History Of F. Scott Fitzgerald In Hollywood

Submitted By fsucci
Words: 1061
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Francesca Succi
Dr. Siegel
December 4, 2013
Major Authors/Traditions
Research Paper
F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood Although most of Fitzgerald’s time in Hollywood during the 1930’s revolved mainly around outlining and creating The Last Tycoon, in looking at an overview his life we can almost see this book coming, along with The Crack Up essays. Throughout all of Fitzgerald’s work, including his early life, we can clearly see his interest in the Hollywood culture. This interest in Hollywood not only largely influenced Fitzgerald’s outlooks on his work, but also his writing inspiration and plot lines. I also discuss the changes that were made to Fitzgerald’s work to make it attractive to the film industry and to make it abide by the Motion Picture Production Code, which was in effect during the time Fitzgerald was trying to make it in Hollywood. I will make my connections using examples from The Last Tycoon, Tender is the Night, The Crack-Up essays, and various short stories that were effected by Fitzgerald’s attempt into the Hollywood world.
During the time period of 1930 to 1968, Hollywood was restricted under moral guidelines to censor films to make the industry seem less of a corrupt production. These guidelines were called the Motion Picture Production Code, however it was also known as the Hays Code. After the alleged rape and murder of actress Virginia Rappe, Hollywood producers passed a list of rules that all future films had to abide by, to defend themselves against public scandal and to avoid negative associations. The responsibility of compiling and supervision the creation of this list was given to William Hays, a former Postmaster General and Presbyterian leader, which explains the coined term “Hays Code.”
This code began with three general principals “1. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin. 2. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented. 3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation” (Bynum). It than goes into twelve sections of specific applications that strongly relates to the Ten Commandments associated with the Catholic Church, which stems from Hays’ strong religious affiliations.
After the publication of his novel This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald became frustrated with his writers block and decided to try his hand at being a screenwriter. Although he was not successful, possibly because of his aversion to happy endings that audiences strive on (Prigozy, 194), many of his works were written with film adaptation in mind, such as “The Camel’s Back,” and “Dice, Brassknuckles & Guitar.” Fitzgerald sold the rights to many of his works, not for the enjoyment of seeing them come to life, but because of his financial needs. “Head and Shoulders,” “Myra Meets His Family,” and “The Offshore Pirate” were adapted to movies, but few stuck to the original storyline (Prigozy, 190).
After finishing and publishing Tender is the Night, Fitzgerald tried many different variations of the story to try to make it fit within the numerous standards of the film industry at that time. He had completely taken out the incestuous themes, Nicole’s mental issues now stemmed from a random physical injury, which she is cured of, instead of the molestation incident, Dick Diver’s specialization was changed from psychologist to brain surgeon, and along with many other changes to make the story more morally sound there is a happy ending in which Dick and Nicole work their relationship issues out. However even after modifying several aspects, the script never went anywhere or caught anyone’s attention in Hollywood. During F. Scott Fitzgerald’s declaration of emotional bankruptcy in The Crack-Up essays, he gives us an inside look at the way Hollywood has influenced the way he