From Our Film Correspondent RECENTLY Emmet Lavery, the American responsible for the Jesuit play, The First Legion, wrote another Catholic interest play called Second Spring—dramatic biography of Cardinal Newman. Following upon its production. Hollywood (company unstated) wrote thuswise to Mr Lavery:
Dear Mr Lavery, We think you got something in Second Spring, and might find spot for it on our 1939 program, but you got to make some changes and punch it up some as it don't seem to click or jell in its present form.
First, kindly cut out the religious angle It would not get by Joe Breen. You can work in a few clergymen, only they can't have any faults. They shouldn't be Cardinals, as the public might think a picture about Cardinals was a baseball yarn.
Make this Manning an Irish type priest, a two-fisted regular guy, like Spencer Tracy played in San Francisco. Change Cardinal Wiseman to Rabbi Wiseman, who is also a two-fisted regular guy, and make Leo a minister (Protestant, but no special sect), and he is a regular guy, too. These three run through the picture, maybe having their little differences, but of course you have got to keep their noses clean. In the end they all agree it don't make any difference what you call yourself if you shoot square.
MAKE Jack Newman a young American. What we got in mind is a follow up of the Robert Taylor hit, A Yank at Oxford. What do you think of the title, A Crank at Oxford ? We might be able to get Taylor, so kindly put in a romantic angle, and build up a strong love story between Newman and a Margaret Sullavan type who could be the daughter of Gladstone, and the Duke of Norfolk is out to make her. He is a rich young rounder, a sophisticated type, and we may sign up Don Ameche for the part.
We would have liked to have a theme about Newman going to the dogs on account if the girl, and the girl is in a sort of fog, too, when along comes an act of God and snaps them out of it.
Your present set-up won't do, as we cannot photograph the Oxford movement, unless we decide to make this a musical and have Cole Porter dream us up a dance—sort of like " The Big Apple ' — and call it " The Oxford Movement."
SO see if you can work out something that will give us a chance for a couple of reels of spectacular outdoor stuff. Metro did an earthquake, Fox a fire, Goldwyn a hurricane, so we can't use them for a year or so anyhow, unless maybe you can see a way to use a combination of all three. How about the whole cast going off on the Duke's yacht and getting caught in a typhoon in the China Seas?
If you can lick this yarn along these lines, we might be able to work out a deal.—Yours, very truly.
Well, what of it, Mr Lavery? Our film critic would like to see this scenario.