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Full text of "Harrison's Reports (1948)"

Scanned from the collection of 
Richard Koszarski 



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Media History Digital Library 

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http://www.archive.org/details/harrisonsreports30psha 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 



Entered aa sscond-class m&tter Jaouary 4, 1921, at tb» post office at New York, New York, under the act of Mar«h 8, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly SubscrlpUon Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS PubUshed Weekly by 

United States $15.00 (Formerly Sixth Avenue) HarrUons Reports, Inc.. 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 -, v i -n m v Publisher 

Canada 16.50 "ew York 20, N. Y. p g HARRISON. Editor 

Mexico, Cuba. Spain 16.50 ^ Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Australia.'Tew 'Zealand." Devoted Chiefly to th e Inter ests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1918 

India, Europe, Asia .... 17.50 j^.^ Editorial Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4 G'a 

it>c a uopy Columns, it It is to Benefit the Exhibit ir. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JANUARY 3, 1948 No. 1 



MPTOA "INDEPENDENTS" SEEK 
AMICUS CURIAE STATUS 

The latest petition to the U. S. Supreme Court for 
amicus curiae status in the industry anti-trust case 
comes from the "independent theatre owner and op' 
erator members" of the Motion Picture Theatre 
Owners of America. 

In the motion submitted to the Court, Herman M. 
Levy, the group's general counsel, states that the 
MPTOA has merged with another association (he 
does not mention that it was the ATA) but that its 
entity was specifically retained for the purpose of 
fihng its brief as amicus curiae. He makes it clear that 
the MPTOA counts among its members several of the 
defendants in the case, but that they form no part of 
the petition or memorandum, have not been con- 
suited in the matter, and will not contribute to the 
cost of the procedure. The appHcation, he says, "con- 
cems and speaks for only the independent theatre 
owner and operator members" of the MPTOA. He 
asks also for leave to be heard in oral argument. 

In his brief, Mr. Levy opposes the lower court's 
competitive bidding plan, claiming that it will serve 
to increase film rentals and raise admission prices; 
requests that "arbitration, or its equivalent be in- 
eluded in the Final Decree as a form of rehef," lest 
the industry be kept "entangled in litigation ad infini' 
turn"; and maintains that his organization is not in 
favor of divorcement since such a remedy will not cure 
existing evils but, on the contrary, will create a new 
set of them. He states that the elimination by injunc' 
tion of the unlawful practices indulged in by the de- 
fendants will be sufficient to create free and open 
competition in the industry, provided the exhibitor 
is not compelled to buy his pictures under the decreed 
plan of competitive biddiag. 

There is much about the arguments and reasoning 
set forth in the brief that can be debated, particularly 
since it supposedly contains the point of view of the 
independent exhibitors, but let us not concern our- 
selves with these for the present. Let us, iastead, take 
up the status of the petitioners. 

As most of you no doubt know, the independent 
exhibitor members of the MPTOA, before its merger 
with the ATA, which merger resulted in the present 
TOA, comprised a mere handful as compared with 
the overwhelming number of affiliated theatre mem' 
bers that dominated the organization. Just how many 
independent exhibitors are included in the group pe- 
titioning the Supreme Court is not stated by Mr. Levy 
in the motion, but this paper doubts if the combined 
dues they paid to the MPTOA were enough to pay 



even the postage costs incurred by the organization 
in any one year of operation. 

Aside from how many independent exhibitors make 
up this group, the fact remains that most, if not all, of 
them, are now members of the TOA, which organiza- 
tion is comprised chiefly of theatres affihated with 
several of the defendants in the case. Their stand 
against theatre divorcement is, therefore, not difficult 
to understand. 

'^Vhether or not the Supreme Court will grant this 
group status as amicus curiae remains to be seen, but 
assuming that such permission will be granted you 
may be sure that the Court, either through Govern- 
ment counsel, or Mr. Abram F. Myers, counsel for 
the CIEA, which has a combined membership of up- 
wards of four thousand independent theatres, will be 
fully apprised of the group's "tie-up" with several of 
the defendants, and will undoubtedly bear their status 
in mind in any consideration of their objections. 



ARE THE COLUMBIA EXECUTIVES 
"KIDDING"?— AND WHOM? 

Part of the appeal brief that has been submitted to 
the U. S. Supreme Court by Columbia reads as 
follows : 

"The appellants claimed below that 'block-booking,' 
as the term is known in the motion picture industry, 
is nothing more or less than licensing all or part of a 
season's product of motion pictures in advance; and 
that the testimony on the trial showed clearly that 
there was no 'tying-in' of pictures or conditioning the 
hcensing of one picture upon the Hcensing of another 
picture or another group of pictures; that the Gov- 
ernment had signally failed to prove any such 'tying- 
in' or conditioning, although a producer and distribu- 
tor of motion pictures had as much right to sell all or 
part of his season's product in advance as a manu- 
facturer of shoes or soap; that, economically, it was 
necessary to the appellants' existence to operate in 
that manner. . . ." 

Notice the point: "there was no 'tying-in' of pic- 
tures, or conditioning the Hcensing of one picture 
upon the licensing of another picture. . . ." 

Come to think of it, Columbia is right, for what 
they were doing before the Court's decision was to sell 
a group of pictures to the exhibitors and, when the 
time came to deliver them, they kept the best pictures 
back to sell them the following season for more money, 
in a "tie-in" with a new group of pictures; and if 
a particular picture turned out to be exceptionally 
good they either kept on postponing its release, hold- 
(Continued on last jpage) 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 3, 1948 



"A Double Life" with Ronald Colman, 
Signe Hasso and Edmond O'Brien 

(Univ.'Int'l., no rel. date set; time, 103 niin.) 
A drama of great dramatic power. It proves at least 
two theories — that the screen can match the stage 
when it comes to dramatic acting, and that Ronald 
Colman is an artist of the top rank. There is a popular 
saying that the line dividing genius and insanity is 
very thin; Mr. Colman, by his skillful performance, 
almost proves it, so realistic is he as a famous Broad' 
way actor who becomes so obsessed with the role of 
Othello that he reverts to it outside the stage. His work 
is so outstanding that it tends to overshadow com- 
pletely the competent performances of the other 
players in the cast. From the point of production, di' 
rection and acting, it is a first-rate job, and being a 
picture of great dramatic power it will surely be a 
contender for the Academy Award. It is not a picture 
for children, but adult picture-goers will remember it 
long after other pictures have faded away from their 
memories : — 

A mediocrity at playing comedy roles on the stage 
with his wife (Signe Hasso) , Colman, when given the 
role of Othello, determines to conquer his inferiority 
complex and make himself worthy of the part. He 
studies constantly, living the part even in life so as to 
make the stage characterization outstanding. He is 
acclaimed as a great actor after opening night and, 
from then on, he becomes so obsessed with the role 
that, in the scene where he is supposed to smother 
Desdemona with kisses and then choke her, he almost 
kills Signe. Colman strikes up an acquaintanceship 
with Shelley Winters, a flirtatious waitress, who 
thinks him a little crazy because of his inability to dis- 
sociate himself with the Othello character, but that 
does not stop her from making amorous advances. At 
the end of the first year of the play, Signe arranges for 
a celebration, but it is a flop because Colman, though 
divorced from Signe, cannot help feeling jealous over 
her innocent friendship with Edmond O'Brien, the 
show's press agent; they quarrel. In a daze, he wand- 
ers over to Shelley's apartment and begins acting his 
stage role. He takes Shelley in his arms and, imagining 
her to be Desdemona, chokes her to death. The body is 
discovered on the following day, and the police label 
the murder a crime of unusual passion. An enterpris- 
ing reporter compares the murder with that of Desde- 
mona. Frenzied when he reads the story in the news- 
papers, Colman attempts to choke O'Brien for having 
allowed it to be printed. The incident makes O'Brien 
suspicious and, with the aid of a woman engaged to 
impersonate Shelley, he convinces the police that Col- 
man was the murderer. Realizing that the "jig is up," 
Colman, during his next performance, commits sui- 
cide by thrusting the dagger into his breast in reality. 
The picture was produced by Michael Kanin, and 
was directed by George Cukor, from a story and 
screen play by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin. The 
cast includes Ray Collins, Joe Sawyer and others. 



"I Love Trouble" with Franchot Tone, 
Janet Blair and Glenda Farrell 

(Columbia, January; time, 96 ntin.) 
A fairly good program picture, handicapped by a 
story that is highly complicated and frequently con- 
fusing. But since it is swift-moving it manages to keep 
one's interest alive to the end. It is a murder-detective 
story, ofi^ering little in the way of novelty, and it is not 
much different from hundreds of other such pictures 



produced to this day. Moreover, there is nothing lofty 
about the proceedings. As the private detective, 
Franchot Tone takes a sympathetic part, but he fails 
to arouse any sympathy because he moves in and out 
of the different situations with an ease that would not 
be natural in real life. The manner in which he works 
his way out of predicaments taxes one's credulity to 
the limit. There is nothing extraordinary about the 
acting, but the photography is very fine. 

The plot has so many compUcations that a detailed 
synopsis is practically impossible. Briefly, however, it 
centers around Tone, who is engaged by wealthy and 
ambitious Tom Powers to investigate the past of his 
wife, Lynn Merrick, because of mysterious notes he 
had been receiving about her, indicating attempts at 
blackmail. Tone's investigation leads him to Portland, 
where he learns that Lynn had worked as a dancer for 
Steven Geray, a night-club owner, and that she had 
gone to Los Angeles with Sid Tomack, an entertainer, 
where she had become a student at UCLA, after as- 
suming the name of "Janie Joy," a friend. Geray re- 
sorts to force in an unsuccessful attempt to make Tone 
drop the investigation. Tone communicates with To- 
mack and makes a deal for more information about 
Lynn, but Tomack is murdered before he can talk. 
Janet Blair, who claimed to be "Janie Joy's" sister, 
whom she had not seen for six years, visits Tone and 
requests his help to locate her. Tone becomes con- 
fused when Janet, after being shown Lynn's photo- 
graph, informs him that she is not her sister. He be- 
comes even more confused when Donald Curtis, a 
chauffeur employed by Eduardo Cianelli and his wife, 
Janis Carter, offers him a bribe to drop the investiga- 
tion and his employers disclaim any complicity in the 
offer. Lynn is eventually murdered and an attempt is 
made to frame Tone for the crime, but he escapes from 
the police with the aid of Glenda Farrell, his secre- 
tary. After several other incidents Tone learns from 
Geray that Miss Carter is the real "Janie Joy," and 
that Lynn had been married to him. She had ab- 
sconded with $40,000 of his money and, as a dis- 
guise, had assumed Miss Carter's name before her 
marriage to Powers. Piecing together the different 
clues he had gathered. Tone proves that Powers had 
committed the murders, and that he had hired him to 
investigate his wife in an effort to frighten her into 
leaving him, finally killing her to protect his career. 
Tone, now in love with Janet, asks her to marry him. 

Roy Huggins wrote the screen play from his own 
novel, and S. Sylvan Simon produced and directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Glamour Girl" with Virginia Grey 

(Columbia, January 16; time, 67 toit!.) 
If the blaring swing music played by Gene Krupa 
and his band, and if a few ordinary songs sung by 
Jack Leonard, a crooner, are enough to satisfy your 
patrons, this low-budget musical may get by as a sup- 
porting feature. Otherwise it is a pretty feeble picture 
of its type, weighted down by a thin and obvious plot, 
which doesn't give the players much of a chance. The 
film introduces a newcomer, Susan Reed, a singer of 
American and Irish folk songs. She lacks experience 
as an actress, and is not exactly a glamorous type, but 
she has a pleasant enough voice and the songs she sings 
will probably be appreciated more in small-town and 
rural communities than in large cities : — 

Pierre Watkin, head of a recording company, 
sends Virginia Grey, his talent scout, to Memphis to 



January 3, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



sign up a singing trio. When her plane makes a forced 
landing in the backwoods of Tennessee, Virginia 
spends the night at a farm house, where she hears 
Susan sing folk songs and play the zither. Deciding 
that the girl would be a sensation on records, Virginia 
forgets about the trio and heads back to New York 
with Susan. Watkin, furious because Virginia had 
not carried out his orders, dismisses her and refuses to 
hear Susan sing. Michael Duane and Jimmy Lloyd 
quit Watkin because of his treatment of Virginia and 
all three form a record company of their own. Need- 
ing a "big name" for their initial record, Virginia 
induces Jack Leonard, her ex-husband, to arrange for 
Susan to sing in a night-club where he and Gene 
Krupa were starred. She proves to be a sensation, and 
it all ends with Virginia and Leonard becoming recon- 
ciled, while Susan and Duane fall in love. 

