Variety (March 1953)

Record Details:

Something wrong or inaccurate about this page? Let us Know!

Thanks for helping us continually improve the quality of the Lantern search engine for all of our users! We have millions of scanned pages, so user reports are incredibly helpful for us to identify places where we can improve and update the metadata.

Please describe the issue below, and click "Submit" to send your comments to our team! If you'd prefer, you can also send us an email to with your comments.

We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) during our scanning and processing workflow to make the content of each page searchable. You can view the automatically generated text below as well as copy and paste individual pieces of text to quote in your own work.

Text recognition is never 100% accurate. Many parts of the scanned page may not be reflected in the OCR text output, including: images, page layout, certain fonts or handwriting.

Wednesday, March 4 , 1953 mctitkks T ‘3-D No Antidote for B.O. Dls’-DeMille Cleveland, March 3. Cecil B. DeMille, here last week (27) to accept the Cleveland Film Critics Circle’s annual award for his ‘‘Greatest Show on Earth,” which it unanimously picked as the best picture of 1952, warned exhibitors against regarding three-dimensional films as a perfect antidote for boxoffice ills and TV. DeMille said: “You cannot put your reliance in a mechanical gadget. The theatre in 5,000 years has gone through many simi- lar upheavals, but the one thing that has governed its success in all forms is the Story. No matter what stars, directors and pro- ducers you use, the final result can be no better than your story. If theatre operators place all their hopes in 3-D, they will be sell- ing a gadget, not drama.” DeMille, describing his forthcoming remake of “Ten Command- ments,” predicted all-color films were just coming into their own and refused to regard TV as the pic industry’s ogre. It will be “only as good as the idea it distributes—and not better.” 20th Works Oat Doable-Duty 3-D, ‘Flat’ Projection Optical method of converting film lensed in CinemaScope pro- cess for regular “flat” projection has been developed by 20th-Fox, Earl I. Sponable, studio’s technical research director, said in 'N.Y. Friday (27) on his return from the Coast. He added that only “The Robe,” first CinemaScope feature now in production, would be made in double version to afford pro- tection. Sponable' explained that the lens system currently used for CinemaScope couldn't be made to fit the requirements of the Tech- nicolor camera but that the latter could eventually be modified for CinemaScope purposes. “Robe” is being shot in Eastman color. Scenes front the pic will be used at the first CinemaScope demon- stration in N.Y. around March 16. CinemaScope looks “pretty healthy,”^ Sponable stated. He is exploring' 1 w r hat and how much of the present projection equipment can bfe retained when used in con- junction with stereophonic sound. Whatever changes are- necessary, he said, the eventual cost of the CinemaScope “package” — lens, screen and sound — will be “in line” with exhib ability to pay, but will depend on the individual theatres. Company isn’t neglecting de- velopment of the Eidophor color theatre TV system, Sponable ad- ded. New and compact Eidophor unit will be demonstrated soon, with the CinemaScopd wide-angle lens adaptable to it. Conversion of CinemaScope pix to standard versions is seen as im- portant in the initial switchover period when only a limited number of houses will be equipped to show wide-screen films. CinemaScope, a French invention, uses a special five-prism, wide-angle lens at the camera which records a distorted image on the film. Corresponding lens rectifies it at the projector to fill a screen two-and-a-half times the regular size. Rank Brass Here for 3-D Look; Can’t ’See’ Specs Partly in preparation for the ad- vent of sponsored TV in Britain, the J. Arthur Rafik Organization is giving the o.o. to hew U. S. devel- opments in 3-D and wide-screen production and projection. Ken- neth N. Hargreaves, general direc- tor of General Film Distributors and exec'Assistant to John Davis, Rank’s managing head, is currehtly here and. expects to go to the.Cdast, particularly to view 20th-Fox’s Cin- ema-Scope, . Davis himself is due here next "Week, and he too will trek to Holly- wood for a fooksee. Indications are that Rank at this point is more interested in wide-screen processes than in stqreo, with which the Brit- ish already have had some experi- ence. The Rank toppers feel there isn’t much of a future beyond ’the novelty stage, in 3-D : with glasses. 1 Camera, No Mirrors In Dunningcolor’s 3-D Hollywood, March 3. Dunning 3-D, n new process that does not require the use of mirrors and employs only a single light- weight camera, was announced here by Dunningcolor Corp., long in the field of tinted film. It calls for the use of Polaroid glasses. Company is headed "by Carroll and Dodge Dunning. Nat Levine has exclusive licens- ing rights to the system, which will be ready for use shortly. He says it will be available to producers on terms calling for 10% of the pro- duction cost of the pictures, plus 5% of the distributor’s gross. Incident Which Started World War I Set For Filming in Yugo-U.S. Deal First co-production between a Yugoslavian studio and a foreign film company reportedly has been set. Under an agreement recently inked in Hamburg by Bosnia Films of Yugoslavia and G. B. Films, an American firm, the two companies will put an untitled yarn about the assassination of Austrian Crown Prince Francis