Motion Picture Daily (Jul-Sep 1956)

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Motion Picture Daily REVIEW: Francis in the Haunted House Universal-International Hollywood, July 5 Universal-International's series of talking-mule comedies has contradicted precedent and prophecy far too long and profitably for any mere box office bystander— or expert, either, for that matter— to predict the public's reaction to the substitution of Mickey Rooney for Donald O'Connor in the principal (human) role. Nothing but performance for paid-admission audiences can show for sure how the Francis followers are going to feel about this and other, less important, changes. But with the film going into exhibition at a time when the junior members of the ticket trade are free to attend, as now, the audience's answer to the Francis questions should not be long in doubt, whichever way public fancy points. The story in which Mickey Rooney makes his debut as Francis' co-star is a blithely uninhibited script by Herbert Margolis and William Raynor using to full advantage the spooky resources of a vast castle complete with moat, dungeon, drawbridge, all the facilities of haunt fiction. Both the man and the mule figure foremost and furiously in chases, escapes, conflicts of assorted kinds, in and around the premises, before the murderers and motives in the story are adjusted. Virginia Welles, James Flavin, Paul Cavanaugh and Mary Ellen Kaye are secondary principals involved in the plot. Production is by Robert Arthur and direction is by Charles Lamont. Running time 80 min. General classification. Release in August. W. R. W liday, July 6, 1956 4th' Grosses (Continued from page 1) jctor Robert C. Rothafel, who said ■at figure eclipsed a record set 11 kars previously by "Nob Hill," which |ok in in 1945 a record $21,000 on ie holiday. ( John Huston's Moulin production of Moby Dick," which simultaneously ^ened at the Criterion Theatre and jje Sutton Theatre here on IndepenInce Day, established new single day Ighs in each instance, with the Crite|>n rolling up a gross of $13,500 and le Sutton, $5,300. The Janus Films release of "Bulll;ht," set an opening day mark at the iO-seat 55th Street Playhouse here |EarIy openings of John Huston's Induction of "Moby Dick" for Warnf. Bros, have built up tremendous tosses in all situations to date, it was tported yesterday. Warner Brothers ■veal that the Astor Theatre in Bostn grossed $30,731 in six days; StanIt' Theatre, Philadelphia grossed $1019; Majestic Theatre, Houston, $6,|6; and, in Los Angeles, the film Id a combined gross of $27,856 for t"o days at the Paramount DownJVvn, Pantages and Wiltern Theatres, lie film set a house record of $12,$3 after a week's running at the |;w Bedford Theatre, New Bedford, lass. lien it broke a 28-year record by Itablishing a new high gross of 1,705. I The Radio City Music Hall relirted that a tremendous $30,000 was Iken in with Columbia's "The Eddy luchin Story," which brought the Im's second week gross to a $163,000 lark. According to Columbia Pictures, Ie film, which took in $330,600 dur|g its run thus far at the Music Hall, |L doing the biggest business of any jiolumbia picture at the Broadway [liowcase. [l Circuits with Broadway first-run puses and neighborhood theatres re t Reports from drive-in theatres Iroughout the nation show that "The Jlonqueror" is one of the biggest lossing films RKO has shown outlliors, it was disclosed yesterday by r alter Branson, RKO's vice-president charge of worldwide distribution. ! Branson reported the film in four itdoor houses in the Boston area— e Dedham, Neponset, Revere and ambridge— playing day-and-date reJrted a combined gross of $25,000 in week. orted that Independence Day busiess was excellent. RKO Theatres said rat it did "very well locally arid iroughout the nation." Loew's Theaes reported business as "tremendous, ' better by almost twice as much as list year." Skouras Theatres said its ouses had "pretty good grosses." Shrandt Theatres, along "with StanleyVarner and Century Theatres, said Inat they wished that Independence Philadelphia Jury (Continued from page 1) and operations in cases that we have considered daily to scenes in many a motion picture is striking." The jurors recommended local censorship "for the protection of our great city and particularly of our