M. Coates Webster and Lee Gold wrote the screen 
play, Sam Katzman produced it, and Arthur Driefus 
directed it. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Secret Beyond the Door" with 
Joan Bennett and Michael Redgrave 

{Univ.-Int'l., no rel. date set; time, 98J/2 min.) 
A heavy, brooding psychological melodrama, one 
that strives so hard to be arty that it is doubtful if 
many picture-goers of the rank and file will find it to 
their taste. Through handsome settings, unusual 
camera angles, and effective background music, pro- 
ducer-director Fritz Lang has succeeded in creating an 
air of impending doom throughout the proceedings, 
but he has not been successful in making the drama 
come through on the screen with any sense of either 
motivation or emotional impact. As a matter of fact, 
most picture-goers will probably find it difficult to 
understand the motivations of the principal char- 
acters, because of the cryptic dialogue spoken by them. 
The closing scenes, where the hero and heroine are 
trapped by a spectacular fixe, are exciting, but it is 
not enough to offset the tediousness of the picture as 
a whole : — 

Joan Bennett, an American heiress, meets Michael 
Redgrave, a New York architect, while both vacation 
in Mexico, and marries him after a whirlwind court- 
ship. Their idyllic honeymoon is suddenly disrupted 
when Redgrave, after being barred from her bedroom 
by a playful trick, announces that he had received a 
telegram calling him to New York immediately on 
business. Miserable at being left alone, Joan is tor- 
tured also by the discovery that no telegram had been 
deHvered to him. She cheers up, however, when word 
comes for her to meet him at his ancestral home in 
New England. There she meets Anne Revere, his 
older sister, who dominated him, and learns that he 
was a widower with a 12-year-old son, Mark Dennis, 
a moody, truculent boy, who believed that his father 
had killed his mother. She meets also Barbara O'Neill, 
Redgrave's secretary, who had hoped to marry him 
herself. Redgrave, who had a hobby of collecting 
rooms in which murders had been committed, shows 
them all to Joan except one, which he refuses to open. 
Determined to learn the secret of the closed room, 
Joan manages to enter it and discovers it to be an 
exact duplicate of the bedroom she occupied. She then 
realizes that Redgrave is a dangerous schizophrenic, 
and that he meant to murder her. She flees in terror, 
but her great love for him draws her back to the house. 
As he advances upon her to kill her, Joan, through 
psychoanalysis, probes his mental complexities and 



succeeds in freeing him from the quirks that tortured 
him. Meanwhile Barbara, seeking to destroy Joan, had 
set fire to the house. Redgrave saves Joan, after which 
both return to Mexico for a second honeymoon. 

Silvia Richards wrote the screen play, based on the 
story by Rufus King. It is a Walter Wanger presen- 
tation. Adult fare. 



"The Paradine Case" with Gregory Peck, 

Ann Todd, Valli, Charles Coburn, 
Charles Laughton and Ethel Barrymore 

(Selzmc\ Rel. Org., no rel. date set; time, 132 min.) 
Alfred Hitchcock's superb directorial skill, the pow- 
erful dramatic material, and the superior perform- 
ances by the entire cast, make "The Paradine Case" 
one of the most fascinating murder trial melodramas 
ever produced. It should turn out to be a foremost 
box-ofiice attraction, not only because of the players' 
drawing power, but also because it is a gripping enter- 
tainment from start to finish. Its story about the mis' 
guided love of a famous English barrister for a beau- 
tiful but worthless woman he was defending on a mur- 
der charge, intriguingly blends mystery, drama, and 
steadily-mounting suspense in a way that builds up 
audience interest to a high pitch. The court room se- 
quences are highly dramatic. Gregory Peck is excel- 
lent as the barrister, and Ann Todd, as his winsome 
wife, is just right. The film introduces two newcomers 
to the American screen — Valli, an ItaHan actress, as 
the woman charged with murder, and Louis Jourdan, 
a French actor, as her secret lover; both are fine artists, 
and their diction is very good. Charles Laughton, as 
the presiding judge, is first-rate. Ethel Barrymore, Leo 
G. Carroll, Charles Coburn, and Isobel Elsom are 
among the others who contribute fine characteriza- 
tions. David O. Selznick, the producer, has given the 
picture his customary production polish : — 

Peck, considered England's greatest barrister, un- 
dertakes to defend Valli, accused of poisoning her hus- 
band, a blind nobleman. Though happily married, he 
falls madly in love with Valli, despite her admission 
of a sordid past. He personally investigates the crime 
to prove her innocence to himself, and comes to the 
conclusion that the murder could have been commit' 
ted by Jourdan, her husband's man-servant. When he 
suggests that possibihty to Valli, she loses her com- 
posure and defends Jourdan. This puzzles Peck be- 
cause Jourdan had expressed himself derogatorily 
against her. At the trial, when Jourdan is placed on 
the witness stand by the prosecution, Peck so confuses 
him on cross-examination that he gives damaging testi- 
mony against himself. Later, VaUi upbraids Peck for 
his tactics and confesses that she loved Jourdan and 
that he had been her lover. But Peck, driven by his 
mad love, determines to set her free, even if it meant 
wrecking his own home, for he and his wife had al- 
ready become partly estranged because of his obvious 
interest in Valli. As Valli takes the witness stand on 
the third day of the trial, word comes that Jourdan 
had committed suicide. Heartbroken, ValH shatters 
Peck's defense by frankly admitting that she had killed 
her husband in order to be alone with Jourdan, whom 
she had forced into a love affair. ValU is sentenced to 
hang, and Peck, broken up by the turn of events, de- 
cides to retire from law practice. His wife, however, 
offers him encouragement, and Peck, realizing that he 
had been a fool, starts hfe with her anew. 

Mr. Selznick wrote the screen play from the novel 
by Robert Hichens. Adult fare. 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 3, 1948 



ing it out as "bait" for the exhibitor to sign up for the 
next season's program, or took it out of the program 
and sold it as a special. 

If any exhibitor doubts this statement, we have the 
facts. 

They tried to pull the same stunt in Australia once, 
with a big circuit, but when the circuit head suggested 
to the Columbia branch manager that the contract be 
cancelled, Columbia beat a hasty retreat. 



ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD 

According to press dispatches from London, 
J. Arthur Rank, the British film magnate, admits that 
he has lost almost nine milHon dollars in production. 

When Mr. Rank embarked upon production, the 
English people hoped that, in time, he would be in a 
position to compete with the American producers 
abroad, and that the English pictures would turn out 
to be as good as the American pictures, if not better. 

It is clear enough from mathematical reasoning 
alone why those hopes did not materialize. The Amer' 
ican producers, for example, with more than sixteen 
thousand theatres in the United States, find that the 
income from the domestic market is, in the case of 
multi-million dollar pictures, insufficient to meet the 
cost of production. Consequently, they became pan- 
icky when certain of the foreign markets, because of 
economical reasons, were closed to them. How, then, 
could the English hope that Mr. Rank, with only 
about four thousand theatres in Great Britain and 
about three thousand in other parts of the world, 
could make production profitable, particularly since 
most of his pictures did not match the quality stand- 
ard of the American pictures, and since they cost 
almost as much as the American pictures? 

If Mr. Rank and the other British producers could 
increase their take from the American market, they 
could, in all probabihty, show a profit instead of a 
loss on production. But to do so they will have to 
devote their time to making better pictures, the kind 
that will attract the rank and file in this country, and 
not only the intelligentsia. 

There is no denying that pictures such as "Henry 
the Fifth" and "Caesar and Cleopatra" are artistic 
masterpieces and win critical acclaim, but they appeal 
to comparatively few people, with the result that the 
American exhibitors cannot afford to book them. It 
has often been stated in these columns that the Amer- 
ican exhibitors are not particular about where a pic- 
ture comes from, as long as it will attract customers. 

But even if the British producers should make good 
pictures, it is not enough; they must see to it that the 
pictures are exploited properly. On a long-range 
program, they will have to make their stars known to 
the American public, and must see to it that they do 
not employ provincial English, either in context or 
pronunciation. After all, if they want American dol- 
lars they must cr.ter to the wishes and the whims of 
those who have the dollars. Nationalism has no place 
in business, at least it should not have so far as the two 
EngUsh-speaking peoples are concerned. 

While British production is having its difficulties, 
British exhibition is not having an easy time of it 
either. It has been reported that, as a result of the lack 
of new American pictures, shipment of whch had 
been stopped when the British Government imposed 
the seventy-five per cent confiscatory tax on them, the 



receipts of the British theatres have fallen off by 
twenty-five per cent. 

The British Government leaders should give this 
matter some serious thought so that they may modify 
their views on the confiscatory' tax, for without Amer- 
ican pictures the income of the theatres in Great 
Britain may fall off much more than that, with the 
result that many of them may be compelled to close 
their doors. These Government leaders should give 
some thought also to the fact that, if the American 
theatre-owning producers can once again do business 
in Great Britain on a compatible basis, the British 
producers will have a greater opportunity to secure 
play-dates in the affiliated circuit theatres, thus en- 
abhng them to offset their production losses. 



NO CONCEALED ADVERTISING IN 
FEATURE PICTURES 

To quash .a rumor that the Hollywood studios were 
considering selling advertising in feature pictures, 
Y. Frank Freeman, of the Paramount studio, and 
chairman of the board of the Association of Motion 
Picture Producers, Inc., issued the following forceful 
statement recently : 

"Not only is no such plan contemplated; it will not 
be permitted by an member studio, and every precau- 
tion will be taken to see that no inadvertent free ad- 
vertising of commercial products enters motion pic- 
tures." 

H'\rrison's Reports believes that what Mr. Free- 
man has said is absolutely true. But, as this paper has 
frequently pointed out, there have been cases where 
commercial articles were plugged in feature pictures, 
without the knowledge of the studios. 

How is it done? 

There are in Hollywood agents who represent many 
national firms. The job of these agents is to approach, 
either the producer, or the director, and influence 
him, either through friendship or by making him a 
present, to plug his article, either by a close-up, or by 
a dialogue Une. It was stated in these columns a few 
years ago that one of these representatives induced 
the director to change the dialogue, from scotch, to 
bourbon. Perhaps a case of bourbon, at a time when 
that whiskey was not so plentiful, did the trick. 

You no doubt have seen a close-up of a watch, dis- 
playing the brand name. It certainly was no accident 
that that close-up was inserted; some one put it there 
deliberately. What was the consideration? A beauti- 
ful diamond-studded watch of that trademark? 

A typical example of concealed advertising can be 
found in the United Artists' picture, "Intrigue," cur- 
rently in release. Considerable footage is devoted to a 
sequence at a bar, in which several of the characters 
fondle a pinch bottle, used exclusively for Haig and 
Haig scotch whiskey, and talk at length about how 
fine a drink it is. They do not, of course, mention 
Haig and Haig, but when the bottle is set down on 
the bar great care is taken to make sure that the label, 
which can be seen plainly, faces the audience. It is as 
blatant a piece of concealed advertising as this writer 
has ever seen. 

It is heartening, however, to have a person of Frank 
Freeman's prominence assure the exhibitors that his 
organization will do its utmost to see that no surrep- 
titious advertising is inserted in the pictures made by 
its members. 



Entered as second-class matter Januarj' 1, 1921, at the post office at New York, New Torl<, under the act of Mareh 3, 187?. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly SubacripUon Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS Published Weeklr by 

United States 515.00 (Form.riy Sixth Avmue) Harrison's Reports, Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 „ v I, -jn IM V Publisher 

Canada 16.50 new i oric .£U, IN. I. P. S. HARRISON, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Great Britain 15.75 Devoted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1919 

Australia, New Zealand, 

India, Europe, Asia .... 17.60 j^^ Editorial Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

35c a Copy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JANUARY 10, 1948 No. 2 



LITIGATION HAS ITS POINTS 

BUT LEGISLATION IS THE 

PROPER SOLUTION 

Some exhibitor leaders favor a plan whereby all 
exhibitors will refuse to sign contracts with ASCAP, 
either before or after February 1, in the beUef that the 
Society, faced with organized defiance, will not, as a 
practical matter, start individual lawsuits against 
thousands of exhibitors for copyright infringements. 
Moreover, they believe that such organized resistance 
may cause ASCAP to back down on its demands for 
an increase in the music tax and invite bargaining. 

Such a procedure is, of course, dangerous in that, if 
ASCAP should sue the exhibitors and win in the 
courts, it could exact high penalties from those who 
refused to pay the seat tax, the minimum statutory 
damages being $250 for each infringement. 

Other exhibitor leaders prefer to see the exhibitors 
pay the tax but bring suit against ASCAP on the 
ground that it is an unlawful monopoly. If the courts 
should find that it is a monopoly in violation of the 
anti-trust laws, then the suing exhibitors could collect 
triple damages. 

Though taking ASCAP to the courts is a sane and 
logical procedure, it has also its disadvantages, aside 
from the fact that the procedure is costly and time- 
consuming. Supposing that the suing exhibitors, 
backed by their national organizations, should win in 
the courts, what then? Is it preferable to have one 
hundred ASCAPS or only one? For if the courts 
should declare ASCAP to be a monopoly in restraint 
of trade, the Society's disbanded members might indi- 
vidually ask for so much from the exhibitors for per- 
forming rights to their music that it would prove a 
boomerang to have ASCAP dissolved. It would, as a 
matter of fact, be practically impossible for an ex- 
hibitor to make individual agreements with the many 
hundreds of copyright owners who control the per- 
forming rights to the music recorded on film. 

Harrison's Reports beHeves that the only way 
by which the exhibitors, helpless as they are now, may- 
be reheved of this unjust and burdensome taxation is 
to have Congress amend the outmoded Copyright 
Law, which it framed and passed before talking pic- 
tures came into existence. At the time Congress passed 
the law it could not foresee such a condition as exists 
today — a condition whereby a combination of copy- 
right owners is enabled to achieve a stranglehold on 
the entire motion picture industry. Under the present 
law, as it has repeatedly been stated in these columns, 
the exhibitor has no choice — he must either accept 
whatever tax ASCAP arbitrarily decides to impose 
upon him or go out of business. He has no voice in the 
selection of the music recorded on the films Ucensed 



to him, nor has he the right to delete from any such 
film any portion of the music incorporated therein. 
He has to perform the music regardless of his wishes. 

