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Boxoffice-May.12.156

. . . Peter . . Charles

. . . Peter . . Charles . . Director . . David : May i&act(m ^efiont v» HINT that possibly the government /jisi may have something to say about the "Americanization" of the British film industry was given by David Kingsley. managing director of the National Film Finance Corp., speaking last week on the annual report to a selected group of journalists. Kingsley admitted that as a result of the increased number of British films being made with the financial support of American controlled distributing companies, fewer calls were being made on the funds of the NFFC. In the coming year, not less than one third of the featm-e films made in Britain would be financed by Americans. "I think this is a most important issue that will have to be considered soon," he said. Kingsley's statement underlined the strenuous tussle now engaging the industry, between those producers who are making films through their own British resources, and those whose production is partly—if not wholly—the result of U. S. finances. The managing dii-ector of the NFFC, in his annual report, noted that "British independent production as a whole is still unprofitable, and the present downward trend in boxoffice takings is likely to continue." Kingsley said that in spite of assistance from the British Film Production Fund, only 62 out of a total of 152 films financially aided by the NFFC in the four years from 1952 to 1955 were likely to be profitable. This is indeed the very argument that will be advanced many times during the coming months by those who fear that the extra production profits derived from the Eady Scheme will be lost to these same independent film producers, because the bulk of Eady earnings will go to the more expensive spectacular co-production features, which are doing so w^ell in Britain at the present time. One of the American companies whose features are now enjoying lucrative boxoffice business is Columbia, which plans no fewer than 18 Anglo U. S. productions during the next 18 months. All these films will naturally qualify for quota and Eady money will be made on By ANTHONY GRUNER a high budget, with at least two top international stars. The same goes for MGM. who in cooperation with Sir Michael Balcon and Herbert Wilcox, is restarting Anglo U. S. production in a big way. 20th Century-Fox is negotiating with certain independent producers and will shortly (it is rumored be i following suit. Naturally, a feeling akin to panic is beginning to grip some of the smaller British It if producers. looks as Mr, Kingsley and the president of the Board of Trade will need Solomon's wisdom to sort out this particular industry problem, which strikes at the very heart of Anglo-American film relations. Rod Steiger, in London for a brief visit, captured the imagination of most of London's film columnists and received great editorial coverage when Columbia, who is releasing his latest pictures over here, "The Harder They Fall" with Humphrey Bogart and "Jubal" with Glenn Ford, thi'ew a party in his honor at Claridges. It is usual at these receptions for the male star, unless he is a worldwide personality, to be surrounded by the lady journalists, while their male brethren cluster in groups round the cocktail bar, discussing the latest film and press gossip. But not with Mr. Steiger! This literate, thoughtful and witty artiste found himself the center of everyone's attention and the most lonely people at the reception turned out to be the waiters behind the bar. Rare is it indeed that Fleet Street journalists let Scotch play second fiddle to a Hollywood actor, but in the case of Rod Steiger, such a sacrifice was well worth while. The Cinematograph Exhibitors' A.ss'n. which has been battling against the onward sweep of television, last week gave a sign that some members of its General Council were thinking very wisely about the medium. It is now revealed that negotiations have been proceeding with the BBC to try to stop the corporation screening films which CELEBRATING A NEW COMPANY—Richard Gordon, second from left, American o-producer of "Requiem for a Redhead," first film of Amalgramated Productions, clebrates at Kettner's Restaurant, London, on completion of the picture there. Others, 2ft to right, are Jack Phillips, general sales manager; Carole Mathews and Richard H'lming, American stars of the film, and William G. Chalmers, the producer. do no credit to the industry and would naturally keep people away from their cinemas. The CEA has offered to provide 20 feature films (selected in conjunction with the renters) to the BBC, from which 12 could be televised at the rate of one a month. The BBC, in its turn, would