Variety (March 1921)

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44 PICTURES Friday, March 4. 1981 ac =^=a FIRST RUN CONTRACT NO GOOD AS PROTECTION, COURT FINDS "MERCY OF TIBERIUS" COPYRIGHT HELD VOID CLOTHES IN PICTURES Refusing to Enjoin Showing of Picture at Strand, Brooklyn, Judge Holds Famous, in "Zone" Clause, Guarantees Nothing to Olympic. A suit brought by the Olympic, I character of the theatre, the scale of Brooklyn, against Famous Playera- prices, and the class of patronage. *Laaky for an Injunction to restrain the Strand, Brooklyn, from exhibit- ing "The Inside of the Cup," in- volves a novel "first run" contro- versy. The term "zone," aa it af- fects the ordinary motion picture contract between exhibitor and pro- ducer Is clarified in the court's opin- ion in refusing the order applied for. The Strand management said it ••Innocently" entered into a contract with Famous for the presentation of the picture week Feb. 20. The Olym- pic manager alleged he also held a contract for a first showing of the same picture. The affidavits fur- ther stipulate on behalf of the Strand that it extensively advertised the fact that it would show the picture at a certain date and at an expense to the theatre of a; proximately $1,500. It alleges that the Strand employs 96 people, and the weekly operating expense is approximately $11,000. •"This defendant knew nothing of the alleged contract referred to by the plaintiff, and this defendant is now unfortunately in the position of an innocent third party who has the right to present the picture 'The In- side of .the Cup/ at its theatre; has advertised it; and will be without a picture for its week's performance if this injunction is granted," the papers in the case recite. "It appears from the moving pa- pers that no date has ;is yet been agreed upon by the plaintiff, upon which to present the picture, so that, so far as the plaintiff is con- cerned, it has "bookin's" or pictures to be presented, during* the follo'w- ing week, and did not intend to present, nor has it contracted to present 'The Inside of the Cup,' during the coming week (Feb. 20). Justice Kelby's opinion reads: "The success of the plaintiff upon the trial will depencPupon establish- ing that under his contract with the defendant Famous Players-Lasky Corporation, he had the right to the first run of the picture and that the Strand theatre is in the same com- munity or 'zone' as his theatre, the Olympic. Both these matters are put in issue upon this action, and upon the question of the zone there is a very hard and direct con- llict. The contract itself does not fix any zone, or define the meaning of zone. The word apparently Is printed in the contract as if it were the equivalent of 'community. 1 Lexicographically it la not SU< h. Community is a term of social or political organisation, while zone Is a term of physical or geographical division. The' conjunction of the two words indicate that they were not used in their strict meanings, and makes'it a question of fact as to the meaning in which they were used. "Plaintiff sccma to contend that the 'zone* is principally determin- able by the considerations of neigh- borhood, while defendants contend that it is a matter of rigid boun- daries or conditions, but to be vari- ously fixed in various contracts, r consideration of the particular type of entertainment or picture, the I do not think that the plaintiff has established his claim with the cer- tainty requisite for a temporary in- junction so immediately effective and so directly damaging to the Strand theatre as this temporary in- junction would be. Nor do I think that plaintiff's damages in the event of his final success are incapable of ascertainment (see Levison vs. Oes. 98 Misc. 260). "We have, therefore, a situation where the contract sought to be en- forced by a temporary injunction is itsolf indefinite and uncertain in meaning; where there is a direct conflict of fact between the parties as to the correct meaning and a hopeless contradiction of fact as to alleged statements said to haye been made by the general manager of Fa- mous Players Corporation, and where the balance of damage or in- convenience consequent upon the temporary injunction will ap- parently be most heavily against the defendant, Mark Strand, inc., which is shown by the papers to be en- tirely innocent of any wrongdoing. Under these circumstances a tem- porary injunction should not issue." Dittenhoever & Fishel. attorneys for Famous Players, made the point that if an injunction should be granted, it would compel Famous to break its contract with this defend- ont, "In other words, if the in- junction were granted to enforce Famous to comply with the contract with the plaintiff, the same injunc- tion would thereby enforce Famous to break its contract with the de- fendant. DIRECTOR NAMELESS. Realart't "Outside Woman" Silent on Identity. Realart is releasing a feature calhd "The Outside Woman," from a play by Philip P.artholomae called "All Night Long* The director's name is omitted from the picture and also r.o mention Is made of it in the press book. There is a sub- current report it was made by Cecil DeMille. Wanda J law ley plays the lead. It is understood Famous Players is turnipg over a 10-reel English production to Itealart, to he released as a special. CENSORS PASS THEMSELVES Kansas City, March 2. The three women who make up the Kansas? s*:ite hoard of motion picture censors are up against a new problem Which has them guess- ing. When William A. Iirady at- tended one of their sessions last week, a camera man was present and "shot" them as they bid the movie magnate farewell. The print shows the three ladies shaking hands with Mr. IJrady and talking and Brady laughing with them as he left lh*'ir building, The film has been sent hack for the hoard's approval before being shown in Kansas as part of a news weekly. The board has viewed the film sev- eral times. MR. BARNES OF NEW YORK ^Tho Famous Novel and Play by Archibald Clavenng Gunter