Variety (Dec 1929)

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VARIETY FOREIGN FILM NEWS Wednesday, December 11, 19^9 PARISPRESS PEEVED OVER Paris, Dec. 2. . Considerable agitation bere as the result of Paramount's stunt with the seven French newspaperhien whona it took to Ameflca on/the sanie boat (lie de France) with Maurice Chevalier. A gi'ahd publicity stunt, Par hooklng-up with the Frencli Line on the transportation end, while enlisting the good will of what were deemed the seven representa- tive French cinematic critics, but it develops that the majority Of this reviewing septet iare nothing more than glorified advertising solicitors. Pratlcally - only one of th6m, Gtaston^Thiferry^ of the "Parls- MIda,"and also a dlrect6uf of "Cine-' jnonde," bfeing a picture critic. Beside which tliere is a suspicion over here that Par it behind "Clne- mondie." • Howeveri the main'squawk is on eo many French newspapermen hold- ing down manifold jobs. It'a a; con- ceded fact that the newspaper boys are notoriously underpaid bev^i >un- less it Is some Important critic, and are expected bythelr ismployei's to double . or triple In brass for economic reasons. Richard Plerre- Bodin, direotem- and film critic of "Figaro," attacked Paramount and the allied American picture interests for fostering and propagating the myth that the visiting Parisian ad solicitors were rei)resentatlve8 of the important. French predS, and that most of them are on the pay- rolls of Important picture interests; This, too, is no secret In Paris, where even the by-line people ori the Paris editions of the New Totk "Herald" and Chicago "Tribune" pick up some easy money froni the hotels,, picture distributors^ etc* , ' . As 'far as Paraipount's purpose Is concerned, the writers who have any influence on the Paris dailies are blasting away it. the Interests of the industry,, ballyhooing Hollywood, aiid American picture standards, decrying the heavy French taxa- tion, damning the native.antiquated standards, etc. PARIS TALKERS DIE; 2 SOUND FaMS SCOREI Paris, Dec. 10. New developments make . It seem still more certain the French won^ take to American dialog pictureib, but are good customers for syn- chronized product. One synchronized picture, Paramount's "Redskin" (Richard Dix), is doing big busi- ness, iiere, while three class Amer- ican talkers have flopped badly during the past week. Another syiichronized American picture that is scoring is "Dancing Daughters" (M-G-M), re-christened "New Virgins," which is doing ter- rific business at the Graurapnt PaU ace. The title has boxofBce value here ahd the excellent synchroni- zation, minus dialog, Helps. Fox's "Movietone Follies" caused riots at the Moulin Rouge. "Broad- way Melody" is slipping at, the Madeleine Cinema. Razzed Legion A third Ajnerican talker, Tiffany's "Two Men and a Maid," at the Cap- uclnes la likewise floppingi This picture has all dialog in first half and" synchroni^atlbh only in the second* This ; late portion is de- voted to ^tbe Foreign Legion and was razz6il here, because the Legion Is unpopular at home for political reasons. Prefer Silent New« Ottawa, Can., Dec 10. A silent news weekly has re- placed the sound news at Keith's bere, one 6t the bl£;gest theatres in Canada. Reason given Is that the sound news bad too many "screen Interviews'* and unin- teresting sl^ots. WAIiNERS DISIRffillTE TALt[ERS IN GERMANY ERPI'S 671 ABROAD; 424 INSTALLATIONS IN I Report Schenck After . Payilion in .Lohdoh London, Dec. 10. C. B. Cochran Is continuing fea- ture pictures at the Pavilion, run- ning "Taming of the. Shrew" (Falr- banks-Pickford) until Jan. 7 and then replacing that attraction with United Artists' "Condemned" start- ing Jan. 9. A rumor Is about that Joseph Schneck Is trying to . buy the Pavilion and seeks other houses In London In behalf of. United Artists Murray Sllverstone, British head of United Artists, however, denies there is any foundation for the story. P'aris, Dec. 2. On Nov. 1, Western Blectrlc's statistics for foreign installations In 21 European, African, a"nd east driehtal nations, totaled 424 com- plete installations and 247 contracts tiot yet fulfilled. This makes a total of 671 picture theatres in this ter- ritory using or preparing