Variety (May 1928)

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10 VARIETY PICTURES Wednesday, May 2, 1928 Photophone on Market Next Year Without Restrictions For ExMbitors or The RCA Phptophono, Inc., dem- onstrating its fllra talker, labeled Phot6i)hpjie, Is gienerally conceded tp be the last word in sqund-and- iiim synchronization. The. Phptd- phone talker, marketed by a sub- sidiary . of the Radio Corporation of America, of which David SarnofC Is the president, and Elmer E, Bucher, executive vice-president in dharge of ssiles of the Photophonie organization, is a talker that relies: f>n , the photo-electric cell' for its iclontlfic principle.. The sound is recorded on a strip of film kno ./n as the "sound track" and reproduced through projection via the photo-electric cells with volume- graduation controllable from the projection booth. Nothing but a reproducing cpne is used. The cone is ia. diaphragm, or sound- drum, and is not a horn as witii the other talkers. . Horn Now Antiquated . RCA Photophoi.c ofllcials deeiii the horn principle antiquated. Faithful sound reproduction can^ hot be obtained through, the horns. Al Jolsdn Stuff TLiOs Angeles, May 1. Al Jdlsorii while functioning as master of ceremonies at the premiere of Warner Broth- ers' theatre, was saying to Ws audience that he would intro- duce some prominent .screen celebs, when a boy ilsher came nonchalantly strolling aown. the. aisle. . Al,. lamping hini, said "there is one now." A roar: of laughs went. up at the remark, when Af callied out, ".Don't litugh, he: may be my next director." Modern Picture Exliibits At Dresden Exposition MARTHA VAUGHN The Irish Nightingale . Iii "Dancing Feet" > Publlx, Seattle, Wash., this week il. A/s 3 on B'way in May{ United Artists has three pictures hitting Broadway this month, start- ing with ^Steamboat Bill," which follows "Drums of Love," another U. A. film, at the Rlalto May. 12. VRamona" is scheduled to trail "Speedy" Into the Rivoli Maiy 19, and "The Tempest," at $2* will suc- ceed "Two Lovers" at the Embassy Waiahingtoh, May 1; All recent developments in motion no matter how expert the wiring. I picture equipment are to be ex- All Phbtbpho'n<i requires is a single i^j^j^gjj ^j^g Dresden picture ex-1 M^y l"^* This Metro-Goldvvyn show cable firorii the pro:ection booth to. . , ■ . ■ ^ room was to have had "Casanova," the. cone which is placed behihd the Position next month, reports (,eorge m-G's French-made film this month, Bcreen. Canty. Paris, to the Department of but techhlcallties have tied up the Photophone, despite its ultimate Commerce. foreign film for a while, aim for the home trade on 16 mm. Canty pairtlcularly llists the An unu.sual aspect Is both the Btock home projectcrs, Is going af- "spjverlcal motion picture house' rjvoII and Rlalto playing U. A. fea ter the. picture houses as its best that enables the screen to be seen tures Blmultaneously, both houses Immediate market. Photophone, ac- from any part of the theatre, as I generally alternating on Paramount cording to Mr. Bucher, hbiies to one of . the .outstanding exhibits and 'U. A; product. "Street of Sin" have 3.000 to 4,JOO machines on the from the foreign angle. ; .(Jannlngs), first listed for the market In li929 and will have Its Talking pictures, will be widely j^ivoll, has been switched to the Ri product ; n the market for June shown with .several new Improye-1 aito to follow "Steamboat Bill." and July delive.y. "The machines | ments scheduled. are In process oi» completion under . I ww« i » t?'l F\ an intensive manufacturing schod- BailS Midnight | Higher InipOrt Film Duty ule. Bucher told "Variety" that con tracts with exhibitors will not be signed-until they have the machines ready for delivery, despite the pos Bibility of some 300. or more con- tracts at. the moment Denying that he referred . to. the Western F]lcctric Co. or Us sub sldiary, the jiiectrical Research Films ; Menace to Young Australia—Recommended Charleston, W. Va . May 1. Washington, May 1. Because midnight shows "are a I^oyal Film Commlsison of Aus menace to boys and girls of juve-f-alia has recommended. In Its re nile age," the 'managers of the PO^t to the government, that the Kearse "Theatre. , and Universal's .general duty on motion, picture filmis .Virginian Theatre have been re- be Increased from I'^d- to 2d. per Products, which markets the Vita- quested by: the Kanawha County lineal foot, and that British films phone, Bucher stressed, that the jyy^„H^ (joyrj to prohibit the at- remain on the free list, says a cable Photophone will do Its utmost to kg^^^jj^j^g^ ^^ y^mj^g ^^^jg^. 