• Robert Taylor, Frachot Tone, and Robert Young play the title characters.

If nothing else, the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby adaptation provides a good excuse to revisit the sole film on which F. Scott Fitzgerald received screenwriting credit, the 1938 melodrama Three Comrades. The movies are similar insofar that neither one really respects Fitzgerald’s writing—the author was reportedly unhappy with Comrades because relatively little of his work made it into the completed film. Since it takes place in Germany, an executive at MGM submitted the script (cowritten by Fitzgerald and Edward E. Paramore Jr. from Erich Maria Remarque’s novel) to the German ambassador for approval—the studio wanted to make sure that nothing in it would offend the tastes of the Nazi Party, who had been threatening to ban American films if they contained anything perceived as anti-German. (At this point the United States were still officially neutral in regards to Germany; furthermore most Hollywood studios were financially unstable throughout the Great Depression and were afraid to lose German ticket sales.) The ambassador proposed numerous changes to the screenplay, all of which were put into effect.