If exhibition is to free itself from this oppressive 
music tax it must do so through legislation, such as 
proposed by Allied States Association, which plans 
to introduce in Congress an amendment to the Copy- 
right Law requiring the producer-distributors to ac- 
quire from ASCAP, not only the right to record its 
music on film, but also the right to perform such 
music, so that an exhibitor, when Hcensing a picture, 
will secure complete exhibition rights instead of in- 
complete, as is now the case. 

In the meantime, the heads of ASCAP would do 
well to leave things as they are. Asking for a 300% 
increase in the seat tax may prove to be the beginning 
of the end for them — the destruction of their as- 
sociation. 



MISTAKEN ECONOMY 

One by one the major distributors are abandoning 
cooperative advertising of their pictures with the ex- 
hibitors, first, for reasons of economy, and secondly, 
on the ground that the exhibitors are dodging their 
proportionate share of the cost. 

As to the first reason, what is saved from this move 
will be more than lost in reduced box-office receipts; 
as to the second, there can be a definite understanding 
with the exhibitors as to advertising costs. 

But looking at it from the logical point of view, 
the distributors should carry on the advertising even 
if they have to do so alone, for after all their top pic- 
tures are sold on percentage and any diminution of 
the receipts affects their take. 

There must be some common ground on which dis- 
tributors and exhibitors could agree to carry on co- 
operative advertising, particularly now when times 
are not as lush as they were during the war. 

Unlike most of the other distributors, Eagle-Lion 
Films has announced that it will not only continue its 
estabHshed policy of sharing advertising costs, dollar 
for dollar, with all theatres over the normal house 
budgets on every one of its major releases but that it 
will expand the policy as well. 

In an address before a regional sales meeting held in 
Dallas last week. Max E. Youngstein, Eagle-Lion's 
enterprising advertising-pubUcity director, renewed 
the company's pledge not to cut promotion budgets 
in any way and stated that it was even prepared to 
increase the monies allocated for individual engage- 
ments wherever it is deemed advisable to do so. 

Eagle-Lion may be the youngest of the distributors, 
but in the matter of cooperative advertising its policy 
is way ahead of the others. 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 10, 1948 



"The Flame" with John Carroll, 

Vera Ralston, Robert Paige 

and Broderick Crawford 

(Republic, Hov. 24; time, 97 min.) 

A combination of murder, deceit, and blackmail, 
this melodrama is good from the production point of 
view, but as entertainment it is only moderately in- 
teresting and quite unpleasant at that. The chief 
trouble with the picture is in the story, which is not 
only trite but also artificial — at no time does it strike 
a realistic note. Moreover, it is somewhat demoraliZ' 
ing in that it attempts to build up sympathy for the 
heroine, a woman who marries her lover's ailing 
brother as part of a scheme to gain control of his for- 
tune. None of the principal characters, except the 
husband, arouse any sympathy because of their des- 
picable acts. There is not much suspense and but Httle 
human interest: — 

Having squandered his share of a fortune left by 
his parents, John Carroll, a wastrel, lives in perpetual 
jealousy of Robert Paige, his ailing half-brother, on 
whom he was dependent for support. His bitterness 
becomes more intense when he learns that Paige had 
been given but a few months to live, and that he 
(Carroll) was not mentioned in his will. Lest he be 
left penniless, Carroll devises a scheme whereby he 
maneuvers Vera Ralston, his girl-friend, into a posi- 
tion as Paige's nurse, and then guides her into becom- 
ing Paige's wife, with the understanding that she 
would share the fortune with him upon Paige's death. 
Vera, having been told by Carroll that Paige was 
cruel and heartless, finds him to be a man of fine traits 
and falls in love with him. Realizing that he was losing 
Vera's love, Carroll tries desperately to hold her. Mat- 
ters take an unexpected twist vi'hen Broderick Craw- 
ford, jealous boy-friend of Constance Dowling, a 
nightclub entertainer with whom Carroll was having a 
secret affair, investigates the cause of Carroll's ner- 
vousness and uncovers the plot concocted by him and 
Vera. Under threat of informing Paige, Crawford 
resorts to blackmailing both Vera and Carroll. Mean- 
while Paige's health improves greatly under Vera's 
careful nursing, thus assuring him of an extended life. 
Vera, however, lives in constant fear that Carroll 
might attempt to murder his brother in order to as- 
sure himself of a share in the fortune. But Carroll, 
by this time aware that he could neither regain Vera's 
love nor gain part of Paige's money, decides to redeem 
himself by insuring Vera's happiness with the man 
she now loved. He shoots it out with the blackmailer, 
killing Crawford but dying himself. 

Lawrence Kimble wrote the screen play from a 
story by Robert T. Shannon, and John H. Auer pro- 
duced and directed it. The cast includes Henry Trav- 
ers, Blanche Yurka, Hattie McDaniel and others. 

Strictly adult entertainment. 



"The Prince of Thieves" with Jon Hall 
and Patricia Morison 

(Columbia, January; time, 72 min.) 
Being a tale about Robin Hood, the renowned 
bandit of Sherwood Forest, this Cinecolor romantic 
melodrama has all the swordplay and excitement one 
expects to find in a picture of this type, but it is a 
rather juvenile melodramatic concoction that does not 
rise above the level of fair program entertainment. 
The avid action fans, particularly the youngsters, 
should find it to their liking, but most adults will prob- 
ably find it wearisome, for the plot is totally lacking 



in subtelty, the direction is ordinary, and the perform- 
ances barely adequate. The Cinecolor photography, 
which enhances the scenic background, gives the pic- 
ture some added value : — 

Sir Allan Claire (Michael Duane) and his sister. 
Lady Marian (Patricia Morison) , are attacked by an 
unseen bowman as they ride to Nottingham Castle, 
where Sir Allan intended to claim his betrothed, Lady 
Christabel (Adele Jergens). They are rescued by 
Robin Hood (Jon Hall) , who informs them that Lady 
Christabel is being forced by her father into a mar- 
riage with Baron Tristram (Ga\'in Muir). Robin 
Hood offers his aid to Sir Allan and, together, they 
break into the castle, rescue Lady Christabel, and es- 
cape to Sherwood Forest. The Baron, however, re- 
captures her, while his nephew. Sir Phillip (Lowell 
Gilmore), kidnaps Lady Marian, with whom Robin 
Hood had fallen in love. Robin Hood gathers his 
forces for a frontal attack, but changes his mind when 
a message from the Baron demands that he give him- 
self up lest harm befall Lady Marian. Two soldiers, 
sent by the Baron to escort Robin Hood to the castle, 
are overpowered by two of Robin Hood's lieutenants, 
who don their victims' garb and take Robin Hood to 
the castle. Just as Robin Hood is about to be hanged, 
the two lieutenants free him from the gallows while 
his other men storm the castle's gates to forestall the 
double wedding of the Baron to Lady Christabel, and 
his nephew to Lady Marian. Robin Hood slays both 
villains, after which he arranges with Friar Tuck 
(Alan Mowbray) to perform a double wedding of 
himself to Lady Marian, and Sir Allan to Lady 
Christabel. Just as the ceremony is concluded, word 
comes that King Richard had returned to England. 
The doughty warriors kiss their brides and ride off to 
join their King. 

Maurice Tombragel wrote the screen play, suppos- 
edly adapted from a story by Alexander Dumas. Sam 
Katzman produced it, and Howard Bretherton di- 
rected it. The cast includes H. B. Warner, Robin 
Raymond, Walter Sande and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Mary Lou" with Robert Lowery 
and Joan Barton 

(Columbia, Jan. 23; time, 66 min.) 
Although the story is decidedly thin and obvious, 
this run-of-the-mill program musical should serve 
fairly well as a supporting feature, for the popular 
type music is tuneful and several of the dance num- 
bers engaging. Joan Barton makes a personable hero- 
ine, and her singing voice is pleasant. Glenda Farrell 
and Frank Jenks handle the comedy, but most of it is 
so forced that it falls flat. It is the sort of picture that 
will appeal mainly to the younger set, for in addition 
to the popular music it features also the piano playing 
of Frankie Carle, accompanied by his orchestra : — 

When air hostess Joan Barton sings to calm her 
passengers during a stormy flight, she is discharged by 
Chester Clute for being "undignified." She is consoled 
by Frank Jenks, publicit>^ man for Frankie Carle's 
band, who invites her, together with Robert Lowery, 
her boy-friend, to the night club where the band had 
an engagement. They arrive at the club just as Abigail 
Adams, Carle's vocaUst, quits the band cold to accept 
an offer for a screen test. Joan, encouraged by Lowery 
and Jenks, sings for Carle and is engaged by him as 
the band's new vocalist, with the requirement that 



January 10, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



she assume the name of "Mary Lou," which had al- 
ways been identified with Carle's vocalists. She ac' 
companies the band to New York to rehearse for the 
opening of a new show at a swank night club owned 
by Emmet Vogan. Meanwhile Abigail's screen test 
falls through; she returns to the band, claims the 
exclusive use of the name, "Mary Lou," and threatens 
to sue both Carle and Vogan unless reinstated with 
the band. Heartbroken, Joan resumes her work as an 
air hostess. Lowery, however, decides to do some in- 
vestigating and succeeds in locating Thelma White, 
the original holder of the "Mary Lou" name, who had 
retired from show business years previously. His dis- 
covery invalidates Abigail's claim and, with the aid 
of Jenks and Glenda Farrell, the band's music ar- 
ranger, Lowery manages to keep Abigail off the stage 
long enough for Joan to appear in her place and score 
a huge success as the new "Mary Lou." 

M. Coates Webster wrote the original screen play, 
Sam Katzman produced it, and Arthur Dreifuss di- 
rected it. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Smart Politics" with Freddie Stewart 
and June Preisser 

(Monogram, Jan. 3; time, 65 min.) 

A moderately entertaining addition to the "Teen- 
Agers" series of program comedies with music, featur- 
ing the same youthful players that have appeared in 
the previous pictures. The plot is rather juvenile, but 
it has a fair amount of laughs and enough good musi- 
cal numbers to generally please undiscriminating 
audiences, especially the younger picture-goers, who 
should find the music of Gene Krupa and his orchestra 
to their taste. It should serve nicely as a supporting 
feature wherever something light is needed to round 
out a double-bill : — 

As chairman of the Memorial Fund of San Juan 
Junior College, Freddie Stewart is entrusted with 
supervision of a project to honor the town's war dead. 
He arranges for a fund-raising dance and show in the 
school's gymnasium, which is used by Frankie Darro 
and his youthful gang to hide out from the police, who 
were after them for steaHng firecrackers from a local 
store. Learning of their plight, Freddie and his com- 
mittee decide that a youth center to combat juvenile 
delinquency would make a fitting memorial. They go 
to see the mayor, Donald MacBride, to obtain an old 
warehouse from the city for that purpose. But Mac- 
Bride, who had planned secretly to buy the property 
through a political henchman for personal profit, 
turns them down. Freddie eventually learns of the 
mayor's nefarious scheme from Candy Candido, the 
mayor's dim-witted nephew, who wanted a part in a 
show the committee planned to stage in the warehouse 
to raise funds for alterations. Many complications 
ensue as the youngsters attempt to thwart the crooked 
deal, but the mayor manages to outsmart them. In the 
end, however, the mayor's aged father (also played by 
Donald MacBride) takes a hand in the matter and 
compels his son to turn the property over to the 
youngsters for their youth center. 

Hal Collins wrote the screen play from an original 
story by Monte F. Collins and himself. Will Jason 
produced and directed it. The cast includes Warren 
Mills, Noel Neill, Martha Davis, the Cappy Barra 
Harmonica Boys and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" with 

Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston 

and Tim Holt 

(Warner Bros., Jan. 24; time, 126 min.) 