Ferdinand before the cameras on Aug. 1. Venture would be directed by Robert Siodmak from a script by Johan Simel and Borivoje Jeftic. Versions in Efiglish, German and Serb-Croat are planned, while the cast is slated to be headed by Hol- lywood and Yugoslav stars. Most of the shooting will be done on loca- tion in and around Sarajevo, scene of the assassination on June 28, 1914. Although Yugoslavian film com- panies have discussed possible co- productions with foreign producers from time to time in the past, the Bosnia-G. B. deal is said to be the first such project in which nego- tiations were actually consummat- ed. Entire film, incidentally, will be confined to the one-day’s events that touched off World War I. T0A, Allied Arbitration Meet Still Unlikely Chances of an informal meeting between Theatres Owners of Amer- ica and Allied States Assn, for discussion of arbitration and other exhib problems continued slim this week. Call for such a palaver was issued two weeks ago by TOA prexy Alfred Starr. However, Al- lied topper Wilbur Snaper notified Starr that he would have to sound out the Allied. board before he could Agree to a conference. With Starr slated to leave for Europe March 10/ there appeared to be great doubt that the meet- ing Would take place before that date, if at all. Main drawback is Allied’s continued reluctance to discuss any phase of arbitration unless it receives some assurance that distribs * will remedy certain alleged trade practice abuses. CoP. 9 March Starter. Hollywood, March 3. 1 - Announcing the launching of “a year of unparalleled studio-, afc- tivity,” Columbia will start a total of nine pictures, budgeted at more than |10,000,000, during March. EXHIBS IN RUSH See Closeont on Tbeafre TV Hearings TO 8 [(IT DEADLIMEA 8 MPA A Offers ‘Compromise Solution’ Comparative lull in the filing of antitrust actions against distribs has been followed by a new flood of treble-damage suits involving claims for close to $15,000,000 dur- ing February alone, Distrib attorneys called the anti- trust activity “seasonal,” but ex- pressed surprise since it runs counter to the general impression that the number of exhib actions is diminishing gradually. Distribs chalked up another victory last week (25) when a Federal Court jury in N. Y. found for the de- fendants in a $3,075,000 antitrust suit brought by J. J. Theatres, Inc., and the Luxor group against 20th- Fox, RKO, Warner Bros.* Univer- sal and Skouras Theatres. Belief prevails that, with di- vorcement and a stiffening atti- tude on the part "of the >courts, there will be fewer antitrust suits as time goes by. Flock of current filings is seen partly the result of exhib" desire to beat the statute of limitations in the various states and fear of a possible Federal statute applicable to the entire country. Latter was proposed re- cently by Rep. Chauncey W. Reed, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Sum total of pending antitrust actions varies from company to company. Where 20th has. 190 cases pending, involving claims of close to $400,000,000, U IS expected to tell the Securities & Exchange Commission soon that it is named in 173 suits involving approximate- ly $270,000,000. Among the February suits were: Elmwood Theatre Corp vs. RKO Rhode Island Corp. and the ma- jors, In behalf of the Liberty The- atre; Providence. R. I.; treble- (Continued on page 16) WB’s “New Era’ Gets Underway Production-distribution and thea- tre operations of Warner’ Bros, officially launched fheir separate careers Monday (2) following the ‘oompletibn of the final legal and financial aspects of reorganization as ordered by a Government con- sent decree judgment. Dissolution of Warner Bros. Pic- tures, Inc., was completed in Wil- mington, Del., on Saturday (28) and a new picture company under the same corporate title was formed. In addition, the domestic theatre assets* and business were trans- ferred to the new theatre company, Stanley Warner Corp. Final details of the financial, aspects were consummated Monday morning via the transferance of the Warner family stock in the new theatre company to Fabian Enter- prises for $7,498,994. That same evening a board of directors, previ- ously announced to stockholders, was officially elected. Board includes S. H. (Si) Fabian, Samuel Rosen, David G. Baird, Harry M. Kalmlne and Moe A. Sil- ver; Board immediately named Fabian as president; Rosen, , execu- tive veepee; Baird, chairman of the finance committee; Kalmine, vice- president and general manager; Nathaniel Lapkin, veepee; -W. Stewart McDonald, veepee and treasurer; Frank Kieman, control- ler; David . FOgelson, secretary; Miles Alben, assistant secretary, and James M. Brennan, assistant treasurer*.* * Plot Caesar-Coca Tunepic Hollywood, March 3. Abe Lastfogel, William Morris Agency topper, is in town to try to set a deal for production of a musi- cal starring Sid Caesar and Imo- gene Coca, of NBC-TV’s “Your Show of Shows.” Lastfogel is talking to heads of the major studios concerning the pic. Paramount had previously been reported interested in star- ring the comedy team in a Don Hartman-produced musical, but ne- gotiations were stalled. If the deal jells, the TV pair would make the pic during their summer hiatus. Foreign Race To Present 3-D For ‘Prestige Although the implications and permanency of 3-D in the domestic market are still uncertain, a race is developing for presentation of the medium abroad. Peculiar aspect of the rush to present stereopix in foreign coun- tries is that the desire is not based primarily on an attempt for a quick buck. The objective, to a large extent, is