"ALL THE TIME I FELT THAT THE WHOLE THING WOULD BLOW UP – BECAUSE THERE WAS NO SCRIPT": SUPERB 1969 KATHARINE HEPBURN AUTOGRAPH LETTER WRITTEN WHILE FILMING IN SPAIN, WITH GREAT MOVIE CONTENT, MENTIONING JOHN HUSTON
HEPBURN, Katharine. Autograph letter signed. [France]: February 15, (1969). Two sheets of ruled paper, 7-7/8 by 12-7/8 inches, written on rectos for two pages. $5500.
Excellent Katharine Hepburn autograph letter to her friend Meta Stern, with fascinating movie content, written while shooting "Madwoman of Chaillot" in France, mentioning her niece "Kathy Houghton is on a publicity trek for Guess Who's [Coming to Dinner]" and mentioning John Huston, who was originally slated to direct the film but left shortly before filming began and was replaced by Bryan Forbes, whom Hepburn describes as "as well ordered as John is unordered."
Hepburn wrote this letter to Meta Stern, long time friend and correspondent, while filming in Spain. The letter reads in full: "Meta – a day off – the sky is cloudy & we've only the arrival & departure left – it's been overcast for 4 days – solid. Yesterday afternoon we ran out of anything else to shoot. Then Nice & the enclosed address. Bryan Forbes [director of The Madwoman of Chaillot] who has taken over is as well ordered as John [Huston] is unordered. He's already sent me 60 pages and it is excellent. And the original designer of the clothes – having been fired by John who wanted Eugene Berman is now back & they are excellent. I had a ghastly 2 1/2 hours with Berman here late after work one day. He came without John – with many too many pen & ink watercolor sketches – mostly for the other characters & I struggled to pick & finally did & I didn't know which one hour after they'd gone – but out of deference to his age & position I had to pretend – of course all the time I felt that the whole thing would blow up – because there was no script. The country here is fabulous – so vigorous & protective – grapes – & fruit trees – of all varieties – & wonderfully kept – Roman ruins – 2,000 years ago – it's incredible the elaborate & luxurious civilization – one feels like a mouse. Kathy Houghton [Hepburn's niece] is on a publicity trek for Guess Who's [the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner] – & is in Rome & will stop several days en route to Paris & London. We drove to Nice & found a lovely house we've got it until April 15 & then have to move alas. The schedule ends then but it is too short & will run over – Think this is going to be a wonderful picture – such interesting scenes to play – Love to you & Sam – K-." Recipient Meta Stern (1925-59) was a Hollywood script supervisor who worked on many blockbuster films, including the 1936 release Mary of Scotland, starring Katharine Hepburn. John Huston was originally set to direct The Madwoman of Chaillot, but left the production some 17 days before shooting was due to begin. Bryan Forbes agreed to take over to have the chance to direct Katharine Hepburn, and they became close friends.