Movie Fact #320 - March 4th, 2022
Author Evelyn Waugh saw his 1948 novel The Loved One adapted into the 1965 film. Though, funny enough, the path to that book's creation was stemmed in a classic story of a failed Hollywood project. Originally, Waugh visited Hollywood when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer offered him a six-figure sum for the film rights to his novel Brideshead Revisited, despite the fact that none of the studio bosses had read the book. When Waugh demanded complete veto rights over the finished product, the project was scrapped.
However, during his stay in Los Angeles, Waugh became fascinated by the American obsession with the funeral industry, inspiring him to write first a lengthy journal article on the Forest Lawn cemetery and its founder Dr. Hubert Eaton before then writing his The Loved One. The film took so long to make because countless creative forces attempted unsuccessfully to produce a filmed version of it, including the Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel and the comic writer/director Elaine May. Ultiamtely, British filmmaker Tony Richardson took the helm with screenplay written by noted American satirical novelist Terry Southern and British author Christopher Isherwood. The film also drew on Jessica Mitford's book The American Way of Death (1963), thus lending further to it's unique tone. Stay tuned!