to gain added pres- tige among foreign exhibs and film- goers / for the company getting there\|*first” with a new medium. Warner Bros, especially is pro- pounding this pitch, playing up the fact that “the company which first brought you sound” will deliver the first feature picture produced by a major studio. Another angle for hurrying foreign exhibition is to maintain good relations with foreign customers who have be- come excited by the 3-D fanfare stemming from the U.S. Although WB will' be the first major production company to pre- sent an illusion pic abroad, United Artists will be the first with actual (Continued on page 24) Gunzburg’s ‘No Sale’ on NY ; Hollywood,'March 3. Natural Vision's 3-D process is “hot for sale,” Prexy Milton' Gunz- burg said here in disclosing that “lots of people-” have approached him on deals/ including “a number Of studios.” Gunzburg insisted, “We’re not interested in selling; we’re dot sell- ing to anybody.” Berger Has Backing Of Sen. Humphrey in 0.0. Of ’Distrib Gangsterism’ Minneapolis, March 3. North Central Allied has the written promise of Senator Hubert Humphrey (D., Minn.) that he’ll spare no effort to bring about an immediate Senate Small Business Committee investigation of what Bennie Berger, NCA president, calls “distributor gangsterism.” In taking this action in compli- ance with a NCA request, Hum- phrey said that film exhibition “al- ready” is in the midst of a depres- sion and that hundreds of more theatres are “threatened with ex- tinction.” Therefore, he has ad- vised NCA, he feels that Congress should determine what aid and re- medial measures can be taken to help rectify matters and avert “fur- ther catastrophe.” Berger describes “distributor gangsterism”, as comprising an “oppressive sales policy,” namely, the pre-release of practically every outstanding picture at “confisca- tory” and “Unconscionable” terms and a law violation by indirectly requiring exhibitors to charge ad- vanced admissions for such pre- releases. • It is this sales policy which Humphrey will specifically call upon the committee to investigate. Another Minnesota senator, Ed- ward Thye (Rep.), Is committee chairman. Bufttihoned to an emergency NCA meeting this week, Twin . Cities independent exhibitors wete t (Continued on page 12) Washington, March 3. Likelihood of further hearings on theatre TV has been foreclosed as the result of a petition filed by the motion picture industry last week with the Federal Communica- tions Commission. The petition, offering “a possible compromise solution” to the stale- mate over the industry’s bid for exclusive channels for the medium, is interpreted here, in effect, as asking the Commission to “call the whole thing off.” The industry’s proposal, w f hich provides for use of frequencies allocated to common carriers but or a more specialized service than that pow provided 1 by American Telephone & Telegraph, is be- ieved already to be provided for under existing FCC policy, The request conforms with suggestions by the Commission and its staff at various informal conferences with the industry and at a special hear- ing called by the agency last month to determine whether the proceed- ngs should be continued. Petition makes one request that ikely will be denied. This calls for an assurance, through a decla- ration of policy, that the Commis- sion will expect AT&T or other common carriers to interconnect their facilities with any which may be established for special theatre TV transmission service. The agency has refused in the past to require interconnection as a gen- eral policy, but has indicated it will consider such questions on a case- to-case basis. Action on the petition is not ex- pected for some time, as the Com- mission will wait for comments by other parties involved. It’s re- garded as virtually certain that, (Continued on page 12) Cinerama Shifting On Broadway After Snarl With Shuberts As a result of reported differ- ences with the Shuberts on terms for renewal of its lease at the Broadway Theatre, N. Y., Ciner- ama will shift to the Warner (for- merly Strand) on June 1. Cine- rama’s present pact with the the- atre ops expires on May 28, And conversion of the Warner has been started to assure continuity of presentation of the new film medium. Originally, installation of equip- ment at the Broadway cost Cine- rama around $85,000, but it’s fig- ured the conversion of the Warner will cost about $40,000, the sum spent for installing Cinerama at Detroit’s Music Hall, set • for un- veiling March 23. With the New York changeover, Cinerama exhi- bition topper Joseph Kaufman also revealed that the new medium will bow on the Coast April 29 at Warner’s Hollywood Theatre. Meanwhile, Dudley Roberts, Jr., Cinerama Productions prez, is on the Coast conferring with board chairman Louis B. Mayer about ad- ditional financing for the company. Because of the confusion with Cin- erama, Inc., the company which furnishes the production and ex- hibition equipment, the production unit is not seeking' public financ- ing but is concentrating on find- ing private coin sources. Cinerama, InC.» incidentally, reveals a net loss of $46,575 for the quarter end- ing December, 1952. $11,700,000 for ’Show’ Hollywood, March 3. ■ Paramount’s “The Greatest Show on Earth,” in its first year in re- lease, has grossed $11,700,000 in the U. S. and Canada, it was an- nounced by Y. Frank Freeman. Records show a total take of $10,- 700,000 in the domestic market and the rest above the border. • Freeman estimates that the Cecil B. DeMille production will gross at least $15,000,000 In these two coyn- i tries.