Talking pictures : how they are made, how to appreciate them (c. 1937)

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Talking Pictures cisions are made about the values of the story for the production program of each studio, and bids are placed by telegraph. In some cases contracts have been sent by wire photography to hasten a purchase. Often purchases develop strange complications. Lullaby, a stage play by Edward Knoblock, was made into the picture The Sin of Madelon Claudet. This won the award of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its year. Knoblock was traveling in Europe at the time of the purchase, and a studio rep- resentative followed him over a considerable portion of the continent before obtaining his signature to the contract. It took four years of work, 1929-193 3, to clear the many legal tangles surrounding the talking picture rights to The Merry Widow. The musical rights belonged to Franz Lehar, easily reached, but the libretto was col- laborated upon by several men whose rights had fallen into various hands. To trace them all took many years and a sum of money which amounted to a goodly per- centage of the sales price of the musical success. Luck alone saved a lengthy delay in the purchase of the Arctic book Eskimo. A representative sought eagerly for huge, brawny, one-legged Peter Freuchen, most spectacular in appearance of all Arctic explorers. He caught him just as he was leaving a Paris cafe for a new exploration cruise to the North which would have kept him from civilization for four years. When the search leads to a successful play, such as the London stage mystery success, Night Must Fall, there are usually no bars—except price! Producers ex- [54]