Frances Marion was the most significant screenwriter in the founding years of Hollywood. A newspaper artist in 1910, she soon became the highest paid writer in the business, penning some of the biggest films of Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and many others. Working right through the silent era, she conquered the talkies and received Academy Awards for the prison film The Big House (1930) and boxing picture The Champ (1931).
At the height of her powers in the 1920s she crafted the novel Minnie Flynn, an excoriating account of the rise of a star from the alleyways of midtown Manhattan, through extra work in the original movie heartland of New York to dominance in Hollywood, before her downfall. Written by the ultimate insider, the novel pulls no punches in describing how movie people were treated, and treated others.
The original novel has remained unseen since first publication (apart from a bowdlerized 1948 version published as The Passions of Linda Lane). This historically noteworthy work deserves to be more widely read and appreciated. Because the hard-to-find original is, with prices in the hundreds of dollars, too expensive for most readers I intend to produce a new, high-quality edition in the hope of spurring further interest in the book.
I already hold a first edition and will take the full text from this 1925 copy. The 384 page book will be scanned, the text will be newly typeset by a graphic designer, it will be professionally proof-read and matched to the original, and set within a stunning newly-jacketed paperback edition.
The 100 copies of this new edition will be individually hand-numbered and will include the names of the backers.
Here's the first page of Minnie Flynn to whet your appetite:
Postage and packaging on the finished book is free and has been calculated for all of Europe, America and much of the world. The regions are limited by country to ensure no over-promising, but should you want a copy and live elsewhere, message me and I should be able to confirm the cost and extend the regions listed.
Aside from hiring design and production talent, with the kind cooperation of Rebellion Publishing, this Kickstarter is entirely run by myself.
The above picture of Marion, popularized on the cover of Beauchamp's biography, is one of the most common image search results. The still is owned and held by Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive and will not be included in the new edition of Minnie Flynn.
Cari Beauchamp has written the definitive biography of Frances Marion, Without Lying Down (University of California Press, 1998), and while not connected to this Kickstarter, it is through her scholarship that I became aware of Marion and Minnie Flynn. Anyone interested in the era or Marion should pick up her book. As I have sought out early Hollywood fiction, the help, expertise and generous time of Oscar Award-winner Kevin Brownlow has been an enormous encouragement.
Risks and challenges
The risks in this Kickstarter are deliberately small, the publisher already has the first edition copy of the novel in hand, shipping and packaging costs are free based on current international prices. The project's target covers all essential costs. The printing will be provided by a longstanding and highly-reputable mainstream British book printer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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