Variety (Sep 1935)

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Wednesdajt September 4, 1935 PICT ES VARIETY FILMS BECOME 'CLASSICS' See A.T.&T.(Erpi) Pitted Vs. R.C.A. In Legal Tilt for Film Business Any negotiations for revisions of present contracts held by Electrical Research Products, Inc., for sound equipment and recording business from principal major studios will witness Radio Corp. of America, on one hand, American Telephone & Telegraph Co., on the other, at legal grips. That Is the concensus among Industry leaders. While RCA admittedly Is con- centrating In an attempt to obtain some of the business now held by ERPI, It Is regarded as an entirely different matter as to whether or not RCA's legal staff will be able to establish a case. Company first must prove! that ERPI contracts were Illegal or violated during their existence. If either were estab- lished or if RCA attorneys felt that there was a good possibility of proving either points, an application ■for revision undoubtedly would be made. A.T.&T. Is In the picture because • of Its interest in Electrical Re- search Products. Since ERPI con- trols patents and other rights in the Western Electric system of record- .ing and equipment, the whole mat- ter is expected to be watched by American Tel & Tel, as the parent company In the set-up. While General Electric figured In the alignment with RCA previously, G. E. now is entirely out of It as re- sult of a decisive court order. This leaves Radio Corp. of Am. as solely Interested in getting what it con- siders Its just share of the big busi- ness done by larger producing com- panies. Actually, RCA is reported fts holding mnrft ri\x company con- tracts than ERPI but the big gross biz currently Is being done by the latter because of Its contracts with large majority of the majors. NO PAR % DEALS FOR PRODUCERS Hollywood, Sept. 3. Producer percentage system in vogue at Paramount for the past year has been called off with the studio (.laiminj that while the sys- tem worked out for actors- and di- rectors it did not prove successful with producers. Those having porcentago deals were Benjamin Glazer, William Le Baron, Arthur Hornblow and Louis D. Lighton. Lighten leaves tlie stu- dio in two weclts to align with Metro. LeBaron has been given a new one year ticket as has Hocn- blow. Glazer has been contracted fcr two years straight. All new con- tracts are straight salary. SCHENCK BACK TO HAYS ORG. IN SHEEHAN'S SPOT Hollywood, Sept. 3. Joseph M. Schenck returns to Producers A.ssociatlon this week as a board member, moving into Win- field R. Sheelian's old spot. Election Sept. 9 will he mere formality. Schenck withdrew his United Art- ists from the Hays organization more than a year ago. M. C, COOPER'S FINALE Hollywood, Sapt. 3. Havin;:r finished 'Last Days of Pompeii,' picture on his Riulio Pictures oontr.nct, Merian C. Cooj)er Icavos Soiit, 1') for a liuroiiean va- cation., Ha.s been ill and will rc- ain .ibroad foi- si.x montli.s. Wlion Conpor.returns, he will a.s- soc'iato liimsi-l( with Joclc Whitnoy as ho.-ul of production of Pioneer Pirtiir(>s. Pommer's Eng. Unit Eric Pommer arrived in New York. yesterday (Tuesday) and leaves Immediately for Hollywood to pack his grips. Goes back to London as soon as he can get ready to start on a new picture producing deal In Lrfjndon under Charles M. Woolf. Will pro- duce four a year with his own unit In London for distribution by Woolf. PAR CREDITORS ARE AHEAD SO FAR Manner In which Paramount has emerged from bankruptcy proceed- ings, with full consideration given to creditor firms, has surprised business executives who have fol- lowed the course of other bank- ruptcy actions. Numerous accounts owed by the company were taken care of through issuance of new First Preferred stock and ,6% bonds (maturing In 1955), plus script on stock and bonds. Creditor firms, after figuring on a basis of opening prices last week lor the First Preference issue and the bonds, have discovered that on a ?3,000 to $4,000 account, they have actually been paid oft • In .full and are $100 to $150 ahead on the transaction. To get paid 100c on the dollar by a picture company emerging from bankruptcy In the past has been almost unheard of. With the First Preferred stock up 7 or 8 points from earliest quo- tations And, the bonds also boasting $1 enhancement in value. Para- mount creditor firms estimate an even greater profit, over and above the sum actually payable. BILL FOX STOPS RENT ON S. F. FOX; TEST CASE Hollywood, Sept. 3. Willam Fox quit paying rent on the Fox, San Francisco, yesterday (Monday), though continuing to op- erate the house, to see what actioii the Capitol Corp., realty subsidiary of the Bank of America, will take. Fox, since taking lease on the house after sale of Fox-West Coast, was paying $5,600 rent weekly, with four years still to go on lease. In the past two years he has sought an adjustment on the rent, which was refused as well as his offer to pay $300,000 for release from all obligations. Then he of- fered $3,000 rent, as house has