Jim Sadwith

For many years I’ve told other people’s stories in movies and mini-series. Some were complete fiction, others were composite characters and still others have been icons: Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley to name two. Finally I felt the need to tell my story, and, as anyone will see by watching this movie, my story begins with The Catcher in the Rye.

In 1968 when I was an out-of-sorts sophomore at an all-boys boarding school we were assigned to read The Catcher in the Rye. We had already read Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and works by Faulkner and Hemingway, but Holden Caulfield was something altogether different. With his ‘goddam this’, ‘for chrissake that’ and ‘all that crap’ he swore right there in a book we were supposed to read. He pointed out to us every phony that crossed his path. He made up all sorts of crap right on the spot and lied to adults. Nobody I had ever read up to that time had been so honest.

Even before finishing the book I began thinking I was Holden Caulfield. Like Holden I didn’t get along with practically any of my peers at this school which seemed to value athletics over all things.. And I wasn’t all that chummy with most of the faculty either. My passion was theater, and I grew convinced I was the right person to be Holden Caulfield on stage and in the movies. For my senior project I adapted The Catcher in the Rye as a stage play to put on at school and was sure that off-Broadway would find out about it, then Broadway and then Hollywood. I was naïve; I admit it – to put it as Holden might have.

I was not the only one who was so caught up by The Catcher in the Rye and Holden. In any sizeable group of people — boomers especially – mention the book or Holden, and eyes light up. Everyone has a story to tell about their reactions to the book. There are people whose lives were forever changed by this novel. Some have gone on to write books books. Others have written magazine articles. A few have been driven to kill. I was inspired to make this movie. And the movie is about a boy who was driven first to become Holden Caulfield and then to find his creator, JD Salinger.

Jim Sadwith

PHOTOS FROM THE 1969 HIGH SCHOOL PLAY BASED ON THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

Catcher in the Rye - James Sadwith - 1969

Sadwith as Holden Caulfield with coat-check girl (identity unknown) in high school adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye. 1969

 

Sadwith as Holden Caulfield with Maurice (Steve Grubbs) and Sunny (identity unknown) in high school adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye. 1969

Sadwith as Holden Caulfield with Maurice (Steve Grubbs) and Sunny (identity unknown) in high school adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye. 1969

 

Sadwith as Holden Caulfield

Sadwith as Holden Caulfield with Ackley (Parky Cunningham) in high school adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye. 1969

 

Sadwith as Holden Caulfield

Sadwith as Holden Caulfield with Phoebe (identity unknown) in high school adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye. 1969

 

Original narrator’s copy of the script to our high school adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye.

Original copy of the script to our high school adaptation of The Catcher in the Rye.

 

Note to the director on page one of the script to our high school adaptation to The Catcher in the Rye. This is the note quoted by Jamie to JD Salinger in Coming Through the Rye.

Note to the director on page one of the script to our high school adaptation to The Catcher in the Rye. This note is quoted by Jamie to JD Salinger in Coming Through the Rye.