guarantee not to show any other features except those vetoed by the exhibitors. This is such a bold move on the part of the CEA that when the rumor of the current negotiations leaked from a local branch, most people were inclined to disbelieve it. If these TV talks are concluded to the trade's satisfaction, it will be a great step forward, and a sign that there are still some broad and statesmanship minds at work among British exhibitors. News in brief: When Chief Barker Nat Cohen and immediate past Chief Barker James Carreras left Saturday, May 5, heading a party of Tent 36 Variety delegates to attend the international convention, they were seen off by British Broadcasting Corp. television cameras. Henry Caldwell, one of BBC's top TV men, produced an excellent film sequence, which was shown later on TV. The film has been presented to Variety for the private use of the Club, and was screened at the Ladies' Luncheon at the Savoy Hotel, when three nation celebrities—America's Dorothy Dandridge, Britain's Merle Oberon and Spain's Conchita Montes—were the . guests of honor Laughton has been signed by executive producer Sam Spiegel as the first star of his Horizon- British production for Columbia Pictures "The Bridge Over the River Kwai." This is Laughton's fu-st screen role for more than two years. He recently has been concentrating on direction and production in association with Paul Gregory. In "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" he will portray Colonel Davidson, a British military leader who is captured with his troops by the Japanese in World War II and forced to labor in the building of a bridge. David Lean directs Finch has been given the leading role in Ealing's "The Shiralee," the second film to be made in cooperation with MGM. (The first, "The Man in the Sky," is a test pilot story starring Jack Hawkins) . , . Louis Ai'mstrong, who arrived over here last week, is organizing a special concert to help the National Playing Fields' Ass'n and the Variety Club of Great Britain . E. Rose is in town for the premiere of his Coronado Production's "Port Afrique," with Pier Angeli, Phil Carey and Dennis Price . . . William Perlberg of the Paramount producing-directing team of Perlberg and Seaton is in town for a short holiday . Billy Wilder has been signed to direct the film version of Agatha Christie's London and New York stage success "Witness for the Prosecution," which will be produced by Arthur Hornblow jr. in association with Edward Small for United Artists release. The stage thriller, set against the background of the Old Bailey, was first persented in London at the Winter Gardens Theatre in 1953. Gilbert Miller opened with the play in New York in October the following year. It is still running there . . . Esther Williams, the former MGM film star swimmer, will be arriving in London to appear in the "Aqua Spectacle" at the Wembley Pool, which will be televised by the National Broadcasting Co. of America under the title of "Aqua Spectacle of 1957" ... Sir Laurence Olivier's VistaVision production for Warner release, "The Sleeping Prince," with Marilyn Monroe, will commence shooting at Pinewood Studios on July 30. BOXOFFICE : 12, 1956

: May and HOLLYWOpp HoUvwood Otfice— Suite 219 at 6404 Holly wood lUvd.: PRODUCTION Ivcn Spear, Western Manager j CEIMTER. Navy Relief to Benefit By 'Boats' Premiere HOLLYWOOD—With the Navy Relief Society as the beneficiary, U-I's "Away All Boat,s." Technicolor-VistaVision film version of the Kenneth Dodson novel about World Wiu- II amphibious operations in the Pacific, will be given a celebrity-studded premiere here in mid-June. The Navy League will assist in the event and patrons and patronesses will include Navy officials as well as state and civic dignitai'ies. First nighters also will include Howard Christie, who produced: Joseph Pevney, who directed, and stars of the film, Jeff Chandler, George Nader, Julie Adams, Lex Barker. Keith Andes and Richard Boone. Dat€ of the premiere, and the theatre in which it will take place, will be announced later. "Magic Fii-e," Republic's Trucolor film biography of Richard Wagner, produced and directed by William Dieterle, will have its west coast opening Monday (21) at the Pom- Star Theatre. It stars Yvonne De Carlo, Carlos Thompson, Rita Gam and Alan Badel. Pi-emiere dates during May have been set for two Allied Artists releases, with "Screaming Eagles," produced by Samuel Bischoff and David Diamond, scheduled to debut Tuesday i22> at the Colony Theatre in Fayetteville, N. C. and the Vincent M. Pennelly production, "Crime in the Streets," to bow the next day at the Victoria in New York. Fayetteville was selected as the site for the "Eagles" opening because it is adjacent to Port Bragg, training