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Bright, John Listings

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1 Bright, John It's Cleaner on the Inside [*SIGNED*]
London Neville Spearman 1961 NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Elizabeth Fort Signed by Author
[spine a little turned, boards a little bowed, shallow dent at top of front cover, light age-toning to page edges; jacket just a bit edgeworn, one tiny tear at top of spine, another tiny closed tear at top of front panel, light soiling to rear panel]. INSCRIBED and SIGNED by the author on the ffep (see addtional note below). The second of only two books published by this noted screenwriter during his lifetime (and his only novel to see print), this Dostoyevskian tale of a rebellious young man who works his way up in the San Francisco underworld until "tragedy, horror and disintegration" land him in San Quentin was published only in England. This was not unrelated to the fact that the author -- one of the founding fathers of the Hollywood chapter of the Communist Party USA -- had essentially gone into self-imposed exile in Mexico not long after having been interrogated by HUAC investigators in 1950. (Although he had broken with the Party some years before, his radical sympathies were undiminished, and he wanted to avoid being subpoenaed for public testimony before the Committee and thus being placed in a "naming names" situation.) As interviewer par excellence Patrick McGilligan discusses in his introduction to Bright's posthumously-published memoir, "Worms in the Winecup," the book was a fictionalized version of the life of his friend and one-time screenwriting partner Robert Tasker, whose five-year stretch in San Quentin had been the springboard for his own writing career. (Among the pair's shared credits were the 1937 Warner Bros. picture SAN QUENTIN.) The book is inscribed "For Davey -- who knew Pete Jameson too -- " ("Jameson" being the Tasker surrogate in the novel); the identity of the inscribee is unknown, and no likely suspect appears in the index to Bright's memoir. [PLEASE NOTE that the middle four pages of the last signature in the book have become detached, although this will not be in any way apparent unless the book is opened to those pages.] Signed by Author 
Price: 85.00 USD
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2 Glasmon, Kubec, and John Bright The Public Enemy
New York Grosset & Dunlap (c.1931) First Edition Hardcover Good+ 
(no dust jacket) [externally quite a nice-looking book, clean and bright (would rate at least VG+ on external appearance alone), but unfortunately both pastedowns (inside covers) bear extensive remnants of what was once a glued-down dust jacket (now long gone), as well as stamping indicating that the book was once held by Boyd's Lending Libraries]. (4 B&W film stills) Photoplay edition, actually a novelization of the classic gangster film, hence the true first edition, since there was no prior publication of the story in any form. The copyright notice states the claimant to be Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., and thereby hangs a typically Hollywood story of mutation-through-adaptation. The story began its life as a unpublished novel called "Beer and Blood," the screen rights to which were sold to the studio while its co-authors, Bright and Glasmon, were still trying to arrange a publication deal. As Bright tells it in his memoir, in the middle of working on the screenplay, they were essentially duped into letting the studio arrange for publication of their book -- only to learn (too late) that it had been turned over "to a Benzedrine-driven hack who tapped out a bowdlerized version of the screenplay's plot, bearing not the faintest resemblance to [our novel]; not a single phrase remained." (The movie's screenplay, incidentally, was credited to yet another writer, Harvey Thew. Well, his actual credit was "screen adaptation," with the more prominent "by" credit still going to Glasmon and Bright -- but it's perilous to over-interpret screenwriting credits, which were capriciously bestowed in those pre-Screen Writers Guild days.) The movie made a star out of James Cagney, in his first major movie role, and he is fittingly featured in three of the four stills bound into the text of this book -- but what I can't figure is why the frontispiece photo is a two-shot of Beryl Mercer (who played Cagney's simpering mother, in one of the most irritating performances of all time) and Rita Flynn (whose role in the film, as the sister of Cagney's pal Matt, wasn't even big enough to rate an on-screen credit -- although to be fair, neither was that of Mae Clarke, recipient of the most famous grapefruit-in-the-face in movie history). 
Price: 100.00 USD
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