been a big loser since he took it over with a varied policy and secondary picture choice to the West Coast. Fox owns about $1,000,000 in equipment and furnishings in the theatre, which seats 5,000 and opened six years ago, and finally decided last week he wants to get out from under an! compromise his obligations. COWAN WITH MAECO Hollywood, Sept. 3. Lester Cowan, for,-ner Academy executive secretary and recently an associate producer at Columljia, ha.s signed with Mike Marco as associ- .ite producer of his motion plrlurf. interests, launched last week. Marco will act as executive pro- diircr, with Fanchon li.andling art and orchestra assignments. DAVE SELZNICK WEST David O. Selznick entrained yes- terday afternoon (Tuesday) for the Coast after conferring with Al Lichtman at United Arti.sts homo offlce on talent, stories, etc. B. 0. LOtlCEVITV Costume Pix Top Rerelease Product—'Birth of Na- tion,' 'Broken Blossoms' and Valentino Silents. WOMEN'S CLUBS Chicago, Sept. 3. Revival of hit pictures is becom- ing a standard policy In film busi- ness, according to the exhibitors and the exchanges, both of whom notice a sharp upturn in Interest for re- Issues of hit flickers. Exhlbs state that they are getting Increasing requests from patrons for return of certain pictures and, what's more, the women's clubs are taking an active Interest in this re- vival ast)ect on pictures, claiming that certain pictures are classics and should never die. This Is okay with the exhibitors who are replay- ing old pictures instead of booking current weak sisters. This Inter- changeability clause is. being In- serted in all contracts by exhlbs to such an extent that the exchanges are beginning to get a bit wary of this angle. Some distrlbs figure they should get clear coin for the revival of smash pictures rather than merely taking the interchange price. From the requests of the public and from the grosses on revivals, the theatre trade in this territory has assembled a list of reissues which are figured a cinch for repeat business for years to come and which can be plugged as 'classics.' 'Nation' Topping the entire parade is the single silent picture, 'Birth of a Nation,' while "Broken Blossoms' Is also starting to figure as revival strength from the old silent day's. Both D. W. GrUfith films. All Val- entino pictures have made money for many years in this town, par- ticularly due to , the Valentino club of Chicago, but the pictures are no longer being shown here because of the bad condition of the prints, ers. They figure as follows accord- ing to the majority of the exhibitors, based on requests: 'Cimarron' (Radio). 'Smiling Thru' .( etro). 'Virginian' (Par). 'Back Street' (U). 'Bill of Divorcement' (Radio). 'Lady for a Day' (Col). 'Three Cornered Moon' (Par). 'It Happened One Night' (Col). 'If I Had a Million' (Par). 'David Copperfield' (Metro). 'She Done Him Wrong" (Par). 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' (Par), 'Ruggles of Red Gap' (Par). 'Love Me Tonight' (U). 'One Night of Love' (Col). 'Whoopee' (UA). Rogers Coming Into the revival picture is Win Rogers. A flood of new pa- trons and old for the Rogers pic- tures has manifested Itself, but the Fox exchange has banned dates on old Rogers pictures until the two new ones, 'Steamboat Round the Bend' and 'In Old Kentucky' are out on the market. One outstanding factor in the ma- jority of the click revival pictures is the fact that most of tliem arc costume stories. The basic historical period of the pictures circumvents becoming dated or old-fashioned. Hovlval bookings of former How- ard Hughes pictures arc also marked in circuit and indie theatres in the southern California area, partlcu- Uirly '.Scarface' ,md 'Mell's Angol.*;.' Pix arc being played dual and solo UA Exec Powwow on Coast; Korda Wants a Piece of Co., Also Disney Thalberg Huddles The Irving Thalbergs (Norma Shearer), back from their Saratoga weekend, the Metro production executive is continuing his home- office powwows with the Loew- Metro execs. Reported that Thalberg was propositioned by J. E. Otterson, Par prexy, while on the Coast, and again contacted In the east, but authoritatively said that It is un- likely Thalberg will entertain tak- ing over production reins of an entire studio. REUANCE AWAY FROM UA JAY GO20TH,PAR Hollywood, Sept. 3. Edward Small doesn't want to release through United Artists after he completes 'Last of Mohicans.' Small, his partner, Harry Goetz (Bieliance Picts), will probably dis- tribute future wares through 20th Century-Fox or Paramount. Combo has two pictures already completed of the three to be de- livered. They are 'Red Salute' knd 'Melody Lingers On,' with 'Mo- hican' to be finished Nov. 1. Small win then vacation abroad with his wife who has been 111 for past four months. OTTEESON'S QUICK KETDEN Hollywood, Sept. 3. .John E. Ottor.son, who left last week for New York, Is duo back at the Par studio in two wcck.s. Ho may travel to Europe after the Coast hop, which Is figured to last two or three weeks. Flock of Subpoenas Out for