At the age of 32 he published his first crime novel. And churned them out after that - several of them centered around a former reporter turned PI (write what you know and all that, I guess!). He said "In 1935 I got my first job in the industry as a publicity man at Warner Brothers. Working in publicity you got to see and learn more about picture making than the writers did. . . . I didn't escape from the publicity racket until 1943."
He says he started out writing screenplays for Paramount and was happy to forget all of them except for Big Town. After having focused solely on screenplays he took a break to write another novels - it was Build My Gallows High - the blueprint for Out of the Past. Bill Dozier, head of RKO read it, bought it and Daniel Mainwaring with it. One thing that apparently clinched the deal was the gimmick scene in the novel where the mute boy uses his fishing rod to cast a hook and pull the bad guy to his death - the producers loved that scene and could just picture it.
In an interview, Daniel Mainwaring was asked about other writers involved in the adaptation of Out of the Past: "I wrote the first draft, and Duff (producer Warren Duff) wasn't sure about it. All I had done were those pictures for Pine and Thomas (for Paramount). When I finished and went on to something else, Duff put Jim (James M.) Cain on it. Jim Cain threw my script away and wrote a completely new one. They paid him $20-30 thousand and it had nothing to do with the novel or anything. He took it out of the country and set the whole thing in the city. Duff didn't like it and called me back. Frank Fenton had worked on it for awhile. I made some changes and did the final. But that's the way things used to work. You'd turn around and spit and some other writer would be on your project."
In his take on Out of the Past, Roger Ebert has a bit more information. He refers to critic Jeff Schwager who read all the various drafts. Schwager agreed that the Cain was bad, but that Mainwaring's first draft wasn't that good either. He says that the great dialogue actually came from Frank Fenton. Well, be that as it may - movie making is collaborating!
for the whole piece go here: