Movie Countdown: 40 – 36

40: Another Year (1946): Having enjoyed the experience of writing a script and a novel at the same time, Sherriff did the same with Another Year, his tale of a Minister attempting to win over the young people in a tough East End parish. Alex Korda liked the outline presented to him in spring 1945 and Sherriff set to work on the screenplay once he had polished off Bricks Upon Dust (No. 44 above). Sherriff delivered the script to Ben Goetz, at MGM-British, early in 1946, by which time Korda had left the company and set up for himself again: with no-one to champion the film, and resources very constrained, the script, like many others, went up on the shelf. Again, however, Sherriff got a book out of it: Another Year was published in 1948.

39: Bicycle for Two (1936-37): This was Sherriff’s first assignment for Korda, in June 1936. He worked on the script alongside Producer Erich Pommer and Director René Clair, which he enjoyed, previously having tended to prepare initial drafts on his own. The story, loosely based on the old song of the same name, was a comedy about cycling in the Edwardian days. He was very happy with the script he had delivered, but Korda did not seem to like it, and shortly afterwards Clair abruptly left. Sherriff worked on it again in 1937, alongside new Producer Victor Saville, but it was set aside when Saville turned to an adaptation of Winifred Holtby’s South Riding instead.

38: Victory Through Air Power (1943): This is a largely animated movie devoted to proselytising for air power in WW2, according to the ideas advanced by Russian émigré Alexander Seversky in a book of the same name. Disney himself was convinced of the importance of the ideas and thus put the power of the Studio behind it. Sherriff worked for Disney on the script during the autumn of 1942, but received no writing credit.

37: Within This Present (1934): Having completed his first three-screenplay contract (which included  The Invisible Man, A Trip to Mars and One More River) Sherriff was handed the adaptation of Within This Present as the first of three assignments in his next contract. The book is a dynastic novel by Margaret Ayer Barnes, published in 1933, relating the story of a Chicago banking family, from just before the Chicago Fire in 1871 through World War 1 to the roaring twenties and the Wall Street crash and its aftermath. He did a very creditable job, opting to focus largely on the development of one relationship, but James Whale (who had been slated as Director) was unhappy with it and asked for rewrites. After some months, tight finances at the Studio, and the shift of Whale’s attention towards Bride of Frankenstein, caused the script to be set aside.

36: Dark Angel (1959): Commissioned by Dino De Laurentiis, Sherriff began work on the adaptation of Mika Waltari’s novel on 1 January 1959. The novel is set during the siege of Constantinople in 1453, and combines a detailed and dramatic account of the city’s fall, and a love story between a hero with a mysterious past and the daughter of the City’s Lord High Admiral. He worked on the script during much of the year, but he and De Laurentiis were at odds over their vision for the film – Sherriff being much too focussed on the history and mechanics of the siege for De Laurentiis, and not nearly enough on the love affair (a complaint which echoed similar comments from producers on other Sherriff projects). The film was never produced.