In his 1962 autobiographical work Margin Released Priestley describes his experiences of working for Hollywood film studios as a part-time – and, by his choice, uncredited – scriptwriter in the middle 1930s. One such experience resulted in his being paid five thousand pounds, ‘a fine sum in those days, for a film story, a good one too, about a famous international string quartet, four middle-aged bachelors of different nationalities. The producer who acquired it’ (Priestley continues) ‘never filmed the story; he sold it for seven or eight thousand pounds to another producer, a Central European, who, as far as I know, never did make a single film in this country. Where that script is now, I don’t know and can’t imagine. No doubt those four string-players are now years out of date, but I still
remember them with regret’.

Fast forward to this year and a recent film called A Late Quartet – about, yes, a famous string quartet with an international reputation. The opening credits, inter alia, refer to ‘RKO’. Now RKO Radio was a film company which flourished in the 1930s but has long since disappeared. Could it be, incredibly……..?

published on behalf of Michael Nelson

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