center in 1942 for the famed Company D, 502nd Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, the exploits of which are detailed in the film. Invitations to the premiere have been extended to top Army brass and the affair will be attended also by Hollywood luminaries. Directed by Charles Haas, the feature toplines Tom Tryon, Jan Merlin and Alvy Moore. "Crime in the Streets," directed by Don Siegel, stars James Whitmore and John Cassavetes. RKOs "While the City Sleeps," a Bert Priedlob production starring Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming and Ida Lupino, was given its world premiere Wednesday (9> at the Warner Theatre in Pittsburgh. "The Searchers," the initial C. V. Whitney Pictures film, which is being distributed by Warners, will begin its New York engagement Wednesday (30 1 at the Criterion Theatre. Starring John Wayne, the outdoor action drama was directed by John Ford. earlier films. 22 New Members Added To Roster of Academy HOLLYWOOD—The Academy of Motion has added 22 new REUNION—When lensing began recently on RKO's "Public Pigeon Number One" it marked a reunion for Red Skelton (left), star of the comedy, and director Norman McLeod, who piloted the carrot-topped comic in many of his Picture Arts and Sciences members to its roster, including: Actors—Fred Astaire, George Gobel, Rock Hudson, Don Taylor, Tom Tully. Administrators—Marvin E. Mirisch. Art directors—William Flannery. Cinematographers—Russell Harlan. Executives—Schuyler A. Sanford. Film editors—Viola Lawrence. Musicians—Ernest Gold, Milton Rogers. Producers—William Hawks. Public relations —Jay Thompson, Allan G. Warshauer. Sound—Charles B. Goldsmith, Harold P. Watkins jr. Writers—Philip Yordan. Members-at-large—Eugene Busch. Associates Martin H. Lencer. David P. O'Malley. Harvey Pergament. Art Arthur to Represent DeMille on Para. Planning HOLLYWOOD—Art Arthur, executive assistant to C. B. DeMille in charge of pubUc relations, has been designated by the producer-director to .serve as his personal representative on the planning board of Paramount executives who will guide the releasing policies, publicity and advertising campaigns on behalf of DeMille's forthcoming "The Ten Commandments." In line with his new duties, Arthur will make regular trif)s to New York to join in conferences with Maxwell Hamilton, coordinator of the program. He took off Friday (11) on his first such junket. Screen Extras Retain Incumbent Officers HOLLYWOOD— All incumbent officers of the Screen Extras Guild have been re-elected for the coming year via mail ballot, in which members also named 14 new members of the board of directors. Of the latter, 13 were nominated by the SEG's official nominating committee and one was a candidate by independent petition. Returned to office were Richard H. Gordon, president: Pranklyn Farnum, Tex Brodus and Paul Bradley, vice-presidents: Kermer G. Kemp, recording secretary, and Jeffrey Sayre, treasurer. Elected to the board for three-year terms were Billy J. Williams, Paul Cristo, Tina Menard. Evelyn Ceder, Ethel Greenwood, Leo Abbey, Guy Gifford Way, Frank Radcliffe, Kemp, Roy Thomas, Sid Troy; two-year term, Anna Mabry; one-year terms, Max Reid and Joe Brooks. Brooks was an independent candidate. Tlie Screen Directors Guild will elect eight new members of the board of directors and eight new members of the assistant directors council at its annual meeting Friday (25) at its new headquarters. New board and council members are chosen for a two-year term. Incumbent board representatives who still have a year to serve include Fi-ank Capra, John Ford, Henry Hathaway, Mervyn LeRoy, Frank Lloyd, George Marshall. George Sidney (now SDG president I George Stevens. Continuing for another year on the assistant directors council are Milton Feldman, Stanley Hough, Bill McGarry, Sam Nelson, Ivan Volkman, Bernard McEveety jr., Bernard L. Kow^alski and George Loper. Retiring board members include Frank Borzage, Willis Goldbeck. Stuart Heisler. Hem-y Koster, Walter Lang, Anthony Mann, William A. Seiter and William Wyler. Completing their terms on the assistant directors council are Nathan BaiTager, Francis X. Baur, William Beaudine jr., Ralph Black, Henry Brill, Ru.ssell Haverick. Robert H. Justman and Ralph Slosser. Gobel to Star in RKO Film HOLLYWOOD — Negotiations have been finalized whereby George Gobel will star in "So There You Are," a Gomalco production for RKO, with lensing to start In July. William Bloom has been assigned to produce for the studio. Gobel, the TV comic who made his theatrical film debut in Paramount's "The Birds and the Bees," will portray a junior advertising executive who enters a Mr. and Mrs. America contest with his wife, a former beauty contest winner. BOXOFFICE : 12, 1956 45