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John Huston (1906-1987) was born in Nevada, Missouri, the son of actor Walter Huston and journalist Reah Gore Huston. As a teen he moved with his mother to Los Angeles, where he attended Lincoln High School. He dropped out to pursue boxing, then painting, studying the latter with Stanton MacDonald-Wright at the Art Students League of Los Angeles. Huston pursued acting in New York with the Provincetown Players in 1924. He started writing short stories and worked as a reporter for a New York newspaper. Huston came to Hollywood as a writer in the early 1930s, under contract first at Samuel Goldwyn, then at Universal. From 1932 to 1937 he drifted around London, Paris, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Finding his niche as a writer at Warner Bros., Huston scripted "Jezebel" (1938) and "High Sierra" (1941), among other films. His directorial debut was "The Maltese Falcon" (1941), for which he also wrote the screenplay. His directing career was interrupted by service in the Army Signal Corps, where he directed three documentaries. Back at Warner Bros., Huston directed "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) and "Key Largo" (1948). During the HUAC investigation of Communism in Hollywood in the late 1940s, Huston was a member of the Committee for the First Amendment. Eventually disenfranchised, he moved to Ireland in 1952 and became an Irish citizen in 1964, taking up residence in a mansion built on the ruins of a monastery. Huston went on to direct such pictures as "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), "Moulin Rouge" (1952), "Moby Dick" (1956), "The Misfits" (1961), "Freud" (1962), "The Bible" (1966), "The Night of the Iguana" (1964), "Wise Blood" (1979), "Under the Volcano" (1984), and "Prizzi's Honor" (1985). His last film was "The Dead" (1987). As an actor Huston has appeared in "The Cardinal" (1963), "Chinatown" (1974), "Wise Blood," and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," among other films. Huston's children, Anjelica, Danny, and Tony, have all found work in acting and directing. John Huston received Academy Awards for writing and directing "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre." His other dozen nominations span five decades and three categories (writing, directing, and acting).
The John Huston papers span the years 1932-1981 (bulk mid-1940s to mid-1970s) and encompass 63 linear feet. The material consists of production files, including script material and research, correspondence, and subject files.
The production files contain material related to both produced and unproduced projects, including budgets, employment agreements, casting information, shooting schedules, interoffice memos, cutting notes, censorship correspondence, general correspondence, and publicity clippings and reviews. The emphasis is on the 1950s and 1960s, particularly for the films "Moby Dick" (1956) and "Freud" (1962), though there also is a substantial amount on "The Barbarian and the Geisha" (1958), "Beat the Devil" (1954), "The Bible" (1966), "The Misfits" (1961), "Moulin Rouge" (1952), "Quo Vadis" (1951; Huston left the production), "Reflections in a Golden Eye" (1967), and "The Roots of Heaven" (1958). There are no production files from the 1930s and only a few from the 1940s. Those from the 1940s include the government wartime documentaries "The Battle of San Pietro" (1945) and "Report from the Aleutians" (1943) and the features "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) and "Key Largo" (1948). The files on "The Man Who Would Be King" document the efforts to make this film from 1953 to 1975.
Prominent correspondents in the production files include producers and executives Buddy Adler, David O. Selznick, Darryl F. Zanuck, Ray Stark, Dino De Laurentiis, and John Woolf; writers Jean-Paul Sartre, Arthur Miller, Ray Bradbury, Carson McCullers, Romain Gary, Aeneas MacKenzie, Charles Kaufman, B. Traven, and Wolfgang Reinhardt; art director Stephen Grimes; and cinematographer Ossie Morris. Script material includes bound volumes of scripts and unbound scripts in various stages from first draft to shooting script. Both produced and unproduced properties are represented. There are bound volumes for some of Huston's earliest films, including "Jezebel" (1938), "The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse" (1938), "Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet" (1940), "Juarez" (1937), and "High Sierra" (1941), as well as for the majority of his later films. Particularly extensive script material exists for "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), "Freud" (including the original script by Jean-Paul Sartre), "The List of Adrian Messenger" (1963), "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975), "The Misfits" (1961), "Moby Dick" (including numerous drafts by Ray Bradbury) and "Reflections in a Golden Eye." Under "Miscellaneous Stories" are a number of the earliest writings by John Huston, including his script for "Laughing Boy" (1934).
The correspondence files contain material dealing with professional, personal, financial, and legal matters. Early files document Huston's involvement with such organizations as the Screen Directors Guild, the Screen Writers Guild, and the American Veterans Committee, and his participation in the HUAC controversy. Later files reflect Huston's active interest and support of the Irish film industry, his television appearances and interviews, and his participation in film festivals. The files contain information regarding story ideas and books and scripts submitted to Huston. They also reflect Huston's personal interests in art, horses, and hunting. Sizable correspondence is included from agent Paul Kohner, publicist Ernie Anderson, attorney Mark Cohen, business manager Jess Morgan, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Lillian Gish, James Agee, Charles Hamblett, Peter Viertel, Lillian Ross, Art Buchwald, Alvah Bessie, Carson McCullers, Doris Lilly, Bill Pearson, Harold Mirisch, William Wyler, and Buckminster Fuller.
The subject files include publicity clippings regarding Huston's career, various drafts of his autobiography, "An Open Book," material relating to his home in Ireland (St. Clarans), various publications of a general nature, a few drawings by John Huston, and material gathered for an unpublished biography of his father, Walter Huston.
Gift of John Huston, 1981-1992.