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FERMI, Enrico.
Typed letter signed concerning the Hollywood film The Beginning or the End (1947), a docudrama about the development of the atomic bomb.

Availability: In stock

Addressed to Loew’s Incorporated (the distribution arm of MGM), based in Culver City, CA.

Published: Chigago? 10-Apr-46

Stock Code: 114629


Notes   |   Description

On display in 100 Fulham Road
OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


The great Italian-American physicist gives permission for his depiction in the 1947 MGM docudrama The Beginning or the End: "Gentlemen: In connection with the motion picture you are about to produce concerning the atomic bomb project and its ramifications, tentatively called The Beginning or the End, I now authorise you to depict me by name as a character in this motion picture and to use my name in connection therewith, my impersonation to be by an actor selected by you. I understand that although you will attempt to show the historical facts with accuracy, you will, however, have to dramatise your motion picture story, and I have no objections thereto, and you may rely on my personal irrevocable consent to proceed". The film - taking its title from a remark made by President Harry Truman to the producer Samuel Marx - was directed by Norman Taurog, and released on 7 March 1947 with Maltese-born actor Joseph Calleia taking the role of Fermi. Variety considered that The Beginning or the End "tells its portentous tale in broad strokes of masterful scripting and production". At the time of writing Fermi had recently moved with his family to Chicago, where he took up the post of Charles H. Swift Distinguished Professor of Physics at the university. In 1938 he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons". Fermi fled Mussolini's Italy in the same year, subsequently joining Robert Oppenheimer at the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. He has been described as "the architect of the nuclear age".
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A4 wove typewriter paper, two punch holes at top edge and small spike hole.


Two lateral folds, very short closed-tear to left margin, minor creasing otherwise in excellent condition.

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