Sunday, September 14, 2014

A William Faulkner anecdote, co-starring Clark Gable & featuring Howard Hawks

From Joseph Blotner's Faulkner: A Biography (2005)

"One of [Howard Hawks'] friends, Clark Gable, had a .410 over-and-under shotgun that Faulkner admired so much he wanted one like it. The first time they had driven into the Imperial Valley for some dove-hunting, Hawks began to talk about books. He would remember the conversation clearly. Faulkner entered into it, but Gable remained silent. Finally he ventured a question.

'Mr. Faulkner,' he said, 'what do you think somebody should read if he wants to read the best modern books? Who would you say are the best living writers?'

After a moment, Faulkner answered. 'Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, Thomas Mann, John Dos Passos, and myself.'

Gable took a moment to absorb that information. 'Oh,' he said. 'Do you write?'

'Yes, Mr. Gable,' Faulkner replied. 'What do you do?' "

1 comment:

Tyler said...

"[O]nce, early in Faulkner’s Hollywood career, he sat in his office for several weeks doing nothing (sometimes he played dominos, sometimes he played chess). And there came a day when the producer, tired of waiting for 'pages,' came to his office in person (which was really a breach of Hollywood protocol) and wanted to know how he was getting on.

"Faulkner, who had not written a single line, reached for an old screenplay he had found in his desk and said, 'Ah’m not satisfied with it.' Then he slowly tore it up, page by page, and dropped it into the wastebasket.

"The producer reported back to his own boss, 'That fellow Faulkner’s great! Tore up a whole screenplay because it didn’t satisfy him. Conscientious. I wish we had more writers like him. See that he’s not disturbed.' "

From Alvah Bessie’s 1965 memoir Inquisition in Eden [via VINCE KEENAN]