Faulkner at MGM: 1932-33

Faulkner’s MGM Screenwriting

One good place to start deciding how Faulkner’s screenwriting connected to his literary career is with Faulkner’s first two screenplays, both of which he completed at MGM studios from 1931 to 1932 as part of his first Hollywood contract. These screenplays and the handful of film treatments he wrote just before are unique in Faulkner’s film career because they are adaptations of his published fiction. Never again would Faulkner attempt on such a large-scale or so successfully to transform his major fiction into cinematic narrative.

What makes these screenplays so interesting is that Faulkner, in writing them, had to consider for himself the relationship between his fiction and Hollywood screen practice. These screenplays offer us a chance to figure out what he came to believe. ((For a complete listing of all the work did at MGM see Faulkner’s MBM Screenplays by Bruce Kawin. This is the essential text for understanding Faulkner’s time at the studio. It reprints the major primary texts and offers detailed introductions for each of the individual projects.))

Complete Screenplays

Turn About/Today We Live

War Birds/ A Ghost Story

Film Treatments

“Manservant”

“The College Widow”

“Absolution”

“Flying the Mail”

Incomplete Screenplay

Mythical Latin-American Kingdom Story