The Film Daily (1947)

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Tuesday, July 15, 1947 DAILY L of C Film Division Faced Willi Demise Washington Bureau of THE FILM DAILY Washington — Unless there is a last-minute switch in Congressional sentiment restoring funds to the Library of Congress' pix division nearly 65,000,000 feet of valuable motion pictures are threatened with loss, it was learned yesterday. The Senate already has wiped out the Library's film division and the House voted only $85,000 of the $370,000 budget requested. SenateHouse conferees met yesterday to iron out the differences. Unless the appropriation is raised even above the House figure, however, the entire program may fold. The huge amount of footage, including 36,000,000 feet of captured German film and about 6,000,000 feet of selected Hollywood pictures are stored in Suitland, Md., New York and Washington vaults. Up to now Congress has provided no funds for storing the films. No funds, either, were provided for inspecting the pix for damage or deterioration or for duplicating any pix threatened with damage. Also threatened with collapse is the Library's program for distributing Government-made films to schools and other educational institutions. Following a five-year study the Library was set up as a central clearing agency for Government films. In addition to the German films, of great legal and historical value, the Library is also custodian of many thousands of feet of films from private collections. Hollywood leaders generally have backed the Library's program. E. J. Tail Passes Sydney (Via Cable)— E. J. Tail, 68, prominent Australian showman, is dead. Tail recently visited the U. S. where he bought Australian rights to "Annie Get Your Gun." He was in show business since 1874. James I. Foy Dead Montreal — James Innman Foy, 49, manager of the Regent Theater, Oshawa, is dead. His wife and a son survive. Expect Quick Senate Approval of Thorpe Washington Bur., THE FILM DAILY Washington — Quick Senate confirmation of President Truman's nomination of Assistant Secretary of State Willard L. Thorpe as American delegate to UNESCO was seen here yesterday. Thorpe's name was presented to the Senate after President Truman "reluctantly" withdrew his nomination of former Attorney General Francis Biddle. As Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Thorpe has been fully cognizant of the problems of the U. S. film industry. If confirmed by the Senate, he will also keep his present post. Hollywood Guilds, Unions May Inaugurate Economic Survey of the Re-issue Probletn West Coast Bureau, of THE FILM DAILY Hollywood — Representatives of several Guilds and studio unions have approved a plan for an immediate economic survey of the re-issue problem, subject to ratification of Guilds and unions involved. It was pointed out that of approximately 400 films released for exhibition last year, more than 100 or upwards of 25 per cent, were old films made in previous years. Lester Cole, chairman of Screen Writers Guildi economic program committee, said that these 100 re-issued films displaced from employment at least two or 300 writers, a couple of hundred directors and producers and thousands of actors and skilled studio workers. Distrib. Costs Too High-Cowdin Sees Industry Armed for Recession (Continued feet on the motion picture industry need not be too serious, J. Cheever Cowdin, Universal board chairman, said yesterday in a statement to stockholders and employees. "The motion picture production industry, fortunately, has a great basic stability," Cowdin stated. "It is among the last industries to be seriously affected by a depression. In the face of adverse economic conditions, it tends to hold up relatively better than most other major industries. And then, when our economic Readjustment of prices, costs and income to bring them into line with one another is essential, Cowdin declared. The rise in prices, costs and income has been so uneven that their distorted relationship constitutes a serious threat to our present high level of business activity, he said. "However, once these adjustments have been made this country can look forward to a very substantial prosperity for a considerable length of time." system makes the necessary adjustments and the business tide turns, the motion picture industry is among the first industries to reflect the uptrend." Cowdin, however, cautioned the industry faces some serious problems today, with costs of both production and distribution claimed by the Universal board chairman to be too high. "It is up to management to eliminate any extravagant or wasteful practices that may have — PROFIT MARGINS — from Page 1 ) agre, securing new record earnings. Admission prices, lie noted, are about 50 per cent 1 above their 1941 level, including: Federal \ ticket taxes, so that the sum the average family must spend to go to the movies has become a sig'niflcant budget item, and, he said, "there are signs of resistance in some areas to current admission prices." A trend on the part of the theater-going public to shop for film entertainment is claimed by Cowdin to strengthen the position of U-I. Company, he reminds, dropped "B" pictures, serials and Westerns in a move to concentrate creative and sales efforts upon top entertainment subjects. He points out the success of "The Egg and I," currently rolling