Paramount Pictures' Copy of the First Edition, First Printing of The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. First edition, first printing, meeting all six points in Bruccoli. Octavo. 218 pages. Publisher's linen-grained green cloth with titles stamped in gilt on spine and in blind on front board. Minor rubbing to extremities; binding slightly cocked. A few spots of foxing to fore-edge, some intruding very slightly to fore-edge margin; minor foxing to bottom edge. Bookstore ticket to rear pastedown ("Hollywood Book Store, Opposite Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood California"), with some offsetting to facing page. Rubber stamp on front free endpaper and title page reading "RETURN TO STORY DEPT. Paramount Productions, Inc." with "#5" in pencil beneath. A very good copy.
This copy of Fitzgerald's most enduring work belonged to the Paramount movie studio which, in 1926, released the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation's film version of The Great Gatsby, the first such adaptation of the novel. Fitzgerald was paid $13,500 for the film rights, and the resulting eighty-minute silent film starred Warner Baxter as Jay Gatsby, Lois Wilson as Daisy Buchanan, Neil Hamilton as Nick Carraway, and William Powell as George Wilson.
This first film production of The Great Gatsby is notable, not only for being the only one of the three feature films thus far produced (with another currently in pre-production) to be filmed during the Jazz Age of the 1920s when the story actually takes place, but it is also one of the most famous "lost films" in cinema history. No prints of this film are known to survive -- a poster for the film and a one-minute trailer which has been preserved by the Library of Congress is the only evidence that the film was made. An appealing copy of the first printing of The Great Gatsby with an interesting Hollywood association.
First edition, first printing points, per Bruccoli:
There are six textual variants between the first and second printings:
Pate 60, line 16: "chatter" instead of "echolalia"
Page 119, line 22: "northern" instead of "southern"
Page 165,line 16: "it's" instead of "its"
Page 165, line29: "away" for "away." (in the first printing, there is no period after "away")
Page 205, lines 9-10: "sick in tired" instead of "sickantired"
Page 211, lines 7-8: "Union Street station" instead of "Union Station"
Regarding the first film adaptation of The Great Gatsby:
On May 2, 1925, only three weeks after Gatsby had been published, a cash-strapped Fitzgerald wrote to his literary agent, Harold Ober, regarding a potential sale of the film rights: "By this time next week ... it'll be obvious both whether I was a fool not to sell it serially and also whether the movies are interested. The minimum price would be $5,000.00. If it goes to say fifty thousand copies I should want at least $10,000, and for anything over that, in the best-seller class I think I should get $25,000.00."
At one point, before the rights were finally sold to Famous-Lasky-Paramount in late 1926, Ober sent a telegram to Fitzgerald informing him that there was a possible $45,000 offer on the table. Fitzgerald responded immediately that he wanted to accept the offer.
In his article "Hollywood In Fitzgerald: After Paradise," Robert A. Martin writes: "The $45,000 offer for film rights to Gatsby did not materialize, however; out of a total income for 1926 of $25,686.05, slightly more than half ($13,500) came from the film rights to his most-praised novel. By comparison, Fitzgerald's income from book sales for 1926 amounted to $2,033.20."
Source:Robert A. Martin, "Hollywood in Fitzgerald: After Paradise," in The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Approaches in Criticism, edited by Jackson R. Bryer, University of Wisconsin Press, 1982.
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