Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2011 Newsletter

Recent Acquisitions: Film Director Nicholas Ray

Two men conversing. Click to enlarge.

Dennis Hopper and Nicholas Ray, ca. 1971.
Photo by Mark Goldstein.

Storyboard page. Click to enlarge.

Storyboard from Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

Woman lighting a man's cigarette. Click to enlarge.

Nicholas Ray and Jane Russell
on the set of Hot Blood (1956).

The Ransom Center has acquired the archive of film director Nicholas Ray (1911–1979), best known for his film Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Ray's films are among the most celebrated of the 1950s. Ray influenced French New Wave directors like Jean-Luc Godard, who declared, "Cinema is Nicholas Ray," and filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Curtis Hanson, Jim Jarmusch, and Wim Wenders.

Spanning more than 35 years, the collection includes annotated scripts, video recordings, audio reels, photographs, journals, notes, and film that provide a first-hand account of Ray's methods and ideas. The archive's 64 storyboards contain Ray's handwritten dialogue and directions and include a storyboard for Rebel Without a Cause with an alternate ending in which Plato is shot down from the planetarium dome.

In addition to Rebel Without a Cause, the collection includes Ray's work on They Live By Night (1949), In A Lonely Place (1950), Flying Leathernecks (1951), Run for Cover (1955), Bitter Victory (1957), 55 Days at Peking (1963), and materials from his collaborations with German director Wim Wenders on The American Friend (1977) and Lightning Over Water (1980). Also included are editing notes and journal entries relating to Ray's autobiographical film We Can't Go Home Again (1973–1976).

The archive also includes materials from Ray's teaching career, as well as uncompleted projects, including a film about the Chicago Seven trial, a collaboration with James Jones for the treatment Under Western Eyes (1963), a script written in collaboration with Norman Mailer titled City Blues (1976), and a script in progress called New York After Midnight or One Dollar Bill, Baby, written in Ray's hand.

Once processed, cataloged, and housed, the collection will be available for research this fall.

Other recent acquisitions include:

- The archive of the Three Continents Press, documenting 30 years of publications by African and Caribbean writers, donated by Margaret Herdeck.

- An extensive gift of books and manuscripts from science-fiction and cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling.

- Scripts, production materials, photographs, and other items related to the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, a gift from director/co-writer Peter Masterson and actress Carlin Glynn.  

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