30 January 2016

Make no cracks about my behind!

Here's a light-hearted, funny exchange of memos between producer David O. Selznick and director George Cukor. While their most-talked-about collaboration (the 1939 "Gone with the Wind") had ended in Selznick firing Cukor, they had worked together successfully on several projects before. Their most successful pre-GWTW film was "David Copperfield" (1935), and the following memos were written while Selznick and Cukor were putting together the cast of that film. The two men had become friends years earlier, apparently in Rochester, N.Y, as Cukor mentions in his memo. (In the 1920s, Cukor worked there as a director of summer stock shows). After Cukor was fired from GWTW, the two remained friends although Cukor never really forgave Selznick .



To  Mr. Selznick
From  George Cukor
Date  Feb. 9, 1934

Dear Sir:

It was a consideration, and a very important one in my contract, that I was to have free access to your CAN on the first floor.

You have in direct violation of this- locked the door on your side. Unless this is rectified immediately, I will notify my agent, Myron Selznick, of Joyce, Ltd., who will then arrange for the abrogation of my contract.

This is not sent to you in any unfriendly spirit, but I am sure you will see my side of the question.



To  Mr. Cukor
From  D.O.S. 
Date  2/14/34

Well, so what about Bob Montgomery and that test?

If you think you are just going to stall this along until we leave for the East, you're crazy.....I'll leave you behind!




To  Mr. David Selznick
Subject  David Copperfield
From  George Cukor
Date  Feb.15, 1934

Dear Mr. Selznick:
Robert Montgomery

I'll thank you to make no cracks about my behind. I am dying to make the test of Mr. Montgomery. I think he will make an ideal David Copperfield.

I am also looking forward to renewing again the delightful friendship we started in Rochester. 

Incidentally, when the hell do we leave for New York?

Your ardent admirer,
George Cukor

Robert Montgomery didn't get the role of the adult David Copperfield; it ultimately went to Frank Lawton.

Images of the memos courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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