18 ygj^jg from Trade Commissioner Earl C. maintain a consistent production Ljj ^^^^ Squire.. Sidney, to the Department schedule to fill exhibitor demaod An order to .that effect was en- of Comtnerce, as fast as . it came '"v Variety's j^^,,^ ^j^jg ^^^^ ^^^^j^^ ^jj^^^j^jQ^ ^f Board ilso recommends that a Auery had to do with the Warner | jy^jgg i^Qrga.n Owen after board of censors be formed, with an Owen Whittington. chief probation .^ppeal board, as well as the estab- bmcer of Kanawha County, had Hsbment of an Enrlpire quota on ^ . ^ . . ,. , complained that the midnight enter- feature films of at least five per being behmd on contract^,. This tainments were an Underlying cause cent British films the first year, 10 Is why Photophone will np.t make | .^-j^^^-jj^^.^^ ^^jj^^q^ cent the second year, and IB Motion pictures have been shown P*'r cent the third year, intermittently on Sunday nights at Registration of distributors and the Virginia Theatre, and movies exhibitors, marking of films, un- and vaudeville almost every Sunday 'ted for children, limitation to 12 night at the Kearse Theatre, which mpnt^ia on all release contracts, per- .Brothers' known grievance against Electrical Resea/ch Products, man- facturlng Vitaphbne machines, for any contracts until ehoq^h sets arc in readiness for delivery. Instailation Costs photophone avers Its cost is ap proximately one-third less thar any of the other talkers. Vita phone ranges from $10,000 to $23,000 to install. Phptophone's range is $11, 000 to $115,000 for a mammoth au- ditorium like the Roxy. That sum also, represents the lease of the , mJiciilne for a period of five years plays Keith-Albee. attractions. EATS MUD FOE EEAUSM Los Angeles, May 1 Unable to secure an extra player I ^j"^"^ mission to exhibitors to reject five per cent of contracted films In order to exhibit Australian films, and a reconsideration of taxation of gross earnlngfl, are also included In the recommendations for new leglslia- Exhibitors can pay half the sum to eat mud in the sideshow scene down and extend- the balance for -of .'.IThe; Barker,'' .now .being .pro^ payment within a period of five (luced by First Natiopal, George years. At the expiration of the five- P'ltzmaurlce persuaded his" third year retital term, the exhibitor will assistant, Max. Heller, to do the have the privilege of purchasing | <l'rty work; the apparatus outright for a sum approximately the same as that for Producers Are Stealing Material, Says Screen Writers' Guild Organ "Screen Writers' Bulletin" of April 19, la-st, the oflflclal organ for the Screen Writers' Guild and Authors' League of America, published In Hollywood, had the following .article concerning writers,*producers and material; ' A JOB FOR THE ACADEMY Complaints of the. appropriation of original material by motion picture .producers are po.uring In upon, the Guild. They come from the most unexpected sourceis and involve some of the largest pro- ducing organizations. For years such complaints were made in- dl.scrimlnately by, illiterate but ambitious amateurs, who offered ' nothing worth stealing. Occisionally they came from experienced writers, and were, mainly .against small "bootlegging" producers who relied upon the theft of material for their profits. Now they are com- ing altogether from writers of unquestioned ability and Integrity, and Involve some of the largest producing organizations In the industry. This thieving Is being done by. adept crooks deliberately employed for that ptjrpose and no other. Otie Guild member, a dramatist and scenarist of established ability, reports three titles stolen by local producers. Another member re- cently submitted a story to one of the. largest producing companies. It was held "under. consideration" for several weeks and then re- jected, but m the meantime the title had been registered by the com- pany with the Producers' Association and the forthcoming produc- tion broadly advertised. . ' ^Another ihember suggested a production based on the