Views
3 years ago

Boxoffice-January.03.1953

a STUDIO PERSONNELITIES

a STUDIO PERSONNELITIES Cleffers Independent Producer Hoi Mokelim booked ALBERT GLASSER to prepore the score for "My Dod J. R." Loanouts Universal-International Borrowed from Metro, JANET LEIGH will star with Donald O'Connor m Producer Ted Richmonu's musical, "Walkin' My Baby Bock Home." Meggers Columbia Production reins on "The Nebroskon," o western by David Long, hove been handed to WALLACE MacDONALD. Metro SOL FIELDING drew the production reins on "Button, Button, comedy by Don Field, dealing with an " inventor who creates a mechanical brain. Allen Rivkin ts writing the script. Options Metro One-time child star JACKIE COOGAN was inked for "Fame and Fortune," the Spencer Trocy-Jean Simmons-Teresa Wright vehicle, which George Cukor megs for Producer Lawrence \Voingarten. Rept public WENDELL COREY was inked to star with Forrest Tucker and Margoret Lockwood in "Laughing Ann," which will be produced and directed in Englond by Herbert Wilcox. Universal-International LYLE BETTGER was set to star with Borbara Stanwyck and Richard Carlson in "You Belong to Me," o Ross Hunter production, which Douglas Sirk directs. Inked to a long-term pact was ABBE LANE, vocalist with Xavier Cugat's orchestra and, in private life, Mrs. Cugat. She will appear in the upcoming Glenn Ford starrer, "Wings of the Hawk," which Budd Boetticher will meg for Producer Aaron Rosenberg. Set for the starring spot in "Devil's Canyon, ' a Technicolor western rolling next May, was YVONNE DECARLO. The oater will be produced by Frank Cleaver. BORIS KARLOFF was tagged to star with Bud Abbott ond Lou Cost.il lo in the upcoming Howard Christie production, "Abbott ond Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Warners The Alex Gottlieb production unit signed GLENN FORD to star in "5 Bullets," an original western by Gottlieb, which will be filmed in Technicolor. The screenplay is being readied oy Richofd Alan Simmcns. Handed a character load in Caqnny Productions' "A Lion Is in the Streets" was ONSLOV/ STEVENS. Storring James Cagney and Barbara Hale, the feature is being directed by Raoul Walsh. Scripters Columbia IRVING WALLACE will adopt K. R. G. Granger's western novel, "Ten Agoinst Caesar," which has been added to Lewis J. Rochmil's produc^lon schedule. "The Long Gray Line," West Point story by Marty Maher, is being screenplayed by EDWARD HOPE. Robert Arthur is the producer. Producer Sam Katzmon inked ARTHUR LEWIS ".o prepare the screenplay for "Tripoli to the Sea." Story Buys Columbia Producer Sam Katzmon acquired the Fia-^k Yorby novel, "The Saracen Blade," a story of 13th century Italy. "Bardelys the Mognrficent, ' o costume novel by Rafael Sabot ini, was purchased ond assigned to Lewis J. Rachmil to produce. A silent film version was mode by Metro in 1926. Metro Purchosed from Paramount was the completed screenplay of "Rhapsody," based on a novel by Henry Handel Richardson. Lawrence Weingorten will produce and Chorles Vidor will direct the opus, the ttory of on American girl in a European music conservatory. Title Changes Columbia "Here Comes THE RIVER. the Showboat" to CRUSIir DOWN Metro "Yeors Ago" to FAME AND FORTUNE. "Voquero" to RIDE, VAQUERO! "Vicki" to SCANDAL AT SCOURIE. "Connie" to CONFIDENTIALLY CONNIE. Paramount "Lost Treasure of the Andes" (Pine-Thomos Prod.) to LOST TREASURE OF THE AMAZON. 'Rockets' Red Glare' Set HOLLYWOOD—"The Rockets' Red Glare," based on the life of Francis Scott Key, composer of "The Star Spangled Banner," has been added to the Allied Artists schedule as a William Caliban production. HEAD L.\S VEGAS TENT—Pictured following the election held at the Variety Tent 39, Las Vegas, are. left to right: Robert Cannon, second assistant chief barker; Arch Loveland, Doughguy; Jake Kozloff, chief barker; Norman Keller, heart fund member; Benny Goffstein, retiring chief barker and new International canvasman; Herb McDonald, heart fund chairman; Ezra Stern of Los Angeles, Variety International officer who attended the meeting, and Ernie C'ragin, first assistant chief barker. Kneeling are Eugene Murphy, press guy; Eddie Fox, property master, and Jack Young, a crewman. LA Boothmen Picket 21 Outdoor Houses LOS ANGELES—First strike action ever to be undertaken involving drive-in theatres in this sector was well underway as the projectionists lATSE Local 150 began picketing 18 ozoners operated by Pacific Drive-ins. two situations owned by Sero Enterprises and one independent operation. The strike was called December 23 when boothmen and the drive-in owners failed to agree on the local's demand that two men be employed in a booth during first run engagements. The Pacific chain shuttered its drive-ins for two days after the walkout began, including Christmas eve, but subsequently began to reopen, using nonunion operators. The circuit has been placed on the "unfair" list by the AFL Central Labor Council. Queried as to the situation, William R. Porman, Pacific's head man. said he was "not in a position to comment" at this time beyond the declaration that all of the circuit's theatres would be open by December 30. Pacific drive-ins affected include the Olympic, Studio, Century, Vermont, San Pedro, Lakewood, Compton, Gage, Whittier. El