Partner Carleton A. Hildreth, buried together
Hilton Savannah DeSoto, 15 E Liberty, Savannah, GA 31401, Stati Uniti
Rainbow Row, 83 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401, Stati Uniti
Pirate Houses, 143 Church St, Charleston, SC 29401, Stati Uniti
Bonaventure Cemetery, 330 Bonaventure Rd, Thunderbolt, GA 31404, Stati Uniti
Harry Hervey (November 5, 1900 – August 12, 1951) was one of the most highly sought screenplayer of the first half of the 20th century, praised by critics of literature, stage and screen.
Harry Hervey was born on November 5, 1900, in Beaumont, Texas, the son of Harry Clay and Jane Louise Hervey. His father managed small hotels, and therefore the family traveled a lot: Mobile, Tallahassee, Pensacola.
In 1916 Hervey entered Sewannee Military Academy in Tennessee for three years and did the last year of high school at the Georgia Military Academy in Atlanta.
After school, Harry Hervey became a reporter for the Atlantic Constitution. He then was a clerk for the Texas Oil Company. His first novel was Caravans By Night, A Romance of India (1922). In 1923 he worked as cruise director, travelling around Asia. Before leaving, Hervey visited his mother, who was managing the DeSoto Hotel, and met Carleton A. Hildreth. They remained together for almost thirty years, until Hervey's death in 1951. In 1925 he undertook a literary expedition to Indochina for Cosmopolitan Book Corporation and McCall's Magazine, accompanied by Hildreth. They searched the lost Khmer city in the jungles of Southeast Asia.
After the trip to Indochina, Hervey moved to Savannah and lived at the DeSoto Hotel with his mother and Hildreth. In 1926 they moved to Charleston, at 89 East Bay St., one of the Rainbow Row Houses. From 1926 to 1932, they spent the summers in New York City and the winters in Charleston or Savannah.
Rainbow Row, 83 E Bay St, Charleston, SC 29401
Together with Hildreth, adapted Congai – Mistress of Indochine (1928) as a play, produced by Sam H. Harris with Valerie Bergere, Devil dance, a play in three acts (1927), Pico Iyer in the foreword to Congai said "Hervey opened the door to the way we would be seeing Indochina—on the page and in our heads—well into the 21st century…even in his wildest moments Hervey caught something true that those of us more than twice his age can only bow before."
The Iron Widow was originally a play as well, but the producers were afraid of the homosexual content of the story; unsuccessful in seeing it produced, Hervey rewrote it as a novel in 1931. During the Great Depression they lost the Rainbow Row House and moved to the 141-145 Church Street, named "Pirate Houses".
In 1931 Paramount Pictures asked Hervey to adapt an old movie, The Cheat, for Tallulah Bankhead; the villain was a Japanese, and by that time Hervey was considered an authority in Asian themes. Hervey and Hildreth moved to Hollywood, California, where Hervey worked as screenwriter. He wrote Shanghai Express starring Marlene Dietrich. In 1938 Hervey moved back to Savannah.
By 1951 Hervey’s fame, finances and health faded. He died on August 12, 1951, from throat cancer. Hildreth died on March 12, 1977, and is buried at Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia, with Hervey.
In 2013 "King Cobra – Mekong Adventures in French Indochina" was republished, and one year later, in 2014, "Congai – Mistress of Indochine", both with a foreword by Pico Iyer.
The Carleton Hildreth and Harry Hervey papers are hosted by the Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.
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