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Denne Bart Petitclerc, "A Farewell to Arms" dialogue continuity and Ben Hecht screenplays

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 16571

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a dialogue and three screenplays of Denne Bart Petitclerc's film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway "A Farewell to Arms" starring Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones adapted by Ben Hecht from the Selznick Studio in Hollywood, California. The first screenplay is called Script 82,Quarto, mimeographed typescript printed on rectos bradbound in yellow production company wrappers, dated October 22, 1956, and begins with two ambulance drivers playing cards when the main character Frederick Henry comes up to them with the sounds of war in the background in Orsini, Italy.

The second screenplay is a preproduction draft dated January 26, 1957, 173 leaves, Quarto, mimeographed typescript printed on rectos, bradbound in bright orange production company wrappers. It is the novel's second screen adaptation to reach production. The draft still designates John Huston as director, but he left the project as a consequence of budget disputes and Charles Vidor took over.

The third screenplay is by the Selznick Studio, Culver City dated 1957 in white production company wrappers. This draft was close to the final draft and notes Charles Vidor as the director. It has prefatory material not included in earlier drafts.

There is one dialogue continuity in a red production company wrapper.


  • Creation: 1956 - 1958

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Denne Bart Petitclerc's film adaptation of "A Farewell to Arms" is a 1957 American DeLuxe Color CinemaScope drama film directed by Charles Vidor with screeenplay by Ben Hecht, based in part on a 1930 play by Laurence Stallings. Denne Bart Petitclerc (May 15, 1929 – February 3, 2006 was an American journalist, war correspondent, author, television producer, and screenwriter. He became a life long friend of Ernest Hemingway. This adaptation is the second feature film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's 1929 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. It was the last film produced by David O. Selznick. The logo for 20th Century Fox also does not appear at the beginning, due to the movie's poor reception.

For many years, David O. Selznick had wanted to film the Hemingway novel, but Warner Brothers owned the property and refused to sell it to him. He found himself in an advantageous bargaining position when Warner Brothers bought the remake rights to "A Star is Born," to which he owned the foreign rights. Without them, the studio could not release their intended remake with Judy Garland overseas. Selznick offered to relinquish his rights to a "A Star is Born" in exchange for the rights to "A Farewell to Arms", and Warner Brothers agreed.

On October 25, 1956, Selznick contacted director John Huston at the Blue Haven Hotel in Tobago and enthusiastically welcomed him to the project. He advised him his contract with 20th Century Fox called for severe financial penalties if the film went over schedule and/or budget, and urged him to concentrate wholly on the film until principal filming was completed.] Selznick's concerns increased as Huston began to tinker with the script and spend an inordinate amount of time on pre-production preparations, and on March 19, 1957, he sent the director a lengthy memo outlining the problems he foresaw arising from Huston's lack of cooperation. Two days later, Huston announced he could not agree with Selznick on any of the issues he had raised and quit the project. Based on correspondence with Charles Vidor, it appears the producer's relationship with Huston's replacement was acrimonious as well. The producer later said the film was "not one of the jobs of which I am most proud."

Sources: "A Farewell to Arms" (1957 Film) Wikipedia Retrieved 2021-09-24


0.4 Cubic Feet (1 letter size document box) : 3 screenplays and one continual dialogue

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from William Reese by the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on 5 June, 2018.

Condition Description


Denne Bart Petitclerc, "A Farewell to Arms" screenplays and dialogue
Ellen Welch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States