youth." A film censorship bill had been introduced earlier by Councilman Wilbur H. Hamilton and it has been referred to committee. Day business would prevail on every other day of • the year. Trans-Lux Theatres reported that its own release of "Lovers and Lollipops" did "strong" ■ business. The Paramount Theatre on Broadway reported that it took in $10,000 with "That Certain Feeling," currently in its third week. "Trapeze" at the Capitol, in its fifth week, grossed a big $9,700. The Loew's State reported that business was fair with the last day of "Safari" and preview presentation of "Somebody Up There Likes Me," which opened yesterday at the theatre. The Astor, with "The Proud and Profane," in its fourth week, and the Victoria, with "The Catered Affair," in its third week, both reported that business was very good. The Mayfair with "The Great Locomotive Chase" reported a $3,600 day and the Globe Theatre, with two re-releases, "Brute -Force" and "Naked, City," reported a $1,200 day. The Warner Theatre, which is currently showing "The Seven Wonders of the World," in Cinerama, and the Rivoli Theatre, with "Oklahoma!", in Todd-AO, ■ also joined in hailing the Independence Day business as both said it was excellent. DGA-Wilcox Deal ( Continued from page 1 ) Wilcox said that the American distribution company, headed by Fred Schwartz, would receive Western Hemisphere releasing rights. The British producer pointed out that an additional agreement has been worked out with RKO Radio Pictures whereby RKO Radio would invest in the pro^ duction of "Yangtse Incident" and in turn would receive United Kingdom distribution rights for this picture alone. Wilcox disclosed that these three films were originally set for production under his aegis under financing-distribution arrangement with Loew's International, but "it was called off by mutual agreement," he said. The distribution rights for these three films in other parts of the world, Wilcox stated, will be sold on a country-by-country basis. Records, Near-Records Reported for Charlotte CHARLOTTE, July 5A number of strong attractions gave Charlotte theatres one of the greatest holiday grosses in history yesterday. A. B. Carver, manager of the Plaza Theatre, said business for "Fastest Gun in the West" was the best . for "any July 4 attraction in the theatreshistory. The Imperial Theatre, said manager Glenn Grove, had one of its biggest holidays ever, while Phil Gos jsett, a partner in the Manor Theater, where "The Eddy Duchin Story" was playing, said only an afternoon rainstorm kept the theatre from having its biggest Fourth in history. Good business was also reported by the Carolina for "That Certain Feeling" and the Dilworth, which was playing "The Last Vegas Story." 7 PEOPLE Kenneth F. Drake, of the New York studio of United Productions of America, has been named production manager of UPA Pictures, Ltd., newly-formed British subsidiary, and will headquarter at the company's new studio in London. ' □ Nat Liebeskind has been named general manager of the New York office of Azteca Films, it has been disclosed by Sam Seidelman, president. □ Jimmy Wright, son of Warner Brothers theatre district manager Dick Wright in Cleveland, reported for induction into the Army recently after having graduated from Northwestern University. He is currently stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood. □ Frank Nardi, long-time employe of Republic Pictures in Chicago, has resigned due to poor health. □ Joe Wolhandler, Eastern publicity director for Rogers & Cowen for the past five years, has been named a vice-president of the public relations firm, which has offices in Hollywood, New York and London. 'Away All Boats' Cited Universal-International's Vista Vision and Technicolor production "Away All Boats" has been cited by Mrs. Dean Gray Edwards, motion picture chairman of the National Council of Women of the U.S., as one of the most outstanding film presentations of the year. In a letter to presidents of various clubs affiliated with tire organization, the chairman said "no truer story of the war and the U.S. Navy has ever been filmed." flyBOM^ ARISTOCRAT OF THE AIR Direct Hew York * London BRITISH OVERSEAS AIRWAYS CORPORATION Reservations through your travel agent •or call B.O.A.C. at 342 Madison Ave.. New York 17. N,Y.. tel. MU 7-8900