Correspondence and other materials concerning film treatment of 'The White Goddess'

Scope and Content

In 1959 William (Bill) Morris of the William Morris Agency approached Graves to discuss making a film based on 'The White Goddess'. Graves's friend, the writer Alastair Reid agreed to write a draft screenplay and his then muse, Margot Callas, was to star. The film director, Jerome (Jerry) Robbins was also involved and Graves's daughter, Jenny Nicholson, appears to have had some unspecified role. By early 1961 momentum in the project had gone and the film was never made. This file contains a number of synopses, treatments and related material as well as correspondence between Graves, Morris, Reid and others. Correspondence from Morris to Graves and Alastair Reid covers a number of subjects relating to the proposed film. Morris had a particular interest in a new cinema projection system, the Arc-120, which was being premiered in Britain in Blackpool with a screening of 'Honeymoon' in August 1960 and being shown at a number of other places around the world. There is also discussion of the synopsis, film treatment, biographies and other material needed by Morris in order to make presentations to potential backers for the film. Casting is discussed: Margot Callas is favoured for the title role; Morris is less sure of Graves's suggestion of Alec Guinness. Location is also discussed, with the Camargue in France seeming the most likely option. Morris mentions his meetings and sightings of Margot Callas, together with a few other matters of a social nature. Morris also muses on various conceptual and philosophical matters. Correspondence from Alastair Reed to Graves discusses his progress with the project together with other work being carried out by the two men. Reid also mentions events in his domestic and social life.


Correspondence in the file had, at some point, been arranged loosely by correspondent, although this was compromised somewhat by the amount of copy correspondence circulated which was filed inconsistently. Nevertheless this order has been maintained, with occasional adjustments where chronology has been incorrect, to avoid any further disturbance.


Canelluñ Collection number: CC0016

This refers to the arrangement of the papers in Robert Graves’ study before they were transferred to the College.

Related Material

Reference: RG/J/Morris; Reference: RG/J/WilliamMorrisAgency;