Forty-eight hours of filming last week:
An afternoon on the Upper East Side interviewing Barbara Probst Solomon, the author of the seminal article on Westport and Gatsby for The New Yorker in 1996.
We were fortunate to spend an afternoon at her apartment talking about her childhood in Westport and her views on Scott and Zelda during that summer of 1920.
Barbara’s parents owned Great Marsh, the estate across the Saugatuck River and Sound from the Wakeman Farm. Barbara went to the Sorbonne in Paris after World War II. She and Norman Mailer’s sister Barbara Wasserman participated in the historic escape of two Spanish students from Franco’s goulag Cuelgamuros near Madrid. A prolific writer, the Harry Ransom Collection of the U of Texas, has recently acquired Barbara’s archives including her work in the modern post World War II Spanish resistance.
We hightailed it back to Westport for some evening filming including the Saugatuck River Bridge to capture the scattered lights of Marietta, as detailed in The Beautiful and Damned, the novel scholars all agree was written while Scott was here.
. . . The great cascade of wires that rose high above the river…and ran with the railroad Bridge … Read the rest
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be rolling through the virtual book blogging world throughout the fall, first with Teddy Rose:
and then with Tracee and Pump up your book:
More details to come as tour dates and locations are sorted.… Read the rest
Yesterday I took a remarkable journey through the personal correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald archived at the Firestone Library on the campus of Princeton University. I held actual letters from Scott himself, as well as communication written by friends, writers and colleagues.
It was a surreal feeling reading these letters, often heartbreaking. Scott pleading with the life insurance company because he didn’t have the cash to pay the bill. Doctors detailing Zelda’s situation. Notes about his daughter, Scottie; a teen-aged Zelda telling Scott to stop writing so much.
I drove down with my executive producer, Richard ‘Deej’ Webb. We went through thousands of pieces and found two tied to Westport: A note from Scott to his best man, Ludlow Fower, and a letter to Scott from H.L Mencken and George Nathan, editors of the Smart Set Magazine. Both make great additions to our film.
Security was tight and one must strictly follow the rules. Fair enough–these documents need to be protected for future generations. Here’s the ID card required to be worn at all times. No drinks, no food, no pen or pencils or paper (they provide that). No bags or other personal possessions (although laptops are permitted).
We took … Read the rest