to use ERPI equipment. (^reat Britain leads with 341 -com- pleted installations and 146 to go; France is next with IE finished and 33 uhfulfiUed; Italy, 11 finished and 4 to go; Sweden, 11 completed and 6 to Strings Following countries" are . denoted as the first figure indicating com- pleted installations and the second figure showing contracts pending: . Austria, 4-12; Belgium, 6-3; Czecho-Slovakia, 4-4; Denmark, 8, 1 to go; Egypt, 2 wired, 4 to go; Fin- land, 1 wired, 3 contracts pending; Germany, 4-7; Greece (Athens), 1 wired, none to go; Hungary, 2wlred^ 1 to go; Jugo-Slavia, none wired, 1 pending; Netherlands, 2-2; Norway, 8-2; Poland, 2-4; Boumanla, 1 wired, no other contract; Spain, 4 wired, 4 to go; Switzerland, 4 wired, 10 tO go; Turkey, 1 wired house, no other W. E. contract. MORE SPANISH DIALOG BROMES Buenos Aires, Dec. 10. "Biroadway" (U) re-^dlaiogUed in poor Spanish, flopped badly in its second week at th© Astral theatre, which—whether by necessity or not —^Is making it a double feature bill, adding "White Shadows in the Sotith Seas" (M-G-r-^yhchronlzed and effects—no dialog) with no ad- vance In sfeale. An explanatory note is flashed In advance of "Broad^vay," setting 1 forth that In making the dialog for Centre-Americans; ceirtain of the idiomatic phrasing was found to be urilntelllgible to the Argentinians, and begged the indulgence of the audience. "BJ'oadway'' is, the picture which was razzed,on*, its intlal showing at the, tsame house three weeks ago, tiie audience; taking exception to the ragged . Spanish and the sloppy job of. superlm|f>oslng hew Spanish dia- log oh a print originally made with the actors'talking English. It Is the . view bit distributors here that it should be broad.cast to the American trade that Spanish dialog Injected In this way is full of pitfalls, certainly for the Argen- tine, and probably for the rest of South and Central Anierlca. Berlin. Deo. 10. Warners Is continuing the dis- tribution of talking pictures to housed equipped with the Klangfilm system. This is in spite of the story circulated here that the Hays ofllce has advised American dis- tributors to • decline such business Ih the hope of persuading exhibitors to break through the native patent barrier. Warner product avallabliB Is en- tirely material already released. All other distrlijutors are abiding by the Hays reported ruling, seeking to get by with silent versions of talk- ing' pictures, and making tough golni^ for them.. It has been pretty well demon- strated that the sUents are through here, particularly; silent verslohs of foreign films made for dialog. ; NDIA'S OWN FILM TO EXPLOIT COONTRT OEY Washington, Dec, 10. Indian government and army council are co-operatIng in making of "a talker by ah Indian producer with American recording equip- ment. . Report to. Department of Com- merce states picture win net play for the propaiBfanda angle; liut Will be answer to some of the recent foreign mades, showing India in a bad light. British cast Is to be In the film which Is to be a special. Hollywood, Dec. 10. Recent adverse demonstration by Argentine theatre patrons toward Unlversal's Spanish version of "Broadway" has changed this com pany's .policy of making Spanish versions. Hereafter, instead of try- ing to add Spanish dialog to Eng- lish versions, pictures selected for the Latin-American market will be made directly fpr this trade with all Spanish speaking casts. First to be made on the new plan is "Sklnnei^s Dress Suit," just com pleted for the American market with Glenn Tryon starring. IHURELS PARTED AGAIV LESS ACTIVE IN AUBERT Toor Tax" Redoction In France by Jan. 1 1 WB OK's Chron«plione Berlin, Deo. 2. Warners ha-s decided to allow its talkers and synchronized silents to be shown on Chronophone equip- ment manufactured by the Gaumont Conipany here. Decision was greeted with satis- faction by many German theatre owners, as this equipment Is con- siderably cheaper than Tobls or Klangfilm. Low Rate German Quota More Vital Than Wire Future Seriousness of the contingent, and the influence -Which Its success In Germany would have upon other foreign countries. Is lllcely to cause . the American Industry to withhold product from Germany. This dei spite the Warners' refusal, at