Monte, Starlite. San Val, Pickwick. Van Nuys, Reseda, Orange, Paulo and Tri-City. Sero Enterprises operate the Victory and Gilmore. Also in dispute with Local 150 is the independently owned Roadium in Inglewood. Signatories to Local 150's request for employment of two men in a booth for first run bookings include the Baseline, Big Sky, Centinela. Circle, Edwards, Floral, Hastings, Los Feliz, Mount Vernon, South Gate, Sunland, Thrifty Harbor, Twin-Vue and Valley. TV Writers of America Elect Slate of Officers HOLLYWOOD — Television Writers of America, which is disputing the Screen Writers Guild's jurisdiction over scriveners employed on network TV shows in NLRB hearings now in progress, elected a new slate of officers for 1953, headed by Dick Powell mot the actor) as president. John Fenton Murray was named vice-president and Bob White is the new secretary-treasurer. * * • Marshall Grant, former theatrical film producer and more recently TV production executive for the Ruthrauff & Ryan agency, has left that post to become a member of the executive staff of Gross-Krasne Productions. The unit recently merged with United Television Programs in a new production-distribution enterprise. Beaver Theatre Reopens BEAVERTON, ORE.—The Beaver Theatre, closed December 1 for remodeling. wa.s scheduled to reopen December 25. according to J. J. Taggart, manager. New seating was installed, new acoustic wall paneling and a Cycloramic screen were also added. He said that a new floor had been constructed to aid in giving perfect vision. Taggart also operates the Aloha, Aloha, and the Joy, Tigard. Costa Rica Uses Many U.S. Films Sixty to 70 per cent of the feature films used in Costa Rica are U.S. productions, 20 to 25 per cent Mexican and the rest are Argentine and European. 40 \. BOXOFFICE January 3, 1953

FWC Personnel Given Bonuses and Awards LOS ANGELES—Bonus checks, showmanship awards and insurance dividends were passed out to personnel of Fox West Coast's northern and southern California divisions at the circuit's annual pre-Christmas meeting. Total amount of the distributed checks was not disclosed, but FWC spokesmen said it was "slightly less" than the $192,000 the two divisions shared in the previous year. Charles P. Skouras, FWC president, was the featured speaker, opining that exhibition is "entering a new era" of optimism based upon confidence that such developments as Cinerama, the Eidophor theatre-TV system, third dimension and other devices will lure audiences back into the moviegoing habit. Christmas bonuses, showmanship prizes and insurance dividends were distributed by George Bowser, FV/C general manager. A special award of $250 went to Robert Apple, manager of the Crest Theatre in Reno, for "outstanding achievement" during the recent annual Charles P. Skouras drive. The annual luncheon and business meeting was preceded by a visit to the St. Sophia cathedral, recently completed edifice built largely through Skouras' fund-raising efforts. Three Groups Sponsor Seattle Kids Matinees SEATTLE—Owners and managers of 18 neighborhood theatres met with PTA representatives here to exchange ideas about children's matinee.s—what factors seem to make them more successful in some neighborhoods than others and what can be done to preserve Seattle's outstanding record of good matinees. These two groups cooperate with the Seattle Junior Pi-ograms, which sponsors a weekly newspaper column listing desirable juvenile entertainment. All three groups urge parents to let their children do their film going on Saturday afternoons, when special films selected for them are shown at extra expense to participating theatres. Columbia to Film 'Voice' HOLLYWOOD—With the cooperation of RCA Victor, Columbia will produce "His Master's Voice," a story of the record industry from the days of Caruso. David Sarnoff, president of RCA, has pledged his company's full support in the undertaking. PTA Cites 'Andersen' HOLLYWOOD—Samuel Goldwyn's "Hans Christian Andersen," starring Danny Kaye and being distributed by RKO, has been named Hcture of the Month by the Los Angeles tenth district, California Congress of Parents and Teachers. Club Cites Harry Warner HOLLYWOOD—Because of his activity in promoting and assisting in the development of civic projects, Harry M. Warner, president of Warner Bros., has been named Man of the Year by the Men's club of Woodland Hills, Calif., of which San Fernando valley community he is a resident. KJU||| ANY of those backsliding motion picly ^^° spend countless hours '"'^ ^^'^^ III viewing near-moronic entertainment on television attempt to justify their fascination for the new medium with a shallow and overworked generality: "They just don't make good pictures any more." Such erstwhile ticket buyers should take a long and thoughtful gander at what is ciurently being offered by Los Angeles first run theatres. That, if anything, will give the lie to at least one of their bromidic explanations of why they have grown indifferent to pictures and picture theatres. Seldom, if ever, before have southland citizens had so wide and exciting a selection of top-quality film fare as was available during the closing weeks of 1952. Witness: At the Fox Wilshire, following a glittering premiere, "Moulin