Though its overlong running time could be cut to 
advantage to tighten up its rambling plot, "The Treas- 
ure of the Sierra Madre" is a grim, powerful melo- 
drama, the sort that grips one's interest from start to 
finish. Its unusual tale about three American dere- 
licts, beset by lust, greed, and distrust of each other, 
is by no means pleasant and, as entertainment, it will 
probably have more of an appeal to men than to 
women, first, because it has an all-male cast and is 
devoid of romantic interest, and secondly, because the 
action is frequently raw and brutal. It is a picture of 
mood, suspense, and action, and under John Huston's 
expert direction it unfolds in a taut and absorbing 
way. Able performances are contributed by the entire 
cast, but Walter Huston's brilliant portrayal of an 
old-time gold prospector is the picture's outstanding 
feature. Most of the picture was filmed in Mexico, 
providing interesting backgrounds, and the photog- 
raphy is superb : — - 

The rambling story opens in Tampico, Mexico, 
where Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt, two dirty, 
unsavory characters, live by their wits begging hand- 
outs from tourists. When pickings become lean, they 
accept jobs in a construction camp bossed by Barton 
MacLane, a crook, whom they have to beat up in 
order to collect their wages. Both go to a flop-house, 
where they meet Huston, whose belief that gold could 
be found in the Mexican hills excites them. They pool 
their meager resources and persuade Huston to take 
them on a gold-hunting expedition, despite his warn- 
ing of dangers, both physical and moral, should they 
find gold. Their torturous trip into the wilds is marked 
by a surface friendship, which soon changes to bicker- 
ing when they find gold and strike it rich. Bogart un- 
justly suspects the other two of coveting his share of 
the gold, and the tension between them mounts to 
such an extent that each, distrusting the other, buries 
his gold in a secret hiding place. After ten long 
months, during which they have their troubles with 
bandits and intruders, the three decide to return to 
civilization. The hazardoios trip back becomes a night- 
mare, due to the fortune each man packed on his 
burros and his general distrust of the others. When 
friendly Indians ask Huston to help save a dying boy 
in their camp, he entrusts his gold to the other two and 
bids them to go on without him. Bogart, wrongly sus- 
pecting that Holt meant to kill him and keep all the 
gold, shoots him and leaves him for dead. Half -crazed, 
Bogart flees with the treasure, only to be intercepted 
by ignorant bandits, who slay him in order to steal 
the burros, after which they slash open the saddle bags 
and scatter the gold to the winds without realizing its 
value. Meanwhile Holt survives the shooting and is 
found by Huston. Both arrive in an outpost town, 
where the bandits had been apprehended, and learn 
the gruesome story of Bogart 's death and of the scat- 
tering of their gold. Realizing that the wind had car- 
ried the gold back to the mountains where they had 
found it. Holt and Huston break down with hysterical 
laughter at the ironic twist of fate. 

John Huston wrote the screen play from the novel 
by B. Traven, and Henry Blanke produced it. The 
cast includes Bruce Bennett, Bobby Blake and others. 

Adult entertainment. 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 10, 1948 



PICTURES MUST NOT BE CUT 
OFF FROM FOREIGN LANDS 

The ban on shipment of American pictures to Den' 
mark, which had been in effect since last October 
because the Danish Government and the American 
film companies could not agree on a remittance plan, 
came to an end this week when that country agreed 
to permit the American companies to remit part of 
their earnings to their home offices in New York. 

Eric Johnston, head of the producers' association, 
announced that, in addition to Denmark, agreements 
regarding remittances were concluded also with Nor- 
way and Sweden, and while he did not give any de- 
tails about the terms of the agreements he described 
them "a? the best possible deal under the present dif- 
ficult economic conditions." He added that the agree- 
ments were concluded without one of the three coun- 
tries resorting to a tax. 

The producers are to be congratulated for opening 
up the way for a continuous flow of American pic- 
tures to the Scandinavian countries. No doubt the 
agreements provide for a certain percentage of the 
American film earnings to be frozen in the respective 
countries, but in these days, when most foreign na- 
tions are doing their utmost to save American dollars 
so that they may be able to buy the necessities of Ufe, 
the least that can be done by the motion picture in- 
dustry, which has taken many a dollar from these 
countries, is to ease up their burden. 

In the case of Great Britain, there is some excuse in 
the producer action of cutting off all picture ship- 
ments to that country because a principle is involved 
— the imposition of a confiscatory tax. The American 
producers, in recognition of Great Britain's dollar 
shortage, are willing to agree that a given percentage 
of their earnings should remain in Great Britain until 
such a time as the country recovers financially, but 
they cannot agree to the imposition of even a small 
tax lest a precedent be established and other countries 
follow suit. 

It is to be hoped that the producers will find an 
early solution to their problems abroad so that a con- 
tinuous flow of pictures will go to every nation. At a 
time when the Soviet Union is stopping at nothing 
short of actual hostilities in order to gain complete 
domination of Europe and Asia, the world must not 
be deprived of the civilizing influence of the Amer- 
ican pictures, for they sell democracy subtly: when 
the people in foreign countries see through the 
medium of American pictures how we fare in the 
United States, they cannot help but be left with the 
feeling that a form of government that makes it pos- 
sible for its people to fare so well cannot, despite the 
ravings and rantings of the Communists, be a bad 
government. 

Between the American pictures and the letters sent 
from the United States by relatives, added to the latest 
demonstration by the Ajnerican people by their do- 
nations of food to the Friendship train, sent to France, 
Italy and Austria, as well as to the work our govern- 
ment is doing in Greece, we ought to be able to beat 
Communism decisively, particularly since Commu- 
nism offers nothing but words, whereas we offer 
wholesome and inviting food, as well as positive proof 
that our form of government gives every one the right 
to live as free men. 

Let the American pictures continue going abroad 
at any cost! 



ALLIED ADDS ANOTHER LINK 
TO ITS CHAIN 

With more than one hundred independent exhibi- 
tors from the Kansas City exchange territory in at- 
tendance at a convention held in that city several 
weeks ago, a new independent exhibitor organization, 
known as Allied Independent Theatre Owners of 
Kansas and Missouri, came into being and voted to 
affiliate with Allied States Association. 

Thus Allied has added another link to its ever- 
growing chain of truly independent exhibitor units. 

O. F. Sullivan, of Wichita, Kansas, was elected 
president; Larr>' Larson, of Webb City, Mo., vice- 
president; and V. R. Stamm, of Kansas City, Mo., 
secretary-treasurer. 

Mr. Sullivan and his co-organizers, who saw the 
need for a truly independent exhibitor unit in the 
Kansas-Missouri territory', and did something about 
it, deserve great credit for a job well done. Harri- 
son's Reports feels sure that the independent ex- 
hibitors in that territory' vtill give their new leaders 
whole-hearted cooperation in carrj'ing on their work, 
which will be, after all, for their benefit. Nothing can 
be gained by organizations that are neither fish nor 
fowl. And if the speed and vigor with which Allied of 
Kansas and Missouri was formed is an indication of 
its desire to strike back at the abuses that plague the 
independents, it should prove to be one of Allied's 
most progressive units. 



SCREEN WRITERS' GUILD, INC. 

1655 No. Cherokee Avenue 
HoLLYU'ooD 28, California 

January 2, 1948 
Mr. p. S. Harrison, Editor 
Harrison's Reports 
1270 Avenue of the Americas 
New York 20, N.Y. 
Dear Mr. Harrison : 

In calling hasty the Screen Writers' Guild's action 
concerning the writers cited for contempt of Con- 
gress, Karrison's Reports was a trifle hasty. The 
Screen Writers" Guild will not (as your issue of the 
27th of December suggests) take part in the contempt 
trials, believing as we do that these cases concern the 
writers as individuals rather than as members of the 
Guild. The Guild is, however, strongly opposed to 
the blacklisting of writers for opinions or activities 
that are not in violation of existing laws. Thus, when 
the dismissed (or suspended) writers sue the studios 
on charges of breach of contract, the Guild will enter 
the cases as amicus curiae. 



(signed) 



Sincerely, 

Arthur Sheekman, 

Secretary 



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either misplaced or failed to receive the copy of one 
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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JANUARY 17, 1948 No. 3 



THE PUZZLING PHENOMENON 
CLEARED UP 

In the editorial published in the June 21, 1947 
issue of this paper under the heading, "A PUZ- 
ZLING PHENOMENON," the following remarks 
were made in the first paragraph : 

"Many persons from within and without the mo- 
tion picture industry have been trying to reason out 
the motives that prompt intellectuals, writers who 
earn anywhere from one thousand to five thousand 
dollars a week, and even more, to espouse the Com- 
munistic philosophy. They have been ascribing many 
motives, but they have not hit upon the real motive." 

This writer then proceeded to ascribe jealousy as 
the possible motive — jealousy at the fact that those 
intellectuals, with so much education, see persons of 
limited educations heading the industry, forgetting 
the fact that these industry leaders, though of limited 
education, are rich in executive abiUty, and in the 
knowledge of how to make pictures. 

That theory was the best that could be adopted at 
that time. Now, however, comes Life of January 5 
with an explanation that seems to be the most rational : 
Once a person becomes a Communist, Life implies, he 
cannot break away. If he should desert the party, the 
party members blacken his character with all kinds 
of vicious falsehoods. Life should have added that 
they resort even to murder, if we are to judge by the 
fate of Leon Trotsky who, having disagreed with the 
other members of the ruling class in Russia, was mur- 
dered in Mexico, to which country he had fled. 

Life deals with the case of an American youngster 
who was inveigled into joining the Communist Party 
by various methods including the use of pretty girls. 
This young man was so thoroughly soaked with the 
party's doctrines that, years later, even after he be- 
came a Captain in the United States Army, he re- 
mained a Communist to the end. At first he was re- 
pulsed by the methods the party employed in order 
to gain its ends, but he became reconciled to them 
eventually, and in the end he remained true to the 
party because it trusted him as a faithful servant. 

Life says: "Now 'Kelly' (the name given to the 
young American so that his identity might be hidden) 
began to appreciate the terrible strength of the party. 
He had known that the damned, those who were ex- 
pelled, had frequently become emotional wrecks, 
drunks, suicides, derelicts, but he attributed their 
breakdowns to those hidden faults which had caused 
their expulsion. Now he appreciated, as the party by 
this time intended he should appreciate, the power 
that had smashed them. 

"Each new prospect received the same treatment 
of encouragement, adulation, sexual satisfaction . . . 
Expulsion meant ostracism, the ending of every social 



tie, a situation much like that of a devout nun cast 
out from her convent. An expelled party member be- 
came one of two classes — the bitter enemy of the 
Communist Party . . . , or a psychotic, spiraling down 
to emptiness. . . . 

"... the program of the party was planned in terms 
of decades, in the course of which the party intended 
to advance the Soviet Union as the only possible con- 
trol for the people of the world. . . Accepting the 
simple dogma that the party was always right made 
his life right, gave him a full satisfaction in living. . ." 

Elsewhere in the article there is said: ". . . Expul- 
sions were matters of excitement and gabbling, always 
ending with the party dictum that the unfortunate 
was a moral leper as well as a political dullard. Invari- 
ably, those jettisoned by the party were stigmatized as 
homosexuals, drug addicts, police informers and 
syphilitics. During this period, 'Kelly' beUeved these 
charges to be the simple truth and was constantly 
concerned over his failure to have detected such 
moral, physical and mental lesions in people he had 
known so well. . ." 

This article of Life's is so enlightening as to what 
Communism is and how it operates that it should be 
read by every one who values his American citizen- 
ship, for he must know what a powerful enemy our 
system of government has in Communism. 

Dorothy Thompson, whose syndicated writings 
appear in a large number of newspapers, corroborates 
all this. In her first article on Communists in her 
January 6 column, she says that, if we knew what 
Communism is, we would have fewer heart-search- 
ings as to what to do about it. She took her facts from 
documentary evidence, beginning with the Constitu- 
tion and Rules of the International Communist Party, 
and is determined to prove how necessary it is for our 
Congress to outlaw Communism and declare all con- 
nections with it a penal offense. 

Miss Thompson is not a reactionary. As a matter of 
fact she is so hberal that only recently she deplored 
our tendency to outlaw Communism on the theory 
that, by so doing, we would drive the Communists 
underground where we would not have as much op- 
portunity to watch their doings. For so liberal a per- 
son, then, to discard her views and advocate the out- 
lawing of Communism to the extent that it will be a 
penal ofFense for any one in the United States to have 
anything to do with the movement, is indicative of 
the fact that she must have done much research work 
to convince herself that Communism is not a poHtical 
theory but a group of persons who have vowed to 
upset our political and economic system, not by the 
ballot, but by criminal methods. 

By quoting from Communist documents. Miss 
(Continued on IdSt page) 



10 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 17, 1948 



"An Ideal Husband" with Paulette Goddard, 
Michael Wilding and Diana Wynyard 

(20th Century-Fox, no rel. date set; time, 96 min.) 
Produced in England, this is an extremely lavish 
film version of Oscar Wilde's play, superbly photo- 
graphed in Technicolor. It is a comedy of Victorian 
morals and manners, set in 1895, and the luxurious 
settings and the magnificent costumes are breathtak- 
ing. As entertainment, however, it is the sort that 
will appeal chiefly to discriminating patrons, who will 
best understand and appreciate the plot's subtleties 
and the sophisticated witticisms. But even among 
these patrons there may be some who will find that 
the humor of this more than 50-year-old Victorian 
satire is somewhat antiquated. Picture-goers of the 
rank and file will undoubtedly find it much too slow- 
paced and talkative to suit their tastes. The perform- 
ances are uniformly good, but special mention should 
be made of Glynis Johns, an exceedingly charming 
young actress, whose impish characterization gives 
the film its most delightful moments. 

Briefly, the story revolves around Mrs. Cheveney 
(Paulette Goddard), a beautiful adventuress, who 
approaches Sir Robert Chiltern (Hugh Williams), a 
prominent British Under-Secretary, and, under threat 
of exposing an indiscretion in his early political ca- 
reer, demands that he recommend government sup- 
port of a fraudulent financial scheme in which she is 
interested. Because of this demand. Sir Robert finds 
himself faced, not only with political ruin, but also 
with a broken marriage, for his cold, virtuous wife 
(Diana Wynyard) had put him on a pedestal and 
would leave him if she discovered anything discredit- 
able in his life. Sir Robert confides his troubles to his 
intimate friend. Lord Goring (Michael Wilding), a 
gay man-about-town, who takes the matter in hand. 
Through chance, he finds a diamond bracelet that is 
claimed by Mrs. Cheveney and he recognizes it as one 
that had been stolen years previously. Under threat 
of turning her over to the police as a common thief, 
he compels her to turn over to him the incriminating 
evidence with which she had been blackmailing Sir 
Robert, thus saving his friend's honor and home. A 
brief outline of the plot cannot do justice to some of 
its highly amusing satirical twists. 