is shortly to be released as a feature film. Mr. Gunter's equally famous comedy PRINCE KARL fco successfully played by the late Richard Mansfield fur SO many seasons, and The First of The English Which is probably the greatest navel A. C. GuntCT ever wrote. is also available for picturization. F<»r details, address WM. J. ATWATER -East Moriches, N. Y. Court Refuses Injunction Against Sunrise Pictures. Judge Augustus N. Hand in the U. S. District Court at New York this week handed down a decision refusing to enjoin the Sunrise Pic- tures Corporation from making "At the Mercy of Tiberius" Into a mo- tion picture. The application for injunction was made by Isaac Sil- verman, who claimed to have pur- chased the rights to the book from the heirs of Augusta M. Evans, the author. In the consideration of the case the argument was introduced that Silverman's rights stood because the next of kin of Mrs. Evans, after the discharge of Jhe executors of the estate, had made formal application for renewal of the copyright on the book, which expired Oct. 12, 1915. The bill of sale was executed last October. The Silverman argument was what defeated him, because Judge Hand, in his opinion, cited the law of copyright, which specifically de- clares that application for renewal of a copyright must be made by the executors of the estate, while the next of kin are without authority to make the application. "At the Mercy of Tiberius** was published in 1887 and is a powerful romantic story. Viola Dana la the picture •'The Offshore Pirate" la as delightful a* ever, with her cute mannerisms. la a simple evening frock of pink crepe de chine she looked sweet. The gown has a petal skirt, plain bodloe and tiny sleeves, while at the side of her bobbed looks the wears a small bow, giving her a quaint appearance. A dainty dress was of white net that practically comes to ruin in the picture when Miss Dana dives Into the water to save the man she loves. For the scene at the auto races Miss Dana wors blue serg^e heavily outlined in Jet beads, with the hat of black satin, turned up brim, a huge rosette resting In front. Charming indeed was a chiffon gown with its tight fitting bodice and very full skirt. It was finished off at the waist by a sash of flowered ribbon that ended in a huge bow at th* side. The hat, which was turban shape and most becoming, was made of the same material. In a bathing suit of black taffeta Miss Dana made an attractive figure, and proved herself quite an Annette Kellerman in the water. Kaufman Sells Out. Al. Kaufman has sold his interest In the Allan Holubar special pro- duction, "Man, Woman, Marriage," which is to be released by First Na- tional. Holubar owns a one-half interest In the production, and those asso- ciated with Kaufman and Holubar in the production are Joseph M. Schenck and First National, who are believed to have taken over the Kaufman holdings, returning to him his original investment. In the picture "The Cheater Reformed" William Russell plays a dual role, that of twin brothers, one a parson, the other a notorious crook (quite a difference) who, when the parson is killed in a train wreck, takes his place. It appears easy sailing until he is confronted with the fact that he has a wife, played by Seena Owen. Of course love comes to both and she promises to wait for him while he goes out into the world tc make good. Miss Owen wore a beautiful evening gown of black sequins, slightly draped to the figure, with black satin forming loops at the side, which also formed the long train. Over this was worn a wrap of dark velvet made quite full with the deep collar of marten fur. A negligee of pale pink flowing chiffon had good lines with its square neck outlined in shadow lace. For an afternoon frock Miss Owen's choice was black satin, the skirt falling into pleats while the front of the bodice was stitched in white silk. The back was perfectly plain. The picture "Girls Don't Gamble" has nothing to de with cards, as one might suppese from its title, but deals with girls choosing their "better half," marriage being just a gamble. Elinor Field is pretty as one of the "gamblers," while David Butler is very amusing as the stake. For her first evening out with her beau, Miss Field wore a summer affair of flowered voile, with a large hat of organdie. A dress of check taffeta was becoming with a white lawn fiehu draping the bodice. At the finish of the picture one y-ees Miss Field in sport attire, with the pleated skirt of white cloth, worn with a black Knitted sweater and sailor shape nat, Kathleen Norris Signed a Kathleen Norris has been signed by Goldwyn to write original scena- rios; also to contribute her other work for plcturizat'on. Several of Mrs. Norris' novels have been plc- turized. Goldw.n's "Poor Relation" Goldwyn has secured the picture rights to Edward E. Kidder s "A Poor Relation." in which the lat» Sol Smith Russell starred for a great many years. It will be used as a vehicle for Will Roger \ ALLAN DWAN presents A Perfect Crim h Co#nedy-Drama/rom the Saturday Evening Post story by CARL CLAUSEN Personally directed by Mr DWAN In a recent cawass conducted by one of the largest producer- distributor organizations, 1700 exhibitors declared their patrons showed the strongest liking for «wift moving comedy-dramas. All the motion picture trade journals are unanimous in their ap- proval of "A Perfect Crime.** MOTION PICTURE NEWS: ■ 'A Perfect Crime* has romance, hu. mor, pathos, and Allan Dwan keeps his story moving swiftly." MOVING PICTURE WORLD "Allan Dwsn's newest picture*A Perfect Crime.' is a sincere and fine production of one of the most ingen- ice* stows of the year." EXHIBITORS HERALD "If entertainment was uppermost in Allan Dwan's mind in making 'A Perfect Crime* for release through *A- P.,* he has been successful The pwture is mighty good enteruirunent.'' WID'S: " 'A Perfect Crime' u another good Dwan production and ft hu a highly interesting philosophy in its story." Associated HOME OFFICES' 729 SEVENTH AVE, NEW TOW CTTT