up the largest earnings of any picture in the company's history. "The Dark Mirror," "Smash-Up," "Song of Scheherazade,' and other current product. Steps necessary in the change-over to the new production policy, including the merger of the Universal and International production forces, are virtually completed, Cowdin said. He noted that the moves necessitated the use of the company's cash reserves and — COWDIN ON TAXES — "Any industry that seeks to maintain high profit margins makes itself extremely vulnerable, and runs the risk of pricing itself out of its market, as the building industry . . . already has done. It is my firm opinion that American business is heading for a period of extraordinarily keen competition." crept in during the war days— and there have been some — and it is up to the workers to do their part by making the most productive use of their equipment and time," he declared. The Universal board chairman pointed out two divergent trends that have developed in the industry; declining patronage for run-of-the-mill attractions, while outstanding product continues to draw peak patron " Another major underlying cause of today's high prices is the enormous tax burden that the American economy is called upon to bear. . . . The extremely high rate of personal income taxes at the same time reduces the amount of money that the individual has available for purchasing goods and services. . . . Economic history proves that in peace time it is unsafe for government — national, state and local — to take more than 25 per cent of the national income in taxes from its people." the borrowing of $11,000,000 from banks. A substantial increase in the cost of distributing films was claimed by Cowdin because of tlie revision of selling methods as a result of tlie Statutory Court decree. The Universal chairman said that tlie ol»anse-over is about completed and tlie sales organization is beginning to function smoothly and effj'ctively in marketing the company's product. "I am inclined to believe that the end result will be favorable to the company," Cowdin stated. "However, the sweeping changes in both production and selling methods naturally have affected current earnings." Marketing by U-I of .1. Arthur Rank pictures will help the entire American film industry. Cowdin asserted. "It is unreasonable to expect," he said, "that the American motion picture industr.v can expect to take receipts avcr.nging $68,000,000 a year from the showint-' of American-made pictures in Britain, in view of tiiat country's stringent dollar shortage unless British pictures are in turn given an opportunity to earn money ill this country. "Preservation of the British market for American films is essential to the prosperity KATO to Bid Gamble To October Conclave Louisville, Ky.— Ted R. Gamble, ATA board chairman and indie circuit operator, will be invited to address the Kentucky Association of Theater Owners convention/ ,s-. the Bron hotel here Oct. 22, as \, ^fsult of board action taken late last week. Guthrie F. Crowe, La Grange, was re-elected president for another year with the following directors for twoyear terms: Jack Keiler, Paducah, First (Congressional) district; W. E. Horsefield, Morganfield, and Leon Pikle, Henderson, Second district; Fred J. Dolle and Miss Gratia B. Locke, Louisville, Third district; C. S. Caldwell, Horse Cave, Fourth district; Tom Hill, Covington, Fifth district; Willard Gabhard, Harrodsburg and Gene Lutes, Frankfort, Sixth district; Joe Isaac, Whitesburg, Seventh district; A. J. Sexton, Jr., Ashland, Eighth district; Chas. R. Mitchell, Barbourville and Mrs. O. J. Minnix, London, Ninth district. Directors at large for two-year terms embrace: Andy Anderson, Hartford, and W. Freeman Smith, Cadiz. While directors at large for one-year term are: Lew Hensler, Lexington, and Ned Greene, Mayfield. The possibilities of the usual batch of censorship and "blue laws" bills being introduced at the next session of the legislature were discussed. Members attending the board meeting reported big drop" in attendance at the large down town city theaters, but said that business was holding up very well in neighborhood and small town houses. Exchange and Vault Buildings for 43rd Street (Continued from Page 1) work to be done on the premises, but tenants will have ready access to vaults in the three-story structure. Kandel pointed out the avoidance of large concentrations of film in a building in which hundreds of people will be employed, in line with suggestions from the Fire Dept. and other municipal authorities. Project, which conforms with new zoning regulations requiring new film structures to be built west of Tenth Ave., is within three blocks of the Film Center Bldg., and is close to the Lincoln Tunnel, 42nd St. Ferry, thq West Side Highway and other means of transportation. Work will be started immediately on the vault building, with construction of the exchange building scheduled to start within 90 days. Bill Meyers Dies Galveston, Tex. — Bill Meyers, business manager for the motion picture operators local here, is dead. of every American film company and every worker in the film industry. But it must be self-evident to any thinking person that the British must be allowed to earn dollars here if they are to have the wherewithal to pay us in dollars for the exhibition of our pictures in their country."