Lajos Biros wrote the screen play, and Alexander 
Korda produced and directed it. The cast includes 
Sir Aubrey Smith, Constance Collier and others. 
Adult entertainment. 



"Tenth Avenue Angel" 

with Margaret O'Brien, Angela Lansbury, 

George Murphy and Phyllis Thaxter 

(MGM, no release date set; time, 76 min.) 
In spite of the fact that the story is commonplace, 
this human interest drama should go over fairly well 
with family type audiences. It may, however, strike 
sophisticated patrons as being a bit too mawkish, caus- 
ing them to titter at some of the doings, which revolve 
around an eight-year-old urchin, living on New York's 
Tenth Avenue, who loses faith in her elders when 
some harmless statements they made to her turn out 
to be fabrications. The Margaret O'Brien fans should 
certainly find it to their liking, for the story gives the 
diminutive little actress ample opportunity to dis- 
play her juvenile virtuosity. There is considerable 
human appeal, as a result of the devotion between 
Margaret and her elders. 

The rambling story depicts Margaret as a happy 
little girl living in a youthful world of makebelieve, 
her chief interests being centered on Rhys Williams, 



a blind newsdealer; her mother, Phyllis Thaxter; her 
father, Warner Anderson, an unemployed concert 
violinist; her aunt, Angela Lansbury; and Angela's 
boy-friend, George Murphy, a former taxi driver, who 
had just finished a prison term. Margaret believed 
that Murphy had been on a "world cruise," and her 
one aim was to marry him off to Angela as soon as 
possible, a marriage he rejected because of his prison 
record. Several by-plots revolve around the older 
folks, but in the main the story deals with Margaret's 
disillusionment when, through a contrived series of 
events, a cigar box in which she had caught a mouse 
is unwittingly replaced by two boys with a cigar box 
filled with money stolen from the newsdealer. She had 
caught the mouse because her mother had told her 
that mice turn into money. Compelled to return the 
money, she had lost faith in her mother and in the 
many other tales she had told her. Her disillusionment 
is complete when she inadvertently learns that Mur- 
phy, her idol, had been in prison — he, too, had lied 
to her. When her mother hovers between life and 
death after a premature childbirth, Margaret, frantic, 
recalls that her mother once told her that on Christmas 
Eve cows knelt in homage to the little Christ child. 
She sets out to find such a cow and locates one in the 
stockyards. Her faith restored, she returns home and 
finds her mother on the road to recovery. It is all quite 
fanciful but in its way delightful. 

Harry Ruskin and Eleanore Griffin wrote the 
screen play from a story by Agnes Enters and a sketch 
by Craig Rice. 



"Open Secret" with John Ireland 
and Jane Randolph 

(Eagle-Lion, Feb. 14; time, 70 min.) 
An interesting program melodrama, based on an 
anti-Semitism theme. The players themselves have 
little marquee value, but since the picture's subject 
matter is timely and controversial it may, if properly 
exploited, do better than average business. The story, 
which shows how intolerance and bigotry, promul- 
gated by spreaders of hate, take hold of an entire 
community, is a highly melodramatic yarn that pulls 
no punches. There are times when the proceedings 
strike an unbelievable note, particularly in its depic- 
tion of violence, but on the whole the story is well 
developed and, considering the production's budget- 
ary limitations, it puts over its message in a forceful 
way. Those connected with the picture certainly are 
entitled to an "A" for effort : — 

Learning that John Ireland, an old army buddy, 
was passing through town with his bride (Jane Ran- 
dolph), Charles Waldron, Jr. invites the newlyweds 
to share his apartment for a few days. They become 
disturbed when Waldron disappears without leaving 
word of his whereabouts, and when they come across 
evidence that the apartment had been rifled. Ireland 
enlists the aid of Police Lieut. Sheldon Leonard, who 
shortly thereafter finds Waldron 's murdered body. 
Meanwhile Ireland, a candid camera enthusiast, had 
become friendly with George Tyne, a Jewish shop- 
keeper, in whose shop he had left several rolls of film 
to be developed, and had learned from him that a 
concentrated anti-racial movement was underway in 
the neighborhood. Several incidents he had witnessed 
convince Ireland that his murdered friend had been 
a victim of the secret gang that was spreading racial 
poison Through a roll of films Tyne had developed 
for Waldron, Ireland learns that Waldron had been 
trj'ing to expose the gang, and that he had photo- 
graphed them with a concealed camera. He realizes 



January 17, 194S 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



11 



that the gang had rifled the apartment to obtain the 
films, and determines to track them down. His efforts, 
however, result in his own capture, with the gang 
threatening to harm his wife unless he turned the 
pictures over to them. But Tyne, who, too, had been 
captured, pretends that the incriminating pictures 
were still in his shop. All go to the shop, where Ire- 
land and Tyne start a free-for'all. The arrival of 
Sheldon and a poHce squad ends the light and puts 
the gang in prison. With the community rid of the 
bigots, every one becomes more tolerant of his neigh- 
bor. 

Henry Bankfort and Max Wilk wrote the screen 
play, from a story by Mr. Wilk and Ted Murkland. 
Frank Satenstein produced it, and John Reinhardt 
directed it. The cast includes Roman Bohnen, Morgan 
Farley and others. Adult fare. 



"Relentless" with Robert Young 
and Marguerite Chapman 

(Columbia, no release date set; time, 91 rnzn.) 
A good "super-western," photographed in Techni- 
color. Although the story follows a routine outline, it 
is more substantial than those found in the general 
run of westerns, and the lovers of outdoor melo- 
dramas should go for it, for it is chuck-full of excite- 
ment, and has some comedy and romance, too. Robert 
Young does very well as a cowboy who, unjustly ac- 
cused of three murders, finds himself the object of a 
sheriff's manhunt while he himself endeavors to es- 
tablish his innocence by stalking the culprit responsi- 
ble for the killings. The two-way manhunt makes for 
many thrilling situations, and the excitement is in- 
tensified by the colorful backgrounds. Marguerite 
Chapman is appealing as the heroine, and good char- 
acterizations are turned in by Akim Tamiroff and 
Barton MacLane as the villains of the piece : — 

A pair of old prospectors, in town celebrating a rich 
gold strike, are murdered by Frank Fenton and Barton 
MacLane, who steal the map of the claim, divide it 
half, and agree to meet after their escape. Suspicion 
falls on Young, a cowboy who had wandered into 
town that night with a mare that was about to drop a 
foal. He is befriended by Marguerite, owner of a 
covered wagon general store, after which he hits the 
trail in search for a good spot for his mare to foal. 
Fenton confronts him and steals the mare at the point 
of a gun. Young follows and kills him when the mare 
founders and dies. MacLane, who had been following 
Fenton to steal the other half of the map, warns 
Young to clear out lest Fenton 's gang come after him, 
and promises to explain to Sheriff Willard Parker that 
Fenton had been killed for horse-stealing. Wlien 
Young leaves, MacLane robs Fenton 's body, then re- 
ports to the sheriff that Young had committed all 
three murders. Learning that the sheriff was after him. 
Young, aided by Marguerite, sets out to prove his 
innocence. His search for MacLane proves unavailing, 
and one day, when he is wounded by the pursuing 
posse, he seeks refuge in a saloon owned by Akim 
Tamiroff, whom he bribes by pretending to know the 
location of the mine and offering him a half interest. 
Tamirofi^, wanting the whole mine for himself, makes 
Young his captive. He is rescued by Marguerite, who 
puts him on MacLane's trail. Young, unaware that 
he had been followed by Tamiroff, comes across Mac- 
Lane at the mine. Tamiroff shoots MacLane and is 
about to kill Young when Marguerite and the sheriff 
arrive. MacLane clears Young by confessing the mur- 
ders with his dying breath, and Tamiroff is arrested 
for killing MacLane. 



Winston Miller wrote the screen play from a story 
by Kenneth Perkins, Eugene B. Rodney produced it, 
and George Sherman directed it. The cast includes 
Mike Mazurki, Clem Bevans and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Sleep, My Love" with Claudette Colbert, 
Robert Cummings and Don Ameche 

(United Artists, January; time, 97 min.) 
An effective psychological melodrama. Basically, 
the story is the familiar one about the unfaithful hus- 
band who seeks to dispose of his wife in order that he 
be free to marry the "other woman," but it grips one's 
interest throughout because of the manner in which 
the husband tries to bring about his wife's self-destruc- 
tion through the use of drugs, psychology, and hyp- 
nosis. Some of the situations are overdrawn and quite 
unbelievable, but these shortcomings are not serious 
enough to lessen one's interest in the proceedings, 
which for the most part keep one taut. Except for 
Hazel Brooks, whose efforts to appear sultry are some- 
what on the "hammy" side, the others in the cast turn 
in top performances, contributing to the tenseness of 
the picture. It is by no means a pleasant entertain- 
ment, but the morbidity usually found in pictures of 
this type is offset to a degree by a number of hghter 
moments. Worked into the action are some interesting 
scenes of a modern Chinese wedding : — 

In love with Hazel Brooks, Don Ameche conspires 
with George Coulouris, a nefarious character, to rid 
himself of his wife, Claudette Colbert, by leading her 
to believe that she was losing her mind. Through the 
use of drugs and hypnosis, he places her aboard a 
train bound for Boston. She wakes up on the train un- 
aware of how she got there and mystified by the 
presence of a gun in her purse. Meanwhile Ameche, 
having inflicted a wound upon himself, notifies the 
police of her "disappearance" and slyly establishes 
that she was suffering from hallucinations. Upon 
Claudette's return home, Ameche, under the guise of 
sympathy, convinces her that she must be treated by 
a psychiatrist. Coulouris shows up at the house as the 
psychiatrist and, after frightening her into uncon- 
sciousness with a fake psychoanalysis, disappears. 
Shortly thereafter Ameche arrives with a genuine 
psychiatrist, and when she mentions the incident wdth 
Coulouris he suggests that she had had another one of 
her "hallucinations." Meanwhile Robert Cummings, 
who had just met Ameche and Claudette through a 
mutual friend, learns of her supposed mental ailment 
and finds reason to suspect a sinister plot against her. 
He cultivates her friendship and in the course of 
events saves her from committing suicide, an act in- 
duced by Ameche while she was under the influence 
of drugs. liis suspicions aroused, Cummings starts an 
investigation of Aemeche's movements and uncovers 
the plot against Claudette. In the meantime Ameche 
and Coulouris have a disagreement, with Ameche 
planning to have Claudette shoot Coulouris while in 
an hypnotic state. The scheme backfires when Cou- 
louris, though seriously wounded, returns the fire and 
kills Ameche. Cummings arrives in the midst of the 
shooting and engages Coulouris in a running gun 
battle, which ends with Coulouris plunging to death 
in a fall through a roof skylight. Her troubles over, 
Claudette looks forward to a new life with Cummings. 
Charles Buddy Rogers and Ralph Cohn produced 
it in collaboration with Mar>' Pickford. St. Clair Mc- 
Kelway and Leo Rosten wrote the screen play from 
Mr. Rosten's novel. The cast includes Rita Johnson, 
Queenie Smith, Keye Luke and others. Adult fare. 



12 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 17, 1948 



Thompson proves in her very first article that the 
American Communists are under the order of the 
International Communist Party, which party con- 
sists of "Russians, Yugoslavs, Poles and what not," 
ruled by the Politburo of Russia. In other words, a 
Communist, whether American or a citizen of any 
other nation, receives his orders, not from his elected 
representatives, but from the Russians; and he works 
for the interests, not of the American people, but of 
Russian Communism. 

In her January 8 column. Miss Thompson, by pub' 
lishing extracts from ofiicial Communist documents, 
proves that the American Communist Party is an 
illegal organization, "pledged to illegal methods, to 
secrecy, and, at the right moment, to armed rebellion." 

Part of an extract from a document she reproduces 
states: "Each affiliated party is obligated to render 
every possible assistance to the Soviet Republics . . . 
carry on propaganda to induce workers to refuse to 
transport military equipment, and by legal or illegal 
means propagandize troops. 

"The object of the struggle, which must inevitably 
turn into civil war, is to obtain the political power. 
Eventually the proletariat must resort to armed up- 
rising . . . The party must always adapt itself to the 
idea of the Soviets. . ." 

Elsewhere Miss Thompson states that "every 
branch and member of the universal Communist 
Party is pledged to indulge in national treason in case 
of war with the Soviets — no matter who, in such a 
war, would be aggressor." 

Going back to Life's illuminating article, let me 
call your attention to the fact that, in one part of the 
article, the revelation is made that every Communist 
must study parliamentary procedure. Equipped with 
such knowledge, a Communist has no trouble in cap- 
turing the high offices of either unions or of any other 
type of organization. What chance has a loyal Amer- 
ican to battle against the technique of Communists 
when he has no idea of how meetings are conducted — - 
what is in order and what out of order? Two or three 
Communists, well versed in parliamentary procedure, 
may throw a meeting into confusion; they accuse 
those who oppose them as reactionaries — "fascists," 
or tools of the National Association of Manufactur- 
ers, and the so accused find it impossible to prove 
their innocence for, when a person is placed on the 
defensive, the feeling of those who do not know the 
facts is that he is guilty of the accusation. The Com- 
munists, being well versed in human psychology, 
know all that and are using it to the best advantage 
for the party. 