title of an old song and offered to write a story around it. The suggestion was rejected, but the next day the producers regiistered the title with the Producers' organiaatlon. The members of the Producers' Association, finding It necessary to protect themselves against one another, have provided for the registration of titles, which gives them a priority in lis use, but tlila protection Is not extended to writers. It is used, however, to' pro- tect literary thieves in the possession of their stolen goods.. Recently onie of our writers registered an original storj? with the Guild and submitted It to a producer. Later it was returned, toi the writer -with the statement. that "it Is not the type of m.aterial for which we are looking at the present time" But In the meantime the prbdiicer had registered the writer's title with the Producers' As- sociation and had Announced his intention to make a production on the identical subject. The quesstion was Itpmediately raised as to» whether the, Producer.<3' system was devised solely to enforce honor .among producers, or whether the ethical principle Involved would be extended to protect writers against producers. By agreement this Interesting question was submitted to Mr. Beetson for decision; but It still remains undecided. The producer proved that a month before the writer's story , was registered such a production was discussed In a studio conference. But If any decision was then reached it was apparently against the use of •'material of that type"; and it was two months before a change lii studio policy was announced by the producer's registration of the writer's title and his declared Intention of using similar ma- terial upon the Identical subject. Ethical Principles By agreement the question was left to Fred Beetson. who held that an ethical principle beyond the mere registiatign o* a titory or title was Involved, and that the discussion In a studio conference at a prior date covered the principle. He therefore decided that the pro- ducer had established a prior right to the use of the title.' This decision may define and establish a point of ethics in the motion picture industry. If so. It will be unique, for it Is not In con- formity with the elementary principles of ethics or ecjulty applicable to the acquisition of rights by registration or recordation and uni- versally followed In all other activities. The very purpose of regis- tration and recordation Is to estop vague and indefinite claims and close the door to fraud. As between two grantees of real property, claiming title from the same source the one who first records his deed takes priority, even though It m^y be of a later date. The other, is held to have slept oti his right.s. Imagine a Judicial decision that disregarded, the law and gave judgment to the negligent claimant upon proof that he had first discussed the purchase of the property with a real estate agent! This decision can. mean only one things—that studio discussion supersedes actual registration us the test of priority, and writers or other producers who don't happen to be present at such conferences are out of luck. The fact that the writer has worked months and had Innumerable conference." on the story and title before the pro- ducers discussed it means nothing. Completely disregarding the comiJlaints of writers, the adoption of this system of registration by the producers Is in itself an admission, of its necessity. If producers need protection against one another, how much more do writers require protcctipn against producers! Herein lies another PPPortunlty^ for Jhe_AcMemy,,:.t^ A. S. C. Elections Los Angeles, May 1. John W. Boyle was elected presi- dent of the American Society of I Clnematographers at the annual] meeting to succeed Daniel B, Clerk the Initial rental term, but these RCA Phptophor.e, . Inc.,. offices on details have yet to be worked out, 37th Street and Fifth Avenue dis- r^^^""^^ the board of eaid Bucher. closed a talker of . unusually faith- QQy^j.j^pi,g_ '■. Photophone itself will not engage fxil character, sounding clean, clear Charles * Rosher is the new first In film production of Its own talk- and rcalistid. An iexperimental reel .yj^,g_ppggj,jgj,j.. Burton Sleene. sec ers unless forced to In order to with FBO's . "Chicago After Mid- L^^j . .yj^j^.p^ggj^gj^ji Morgan, meet market demands. For the time night,'' with. a. synchronliied score L jj j ^.