A Masterpiece: Rex Ingram's or Sabatini's
producer of plays recently sold a production of his to the
motion pictures. When he read the scenario prepared by them for
screen acting his remark was: "May I have the dramatic rights of
this scenario? I think it would make an excellent play!" The
title was the only thing about his production he recognized.
Rafael Sabatini's publishers send us a letter from that modern
Dumas. Just what were the misunderstandings within the motion
picture industry which gave rise to the naive happenings
recorded below, we do not know. It does not really matter. The
spectacle of Sabatini's surprise is amazing enough, as he sees
the announcement of a novelization of Rex Ingram's famous film,
Mr. Sabatini writes:
A year or so ago, in a letter of mine to Mr. Greenslet,
dealing with my complete eclipse by Rex Ingram on the Metro
posters, I mentioned, more or less jocularly, that in view of
the character of the publicity and the strenuous efforts to
keep the name of the author secret, it would not be
surprising if presently it were assumed that I am the author
of a novel based upon "Rex Ingram's masterpiece,
It is evidently not good to jest about these things. For
something even worse has happened.
I refer you to the article in the enclosed page of the
"Matin." You will look there in vain for my name, just as
you might look for it in vain on the magnificent posters of
the "Scaramouche" film outside the Madeleine Cinema in Paris.
(I have seen those posters.) That need cause you no surprise.
But a flutter of surprise may agitate you when you read the
closing paragraph, which may be rendered thus: "As for the
arresting and picturesque romance which Jean d'Agraives has
written especially for the Baudiniere publications, it is
worthy of Rex Ingram's film."
d'Agraives has been requested to explain himself. Evidently
he regards the request as an impertinence. Not only, he
assures us, did he receive permission from the Loew-Metro
Corporation to write this book, but he is making it directly
from the film itself, without reference to any text, whether
of the original book or of the scenario.
I conceive M. Jean d'Agraives at the moment submerged in
indignant amazement at my having restrained his publisher
from going further in the matter of this "arresting and
picturesque romance" which he was so independently founding
upon Rex Ingram's Masterpiece. And there we may leave
It is like an incident from "Alice in Wonderland." The movies
are young; they are seldom really vicious in their blunders. But
they are often spectacular in their enchanting absurdity.
Bookman 60, no. 5 (January 1925)
This unsigned piece was included in the
Bookman's "Point of View" column, and may have been
contributed by the journal's associate editor, Grant Overton,
who published a piece in the February issue headed "Salute to
Sabatini, with a portrait by Bertrand Zadig." (The portrait
looks like a block print.)
Articles & Images
Last updated 29 March 2008. Photos from Rex Ingram/Metro
Picture Scaramouche. Reprinted without permission. Submitted by
Claudia Rex. Any concerns or
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