September 7, 1946
Now that I have a better idea of the kind of story and characterization you like, it occurred to me that I should show you RED PAWN, a synopsis of which is attached.
This is an original by me, the first story I ever sold. Paramount owns it, but has never produced it.
I would like you to read it, keeping in mind that if it were to be made now, I would suggest changing the locale and having the story take place in an unnamed dictatorship, rather than in Soviet Russia. It would give the story deeper significance.
I called this story to Mr. Wallis’ attention, when I first started to work for him. He read it and liked it, but hesitated for a long time over the question of the locale, saying that he did not like to have a story in an unnamed background. I don’t agree with him on that. He did admit that the story has the same dramatic pattern and the same basic situation as “Casablanca” (I wrote it long before that), but he could not quite make up his mind to do it, so I let it go and have not discussed it with him since.
As far as I am concerned, since Paramount owns the story, I would not get any kind of extra payment for it—so this is not an attempt to sell you an original of mine for any reason except that I love this story. I think it is still the best film story I ever wrote, and I would rather work on it than on anything I know.
The starring role is an acting part of the kind which a writer can succeed in devising very rarely; I know it, because I’ve tried since. She is the only woman in the story—and a kind of advance echo of Dominique. After seeing “[The Strange Love of] Martha Ivers”, I can’t think of anyone who could do it as you could.
Since you said that what you were anxious to find was a love story, a story about positive characters, and a story that had a quality of prestige—I could not help sending you this one. It is all three.
If you like it, I think we can persuade Mr. Wallis to make it; and I would be one of the happiest authors in Hollywood. But if you don’t, I shall do my best with
Page 2 Miss Barbara Stanwyck 9-7-46
“Be Still, My Love”, as we discussed it.
I will telephone you Monday morning to learn your reaction before I make an appointment to see Mr. Wallis. If the time is not convenient to you, would you leave a message as to what time I may reach you, and I will call then.
With best regards.
Miss Barbara Stanwyck
807 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, California
Stanwyck replied by telegram that she and her manager had decided that “Red Pawn” was not “the right kind of story” for her to do.