the Hays' meeting last week, to be used as part of a club by Western Elec- tric \. .,. ■ While Major Herrpn. Hays' fo)r« eign head, has called ?T|5> furthjejt'; meetings, it is gleaned. fir,^;n exeqti- / tlves who attended that the angl0; of the contingent exceeds In Im- portance tiiat of aldiiig the electrl<> company in forclnj^ . entrance Into^ Germany. , -r Warners, execs declare, "Is in a. peculiar spot. Its battle with W. B., far frota conclusion Iii star chami ber proceedings which have dragged'. over a year, prevents the film flrni , from making a move which would^ have a double edge.W. B.. is alBOf the defendant In litigation through . W. B. slewing- up fhose Stanley ' houses having Pacent Installations. Until this Inter - relationship la cleared', other producers appreciate that -Warners can't participate ih any movement to the advantage of W. .E. Contingent situation did not seem to manifest itself to. any- great ex- tent in the Herron meetings until W. E. was hurt by the recent per- manent Injunction the rival firm, Tobls Klangfilm, obtained against It. STAYS WITH UFA Berlin, Dec. 2. Despite rumors to the contrary, Brlgltte Helm Is returning to Ufa. She had sued that organization, claiming an illegal contx'act. It. was reported she had joined an Italian company. M^G NAipS DAVIS .. Hollywood, Dec. 10* Frank Dayis, assistant to Ber-nie Hyman, M-Q producer, has been named to head the newly created foreign production dei)artment. Grossmith 1st Film Job Hollywood, Dec. 10. George GrossmitlTi, English stage actor and producer, has been as- signed by Fox to write the dialog for "The Dollar Princess." it's his first studio job. 'Melville Baker, recently with United Artists, Will work out the treatment of the «ame story. Myerson In China . Ralph Myerson. has left for Shanghai to become assistant gen- eral manager of thie Peacock Mo- tion Picture Corp. Company, For Spanish Films Hollywood, Dec. 10. Lola Vendrel, Spanish-American fltage actress, engaged for term by fiono-'Art, Paris, Dec. 2; A moderate increase of theati'e building, and other economic bene- fits to the native picture Industry, Is foreseen In the proposed reduc- tion Of the current 10% "poor tax", to 3%. This tax, for the assistance publlque (charity), represents a 7% saving to theatre operators If the French Parliament approves It by Jan. 1, as .seems likeiy. Paramount theatre, grossing around 30,000,000 fi'ancs annually, will find only 900,000 francs thereof (3%) sldetraciced, as against /the current 3,000,000, which goes to the assistance pUblique. That margin of over 2,600,000 francs is gravy. It will mean Increased revenue to French producers playing percent- ages or distributing In their own houses, although there will be no material savlniir to the public. All-French Talker May ^ Go Into Par Houses Paris, Dec. 2. Advaucfe reports ori the French all-tallter, "La , Nuit est a Nous" ("The Night Is Ours") has Inter- ested Paramount oflicials, who are screimm&-"lt^wlth="a'fVl©\v^to--book-= ing it In their own houses. Andre Ullmnn, local Par theatre manager, is giving it special attention, along with Mel Shauer, Par representa- tive here in charge of the foreign field. It's a two-lingo'd production, pro- duced in Germany, with a supple- mentary German dialog sequence, the latter directed by Karl Froeh- llch. Henri Roussell directed the French. Paris, Dec. 10 Robert H\u:el» general manager of Franco-Aubert Interests, has sepa- rated from his wife all over again. Mrs. Hurel is Alice Roberts, French screen actress. As a detail of the separation it is understood Hurel is settling a cash sum upon the former wife and giving her their apartment. The pair wei-e divorced, .but became rec- onciled and resumed their married relations. Now the reconciliation is all off, apparently for good. Hurel is convalescing at Cannes and apparently Is not as active as formerly, although nothing to this effect can be confirmed at company headquarters. The Hurel company is on the eve of a stock flotation. Violinist Sue^ Tobis Over Double's Use in Short Berlin, bee. 2. :,^dreas Weissgerber, violinist. Is suing Tobis, (Serman talker producr ing firm. He was engaged by the sound company to impersonate Paganinl, .whom he is said to