Now we come to our Hollywood Communists. How 
can a person prove that he is not a Communist but a 
liberal, when a Communist parades in the robe of a 
liberal? When the hearings of the Congressional sub- 
committee started in Washington, a group of Holly- 
wood persons, some of them genuine liberals, flew to 
Washington to defend the Ten, who refused to tell 
the Committee whether they were Communists or 
not. Most of the defenders eventually became dis- 
illusioned — they realized that they had been duped. 
One of these was Humphrey Bogart who, upon his 
return to Hollywood, sent a letter to columnists 
throughout the nation assuring them that he is not a 
Communist, had never been one, and does not intend 
to join the party, adding that he detested Commu- 
nism as any other decent American does. He admitted 



also that the trip was "ill-advised, even foolish." Mr. 
Bogart 's forthright declaration is indeed commend- 
able, nevertheless he did some harm by allowing his 
heart to overrule his judgment. 

Lack of an adequate public relations program to 
offset the unfavorable publicity received on the issue 
of Communism in Hollywood did considerable harm 
to the motion picture industry, but after the early 
mistakes the industry has settled down to doing the 
patriotic thing by its adoption of a policy barring the 
employment of the Ten until such time as they are 
acquitted of the contempt of Congress charge and are 
willing to declare under oath that they are not Com- 
munists. The industry has declared also that it will 
not knowingly employ a Communist or a member of 
any party or group that advocates the overthrow of 
the United States Government either by force or by 
any other illegal or unconstitutional methods. 

One or two of the studios are being sued by some 
of those who have been discharged and their contracts 
cancelled; but if the U. S. Supreme Court should de- 
clare them guilty of contempt of Congress, it is doubt- 
ful if they will get even one cent damages. 



"The Main Street Kid" with Al Pearce 

(Repubh'c, Jan. 1 ; time, 64 min.) 

There is nothing real about this unpretentious 
homespun program comedy, but it has enough laughs 
and human interest to generally please those who 
patronize small-town and neighborhood theatres. 
Though far-fetched, the story has some original twists, 
with the comedy stemming from the fact that the 
middle-aged hero, as a result of a blow on the head, 
finds himself with the power to read other people's 
minds, thus enabling him to foil a group of crooked 
schemers. As the blundering but good-natured hero, 
Al Pearce gives a likeable performance and he gets 
the most out of the numerous amusing situations : — 

Having an all-consuming passion for mental telep- 
athy, Pearce, a small-town printer, spends all his 
spare time studying a correspondence course put out 
by Alan Mowbray, a fake mind-reader, whom he 
idolized. He does this to the exasperation of his wife, 
Arlene Harris, and to the amusement of his daughter, 
Janet Martin, who was in love with Byron S. Barr, 
wealthy young president of a publishing firm. A gul- 
lible young man, Barr becomes involved with Adele 
Mara, a New York gold-digger, whom he wanted to 
marry but dared not lest his prim board of directors 
find her unsuitable and oust him from the presidency. 
Douglas Evans, a board member who coveted Barr's 
job, visits Adele and offers her $25,000 to inveigle 
Barr into an engagement and to embarrass him in 
front of the board. Adele accepts and, to get Janet out 
of the way, she arranges with Mowbray, an old co- 
hort, to induce Pearce to talk his daughter into giving 
up Barr. But Pearce, injured by an accidental blow 
on the head, finds himself endowed with genuine 
mind-reading powers, which enable him to learn of 
the scheme to fleece Barr. He manages to outsmart the 
tricksters, expose their plot, and run them out of 
town, thus straightening out the tangled affairs of 
Barr and his daughter. 

Jerry Sackheim wrote the screen play from a radio 
play by Caryl Coleman. Sidney Picker produced it, 
and R. G. Springsteen directed it. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



I 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the poet ofTlce at New Tork, New Y«rk, under tbe ttmt sf March 8, 1879, 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS Published Weekly by 

United States $15.00 (Formerly Sixth Avenue) Harrison's Reports, Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 1G.50 -, v , „„ .i v Publisher 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 1948 No, 4 



SAM GOLDWYN'S ANNUAL 
HARANGUE 

Like the sparrows that return in the Spring with 
clock-hke regularity, Sam Goldwyn can be depended 
upon always to issue to the general public an annual 
harangue against the quality of motion pictures being 
fed to them. Nor does he forget to take his annual dig 
at those who make it possible for him to stay in busi- 
ness — the exhibitors. This time he says that the exhibi- 
tors receive the "lion's share" of total industry profits 
without assuming any risks, and that they should be 
satisfied with "a reasonable profit" since they are 
basically in the real estate business. Just what is "a 
reasonable profit" Goldwyn did not say. 

Sam Goldwyn is not wrong in his estimate of pres- 
ent picture quality, for it is low; but he is wrong, very 
wrong, when he feeds such statements to the public. 

What good does it do? None! If he were genu- 
inely concerned about the betterment of picture qual- 
ity, if he really had the interests of the industry 
(which has been mighty good to him) at heart, he 
would not make statements designed to keep him in 
the public eye. He would, instead, discuss the matter 
with other producers privately, for telling it to the 
public is just like telling them to keep away from all 
but Goldwyn pictures. His bleats to the public about 
inefficiency in Hollywood and poor pictures produced 
at high costs merely serve to create among movie- 
goers a state of mind that makes them, either con- 
sciously or unconsciously, want to stay away from all 
pictures. 

This year ouiuwyn a iieiidrigue seeiiis to have a 
special significance: Having chosen an unfortunate 
title for one of his fine pictures, "The Bishop's Wife," 
(he is now advertising it as "Gary and the Bishop's 
Wife," because many youngsters stayed away from 
it in the belief that it was a religious picture) he evi- 
dently wants to draw the public's attention to this 
picture and thus induce them to support the box- 
offices of the theatres where it is playing. In other 
words, Goldwyn 's concern is Goldwyn. 

In condemning the mistakes of the other producers 
for the poor quality of pictures, Goldwyn no doubt 
is right in attributing the poor quality to mistaken 
judgment in the selection of story material. "The 
Bishop's Wife," however, proves one thing — that 
mistakes in judgment are not the monopoly of any 
particular group of men, and that Goldwyn himself 
may make mistakes, if not in the story, at least in the 
title. 

Before issuing any more statements to the public 
about the prevailing quality of pictures and about 
whatever else might ail Hollywood, Goldwyn should 



calculate first the harm such statements might do to 
the industry as a whole, and to the exhibitors in par- 
ticular. If he should expect the exhibitors to give him 
a profit, he must think of their interests, too. After 
all, he should remember that these e.xhibitors, or real 
estate operators as he prefers to call them, do not get 
enough pictures from Goldwyn to keep their theatres 
open 365 days a year; they operate mainly with the 
pictures he persists in condemning openly. Without 
these pictures the theatres could not stay open, and 
every closed theatre, caused by a state of mind Gold- 
wyn 's statements serve to create among the public, 
would mean one less potential playdate for a Goldwyn 
picture. And since playdates are very dear to the 
heart of Mr. Goldwyn, perhaps, if he gave this angle 
some deep thought, he would cease his periodical har- 
angues, the obvious purpose of which is personal ag- 
grandizement. 

The trouble with Mr. Goldwyn is that, having won 
himself a number of Academy Awards last year, he 
has set himself up as a master producer, qualified to 
pass judgment, not only on other producers, but also 
exhibitors. There is no question that Sam Goldwyn, 
by virtue of some very fine pictures he has produced, 
ranks with the top-flight producers in the industry, 
but he seems to forget that he has made some pretty 
bad pictures, too. 

Quit struttin' around Sam lest you slip on your 
own banana oil! 



LEGISLATION INTRODUCED 
TO CURB ASCAP 

Representative Earl R. Lewis, Repubhcan, of Ohio, 
who is Chairman of the House Judiciary Sub- Com- 
mittee on Patents, Trade Marks and Copyrights, in- 
troduced in Congress last week a bill that, in effect, 
will require ASCAP to deal exclusively with the 
motion picture producers for royalty payments cover- 
ing the public performing rights to all copyrighted 
music contained in pictures, thus relieving the exhibi- 
tors from the requirement that they pay license fees 
to ASCAP. 

Known as H.R. 5014, the bill, which has the back- 
ing of Allied States Association, provides for the 
following amendment to the Copyright Act : 

"Any assignment, license or other disposition by 
the owner or distributor of a copyrighted motion pic- 
ture film of the right to exhibit such film for profit 
shall include the right to reproduce and publicly per- 
form any and all copyrighted material contained in 
the film including copyrighted music recorded thereon 
or on discs, wire or other devices accompanying and 
(Continued on last page) 



14 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 24, 1948 



"My Girl Tisa" with Lilli Palmer, 
Sam Wanamaker and Akim Tamiroff 

(Warner Bros., Feb. 7; time, 95 min.) 

A thoroughly heart-warming human interest drama. It is 
the sort of picture that has a fascinating originahty and 
should give satisfaction to all types of audiences. The locale 
is New York's east side at the turn of the century, and the 
story revolves around American immigrants of the day, fo- 
cusing attention on the romance and heartaches of a young 
girl, who slaves in a sweat shop by day and elsewhere by 
night to earn enough money to bring her father to America. 
It is a touching and at the same time amusing tale, with 
laughter and tears, in liberal quantities, combined in almost 
every foot of the film. Lilli Palmer is a charming and sympa- 
thy-awakening heroine, and Sam Wanamaker, a newcomer 
to the screen, makes a brash but likable hero, with whom 
she falls in love. Rich characterizations are provided by 
Akim Tamiroff, as the grumpy sweat shop operator; Stella 
Adler, as a flirtatious but understanding landlady in a board- 
ing house; Hugo Haas, as a crooked travel agent, who mulcts 
unsuspecting immigrants of their savings with promises to 
arrange passage to America for their loved ones; and Alan 
Hale, as a neighborhood political boss. The ending, where 
Miss Palmer is saved from deportation by the timely inter- 
vention of President Theodore Roosevelt, is pure hokum, but 
it is done well and most movie-goers will love it: — 

Despite warnings from her friends that Wanamaker was 
a ne'er-do-well, LiUi falls in love with him. Wanamaker, 
who studied law books and had aspirations for the job of 
alderman, runs afoul of Hale, who resents his boldness and 
refuses to sponsor his candidacy. To further Wanamaker's 
political ambitions, Lilli, learning that he needed $100 for 
a correspondence course in law, withdraws the money from 
her savings with Haas, who, after an unsuccessful attempt 
to make love to her, induces her to sign a contract by which 
her father could be brought to America immediately under 
an agreement to work out the passage following his arrival. 
Learning that LilH had signed an unfair labor contract that 
would keep her father in bondage for ten years in a distant 
state, Wanamaker gives Haas a beating in an unsuccessful 
attempt to make him destroy the contract. Haas, in retalia- 
tion, visits the immigration authorities and, through false 
evidence, marks Lilli as an immoral woman and brings about 
an order for her deportation. While Lilli awaits deportation 
in Ellis Island, Wanamaker, frantic, sees a procession, headed 
by President Roosevelt, who had come to the pier to greet a 
visiting Crown Prince. He breaks through the police lines, 
and manages to interest the President in Lilli's case. Im- 
pressed by his audacity, the President makes it possible for 
Lilli to remain in America. 

