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TitleElia Kazan: The Cinema of an American Outsider
PublisherI. B. Tauris
ISBN 139781845115609
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size3.9 MB
Total Pages265
Table of Contents
                            Contents
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Kazan at Twentieth Century Fox
2. New Directions: 'A Streetcar Named Desire' (1951) and 'Viva Zapata!' (1952)
3. Elia Kazan and the House Committee on Un-American Activities
4. Filming 'On the Waterfront' (1954)
5. Producer-Director: 'East of Eden' (1955) and 'Baby Doll' (1956)
6. Journeys in the American South
7. 'Splendours in the Grass' (1961) and 'America America' (1963)
8. Into Myself: 'The Arrangement' (1969) and After
9. 'The Last Tycoon' (1976): A Coda
References
Filmography
Select Bibliography
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Elia Kazan

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Page 132

break remarks, contemptuous of his public. Lonesome Rhodes suddenly loses
the popular appeal that makes him a political asset, although we see others
being primed to replace him.

Another of Kazan’s key responsibilities was to deliver a film to the studio with
a Production Code Administration seal. As with Baby Doll, this was not
achieved at the script stage, but only following a viewing of the completed film.
In a letter of 10 July 1956, with filming due to begin in August, Geoffrey
Shurlock found the script to be unacceptable under the provisions of the Code.
He objected to the emphasis in the leading man’s character on his ‘illicit sex
relations’ and to the absence of any balancing sense of sin or ‘feeling of moral
wrong-doing’. In detailed complaints he referred to frequent references to
Lonesome’s promiscuity and to the ‘intimacies’ between him and Marcia, and
pointed the filmmakers to the clause that stated ‘Pictures shall not infer that
low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing’. Yet the film
was issued with a Code certificate in April 1957, with Kazan thanking Jack
Warner for his help, and in May, a few weeks before release, Kazan informed
Shurlock that they had ‘cut about 8 more minutes out of the picture’, although
comparison with the published script indicates that most of the cuts were
designed to reduce dialogue and plot that was tangential to the main narrative
line.8 A Face in the Crowd was shot on location and in a leased New York
studio from August to November 1956, with three days of additional work the
following January. Kazan’s production notes again reveal some tension with
Budd Schulberg. Despite his rationale for forming his own company he
complained, during the Memphis shooting, that he was being rushed too
much, was not rehearsing enough, and that as a result ‘you are not getting the
benefit of your directing ability’. He also recorded that ‘BS swayed you last night
and you were swayable because you had not found your construction’.
Frustrated, he urged himself not to ‘satisfy Budd or Harry (Stradling, the cine-
matographer), or the Schedule; Satisfy yourself ’. In his autobiography Kazan
reflected that sometimes Schulberg, who had moved to a house near him on
location and who was on set throughout, was ‘too close and I caught myself
trying to please him’.9

As with his previous film, Kazan did not use stars, or even, for the most part,
established Hollywood character actors. He originally thought of Jackie
Gleason for the Rhodes character, but eventually decided on a sometime stand-
up comic, Andy Griffith, who had no film experience but who had played
for two years in the Broadway play No Time for Sergeants. Kazan’s choice for
Marcia Jeffries, Patricia Neal, had followed Barbara Bel Geddes in the direc-
tor’s recent theatre production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Elsewhere he used
mainly New York theatre actors, including 75-year-old Percy Waram as General