re- semble. Picture, a short, was to be Completed within four days for 3,000 marks. Later, Tobis found it needed a few more shots of the player, but only silent cut-ins. Weissgerber demanded the same figure, 700 marks a day. So the firm took a double, photographed only from behind, who received 35 marks a day. In his suit, Weissgerber demands that Tobis make clear by titles 'and advertising matter just where he leaves off and the double begins. He also demands damages for the harm done to his artistic reputation by use of the double. Film has not been rented for over six months, but that won't stop the suit from taking its course. SOUND "JAZZ SINGER'- BIG, WAS SILENT FLOP ■ . •, -.4 Berlin, Dec. Itf;''!"' "Jazz Singer," with Al Jolsoa slnglpg,. enjoyed a splendid recep- tion at the, Glbi-la Palasf here. It now promises to become a rival of "Singing Fool," locally the biggest moneymaker since, the Introduction of dialog. What makes the circumstance noteworthy is that ."Jaza Singer"- was an outright flop here several months ago as a silent. Egyptians Eiiil)ai1i on First Sound Picture Cairo, Dec. ID. Yusseff Wahby, Egyptian, will shortly start work on the first na- tive screen production involving sound. Initial iMcture will be called "The Desert" for wlaich a native cast has been picked. Promoter says he will use all the modern appliances. Including sets from Milan, Italy, lighting effects from the United States and sound apparatus from .Eui'ope, Prague Hails "Fool" Prague, Dec. 10, The Alfa Bio theatre here, wired with western Electric, opened late last week with "The Singing Fool" in the presence of the American Minister to Czechoslovakia and the diplomatic corps. Native newspapers hail the sub ject as the best sound and song picture so. far. Sweden's Sound Stockholm, Nov. 25. After clashes of opinion, lots of entliusiasm and criticism, sound plctureB are gaining ground in thie Scandinavian countries. In Sweden, Western , Electric, Klaiisfllm and Nordisk Tonefilm are Installing equipments, with Pacent just entering the market. In .Den- mark a couple of theatres have In- stalled Cinephone, in addition to W. E. wire already functioning. Norway has tliree Western Electric houses and Sweden has 12 W^ E.- IS Klahg, 15 Nordisk, and three Pacent. . Sound Is still a novelty here. Big problem Is the question j)f what "llrt'~i)ubliC"^wantsI~""One'^ producer was rather successful with his many pictures with syn chronized scores, but now the pub lie seems to want something more —songs and a little dialog. . Wjiien the dialog is easily under- stood, through the action. It is en- Joyed, However, when the scene depends upon the spoken word. It is better to delete the dialog for subtitles under present conditions. Audiences are curious to hear their (Continued on page 28) Silent and Sound Facts Revealed by German Exhibs Berlin, Dec. 2. At the recent meeting of .the offi- cial organization of German ex- exhlbitors, as previously reported by cable, the following facts came to light in various speeches: In Munich the American synchro- nized Version of "Submarine" had to be taken off after three days, owlng^ to audience dissatisfaction. Patrons compared it unfavorably with the forriier SB-piece orchestra at the Emelka Palast. In Halle the' tobls-syhchronized 10% talker, "The Favorite of SchonJ brunn," was. shown In two houses; one silent print and the other in sound. The silent version was a. success, the sound version flopped. In Leipzig the silent Ufa, ' Woman Ti the Moon," topped'"Singing Fool" by 2,500 marks nightly. * In Chemnitz Tobis sounded "Land;' Without Women," did no buslnesSr- and In Breslau had to be taken off after two days. But "Singing Fool" had played seven weeks in the for- mer city to tremendous receipts, GAUMONT-U EACE Paris, Dec. 10. Gaumont here, and Universal, lit America, are evidently racing to get out a scenai'io based on the "Tj*,. Marseilles." • • . Gaumont will naturally make It,_. as-ar-^French^talker.. Jtr^may_^l?? do a duplex dialog vei'slon, accord- ing to local report Postal Discs Paris Hit Paris, Dec, 10. Phonograph discs set into picture postcards are taking on a boom here. Special holiday groeUngS liave been recorded on tho records, which . reproduce on any talkins machine.