Unmade Movies. Adaptations of unproduced screenplays by major authors of the 20th century. Movie history is filled with scripts that go unproduced, and not all by struggling amateurs. Even cinematic legends have a few hidden gems that never made it to the screen. Unmade Movies aims to give them new life bringing “lost” screenplays from the likes of Arthur Miller, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Harold Pinter to the radio, adapting them into audio dramas featuring a host of the world’s finest actors including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, David Suchet, Tim Pigott-Smith, Elliot Cowan and Rebecca Front.
Unmade Movies. Harold Pinter’s Victory. The world premiere of Harold Pinter’s screenplay of Josef Conrad’s last major novel, in a special adaptation for radio by Sir Richard Eyre.
It’s 1900 in the Dutch East Indies. Disenchanted with life and humanity, Heyst, a mysterious Swedish Baron, lives alone on a deserted island. He believes he can avoid suffering by cutting himself off from others, but his life is altered when he visits the neighbouring island for a doctor’s check up. Here he meets and falls in love with Lena, a young English violinist, travelling across the Pacific with a small commercial ladies Orchestra. Surrounded by predatory older men, including the hotel manager Schomberg, she is drawn to Heyst and the sense of mystery that surrounds him. Together, in the middle of the night, they escape by boat to his island.
Unmade Movies. Harold Pinter’s The Dreaming Child. The world premiere of Harold Pinter’s unproduced film screenplay, based on Karen Blixen’s elusive and mysterious short story of love and loss.
It’s Bristol in 1868 and Emily, married to wealthy Tom Carter, is haunted by her passionate first love affair with a young soldier who subsequently dies at sea. Seven years later and unable to have children themselves, they decide to adopt a boy from the slum. Jack however is not an ordinary child – and seems to know everything about his new home and family.
Unmade Movies. Arthur Miller’s The Hook. The world broadcast premiere of Arthur Miller’s unproduced screenplay tells the story of a 1950s Brooklyn longshoreman who is fired for standing up to his corrupt union boss, but decides to fight back by standing for union president.
The Brooklyn Docks. Dawn. Hundreds of longshoreman queue in line to see if they’re going to be given a counter and picked for work in that day’s gang. It’s dangerous work, but with a hierarchy of corrupt union bosses all taking backhanders above them, they have no option but to accept.
Arthur Miller developed the script for The Hook with Elia Kazan and it was on the trip to LA to pitch it to Harry Cohn at Columbia Studios that he met Marilyn Monroe for the first time. Cohn asked Miller to change the script and turn the corrupt union bosses into communists. Miller refused and the screenplay was shelved. He and Kazan then fell out over Kazan’s testimony to McCarthy’s House of Un-American Activities Committee. Kazan went on to make On The Waterfront and Miller wrote A View From The Bridge, essentially reworkings of The Hook.
Unmade Movies. Orson Welles’ Heart of Darkness. The broadcast premiere of Orson Welles’ unproduced screenplay of Joseph Conrad’s celebrated novel. Staring James McAvoy. It’s the 1890s and Mr Kurtz, one of the senior agents of an Ivory trading company, has disappeared. Marlow, a skipper, is hired to take a steamship up the Congo River to find him. But the further he and the other company men travel up river, the greater the sense of impending danger, and the more disturbing the rumours that begin to circulate about Kurtz. But truth is more terrifying than any of them imagined.
Orson Welles wrote this screenplay in 1939, with the intention of directing and starring as both Marlow and Kurtz. After founding the Mercury Theatre in 1937, his celebrated production of Julius Caesar and his radio adaption of The War of The Worlds established him as a major talent. RKO Pictures then signed a deal with him to produce his first feature film. Welles intended this to be Heart of Darkness but the script proved to be too audacious for them – and his second script, Citizen Kane, was greenlit instead.
Unmade Movies. Hitchcock’s The Blind Man. The world premiere of Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman’s unfinished screenplay, the follow-up to North by Northwest – now completed by Mark Gatiss.
Set in 1961, a famous blind jazz pianist, Larry Keating, agrees to a radical new medical procedure – an eye transplant. The operation is a success but his new eyes are those of a murdered man, and captured on their retina is the image of his murderer. Larry and his new nurse, Jenny, begin a quest to track him down – before someone else dies.
