Faulkner at MGM: 1932-33


My basic claim on this site is that Faulkner arrived in Hollywood at the same time as his fiction became central to debates over the emerging Production Code. In this sense Faulkner’s writing shaped what Hollywood film would become for the next twenty years.

As a studio writer, Faulkner was not shielded from these debates. His fiction was notoriously perverse and studio readers read what he screenwriting carefully in order to spot and to eliminate potentially scandalous material. Working in this environment and rereading his fiction in order to adapt it for Hollywood production, Faulkner revised his stories in order to make them sexually acceptable, first in Turn About and then again in War Birds.

More than simply “writing to spec,” these revisions mark a change in his understanding of his previous narratives and a partial shift in his narrative sensibilities. When Faulkner returned to writing fiction, what he wrote was immediately perceived as different by critics. And that change, as it persisted and developed, began to be called his late style.

Material not linked here can be found in my dissertation.