When he finally does so, David suggests that they cut their trip short, go to Benares without Leila and prepare a short synopsis so that Pressburger could be home by Christmas.
Which is more or less what happened. Pressburger thinks up a title – WRITTEN IN THE STARS – and he gets some solid work done. This is helpful, because Indira Gandhi asks to see something in writing. He creates the character of an American doctor, and David imagines William Holden in the part. Someone recommends he see Yul Brynner in DeMille’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and he and Pressburger go to the Odeon, but David doesn’t like him.
On Pressburger ‘s birthday – about which he breathes not a word – he sees some of the doctor’s character destroyed by David. “I don’t mind. It was a red balloon. [I think he means a red herring!] I didn’t like it either.”
Pressburger flew back to London and David returned to Venice. After hearing nothing for three months, David wrote him a letter: “I’m mad keen to know how you are getting on. Don’t let Sam bulldoze you. He’s king at it and one has to grow an extra skin or the work suffers or one has a breakdown!” The treatment of GANDHI was written in the form of a novel. This was standard practice for Pressburger; turning it into a script was a later stage for him. It has a suitably epic, David Lean opening – a parade in Delhi to welcome the Viceroy in 1912, which is shattered by a bomb explosion. Gandhi returns from South Africa, and the treatment intercuts between his activities and those of a sympathetic policeman, John Holdsworth, who eventually marries an Indian girl and as a result finds himself passed over for promotion.
“Pressburger was a fine writer,” said David. “He could turn his hand to anything. I was convinced we had an understanding of how the film should go. He eventually produced a treatment which was simply awful. It was so bad I was able to tell him so. I said, ‘Emeric, this simply isn’t what we talked about. It isn’t what we agreed. It’s got nothing to do with the India we saw and it isn’t anything I want to make.'” The relationship with Pressburger dissolved and GANDHI was put on the shelf, though David would take it down every few years. David and Spiegel’s attention abruptly turned to the exploits of TE Lawrence…
David Lean: A Biography – Kevin Brownlow
Mais uma coisa a agradecer ao Pressburger: Lawrence da Arábia. Essa cinebio sobre Gandhi é um desses filmes que nos faz pensar ainda bem que não deu certo. No mesmo esquema daquele filme que Orson Welles queria fazer com a Carole Lombard que não deu certo e o cara foi fazer Cidadão Kane. Ou o agradecimento que devemos ao John Huston por ter feito a cinebio sobre o Freud senão o Powell teria feito uma com o Leo Marks e ambos não teriam nos proporcionado Peeping Tom. A verdade é que o Lean não soube lidar com o Pressburger, mesmo eles se conhecendo há 20 anos, desde a época da dinâmica editor/roteirista do Powell. O Pressburger era um cara profundamente romântico (no sentido literário do termo não no sentido banalizado que se dá hoje – Lean também era, mas num estilo distinto) e era capaz de escrever uma coisas beeem cafonas, o Powell lia numa boa, fazia anotações pertinentes e algumas mudanças, mandava de volta para o Pressburger, então rolava uma lapidação sem maiores atritos. Então o Lean foi lá e chutou tudo e isso foi logo depois que P & P se divorciaram. No fim das contas quem fez a cinebio sobre Gandhi foi justamente Richard Attenborough, o cara que começou como ator trabalhando com ambos nos anos 40.