^ ylce-president; George belngj FBO has the Photophone .film recorded by David Mendoza and the g^jj^gj^^g^man treasurer;' Joseph A, talker process licensed, as has Pathe Capitol Theatre orchestra, f-'ong L^yjjj.^y secretary, and' Frank B, for short subject productions. with a couple of other musical q^^^ aergeant at armsi Other talkers all pay a royalty per sub- talkers, were favorably Inipresslve. L^^^^jp^g the board of Governors Ject . tp RCA Phptophone, Inc.; for Bucher stated that the sound track. Lj:^^!^,!^ victor Mllnor, Al Cllks, the privilege of using the Photo- with its zig-zag line' waves, out* j^l^^j gejtz Alvln w'yckoft, Guy phone Bound recording process, lasts the actual movie print j-w^mty^ Fred Jackman and ' Ghas. Photophone, however, will not re- times. Thus, the sound track, which | p j^' strict its talker to FBO or Pathe or comes off the regular movie stock any film producer exclusively, 11- on which Is Imprinted the film ac censing any and all cpmpanieai Jn- U'<^. will out]ast 10 prints^ of the I ProloK for-Trial" "~"dls<nTmTnateTyr"^"Xny^^ ; company can avail It.sclf of the sured by a system of nicks on mpvle Los Angeles, May 1. Photophone recording apparatus subject and talker which, when co-[ • "Northern Lights'' is the title of tinder a uniform royalty arrange- Inclded, permit for no: mishaps the prolog to accompany 'Tr.all of ment. through any recording arrange- '98" at Grauman's Chinese. Due to Nor will Photophone be restrict- ment going awry. the Fantom Screen It was doubtful •d to exhibitors aceording to ter- | Bucher's clesignatlon by tlxe RCA (for a time whether Grauman would Its usefulness. If the producer.s find It necessary to protect screen material, stories and titles against the predatory practices of one another, the writers certainly need protection against the producers; ahd the Academy, which was organized for the avowed purpose of serving all branches of the industry, should see that they get it. Bootleofling Plays Some local writers are. concocting synthetic plays, giving local audiences a taste of them In backyard theatres, putting "Broadway success" liabels on them and then trying to peddle them among the motion picture producers. So long as manuscript plays can be copy- righted and unpublished stories cannot, a good way of procur- ing some measure of protection for original stories. Only picture patrons are deceived, and the play-gofng public does not suffer. The •few plays that reach the screen by this devious method affect the dramatist very slightly, but the vice In the situation Is that the writers are assisting the picture producers in perpetrating a fraud on the public. Anyone who Is seriously engaged In playwritlng with the expectation of producing profitably will sign only the standard contract of the Dramatists' Guild and only with a producer who has agreed to It Every reputable producer in America has signed It and adheres to It. Fot-eign authors are now well organized and are working In close l^harmtmy^'wlth^the Authors'^-Lca^ue^'bf^^Amerlcai^ ^George'^M iddl et president of the Dramatists' Guild, Is now In Berlin attending the International Conference of Authors, from which Interesting results are expected. Joan Bennett's Fi^rst Los Angeles, May 1. Joan Bennett, youngest daughter rltory. Picture houses aide by side, executives for the Photophone sub- be able to stage a presentation, or directly opposite, can be Photo- sldiary corporation is based on that Prolog. Is to run about 20 minutes phoned without reservation or re- sales' executive's past perform- and will be In one scene with around I of Richard Bennett, makes her •trlctlon. ances of running the RCA gr9sS 100 people used. House Is dark this I screen debut In "Power." A demonstration of the Photo- annvial .sal«>.s up from 1600,000 to. week opening with the new picture! This Is being directed Ixj Howard phone talker to Variety in the ) ?.>7,000,000 In 1927. | Majr 7tli at a I* top for the premier. | Hlggin tor Patba. Wm. Kernell's Titles Los Angeles, May 1. William Kernoll, composer and writer of mugjical comcdio.«?, and a stepson of Joseph Cawthorn, the comedian, has signed a long term contract with Fox to titlo iii'^ture.s