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Lot 58: 1952 The Reno Brothers "First Draft" Original Twentieth Century Fox Script for Elvis Presley's First Film, Love Me Tender

The Auction at Graceland - October 29, 2016

by The Auction at Graceland

October 29, 2016

Memphis, TN, USA

Live Auction
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  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
  • 1952 <em>The Reno Brothers</em> Love Me Tender">
   
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Description:

Elvis Presley exploded onto the national scene in 1956 with a slew of #1 hits for RCA, several landmark television appearances and his Hollywood film debut as Clint Reno in Love Me Tender. The film was retitled from The Reno Brothers late in production to capitalize on the raging success of Elvis' single "Love Me Tender," which sold an unprecedented one million copies prior to its release. Reworked slightly for the young singer, Love Me Tender was a fairly straightforward Western tale with some nice plot twists and some songs thrown in for good measure. The film was premiered by Twentieth Century Fox on November 15, 1956 in New York City and on November 20 in Memphis. Elvis attended the Memphis showing with his mother Gladys. When Gladys cried at the death of her son's character at the end of the movie, Elvis vowed never again to take a role in which his character perished. Gladys wasn't the only one to take umbrage with Elvis' onscreen demise–when test audiences reacted poorly to seeing him expire, the studio quickly had Elvis add another verse to the title track that could be sung by his ghostly image above the final scene.

This astounding first draft script's original title, "The Reno Brothers," is stamped on the front of its orange-colored cover. The new title is handwritten in ink directly above the stamped original title and date of November 15, 1952. The script is marked "First Draft Continuity" and numbered "2671" in the upper right corner of the cover. It is stamped along the bottom "Property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Return to Stenographic Department." A typewritten note, dated November 17, 1952 is included on the first interior page and reads: "Dear Mr. Zanuck: The correct length of this script, allowing for short pages, would be 119 pages instead of 124. In the old form the correct length would be 141 1/2 pages. Molly." 

Darryl Zanuck, now a household Hollywood name, was a revolutionary film producer and studio executive who co-founded Twentieth Century Fox and was the first to address issues of the environment, race and religion on the big screen. He is remembered for some of the most important and controversial films in cinema history during his long Hollywood career, which spanned more than 50 years from the 1920s well into the 1970s. 

The offered script, along with the treatment that was delivered with the script to the then-head of Twentieth Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck, is also accompanied by a memo from Zanuck back to the filmmakers and writers. Based on this memo, the offered script contains Zanuck's very own handwritten edits in red, including dialogue changes and removals. His memo goes on to discuss changes to the end of the film. This historic collection of Hollywood ephemera is noteworthy for Zanuck's handwritten contributions to the film that would launch Elvis' robust movie career. Since the script languished for years in pre-production, the script's printed date pre-dates Elvis' fame.  

Although originally quite minor, the part Elvis was given was revised to include extra lines and added scenes to accommodate his rabid fan base. Love Me Tender was the only film in which Elvis appeared and was not given top billing, but was also widely regarded as his best performance. Elvis, who desperately wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, would go on to make over 30 movies.

An incredible relic from Elvis' first foray into Hollywood. The script measures 11 by 8 1/2 inches (27.94 x 21.59 cm) and is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

Condition Report: While the script’s cover shows signs of wear, with wrinkles and minor edge wear, the inner pages are free of major defects. Excellent to Mint condition.

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