Variety (September 1957)

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, Wednesday, September 4, 1957 00D PO Heather Sears Wins Costello’ Kudos |46° STAKE I At Fest: Brazzi Defends’ Role i in Pic Venic e, Sept. 3. Qn the fifth night (29) of the! Venice Film: Festival, Heather Sears, the young star of ‘the British entry, “The Story of Esther Costello” (“The Golden Virgin” in the U.S.,, where Columbia releases), copped applause and credit for her performance in the pie from the sellout crowd in the Film Palace on the Lido. The pic itself was less well liked, as reflected in the press reviews. A majority felt it decidedly was not festival material; and especially deplored the fact that it represented Britain at Venice, where British entries have in the past won corel top. awards. Feeling was that better choice could have’ been ‘wade from among recent English pix. "Some papers commentéd on the anti-Italian slant they saw in the character portrayed by Rossano Brazzi, feeling it added to the un-' fortunate selection of the pic for the local event. Brazzi issued a personal statement to the local "press to avoid, or at least deaden, | the -blow. of ‘such criticism. In his} message, he defended his choice of the offbeat, controversial role, while . at the some time denying t it lied any deliberate slap: at no y ito producers and also sells the spe at Italy or Italians, being, as he put it, “above nationalities. ye “Something of Value” (Metro), presented on the third night (27} of the Film Festival, gave ‘the VenIce spectacular a much-needed shot (Continued on page 24) Eastern Film Directors Meeting in. N.Y. to Form Permanent Organization | ‘Establishment ,of a permanent organization of film ‘directors operating in east ig expected to be -finalized Saturday (7) when the N. Y. Film Directors’ Organizing _ Committee presents a draft of the proposed bylaws: to. _ the general membership. The new organization, which will represent directors in the east ‘working in telepix, fim commercials, and business and educational films, has a membership of some 250 members in N. Y., Detroit, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia and Canada. Originally, the eastern. group had hoped to affiliate with the Screen Directors’ Guild _ on the Coast, but. a satisfactory * working agreement could not be established. After the bylaws are. adopted and officers and executive »oard members. are elected, the new organization will open negotiations with eastern producers for a basic agreement. According to a. spokesman for the. eastern directors’ group, the film directors are the only motion . picture specialists in:-N: Y. operat “= ing without -a contract with the producers. He asserted that the producers are desirous of having an agreement with the directors in order to stabilize the industry.” Par Signs Allen Reisner To Direct St. Loo Blues’ Hollywood, Sept. 3 ‘Allen Reisner, numerous “Climax” segments and y Paramount to direct“St, Louis lues."' It’s to Be hig initial film under a non-exclusive longterm bre ty programs, -has been inked. ‘pact with Par whereby he'll direct. pne pictyre per year for the next |. years. A. musical biography of W. ‘C. tar Nat at King| Robert Smith is producing the ven ture ‘that’s slated fo go before the | 1928 was reached last week.(28) by cameras Oct. 2. Reisner made his film ‘debut as a film director last year with RKO's “All Mine to Give.” Prior to his telestints, he. was an actor for 10 years. include “The peage “John Loves Mary.” Girls” and attending the Venice Film Festival. 3 for RKO, 1 for Col On DeLaurentiis Agenda ‘|for 1957 close to the 300 mark for . Venice, Sept. 3. Italian producer Dino DeLaurentiis is talking over future productions and co-productions while He is mulling a twin setup for his planned “Captain’s Daughter,” pic Hollywood, Sept, 3 Heightened indie actiyityon a general production resurgence at most of the majors is sending Hollywood's ‘total production . igure the first time in some years. In the first eight months of the year, a total of 208 films were produced, as against 172 for the same period last year. The independents were responsible for roughly 40% of the version of the Pushkin novel. Proj| total, ect would be directed by Alberto} Tattuada with, U. S, interest possible. a Producer: currently has four other pix on the fire, three. for RKO and one for Columbia. Latter will probably be. shot ‘in the U. S.: by a European director, from one of three scripts on hand, Start 1s: See Up to S-Ni On Todd-AO Sales Todd-AO. Corp., which licenses the Todd-AO widescreen process cial “projection equipment, will benefit to the tune of anywhere. from $500,000 to $1,000,000 from the “Around the World in 80 Days” run in the Todd-AO equipped the-. atres alone, Estimate is-based'on a minimum | attendance of 10,000,000 at these. j houses. Under the contract with’ ‘producer ‘Mike Todd, Todd-AO col lects five cents’ per seat sold. It’s estimated that some 5,000,000 have ; seen the picture sq far, In .addition, according to ToddAOQ’s Henry Woodbridge, Todd-AO has arrived at a settlement “with Todd re its share in the revenues from the. regular 35m print-down |time, was 23. Q od in film production, showed inereased signs of a hefty production pace for the remainder of the year, with the independents scheduled to make 16 of the 37 