Allen Boretz wrote the screen play from a play by Lucille 
S. Prumbs and Sara B. Smith. Milton Sperling produced it, 
and Elliott Nugent directed it. The cast includes Benny 
Baker, Sid Tomak, John Qualen, Fritz Feld and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Slippy McGee" with Donald Barry, 
Dale Evans and Tom Brown 

(Republic, ]an. 15; time, 65 min.) 
A fairly good human interest program drama, based on a 
crook-regeneration theme. The story is the old one about 
a young safe-cracker whose association with an understand- 
ing priest and love for a clean-cut girl help him to see the 
error of his ways. But despite the stock situations and the 
lack of novelty in the plot it holds one's interest well because 
of the steady-moving action and the capable performances. 
There is a touch of gangsterism in the story, making several 
of the sequences quite exciting. The romantic interest is 
appealing, and there are enough comedy touches to lighten 
the proceedings. The story was produced once before by 
First National as a silent in 1923 : — 

Having just committed his first crime, a jewel robbery, 
Donald Barry instructs his partners (Murray Alper and 
Michael Carr) to hide the stolen diamonds while he heads 
South to wait until the "heat is off." Barry is injured in the 



small town of Middleton when he saves a youngster from 
being run down by a truck. Father Tom Brown takes him 
into the parish house and summons Dale Evans, a nurse, to 
care for him. Although he suspected Barry's criminal past 
because of burglar tools found in his traveling bag, the 
kindly priest believes that there is good in him. Barry falls 
in love with Dale and determines to go straight. He visits his 
partners, who had come to Middleton to be near him, and 
tells them to get out of town. They ignore his advice and 
rob the local bank under circumstances that point the finger 
of suspicion on Barry. To clear himself with Dale and the 
priest, Barry recovers the money and brings it to the priest 
to return to the bank. Meanwhile Alper kills Carr in an 
argument, after which he determines to recover the money 
from Barry. A fight ensues, ending with Alper being shot 
dead by the police. Though cleared of the bank robbery 
Barry admits the jewel theft and willingly returns to 
St. Louis to face the music. Dale promises to wait for him. 
Norman S. Hall and Jerry Gruskin wrote the screen play 
from a novel by Marie Conway Oemler. Lou Brock produced 
it, and Albert Kelley directed it. The cast includes James 
Seay, Dick Elliott and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"To the Ends of the Earth" 
with Dick Powell and Signe Hasso 

(Columbia, February; time, 109 min.) 
A pretty good adventure melodrama, revolving around a 
Treasury Agent's efforts to smash a narcotic smuggling 
ring. Given a semi-documentary treatment, and combining 
fact and fiction, with the accent on fiction, the story is in- 
clined to run wild at times and much of it is incredible; 
nevertheless, it should appeal to melodrama-loving fans, for 
the excitement and suspense are pretty well sustained. In 
addition to the melodramatics, which involve a worldwide 
chase before the ring is broken up and its leaders captured, 
the film offers an interesting insight on the methods employed 
to slip the drugs past custom officials in different parts of the 
world, as well as the manner in which the illegal poppy is 
grown and processed. The height of brutality is shown in one 
sequence, where 100 Chinese slaves, bound to an anchor on 
a ship manned by Japanese, who were transporting them to 
opium plantations, are dumped overboard and dragged to 
the bottom of the sea by the weight of the chain when the 
Japs endeavor to hide all evidence of their presence aboard; 
sensitive people will be sickened by this sequence. While any 
theme that deals with dope traffic is hardly desirable, what 
is shown is, on the whole, not objectionable: — 

Dick Powell, an agent attached to the U. S. Treasury 
Department's Narcotic Bureau in 1936, witnesses the Jap- 
anese-manned ship jettison its human cargo while chasing 
it to the 12-mile limit off the San Francisco coast. Suspecting 
that the ship was engaged in dope smuggling activities, 
Powell traces the crew to Shanghai. There, with the aid of 
a Chinese government official, he picks up the trail of an 
international ring of smugglers, the members of which either 
commit suicide or are murdered before he can obtain infof 
mation from them concerning the identity of their leader. 
While still in Shanghai he meets and finds reason to suspect 
Signe Hasso, American governess of an orphaned Chinese 
girl (Maylia). The pursuit of the gang takes Powell to 
Egypt, Syria, and Havana and, though he gains more in- 
formation about the ring, the leader's identity still eludes 
him. Meanwhile he continually comes across evidence that 
seems to implicate Signe, whom he sees again in Havana. 
Carefully weaving a net around the smugglers, Powell per- 
mits them to sneak a fortune in narcotics aboard a ship bound 
for New York. He boards the ship secretly to keep an eye 
on the narcotics, but his presence is soon discovered by the 
smugglers. In a battle of wits that almost costs Powell his 
life, he finally traps the smugglers and proves that none 
other than the Chinese orphan was the leader, and that Signe 
had been her unwitting dupe. 

Jay Richard Kennedy wrote the original screen play, Sid- 
ney Buchman produced it, and Robert Stevenson directed 
it. The cast includes Ludwig Donath, Vladimir Sokoloff, 
Edgar Barrier and others. Adult fare. 



January 24, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



IS 



"You Were Meant for Me" with Dan Dailey 
and Jeanne Grain 

(20th CcnturyFox. February; time. 91 min.) 
Dan Dailey, whose work as the father in "Mother Wore 
Tights" won him much praise, comes through with another 
ingratiating performance as a popular dance band leader 
in "You Were Meant for Me," a charming, nostalgic enter- 
tainment that takes one back to the dapper age and the birth 
of the depression in 1929. Singing, dancing, or acting, 
Dailey displays remarkable versatility. Jeanne Grain, as the 
small-town girl who marries him and helps him overcome 
the setback caused by the Wall Street crash, is appealingly 
demure and reminds one of her performance in "Margie." 
The nimble wisecracks of Oscar Levant, as Dailey's manager, 
add much to the entertainment values. The story itself is 
light, but it has a pleasing romantic quality, good comedy 
touches, and considerable human interest. Moreover, it has 
a melodious musical score, featuring a number of song hits 
that were popular in 1929. It is a wholesome, satisfying pic- 
ture, one that makes you leave the theatre humming a tune: 
Dailey, whose distinctive swing band was the rage with 
collegians throughout the country, plays a dance engage- 
ment in Bloomington, a typical small town. The dance is 
attended by Jeanne, one of his many ardent admirers, who 
finds herself holding the lucky number in the drawing for 
the door prise. She kisses Dailey impulsively when he hands 
her the prize, thus starting a romance that culminates with 
their elopement on the following night. Happily married 
and riding the crest of his popularity, Dailey remains oblivi- 
ous to the impending stock market crash and spends his 
money freely. The crash finds him with a minimum amount 
of money and a cancellation of a season's contract at a large 
New York hotel. He is compelled to break up his band. 
Jeanne induces him to return to Bloomington to live with 
her parents (Percy Kilbride and Selena Royle) until the 
band business picks up again. He remains idle for many 
months, turning down several offers for small engagements 
because of his refusal to accept anything but top bookings. 
With her father struggling to support the family with his 
failing brick yard business, Jeanne becomes annoyed at 
Dailey's attitude and berates him for not accepting the en- 
gagements in order to make her father's lot easier. Peeved, 
he decides to return to New York without her, but he 
changs his mind at train time and goes to work in the brick 
yard. Levant, needing a job, joins him. The story ends 
several years later with Dailey once again on top as a band 
leader, and with Levant managing the brick yard. 

Elick Moll and Valentine Davies wrote the original screen 
play, Fred Kohlmar produced it, and Lloyd Bacon directed 
it. Suitable for the entire family. 



"Call Northside 777" with James Stewart 
and Kichard Conte 

(20tfi Century-Fox, February; time. 111 min.) 
Skillfully produced, competently directed, and capably 
acted by a uniformly good cast, this is an absorbing dra- 
matic offering, based on a true story about a man who was 
sentenced to life imprisonment on circumstantial evidence 
that was subsequently proved false, but not until after he 
had served eleven years in prison. There is a great deal of 
human interest in the faith the accused's mother has in his 
innocence, and in the efforts of a newspaperman to exonerate 
her boy. The many touches of simple pathos will find a quick 
response in almost every human breast. The documentary 
technique, which has been used successfully in other pictures, 
has once again been put to effective use in this film, with 
the factual backgrounds adding much to the authenticity of 
the story material. It has some minor defects, due seemingly 
to loose plot construction, but on the whole its intrinsic ap- 
peal outweighs its shortcomings : — 

The story, which opens in 1932, depicts the murder of 
a Chicago policeman in a speakeasy operated by Betty Garde. 
Police dragnets are set out for the killers and in the course 
of events Richard Conte and George Tyne, both having 
minor police records, are picked up as suspects and brought 
to trial. Betty positively identifies them as the killers and, 



despite their protests of innocence, both are sentenced to life 
imprisonment. The scene shifts to 1944, when an advertise- 
ment appears in the classified section of a Chicago newspaper 
offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the killers 
of the officer murdered in 1932. James Stewart, a reporter, 
is assigned by Lee J. Cobb, his editor, to check on the ad- 
vertisement. He learns that it had been placed by Conte's 
mother who, believing in her son's innocence, had scrubbed 
floors for 1 1 years to raise the money offered as a reward. 
A human interest story written by Stewart about the mother 
attracts wide and sympathetic attention and, under the 
prodding of his wife (Helen Walker) and Cobb, Stewart 
agrees to investigate the case. Frankly cynical at first, Stew- 
art soon finds reason to place credence in Conte's claim of 
innocence, and he eventually uncovers sufficient though not 
conclusive evidence indicating that the man had been rail- 
roaded to jail. He commits himself to a fight for Conte's 
freedom, winning it when he manages to prove conclusively 
that Betty had lied in identifying Conte as one of the killers. 
Jerome Gady and Jay Dratler wrote the screen play, based 
on articles by James P. McGuire. Otto Lang produced it, 
and Henry Hathaway directed it. Adult entertainment. 



"The Naked City" with Barry Fitzgerald, 
Howard Du£F and Dorothy Hart 

{Universal-lnt'l., February; time, 96 min.) 

Excellent! When the year's best melodramas are compiled, 
this one is sure to be high on the list, for it possesses values 
such as few pictures can boast of nowadays. To begin with, 
the picture, which was filmed entirely in New York City, is 
without question the finest example of documentary tech- 
nique brought to the screen to date. Not only are the back- 
grounds authentic, but its depiction of life in the city, from 
highbrow to lowbrow, from the slums to the better class 
neighborhoods, is so realistic and it has been acted with such 
realism that one is made to feel as if he were watching a real- 
life occurrence in the teeming metropolis. 

The story, a murder mystery, unfolds in so fascinating a 
manner that one's attention is held glued to the screen 
throughout. Briefly, it opens with the murder of a young 
woman by two mysterious men. Barry Fitzgerald, a police 
lieutenant in charge of a Homicide Squad, takes charge of 
the case and organizes his forces for the solution of the 
crime. Piecing together the different clues and tracking down 
every possible lead, Fitzgerald and his men eventually get 
onto the trail of a small ring of jewel thieves, whose involve- 
ment with a prominent society doctor leads them to the 
murderer, who dies a violent death in a fall from the tower 
of the WilUamsburgh Bridge, after being trapped there by 
the police. 

A brief synopsis cannot do justice to the many details that 
make this picture outstanding. For instance, the street scenes, 
the people and their habits, provide the film with some of its 
most interesting and engaging moments. The sequences 
involving the grieving parents of the murdered girl, who 
had left home against their wishes to seek a fast hfe, will 
tear at one's heartstrings. The chase towards the finish, 
where the murderer, panicky, dashes through back yard 
tenements and finally onto the bridge in an unsuccessful 
attempt to elude a police blockade, is one of the most ex- 
citing this reviewer has ever seen. Much is added to the taut 
proceedings by the exceptionally fine depiction of the meth- 
ods employed by the police as they go through painstaking 
research and minute investigation of every possible lead, no 
matter how remote, in their efforts to solve the crime. 

Barry Fitzgerald turns in a top performance as the police 
lieutenant, and he is given able support by Howard Duff, 
Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor, Ted De Corsia and House 
Jameson, all of whom appear in prindpal roles. There is not 
much marquee value in this cast, but, since it is the sort of 
picture people will talk about and recommend, it should 
do top box-office business. 

Albert Maltz and Malvin Wald wrote the very fine screen- 
play from a story by Mr. Wald. Jules Dassin did an expert 
job on the direction. The late Mark Hellinger, who produced 
it, leaves in this picture a fitting memorial to his genius. 

Adult entertainment. 



16 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 24, 1948 



synchronized with such film; and no owner or dis- 
tributor of any such copyrighted film shall license the 
public exhibition thereof for profit unless at the time 
of such license he also possesses the authority to li- 
cense, and does so hcense, the reproduction of all 
copyrighted dialogue, sound effects and music re- 
corded on or synchronized with such film. 

"It shall be the duty of the several district attorneys 
of the United States, in their respective districts, 
under the direction of the Attorney General, to 
institute civil actions to prevent and restrain viola- 
tions of this sub-section of the ACT. . . ." 

As reported elsewhere in these columns, ASCAP 
has agreed to extend the current music tax rates until 
March 15, pending completion of negotiations with 
the Theatre Owners of America for a new music H- 
censing formula involving lower rates than the 300% 
increase announced previously by ASCAP. 

The TOA's efforts to reduce the tax are, of course, 
commendable, but, as it has repeatedly been said by 
this paper, a reduction in the tax will not solve the 
problem; it must be eliminated completely, and an 
amendment to the Copyright Act, such as the one 
introduced by Representative Lewis and backed by 
Allied, is the only way by which the exhibitors can 
rid themselves of this unjust tax. 

The time when such beneficial legislation could be 
put through has never been as favorable, for Repre- 
sentative Lewis, as it has already been pointed out, is 
Chairman of the House Judiciary Sub-Committee on 
Patents, Trade Marks and Copyrights, which will 
have to pass on the measure. Whatever efforts you 
may exert now to secure passage of this bill will be 
twice as effective as they could be at any other time. 
So do not lose this wonderful opportunity! Communi- 
cate with your Senators and Congressmen and urge 
them to support the enactment of the Lewis Bill into 
a law. 



ASCAP EXTENDS DEADLINE 
TO MARCH 15 

Meeting in New York last week, the board of 
directors of the American Society of Composers, 
Authors and Publishers agreed to extend for a period 
of forty-five days, from February 1 to March 15, the 
current ASCAP music licensing rates. 

According to a press release issued by the Theatre 
Owners of America, the extension was granted on the 
recommendation of TOA's officials when it became 
apparent that the negotiations between the two or- 
ganizations now in progress would not be completed 
by February 1, the deadhne previously set by ASCAP 
for the boost in rates. 

These negotiations, according to reports, involve a 
new theatre licensing formula embodying lower rates 
than those announced previously. 