Journeys in the American South 119


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Hainesworth and Anthony Franciosa as Rhodes’s self-appointed New York
agent, Joey De Palma. As it was for Griffith, this was Franciosa’s first film per-
formance, in a role that recalls Schulberg’s Sammy Glick in What Makes Sammy
Run and is full of drive, excitement and sexual energy. Kazan noted that De
Palma was not to be a ‘heavy’ but someone who believed totally in the system.
When he fixes up Lonesome’s New York deal, and tracks him down in his
Memphis hotel room, he does an impromptu dance, a characteristic Kazan
piece of physicality, in celebration and excitement. Later he ditches Rhodes and
lines up a successor ‘country’ star (a brief appearance by Rip Torn). The choice
of Marshall Neilan as Senator Fuller was Schulberg’s suggestion. He had
worked with his father as a director and actor in the silent days, directing Mary
Pickford, and had not been in a film for over 20 years. Despite his training from
Lonesome Rhodes he seems, even for the Eisenhower era, a less than credible
presidential candidate. Mel Miller is a rather dry and typical fifties intellectual
commentator, a ‘voice of morality’ of sorts, redeemed by Walter Matthau’s dis-
tinctive style (this was only his third film) and his sense of self-disgust as a
writer forced to serve the new cultural forces. Charles Irving, who played
Lonesome’s Memphis sponsor, a mattress king, doubled as an adviser on tele-
vision and advertising, while Kay Medford (as the first Mrs Rhodes) came from
cabaret and musicals, P. Jay Sidney (the black prisoner) from Broadway, and
Rod Brasfield (Lonesome’s hobo sidekick and adviser) was a comedian at the
Grand Ole Opry.

From the beginning there is a tension between the topical references, the
rootedness of the work in contemporary liberal concerns, and the broad satire,
particularly in the advertising agency episode and the montage of scenes in
which Lonesome is supposedly made into a national figure and a potential polit-
ical force. In his notebooks Kazan referred to the paintings and lithographs of
the French painter and caricaturist Honore Daumier and contemplated an
angry, unsentimental perspective on the material. Yet Kazan as director is also
interested in capturing human behaviour that is more nuanced. The account
executive Macey, for example, who finally has a heart attack when he loses the
Rhodes account, is briefly sketched by Paul McGrath as a sympathetic and
tragic figure. Lonesome Rhodes himself however is too one dimensional in the
later scenes for his failure, at the climax of the film, to move an audience. Early
on Kazan wanted the Rhodes character to have moments of ‘bewilderment and
humanity’, but after his apparent corruption by ‘the system’, in New York, only
one short scene, in which he confesses to Marcia that he is lost in ‘tall grass’,
suggests any sense of self-awareness.10 As Lonesome becomes a monster, per-
sonally and publicly, the forbearance and masochism of Marcia becomes more
difficult to understand.

120 ELIA KAZAN


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Page 264

and House Committee on Un-American
Activities 64, 75

relationship with Elia Kazan 9, 75, 90–2
work with Elia Kazan 79–83, 90–1,

115–22, 184, 190, 192
Scorsese, Martin 6
Scott, Adrian 22–3
Sea of Grass, The 14–15, 224
Shahn, Ben 89
Sherwood, Madeleine 106, 108, 228
Sherwood, Robert 69, 72–3, 94, 226
Sinatra, Frank 82, 130
Sirk, Douglas 144
Skouras, Spyros 34, 60, 65–6, 71, 73, 80–1,

129, 136, 148
Smith, Art 62, 67, 70
Spellman, Francis Cardinal 106
Spiegel, Sam 9, 81–2, 88, 90–1, 118, 172,

179, 181–7, 227, 230
Splendour in the Grass 137–48, 139, 164,

166, 195, 229
analysis 141–7
censorship 140–1
financial considerations 138, 166, 189
and Kazan’s other films 168, 169, 185, 194
origins 137–8
reception 147–8
research 138–40
and Wall Street Crash 145–6

Stanislavsky, Constantin 2, 3, 4, 34, 194
Steinbeck, John 25, 31, 34, 45–50, 52–5, 61,

65–6, 69, 71–2, 80, 94–5, 129, 148,
156, 192

relationship with Elia Kazan 45, 94
Steiner, Ralph 4–5, 5, 127
Stevens, George 72, 102, 188
Stevenson, Adlai 8, 69, 72
Stewart, Fred 146, 188, 229
Stieglitz, Alfred 159
Stradling, Harry 41, 119
Stragow, Michael 109
Strasberg, Lee 3, 17, 62, 67, 106, 182, 194
Streetcar Named Desire, A 3–4, 35, 43, 53,

226
appraisal 41–5
censorship 36–40, 42–4
costs 37

filming 37–8
music 36–7
production credits 38
reviews 38–40
stage productions 33–5, 45

