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REVOLUTIONARY ROAD

Production Notes
"The book was widely read as an anti-suburban novel and that disappointed me . . . I think I meant it more as an indictment. . .of a general lust for conformity all over this country, by no means only in the suburbs – a kind of blind, desperate clinging to safety and security at any price . . . I meant to suggest that the revolutionary road of 1776 had come to something very much like a dead end in the 50s.”

Richard Yates, Ploughshares Interview 1992

In 1961, Richard Yates' emotionally charged novel, Revolutionary Road, shook the literary world. The story's main characters – a pair of young lovers with grand dreams, Frank and April Wheeler -- became indelibly real to readers; and ever since, they have sparked compelling discussion about the nature of marriage, the roles of men and women in modern society and the possibility of reconciling the realities of families, jobs and responsibility with the idealistic yearnings of youth. When Frank and April hatch a plan to reinvigorate their marriage by moving to the exhilarating freedom of Paris, it sparks a fateful conflict between her dreams and his fear of failing to make them come true. 

The novel would go on to quietly become one of the most influential books of the century. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Richard Ford says that it became like a "secret handshake” among writers – a shared knowledge that this was one of those rare, truly eye-opening American novels every author wishes they might pen. It seemed to capture a profound moment in America, as the middle-class began a brand new life in the wake of World War II, settling into daily family existences focused on prosperity and security, yet rife with complacency and conformity. Yet even as it evoked its period, the novel simultaneously hit upon one of the most timeless and compelling dilemmas: the battle between the exhilarating passion of youthful ideals and the compromises of human relationships. Though never quite achieving mainstream popularity, the novel set off an underground current that would deeply influence many of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.  It has been an unusually long journey from the page to screen for Yates' masterwork. Since its initial publication, a variety of filmmakers, including John Frankenheimer, flirted with adapting the book. But no viable screenplay ever came to pass. Having sold the rights to producer Albert Ruddy for a flat $15,500 – who in turn sold them to Patrick O'Neal -- Richard Yates unsuccessfully tried to get the rights back so that he could write his own adaptation of the novel, but O'Neal, and later his widow, refused to give them up, not wanting to let go of their own vision of what a movie of this novel could be. Yates died in 1992. 

Now, at long last REVOLUTIONARY ROAD comes to the screen as a motion picture directed by Sam Mendes, known for his incisive observation of American life, and starring an accomplished ensemble cast headed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Honing in on the love and friction between Frank and April, Mendes applies a filmmaker's vision to the Wheelers' story, bringing this unflinchingly honest portrait of a marriage to life on the screen. 

Revolutionary Road was Richard Yates' debut novel, published when he was 35 years old, instantly thrusting him into the literary limelight. Soon after its release, and ever since, other writers have made breathless assessments of its power. Tennessee Williams called it "immediately, intensely and brilliantly alive. If more is needed to make a masterpiece of modern American fiction, I am sure I don't know what it is.” Kurt Vonnegut dubbed the novel "the Great Gatsby of my time.” William Styron said it was "a deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic.” 

Many compared Yates to Fitzgerald in the sense that he became the chronicler of his age – doing for the yearning,<

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