I’ve long felt uneasy about my fondness for the writings of Evelyn Waugh, simply because the man was such an utter bastard. I’ve just come across a piece detailing some memos that he wrote when two of his books were being considered for Hollywood adaptation. (Neither happened.)
The first, on Brideshead Revisited, surprises only because it contains so many errors of grammar and spelling. Maybe he didn't take as much care when writing to mere Americans; or maybe his novels had the benefit of a good proof-reader.
But it’s the note about Scoop that’s a real jaw-dropper. On the decision to move the setting of the story from Africa to Europe, he writes:
It is appreciated, however, that this is a question of higher policy involving race relations in the USA and that if, for the moment, niggers may not be treated as the subject for comedy, dagoes must suffice.And then:
It has lately been demonstrated that cinema audiences do not know whether the films they see are spoken in Italian or English. It is useless to write down to their level. Try to produce a work of art.