pictures slated to go before the cameras in the next six weeks. Among the majors, Universal-In ‘ternational is setting the pace, as it did last year, with a tofal of 24 films started.. Last’ year at this place honors goto Columbia which has launched 23 as against last | year’s 20. In third place is 20thFox, which has shown the biggest production spurt of the year. Studio has launched a total of 20 productions; as against 13 for the first eight months of 1956. Warners is four ahead of last year’s total, having started 12 films since the beginning of this year. Three studios still are lagging | behind their 1956 production pace, Allied Artists having turned out 14 against 18 last year; Metro 14 as. against 17; and Paramount nine against 14." Heftiest increase is in the. ranks: 8} of the indies with 90 films having | gone before the cameras in the first { eight months of this year as against only 58 for.the comparable period of 1956. AMMANNATE STICKING YEAR'S 800 PIX Labor Day weekend, traditional | beginning of the homestretch peri| ‘at 20th. He leaves shortly for Eng Second-. urally resentful” over the cam Indies Beef Again on Distrib %,: UA Vulnerable on ‘Open Books’ + Grumbles are being heard Boehm’'s 260G From 20th 3a ie rte again over ‘what they term the high 9. Y P, du P cost on the middle United Art jists Is the m e. In I, roducer act While UA over the years never Hollywood, Sept. 3. |issued any profits statements, curScreenwriter Sydney Boehm has|rent earnings now have become a -been upped to producer status at/ matter of public knowledge be20th-Fox in a new two-year deal) cause of the company’s new public. providing for payments to him Of/ oynership ‘status. The producers approximately $260,000. Pact stipaligned with UA thus have some ulates he’s to produce a minimum information on how their films of t six features, beginnwe setting benefitted the company’s treasury. oe curren Nothing’s out in: the e Nice Little Bank That Should Be e open yet but at least a few of the indies have Robbed” for producer Tony Muto! privately stated they feel they’re forced to contribute too much, via charges against thei: pictures, to UA’s handsome profits. The beefs are not directed toward UA alone, of course, The indie film-maker who doesn’t have some complaint against all distributors over sales and allied costs is a rarity. But there’s a special twist as concerns UA, This outfit’s product comes exclusively from indies. Obviously, then, the profits can be attributed | ‘to the indies only. This is in contrast with the position of other distribs whose spe cific sources of earnings are obsecured in the profit & loss statements. These others engage in diversified acfivities and further can claim, unless the contrary is obvious, that their own studio output provided the earned money and not the outside product. However, thanks to the public statements now coming from. UA, the indies attached to all companies . (Continued on page 19) Hong Kong Rings Gong Again as Pix Exporter To U.S.; UK,.Mexico Next land ‘to revise his screenplay of “Harry Black,” ‘Stewart Granger starrer for. the same for the same company. ToddAO Talks Back to Todd Todd-AO Corp. rejects as “completely erroneous” the impression given by Mike Todd that the 35m print-down version of “Around the World in 80 Days” can be projected with the same clarity and definition as the original 70m Todd-AO version. Douglas Netter, Todd-AO ¥.D., said in New York. last week that he had no quarrel with the quality of the 35m print-down “which is probably better than any other 35m film around.” tor teed he said, “it’s foolish to pretend that it can compare with the results from a big area negative projected direct ta the wide screen. That’s nothing more.than common sense.” Netter said Podd-AO was “nat paign conducted. by ‘Todd, who ‘sion. ies, costs $13,500. version of “80 Days,” which Todd derived from a separate (Todd-f AO). negative. Todd actually shot two versions of the film—one running 30 frames a second, the other, 24.. The 35m print-down had to be made from the latter. | ‘Woodbridge said that, apart: from “South Pacific” being shot in Todd-AO, production of five other pix was being discussed. In each case, Todd-AO will work out an arrangement for participation in any eventual print-down ver-. Venice, Sept. 3. F. LL. Ammannati states he's staying on as director of the Venice Film Festival, this in the wake of indications he would quit. Ammannati actually threatened to resign but only if the German feature, “Robinson Soll Nicht Sterben” {Robinson Shall. Not Die) were to be forced upon the fest. . _ The picture was withdrawn and the issue thereby settled. According to Woodbridge,49. theatres in the. U. S. and six abroad now have installed the special Todd-AO-Phillips projection equip| fi] ment which takes. Todd-AO 70m} film as well as other systems. Com|. plete package, including. ‘two projectors, lenses and booth accessor ‘Venice, Sept..3. . An international incident was {caused by the proximity of the U.S. and USSR stands at the Venice SW-SE SATURATION AS’ VENICE DIRECTOR) ‘sales value. Gleaned on a Gondola [AT THE VENICE FILM FESTIVAL] By ROBERT F. HAWKINS .Margolin and Jean Golawurm . feels—and ‘has said so many times publicly in. recent months—that Todd-AO no longer represents a “If that’s true, then how come all