Sylbert, Richard 111, 139, 142, 193

Tailleur, Roger 8, 86, 147
Tavernier, Bertrand 7, 148
Tea and Sympathy (play) 80, 98
Tennessee 5, 5, 10, 41, 117, 126–31, 148,

191
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) 115, 126,

128, 131
Theatre of Action 4, 12–13
Thomajan, Guy 16, 87, 224–5
Thomson, David 5, 8, 195
Torn, Rip 106, 108, 120, 228
Tracy, Spencer 14–15, 96, 224
Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A 10, 12, 193–4, 22
Truffaut, François 112, 125, 186
Truman, President Harry 22, 27
Trumbo, Dalton 64, 70
Turkish (language) 2
Twentieth Century–Fox 1, 6, 9, 19, 28, 31,

46, 60, 65, 80
and censorship 34
creative freedom 26
and East of Eden 80, 98
Elia Kazan’s ‘apprenticeship’ at 12, 14, 19
Elia Kazan returns from MGM 15
Elia Kazan’s seven picture contract with 2,

10, 11, 94, 126, 138
history of 11
House Committee on Un-American

Activity and 65, 71, 80
and Man on a Tightrope 80
studios 25
turns down On the Waterfront 49, 80–1

United Artists 81, 173–4, 230

Venice Film Festival 90, 172
Vertigo 188
Vidor, King 162
Vietnam 155, 168, 172–9
Visitors, The 8, 172–9, 181

Index 251

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Page 265

252 ELIA KAZAN

Viva Zapata! 45–58, 53
appraisal 52–7
and Communism 46–7, 49, 52, 57–8
conception 45
cuts to 50–1
delays 48–50
filming 50
music 50–1
research for 46–8
reviews 57–8
screenplay 45–6
see also politics

Vizzard, Jack 37, 39, 42–3, 98, 105, 140

Waiting for Lefty 3, 67, 79, 128
Wallace, Henry 67
Wallach, Eli 17, 106, 110, 193, 228
Wall Street Crash 2, 137, 145
Wanda 172–3
Waram, Percy 119, 124, 228
Warner Bros. 10, 11, 31, 60, 63, 92, 93,

226–30
contracts with 33–4, 38, 80, 138, 149
Elia Kazan criticises 140
studios 31, 94, 105, 111

Warner Color 94
Warner, Jack 36–9, 63, 93, 96, 98, 102–5,

119, 162
control of Warner Bros. 93–4
and cuts to Elia Kazan’s films 38, 141
House Committee on Un-American

Activities and 22–3
Welles, Orson 6–7, 195
Wesleyan Cinema Archives ix–xi, 4, 9, 30,

110, 192
Wexler, Haskell 148, 151, 153, 160, 162, 171,

192, 229
Widmark, Richard 26, 30, 31, 225
Wild River 94, 115–36, 132, 133, 137–40,

228–9

analysis 121, 132–6
box office losses 136
communism in 127–8
filming 10, 115, 130–1
colour 130

and Kazan’s other films 121, 144, 148,
167

origins 115–16, 126–7
reception 136
research 117–18
screenplay 127–30

Wilder, Billy 40, 171
Wilder, Thornton 4, 40, 130, 152, 171
Wilkerson, William R. 23, 39, 65
Williams, Tennessee 2, 3, 7, 12, 31, 63, 69,

71, 80, 93–5, 103, 106, 112, 137, 147,
190, 192, 228

and Molly Day Thacher 3–4
see also Streetcar Named Desire, A

Wise, Robert 161, 189
Wolfe, Bertram D. 66–7, 71
Womack Jr., John 58
Wood, Robin 8, 136, 147, 190–1
Workers Laboratory Theatre 3–4

see also Theatre of Action
Wyler, William 33, 72, 171

Yale Drama School 2
Young, Jeff 8, 73

Zanuck, Darryl 34, 46–52, 58, 60–1, 80, 90,
94, 224–6

and cuts to Elia Kazan’s films 51, 72
and Elia Kazan’s early career 9, 11–12, 15,

19, 21–2, 24–5
and House Committee on Un-American

Activities 65, 71–3
Zapata, Emiliano 25, 33, 45–6, 150, 226

see also Viva Zapata!
Zinnemann, Fred 35, 98, 171

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