Silent Nights. By David Nobbs. Gordon Flitch’s life is bombarded with noise from every direction. But while his manic complaints about noise were hard enough for wife Alison to bear, his efforts to combat it really begin to grate! For example, retreating to the silence of the Scottish Highlands, he decides on a whim to record the blissful noise-lessness to share with friends. This recording ‘solution’ quickly becomes a mania with him and Gordon sets about marketing silent CD’s that can be played in pubs to spare oneself the raucousiness of pop music. He soon finds that he has hit a chord with the nation’s consciousness. Gordon’s fanatical obsession with silence has made him famous – but at what cost to his marriage? Another great comic obsessive from the creator of Reginald Perrin.
The Lost Love of Phoebe Miles. By Bernard Kops. Phoebe, a young woman in wartime London, works in a dress factory. She meets and falls in love with an American serviceman but he disappears into Europe and the war. Years later – they meet again.
Wooden Heart. By Hatty Nailer. A drama about the life of Anna a Yemish Gipsy girl born in Switzerland during the 1970’s and taken from her family and placed in an orphanage. The play highlights the Swiss policy of taking Gipsy children from their families in order to disolve the race.
The Word Man. Chris Harrald’s vivid and imaginative play about Henry Fowler, the creator of the Concise Oxford Dictionary and Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Celebrating the beauty of language, the joy of words and the wonder of finding love later in life, this is a witty and erudite comic romance.
Be Prepared. By Andy Rashleigh. Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement, looks back upon a life embodying the spirit of imperial adventure. From the balcony of his home, he regrets, he gives thanks, and he wonders if he has at last found something like harmony and peace.
Belgian Nurse. By Kathryn Hulme. The story of a friendship that created one of the 20th century’s best-selling novels and films. When American writer Kathryn Hulme meets a Belgian nurse on a UN Relief Programme after the Second World War, she doesn’t understand why Marie-Louise Habets is so unwilling to talk about herself. It’s only later that Marie-Louise admits she has recently left her convent – a confession that reaches a worldwide audience through the book and then the film of The Nun’s Story.
Charity Ends at Home. By Colin Watson. Inspector Purbright investigates dark deeds and anonymous letters in the quiet and respectable town of Flaxborough.
More Inspector Purbright on the Detective Pages.
The Other Side of the Hill. The Long Road to Waterloo: The 2nd of Peter Luke’s plays of the Peninsular wars takes us from the Battle of Badajoz to the Battle of Waterloo.
A Pair of Blue Eyes describes the love triangle between a young woman and her two suitors. One is the socially inferior, but upwardly striving young man who adores her and connects her with her country past, while the other is the respectable, established, older man who represents London society. The heroine is caught between multiple expectations (those of the men, her parents, and society) and the desires of her own heart, which she does not always seem to know.
Harpo Goes to Leningrad. Lee Pressman’s play is based on the true story of Harpo Marx’s 1933 tour of Russia. Misunderstood as a comic, arrested as a terrorist and enlisted as a spy, Harpo finds himself alone in a strange country with only his burly female minder for company.
Adam Bede. A dramatisation of George Eliot’s second novel. The story’s plot follows four characters’ rural lives in the fictional community of Hayslope—a rural, pastoral and close-knit community in 1799. The novel revolves around a love triangle between beautiful but thoughtless Hetty Sorrel, Captain Arthur Donnithorne, the young squire who seduces her, Adam Bede, her unacknowledged lover, and Dinah Morris, Hetty’s cousin, a fervent Methodist lay preacher.
Address Unknown. Tim Dee’s adaptation of Kressmann Taylor’s novel, published in 1938. Two old friends, former business associates in San Francisco, exchange letters. One is an American German Jew, the other an American German who, excited and energised by the new Germany of the 1930s, has gone home. Attitudes harden with the seemingly inexorable rise of Hitler, the Jew horrified by the change in his friend and his wholesale adoption of the rhetoric and ideology of Nazism.
The Small Back Room. Richard Stevens’s dramatisation of Nigel Balchin’s tense WWII thriller. Sammy Rice is called in to try and solve the mystery of a series of unexploded bombs that are being scattered after German air raids. They lie dormant and then inexplicably explode on human contact.
More dramatic documentary in the …Of Interest Pages.