Young Mr. Churchill: Screenplay – Early Life of Winston Churchill

Posted on Mar 21, 2017

An original treatment for the screen, by Bryan Forbes. 
Privately Printed. 1963. 

Original full blue single gilt line paneled morocco by Asprey, lettered in gilt on spine, all edges gilt. Screenplay script printed on blue paper on rectos only, with original binding holes in gutter. Spines a little sunned otherwise a very good set. The unique unpublished full-length screenplay on the early life of Winston Churchill by the actor, director and writer Bryan Forbes.


In 1962 Forbes was engaged by Jimmy Woolf to write two screenplays for Paramount Pictures. Of Human Bondage, and an epic account of the early life of Winston Churchill. Forbes met with the Churchill Family and received unofficial approval from the Churchill Estate for the film. Paramount Pictures however were not happy with it. “Treatment disappointing from our point of view. Feel lacking in personal drama” read the telegramme that Forbes received from Marty Rackin at Paramount. Paramount never formally submitted the work to the Churchill Estate and the project died, only to be revived when Colombia and the writer producer Carl Foreman purchased the rights for the film from the Churchill Estate.

Carl Foreman’s film Young Winston came out in 1972 starring Simon Ward.

The whole affair hurt Forbes deeply and he related the events in chapters 47 and 48 of his autobiography Notes For A Life, ending poignantly “I had my script bound in full morocco, an expensive conceit perhaps and placed it on my shelves alongside those other unsung efforts I alone thought worthy of preservation. Carl wrote his own script and years later asked me to direct it. I felt at the time his gesture, however well intentioned, betrays a certain lack of sophistication (or too much sophistication, depending on your point of view). I had a legitimate reason for declining his offer and the eventual honour fell to Bunter. I have never seen the film he made form Carl’s script, which is disloyal of me, but there are some places you never want to return”.


Amongst Bryan Forbes’s other screenplay credits are I was Monty’s Double (1958), The League of Gentlemen (1959), The Angry Silence  (1960), Whistle Down The Wind (1962), Only Two Can Play (1962), Of Human Bondage (1964), Séance On A Wet Afternoon (1964), The Stepford Wives (1975).

A copy of Forbes’s Notes For A Life is also included along with the screenplay.


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