Bundle of correspondence

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 FRD1/1/179
  • Dates of Creation
      22 Jan 1946-24 Jan 1957
  • Physical Description
      352 pieces; 375 leaves.

Scope and Content

Correspondence with and relating to Walter Greenwood (1903-1974), novelist and playwright, and author of The Cure for Love. The men were close friends, and their correspondence is extensive. They wrote informally, often using their native Lancashire idiom. The correspondence was originally bound together in two separate sections, and this arrangement reflects that original order.

Progress on the film version of The Cure for Love, which RD directed, produced and starred in, is well documented in the correspondence, from RD's initial idea for the film, their collaboration in writing and planning the project, through to its reception by critics and public. References include: RD's initial enthusiasm for the project in January 1946 (/2); the completion of a very early version of the script in December 1946 (/9); detailed discussions of the first rough draft of the film treatment in 1947 (/24-5 and /28); the investigation of possible locations in November 1947 (/26, /28 and /29); Greenwood's completion of another draft in January 1948 (/34 and /39); discussions about the next stage of the script in February 1948 (/51-5); lengthy negotiations over the film rights and the men's respective legal positions, including some correspondence with RD's solicitors Walter Burgis and Co. regarding the contract, which continues through the whole of 1948 (much of the correspondence from /23-137, as well as /163 and /174-6 contains relevant material); the 'joint treatment' of the film, finished in March 1948 (/63) and the 'first treatment' in June-July (/106 and /121); the issue of who should produce and direct (/64); casting and screen tests (/80); a discussion about possible locations Greenwood had with Matt Busby, manager of Manchester United football team, in May 1948 (/86); RD's concern that Greenwood's other work is taking him away from The Cure in summer 1948 (/99-103); Alex Korda's opinions on the script, and further developments in amending and completing it through the latter part of 1948 (/128, /138, /146-7, /149-55, /160 and /167); the huge response to their publicity campaign to find a boy for the role of 'Claude' in January 1949 (/167-8); progress with shooting from April 1949 (/180 and 184); the issue of credits (/197-8); the premiere of the film, and responses to it from public and critics (/207-13, /238, /241 and /273) (in /212 RD reports that by February 1950 the film has broken all records in Manchester except that of The Third Man); and plans for the film's American release in early 1951 (/263 and /269-70).

Numerous other topics are also discussed, including: RD's work on The Winslow Boy; the possibility of RD's involvement in a film version of Greenwood's The Secret Kingdom and his purchase of half the film rights; progress on Greenwood's novel, Lancashire, and RD's response to it; RD's work on The Magic Box during 1951; RD's appearance in Murder in the Cathedral in 1953; the possibility of making a film based on a book by Leonard Cheshire in 1954-5; the general activities of the two men; their domestic lives; their respective financial problems; RD's visits to Greenwood in Polperro, Cornwall, and holidays taken by the men, including RD's recuperative trip to Cyprus in March 1950; Renée Asherson's marriage proposal to RD in February 1948 and their marriage in 1953; RD's struggles with self-doubt and Greenwood's support and encouragement; and RD's recurring health problems.

The file also contains some correspondence with a number of other individuals, including: correspondence between Greenwood and Jack Worrow, relating to the possibility of Greenwood writing RD's life story for the Sunday Empire News (/324-5); and correspondence between Greenwood and others relating to a method of treating silicosis suggested by one Dr Rosenthal (/289-93 and /297).

Related Material

Further copy letters from RD to Greenwood are included at FRD1/8/1/106 and FRD1/8/15/11.