton.” But at that time there was still some doubt about the genesis of the actual screenplay. <br /> <br /> As an occasional archivist I’ve never been happy to see the visible records of history disappear. The existing screen credit (and others) in a small sense keep the blacklist era alive for later generations who don’t know about it or are inclined to forget. For me, also, it was tangible proof of a friendship, a symbol on celluloid of many friendships, and the manifestation of a pact between friends during a time of political persecution. <br /> <br /> Nonetheless I believe Dalton Trumbo did write the first draft, and according to WGA policy and tradition, Chris and I think the WGA should now restore his name to the Screenplay as well as the Original Story credits. <br /> <br /> The conventional wisdom had been that Trumbo wrote a full treatment, not a first draft screenplay, and the Trumbos avowed this in public well into the ‘70s. According to Chris, a script was never found among Trumbo’s possessions after he died. Chris had said to me, perhaps being kind, that this meant Ian probably penned the actual first draft.<br /> <br /> Apparently, the arrangement was that Ian would do the studio rewrite and he did do a rewrite of the script, which possibly survives as the Paramount Studio draft from Ian’s files—he kept 2 copies—that I deposited at the AMPAS Library, the earliest script that anyone has found. This is probably Trumbo’s original polished by Ian, but I don’t know for sure and it could simply be Trumbo’s first draft. Beyond that, regarding Ian’s contribution, I only know my mother, Alice, once a story editor under Irene Lee (Diamond) at WB, always said he did a lot of work on it, and the film certainly can be seen as reflecting some of Ian’s particular wit and often distinctive charm. <br /> <br /> Ian, very English, was closemouthed about the whole thing and never spoke of it; I don’t believe he ever regretted fronting for Trumbo but he didn’t enjoy the ongoing experience either, in any way. Regardless of how much he collaborated or didn’t on Roman Holiday, he would never talk about who did what on any script as a matter of personal principle, and never said a word about it to me, a kid who otherwise knew quite a lot about the blacklist. <br /> <br /> Trumbo came to New York City a week or so after the Spartacus opening in 1960 and he took me, 13, out one afternoon and told me he had written Roman Holiday. It was a gracious enough thing to do and clearly something he felt he had to do (after that he bought me the Spartacus soundtrack album and we went to see Generale Della Rovere at the Paris). He didn’t talk about what work Ian may have done on the script, though he said, merrily, that Ian had come up with the title. <br /> <br /> After Chris brought it up in 2000, I wanted to finally confirm it if I could, so I called Ring Lardner Jr., then very ill but always amazing on details and dates (especially about jobs and when people joined the Party). Regarding whether the original material from Trumbo had been a treatment or a script, Ring said, “No, certainly there was a script.” So I think that’s clear evidence now that Trumbo wrote the first draft and should at the very least have first position on the Screenplay credit. <br /> <br /> Ian and Dalton and Ring remained close friends until the end. I miss them all enormously. <br /> <br /> Obviously, it was important for Chris Trumbo to know before he died that his father’s credit would be restored, and under the circumstances I readily agreed to see if we could get it done. He died last week knowing that I would try. How exactly you’ll “arbitrate” the credit is, of course, up to you, and you’ll have to decide if my father belongs on it at all. In those days, Story and Screenplay were judged a bit differently than they are now. <br /> <br /> Please let me and the Trumbo family know your thoughts once you’ve reviewed the matter. <br /> <br /> Best wishes, as always. <br /> <br /> Tim Hunter

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