Anti-Trust Trial m St L. Sept. 10 St. Louis, Sept. 3. Federal Judge George H. Moore on Thursday (29) granted ap- plication - of U. S. District At- torney Harry C. Blanton and Russell Hardy, special assistant Attorney General, seeking sub- poenas duces tecum requiring vari- ous officials of motion picture Inter- ests to appear at the injunction hearing Sept. 10 and bring with them certain information. Material sought ; Includes large number of film contracts, records, directors' meeting minutes, leases and reports, in addition to articles appearing In trade newspapers. Included among those named In application are Vitaphone Corp., Skouras Super Theatre Corp., Warner Bros. Pic- tures, Inc., General Theatrical En- terprises. RKO Dist. Corp., Wiirner Eros. Circuit Management Corp., First National Pictures, Inc., Harry C. Arthur of Fanchon & Marco In- terests, Paramount Pictures, Inc., Publlx Theatres Corp., and several affiliated companies, in addition to representatives of Motion Picture Dally, Inc.. and F'ilm Daily. At same time Paramount Pictures through its attorneys, Samuel W l'"'ordycc and William R. Gentry, filed answer to Department of .lus- tice' charges of conspiracy to de- prive Ambassador, Missouri and New Grand Central thoatrcs (PViii- chon <fe Marco houses) of foatuic films. The government has •illecffd Warners and Paramount 'Cfu.sed to renew contracts which expired last July 31 for exhibition of their pic- tures by F. <te M. interests In St. Louis, New York, Los Angolei, Lon? Heach, Cil., and I'hoenix AyU. I'he two companies asked th(> injunction suit be dismls.'sed. ,a de- c.ri'Q entoi'ed In their favor ,niul the order to .show cause droppcl. In ontOrlnK into the cui;tr;u;t, il'i- di.stributlnK ftiniiiaiiy '.suI't-IimI (he cti.Mtomf-r.s with which It (le.vivcl to do business, as it had rl,'l)L to the answer as.sorts. Hollywood, Sept. 3. Though Alexander Korda rushed here by plane to confer with United Artists member-owners on his fu- ture with the company, he will not go into business conferences till tomorrow (Wednesday), when Al Lichtman planes In from New York. Korda, however. Is undecided as to whether he will continue with U. A. unless they give him a share of member-ownership holdings, aa otherwise he will finish his produc- tion obligations and on returning to N. Y. negotiate a deal with Jo- seph M. Schenck for 20th Cent.-Fox release. Korda, Sir Conrop Guthrie and Ettienne Pallos, since arriving, have been entertained by the UA group, with Merle Oberon throwing a din- ner the first night, Mary Plckford the next, and Goldwy'n following. Nathan. Burkan and Maurice SU- verstone, president of U. A. Inter- national Ltd., arrived here yester- day (Monday), and will be in oa the meeting, at which it is under- stood that Walt Disney will also make a request for member-own- ership share so that it will be cut six ways Instead of the four ways as at present. Korda, who refused to discuss his intentions until after the meetings, which will run the rest of the week, expects to leavs here Sept. 8 or 9. In the meantime, he has agents here scurrying to get a line on talent available for over- seas production. BRISKIN MAY QUIT COLUMBIA Hollywood, Sept, 3. Sam Briskln is reported . leaving Columbia after 14 years, his current contract having expired. Understood Brlskin has declined to sign a new five-year ticket with options. Since Briskln returned from New York, last week several major plants have made him offers, but he has declined, wanting to hold them in abeyance. Since Ralph Kohn came on lot he has relieved Brlskin of various duties on the business and produc- tion ends. BrI.skIn started with Columbia: aa bookkeeper, and worked hlniselt up to general manager of the studio. He is believed getting over $2,500 weekly. Presumed that Harry Cohn, prez and head of studio, will take over considerable of Brlskin's duties, with Ralph Kohn the balance, if Briskln leaves. JOE TOPLITZKY, 47, DIES IN LOS ANGEES Los Angeles, Sept. 3. Joe Toplltzky, 47, Coast's most Important theatre realty operator, died Sept. 2 from kidney complica- tions at his LoH Angeles home. Toplltzky, who came here at the age of 12, starting as an errand boy In a department store, became one of the biggest realty and mar- ket operators In tho country. JHe was rftHponsible for the building of the Biltmore theatre and hotel, also the Orphcum theatre, and was as- sociated with lOrlanger In the opera- tion of the Biltmore and Mason the- atres. He was vice-president of the Biltmore Amus. Co., Cacsnr Theatre Corp., of New York, Krianger The- atre Corp., in Buffalo, and the At- lanta and Clncliinall (Jrand opera houses. lie also was board olficcr of morn than 20 commercial con- cerns and hanks, ,'i.nd before the IJ.'inU; w;is roi)iile(I to lif; one of the ttirce wallliicst mon in California, Ho v.-.-is ho.-irl lit llio Jot; To|)lit5;ky, Tri''., iivilly ronccrn at dc'ith. Had .'lilin" foi- .s(;vor;il years. llis wiil',w. two (I.iUKhtcrH and ihn-" hrolliiTS survive, Funer;i.l In l''ji '-,,t L iwn, (Jlr-iidale, Cal.. .Sept. 4.