Rouge" is experiencing its first run. Distributed by United Artists, the daring picture was produced and directed abroad by John Huston, probably the outstanding masterpiece of his long and successful career. While the feature has a bound- I'^ss appeal to those who appreciate true artistry in filmmaking, it boasts, at the same time, sufficient rowdyism and sex to draw in profitable droves the rank-and-file customers. Oscar-winning Jose Ferrer heads a brilliant cast. Current at the Fine Arts is the Hal Wallis film version of the Broadway stage succe.ss. "Come Back, Little Sheba," being released by Paramount. Adhering to the original as closely as the production code allows, deftly directed by Daniel Mann, "Sheba" is noteworthy for a bevy of sterling performances, including a standout portrayal by Shirley Booth. Like "Moulin Rouge," the feature has a dual appeal—to those customers appreciative of good theatre and to the patrons who enjoy a torrid strain of sex, both real and implied. Pi'oducer Stanley Kramer's Columbia entry, "The Member of the Wedding," Is screening at the Beverly Canon Theatre. As is the case with "Sheba," it is a faithful screen translation of a stage hit, mounted with all of the expertness expected from the Kramer trademark, skilfully directed by Fred Zinnemann, and boasting superb acting achievements by Ethel Waters, Julie Harris and a strong supporting cast. Booked at Fox West Coast's Ritz is "My Cousin Rachel," the Olivia DeHavilland starrer based upon Daphne du Maurier's bestselling novel—and in the title role Miss De- Havilland finds a part hand-tailored to her great talent. Nunnally Johnson, who produced with taste and distinction, also wrote the screenplay and was careful to instil the same provocative doubts therein that characterized the original. Henry Roster's direction is of top grade. Attracting patrons in substantial quantities at Warners' Beverly Hills Theatre is the RKO Radio release of Samuel Goldwyn's "Hans Christian Andersen"—generally regarded as the veteran filmmaker's finest effort to date from the productional and artistic standpoints. The accent is upon music and ballet, and the piece has been exquisitely mounted, with a.s.sets including an ingratiating performance by Danny Kaye, delightful dancing by Ballerina Jeanmaire. and exceptionally effective Technicolor photography. It was directed by Charles Vidor. Metro's "The Bad and the Beautiful," daydating at the Vogue in Hollywood and the United Artists in downtown Los Angeles, is concerned with an ever-popular subject, behind-the-.scenes-in-filmdom. Impressively caparisoned by Producer John Houseman, directed with a knowing hand by Vincente Minnelli, the picture appears destined to achieve wide success on the basis of a solid story, a star-encrusted cast (headed by Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon and Dick Powell) and the performances etched by that impressive roster of players. Following a gala world premiere, Warners' "The Jazz Singer" is now in its fir.t run at the Fox Beverly Theatre. Aside from the vast superiority it di.splays over the original version, which ushered in Filmdom's golden era of .sound 25 years ago, the picture earns unqualified classification as the finest in modern filmfare, boasting a heartwarming .story, topflight portrayals, understanding direction by Michael Curtiz and an opulent, Technicolor production framework as supplied by Louis F. Edelman. Of course, as picture-wise persons—be they industryites or laymen—realize, there's a reason for these days of feasting on prime celluloid. Rules of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences prescribe that in order for a picture or component parts thereof to be eligible for Academy Awards coixsideration it must have a regular booking locally prior to the end of the year for which the kudos are bestowed. While it is impressive, it nonetheless is a glaring manifestation of a strong pet peeve among exhibitors and distributors, one to which many quarters attribute much of the trade's current financial woes; to wit, the heedless burning-up of top-quality product through too-short bookings and through placing the better pictures, regardless of source, in competition with one another. No one will gainsay that any one of the Academy contenders herein covered probably would have garnered larger grosses in the Los Angeles first run field had it been released at a time when it did not have to compete with films of comparable quality for the ticket buyers' limited dollars. On the other hand, it is held by Hollywoodians and some distribution brass that should a picture be selected for the Oscar going to the year's best, the exploitation value of such honor can result in sufficient additional patronage in later bookings to offset, many times, what loss of revenue might result from simultaneously saturating only one situation with celluloid excellence. But only one can win. The magi of the major companies must have decided that the odds are right. All of which editorial meandering proves nothing at all, unless it be that those who make and distribute films do not plan as effectively as they might, and that vanity is still Hollywood's No. 1 personal quality. BOXOFFICE January 3, 1953 41