Motion Picture Herald (Nov-Dec 1937)

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MOTION PICTURE HERALD MARTIN QUIGLEY, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Vol. 129, No. 6 OP November 6, 1937 GOING UP! N \\ i | ICKELODEON BUYING" In contrast with today's modern and costly production was the earnest, if not heated, topic of a discussion by Mr. Samuel Soldwyn at our annual autumn Waldorf-Astoria conference this week. Exploration of the subject with Mr. Goldwyn brought up figures tending to indicate that the top rank productions of this period take about 75 per cent of their gross revenues from percentage engagements, leaving about 25 per cent to the flat rentals, but representing something like half of the bookings numerically. In the realm of the flat rentals Mr. Goldwyn sees serious obstacle to progress of the art and industry. The motion picture cannot go ahead to new levels of attainment unless the producer gets his "fair share of what the public is willing to pay," he holds. "We have old fashioned buying ideals in the way of modern production. I am not contending," he insisted, "that I want to take anything from the exhibitor — I want him to pay nothing, but I do ask him to deliver the producer's part of what the public pays and will pay. "T ODAY'S motion picture public will have nothing but the best that is to be had. It insists on the 'big pictures' and that forces production costs. If the producer is not given access to the support of the public, if modern production is not delivered to modern demand because of old fashioned methods standing between, production is not going to make progress — -and if it does not nobody is going to succeed." Admitting that it was an extreme case, Mr. Goldwyn cited figures to show that in a special instance, by the use of the pressures of its total buying power, a certain circuit had been able to obtain film service in some lesser houses at rentals that represented 3.2 per cent of the gross take. The conversation, being predicated upon Mr. Goldwyn's urging of his view of production necessities, did not explore that other very considerable realm of the subject — the situations where the exhibitor, especially vulnerable to pressures, also pays disproportionately high prices for the film he presents. Incidentally, it was Mr. Goldwyn's observation that the buying methods to which he took exception were not peculiar to any one class of customers or type of theatre operation. WHATEVER is to be said or decided in the unending issues between buyer and seller, it is clear enough that a none too well heralded revolution in the art has been had — as Mr. Adolph Zukor rather remarked a few weeks ago, after contending that the new top rank pictures would have to have five week runs to prosper. In the past twelve-month about twenty-four productions have touched or passed the million dollar budget mark, and about half that many more, mostly pushing toward and across the two million dollar mark, are in the making in Hollywood now. The end is not in sight yet and no one knows what the limit is to be, if there is a limit. Th is much is certain. Some one is going to pay for these pictures. If it should happen in any preponderance of instances that it should be the stockholders there will be "hell to tell the captain." Considerably relevant is the subject of admission prices and their trends, which will be dealt with on a nationwide scale in the news columns of Motion Picture Herald next week. AAA MY WORD! A MONG the non-taxable compensations of this editor's j \ job is the joy of looking at the pretty pictures offered / \ for publication and reading the altogether extraordinary legends, or sub-captions which accompany them. This week in a number of instances the sub-captions have appeared so much better than the pictures that they are presented alone. These choicer captions of the week include: MAGNATE IN HOLLYWOOD— Hon. David Adams, M.P., English shipping and coal magnate, three times mayor of Newcastle. The English industrialist is believed to be considering investment of English capital in American films and made copious notes while watching scenes in which Andrew Jackson and his American forces prepare to defend New Orleans against the British. MODERN DIANA — Lovely Jean Parker practised archery for her role of Necia in "The Barrier." . . . She soon became adept at the ancient sport and could hit the bullseye from any position. ORNATE ENOUGH— For her role in "Daughter of Shanghai," Anna May Wong . . . furnished many of the costumes from her personal wardrobe, thus saving the studio a considerable sum. MALADE — Nous avons appris que la jolie Mile. , qui tourne actuellement dans " " a eu une crise d'appendicite aigile et a du etre transported d'urgence dans une clinique ou elle a subi avec succes une operation particulierement delicate. When better captions are written the motion picture will present them. AAA "PUBLICITY" NO matter what the provocation or occasion, one can always be sure that no opportunity to do something, conspicuously, in behalf of the motion picture industry is ever overlooked. It came again in the case of Laverne Moore, alias John Montague, with the promulgation of a report that he was under a seven-year-million-dollar contract with "the movies," as he emerged with more acquittal than glory from a trial in up-state New York. Meanwhile the report whittles down to a one reel short — but that still is "the movies." The industry gets full credit.