the big grosses ‘80 Days’ is running up are at houses equipped for showing the film in our process?” Netter asked, He. said his company felt {t was “unfair” of Todd to go around ‘slamming the Todd-AO process. It’s Todd-AO’s contention that the picture is doing proportionately far better at the Todd-AQ-equipped {Continued ¢ on page 64) Al Piccole is seeing all pix in and out of competition as rep for the Richard Brandt interests. : 2 ee, 4 : . oe After yielding from one year to the Germans, the Chinese (Hong Kong) again top the list of foreign films brought into the U.S. during the six months ended Aug, 31, 1957. There were 58 features andl shorts from Hong Kong, followed by 54 from Britaiu, 50 from Mexico and 25 from Germany. Statistics pertain to the number of films submitted for review to the motion picture division of the N.Y. State Education Dept. in N.Y., meaning the. state censor. While. they are not a wholly accu rate count of either films imported or released, they are nevertheless the best available gauge of the inflow of foreign product since -a distributor wouldn't invest coin in obtaining a censor seal unless he intended td release the film. Total number of films reviewed by the division (without a single total Hanning) ran to 272, which compares with 298 for the same period in 1956. The 1957 count breaks down into 230 features and 42 shorts. | off who directed | rHeatre, New Orleans, Oct. 16. FOR RANK ‘GRAF SPEE’ J, Arthur Rank' Organization has succeeded in _artanging a saturation opening in the southwest and southeast for its “Pursuit: of the Graf Spee” tint release. More than | 1100 houses of the Paramount Gulf and Interstate circuits are involved: “It’s the biggest break for us to. date,” said Irving Sochin, Rank org’s sales. topper. Openings kick a:-preem at the Sanger Film Festival (they are side by side on the Festival Palace. bal -{cony). The Russian stand manager had jokingly accused. the girls in the Yank booth of having stolen the night... . The brother of Chamartin Films’ Navasquez is Span‘ish Ambassador to Rome—he attended the preem of his brother’s -pie on opening night ..: One mem-; ber of the Polish delegation here is staying at the Hungaria Hotel two hard-to-come-by chairs during. The Jong-standing festival fend :between Rome and Venice continues ... this year complaints centre in the ‘ticket sector, with the festival claiming too many free ducats are asked for by Venice cityofficials . . . Italo industryites also: fred by” having to buy tickets to allow visiting Italo producers to see Hollywood, Sept. 3. festival pix . .. Appears to be little | American-international has addcoordination ‘between festival and ed two more films to.its distribu ndustry .. .-Unitalia Films,;tion schedule and will release a Of. the 230 features reviewed, (Continued on-page 10) American Int’l Sked > For 1957 Goes to 22 ‘promotion agency for Italian films| total of 14 films between now and j will open in Dallas and generally: 4 gross—-. $5,408—since the 1,667-ceat United His. stage credits | After New Orleans, ‘the. picture gation among. the top. Polka dan “from Atlanta down,” Sochin sald | cers at the American (MPEA) he also expects fo get 2 an. Atlanta. date. * Det. Mark for 77 Days’ Detroit, Sept. 3. , The largest Wednesiay ye VARIETY’ s London manager, Harold Myers, spent a good part of one | afternoon. signing autographs for eager moppets in the Hotel Excelsior lobby—thought he was a British star ... Both Hya Lepert and Richard Davis miffed by treatment they claim they are not getting on the part of the Festival or the Artists Theatre opened its doors in “Around the World in 80 Days,” in the 35th week of its continuing’ runat the theatre. House is scaled at $1.25-$3. 7 The record was made despite the fact there happened’ to be no group, or. club, sales, that day. . in charge of taking care of them while in Venice ... Davis is even pix inhis theatres from now on, unless the situation changes... {Other buyers. here include George . » » Members of the Soviet dele Italian pic industry. or whoever is. contemplating not. playing Italian: throughout the world, plans to spend over $6,000 at the festival. Joan Crawford's last-minute de fection made the Jack of foreign (U.S.) stars at the fest even more apparent. Columbia has brought in Britisher Heather Sears, also in the Crawford pic, for the preem of | “Esther Costello,” as well as setting up a giant poster opposite the : festival building with back illumination helping it stand out at night from among its darker neigh rs One -top Italian daily hheadlirfed its coverage of the “Something of Value” opening and the critics’ (very favorable) review: “Finally | something of ‘value at the Venice | (Continued 18) the end of the year. Boost will j bring the firm’s release slate for 1957 to a total of 22. To meet the demands of the new jrelease schedule, all production dates have been advanced from two to four weeks. Company now ‘has scheduled ‘Naked Africa,” “Hite Huntress,’ “Reform School Girls” and “Rock Around the World” for August; “The Amazing Colossal Man” and ‘Cat Girl”. for September; “Sorority Girls” and “Motorcycle Gang” for October; “Viking Women,” an untitled exploitation film, “y Was A Teenage Frankenstein” and “Blood of Dracula” for ‘November; and “Jet Squad” and i*Battle Front” for December,