While credit is due the TOA for its efforts in 
securing this extension, which is applicable to all ex- 
hibitors, there can be no doubt that the militant efforts 
of National Allied and of the Pacific Coast Confer- 
ence, both in challenging the legality of ASCAP's tax 
impositions and in advocating legislation to curb the 
Society's monopolistic hold on the exhibitors, played a 
major part in the decision reached by the ASCAP 
board. 



THE NUMBER OF FEATURE FILMS 
GETTING FEWER AND FEWER 

According to an item in the trade papers, Para- 
mount will produce only twenty pictures this year. 

This writer remembers the time when Paramount, 
or Famous Players-Lasky, used to produce one hun- 
dred and four films a year, and the percentage of 
good to bad pictures was not less than it is today. 
(And this goes for every other company.) 

What has happened? Just now, unit producers, di- 
rectors and technical crews are in abundance. The 
only factor that is not in abundance is players with 
box-office pull. But don't good stories, in a measure, 
supplant the lack of box-office names? During the 
history of the motion picture industry there have been 
numerous instances when pictures without names 
drew as much and even more than pictures with 
names. 



"Albuquerque" with Randolph Scott 
and Barbara Britton 

(Paramount, Feb. 20; time, 89 min.) 
Good Cinecolor photography and players of better 
than average marquee value bolster this routine West- 
ern melodrama, but not enough to lift it above the 
level of average program fare. The picture is made up 
of standard ingredients, with enough excitement and 
fast action, to satisfy the ardent followers of this type 
of picture. Others, however, may not find it particu- 
larly interesting, for the stereotyped story offers noth- 
ing unusual, the characterizations are ordinary, and 
one guesses in advance just how each situation will 
unfold. The direction is just average and the perform- 
ances no more than adequate. The action takes place 
in 1878:— 

Randolph Scott, a Texan, is summoned to Albu- 
querque by his wealthy uncle, George Cleveland, op- 
erator of an ore freight line, to manage his business. 
En route he becomes involved in a stage coach robbery 
in which ten thousand dollars are stolen from Cather- 
ine Craig, who was bringing the money to Albuquer- 
que to help finance the expansion of a freight business 
owned by her brother, Russell Hayden. Scott investi- 
gates the crime and discovers that his uncle, who was 
bent on crushing Hayden 's company lest he become a 
formidable competitor, had engineered the robbery. 
He recovers the money, breaks with his uncle, and 
joins Hayden's firm as a partner. With the aid of 
"Gabby" Hayes, his head driver, Scott obtains a 
contract to haul ore from a mine located on a steep 
mountain, and is promised other business if he suc- 
ceeds in making the treacherous run down the moun- 
tain with his wagon train. Cleveland, aided by a 
crooked Sheriff and by a gang of hoodlums headed by 
Lon Chaney, resorts to many tricks in an effort to stop 
Scott from carrying through his contract. He even 
imports Barbara Britton and plants her in Hayden's 
office to obtain information about his freight opera- 
tions. Barbara, however, falls in love with Hayden and 
refuses to be dishonest. Meanwhile Scott and Cather- 
ine had fallen in love. After numerous gun battles, 
killings and fist fights, Scott and his followers bring 
the ore down from the mountain and, in a final battle, 
wipe out Cleveland and his gang. 

Gene Lewis and Clarence Upson Young wrote the 
screen play from a novel by Luke Short, and Ray En- 
right directed it. William Pine and William Thomas 
produced it. Unobjectionable morally. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the a«t of March 8, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JANUARY 31, 1948 No. 5 



A CASE FOR ERIC JOHNSTON 

According to Drew Pearson's column of January 
23, the Republican party is planning to produce 
twenty-five motion picture films to be used in the pres- 
idential campaign. The first such picture will go into 
production, Mr. Pearson said, on May 1 . 

Actors George Murphy, Robert Montgomery and 
Adolphe Menjou were mentioned as loyal Republi- 
cans who will be called upon by the party to help with 
the project. 

The worst service that these actors, or any other 
actors, can do to the motion picture industry is to ap- 
pear in political propaganda pictures. 

Many actors have not yet come to realizie that it is 
ruinous to the industry for them to be identified with 
any political party, so far as their work on the screen 
is concerned, for the simple reason that, if they are 
popular, they are the idols of persons of all political 
parties. For them, then, to come out in the open and 
electioneer for this, that, or the other political party is 
equal to diminishing their box-office value, for in doing 
partisan political work they cannot help offending 
those of their followers who are identified with another 
political party. 

Mr. Johnston should see to it that no actors take 
part in political propaganda pictures that plug the 
policies or candidates of any party. Enough harm has 
been done to the industry by the Washington investi- 
gation on un-American activities in Hollywood; we 
cannot afford to risk any additional unfavorable pub- 
licity. 



WHEN AN IRRESISTIBLE FORCE 
MEETS AN IMMOVABLE BODY! 

The news from London is that the British Govern- 
ment will not retreat from its position of wanting the 
imposition of a seventy-five per cent tax on American 
films brought into their country. As a matter of fact, 
Sir Wilfred Eady was somewhat indignant when the 
representative of the American producers suggested 
that the law be changed — the British Government will 
not, he said, change the law to accomodate the wishes 
of foreigners. 

On the other hand, the American producers will not 
retreat either from the position they have taken — that 
they will not ship film to Great Britain as long as the 
confiscatory tax remains in force. 

What makes it impossible for the American pro- 
ducers to alter their attitude even in the slightest is the 
fact that, if they accept the seventy-five per cent tax, 
they muat first figure out how much a fihn will eventu- 



ally gross, pay a seventy-five per cent tax on this esti' 
mate and, if the film does not gross the amount esti' 
mated, wait for a refund from the British treasury. 

It seems as if there will be no film shipped to Great 
Britain as long as the British Government's attitude, 
as exemplified by Sir Wilfred, remains firm. What 
will be the result? Hundreds of theatres will close 
down in Great Britain for lack of product. And with 
the closing of a substantial number of British theatres, 
most indepedent exhibitors will go out of business by 
reason of the fact that they will be unable to get back 
their investment from the rentals of the remaining 
theatres. Consequently, the entire British motion pic- 
ture industry will suffer. 

Perhaps the American Government will find a way 
to satisfy Britain's acute need for dollars, and at the 
same time enable the American producers to recover 
their earnings in dollars, for there seems to be no other 
way out — if the British Government will not recede 
from its position, neither will the American produ- 
cers, for, as it has been stated in these columns before, 
the Americans cannot accept this tax lest they encour- 
age other nations to follow Britain's lead. In the mean- 
time, innocent people — the British exhibitors, are 
made to suffer. 

Throughout history, the British have been noted for 
the coolness of their judgment and the soundness of 
their logic. What has become of these virtues? 



WILL UNITED ARTISTS ACQUIRE 
NEW THEATRES? 

According to a recent issue of The Hollywood Re- 
porter, United Artists has decided to expand its thea- 
tre operations. The report states that the Blumenfeld 
Circuit, in which United Artists has in interest, will 
expand in Southern California. This circuit now op- 
erates the four music halls in Los Angeles. 

This paper doubts the accuracy of this report for 
the simple reason that there is now pending before the 
U. S. Supreme Court the Government's suit for the 
divorcement of exhibition from production-distribu- 
tion. If the heads of United Artists decide to expand 
their theatre interests before awaiting the Supreme 
Court's verdict, they would be committing a business 
error that would prove very costly in the event the 
Court heeds the Government's plea for theatre di- 
vorcement. 

Perhaps the statement, made at a meeting held in 
San Francisco, in which Arthur Kelly, vice-president 
of United Artists, and Joe Blumenfeld and Joseph 
McNemey took part, was merely a feeler to compel 
the affiliated theatres to give the United Artists pic- 
tures more bookings. 



18 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 31, 1948 



"The Smugglers" with Michael Redgrave 
and Jean Kent 

(Eagle-Lion, ]an. 31; time, 85 min.) 

Produced in Great Britain under the title, "The Man 
Within," this costume melodrama, which is set in the 
smugghng days of early England in the 19th Century, is 
high in artistic values. It has an unusual story, capable per- 
formances, exceptionally fine Technicolor photography, and 
very effective background music. As entertainment, how- 
ever, its story about a young man who develops from a 
cowardly weakling into a man of courage will probably have 
limited appeal, for, though it is tense and exciting, it is 
extremely unpleasant, at times sickening in its depiction of 
torture and brutality. It is definitely not a picture for chil- 
dren, first because it is too harrowing for them, and sec- 
ondly, because it deals with sex matters in too frank a 
manner. Besides, it attempts to win sympathy for a set of 
characters whose actions are, to say the least, unsavory: — 

Orphaned by the death of his father, skipper of a smug- 
gling vessel, Richard Attenborough is placed under the 
guardianship of Michael Redgrave, who had taken over 
command of his father's ship. Redgrave develops a deep 
sympathy for the frail, ners'ous lad, and takes him to sea. 
He proves to be a bad sailor and, to escape the taunts of the 
brutal crew, seeks out Redgrave's companionship. During 
one voyage, several kegs of whiskey are stolen and, through 
a frame-up by the crew, Richard is held responsible. The lad 
pleads innocence, but Redgrave, for the sake of preserving 
discipline, applies the lash to his back. Smarting under his 
unjust punishment, Richard, seeking revenge, informs the 
authorities of the crew's plan to deUver an illegal shipment 
of brandy on the Sussex coast. Customs officers ambush the 
crew and, in the ensuing fight, one of the officers is killed. 
Several of the crew members are captured, but Redgrave 
manages to escape and takes after Richard, who had fled 
into the woods; he realized that the lad had betrayed him 
and vowed to kill him. With Redgrave in hot pursuit, Rich- 
ard takes refuge in the home of Joan Greenwood, step- 
daughter of the murdered officer, with whom he falls in love. 
She builds up his courage and induces him to testify against 
the captured crew members. His evidence convicts them, 
but in a sudden feeling of remorse he refuses to identify 
Redgrave, whom he spies sitting in the gallery. Subsequent 
events, involving a murder committed by an uncaptured 
crew member seeking revenge on Richard, land both Richard 
and Redgrave in jail. Richard is subjected to fiery torture in 
an attempt to force him to identify Redgrave as head of the 
smugglers, but he bears his pain manfully and refuses to 
speak. Redgrave, admiring the lad's courage, confesses his 
identity and goes to the gallows, thus enabling Richard to 
be set free. 

Muriel and Sydney Box wrote the screen play and pro- 
duced it from a novel by Graham Greene. Bernard Knowles 
directed it. 

Adult fare. 



"The Woman from Tangier" with Adele 
Jergens and Stephen Dunne 

(Columbia, February 12; time, 65 min.) 
A minor program melodrama that will take up sixty-five 
minutes of screen time wherever double-bills are required 
but will leave the audience cold. Not only is the story thin 
and unbelievable, but talk rather than action is employed 
in the unfoldment, causing one to become impatient with it 
long before the final reel. Here and there it has a melo- 
dramatic incident, but these are so mechanical that one is 
left unimpressed. None of the characters are sympathetic, 
and the whole story is lacking in human appeal : — 

Dennis Greene, captain of a ship that puts in at Tangier, 
steals $50,000 from the ship's safe. He murders his first 
mate, then tells the police that he was certain that the dead 
man had committed the theft, and that he had killed him in 
self-defense. Ivan Triesault, the prefect of police, and 
Stephen Dunne, representative of an insurance company, 
order the ship to remain in port until the money is recov* 



ered. Meanwhile Ian MacDonald, a cafe owner from Moroc- 
co, who was Greenes confederate, flies to Tangier to collect 
his share of the loot, killing the pilot when he, too, demands 
a share. Adele Jergens, an American dancer who was a 
passenger on the ship, and who had once been in love with 
MacDonald, meets him while walking near her hotel. With- 
out revealing why he was compelled to remain in hiding, he 
persuades her to bring food to him at an abandoned ware- 
house and to deliver a note to Greene. The note gives Adele 
reason to suspect that their dealings involved the stolen 
money. In the meantime Greene decides to keep the money 
for himself and, through a series of tricky moves, he man- 
ages to kill MacDonald and make it appear as if he had 
done so in self-defense. He then lays plans to kill Adele 
because she knew too much. Thoroughly frightened, Adele 
informs Dunne and the police all she knew about the 
crimes and, through a clever trap, they lead Greene to be- 
lieve that the money had been recovered, tricking him into 
revealing where the loot was hidden. He is arrested for the 
theft and murders. It all ends with Adele and Dunne dis- 
cussing wedding plans. 

Irwin Franklin wrote the original screen play, Martin 
Mooney produced it, and Harold Daniels directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Black Bart" with Yvonne De Carlo 
and Dan Duryea 

(Univ. -lilt'!, no rel. date set; time, 81 min.) 
More notable for its Technicolor photography than for its 
feeble and cliche-ridden plot, this western-type melodrama 
is routine program fare that will depend heavily on the mar- 
quee value of Yvonne De Carlo and Dan Duryea. It has 
a sufficient quantity of hard-riding, stagecoach robberies, 
and gunplay to satisfy the not-too-discriminating action fans. 
Others, however, will probably find it too pat and contrived 
to carry any conviction. Moreover, there are no human in- 
terest touches, and no sympathy is felt for any of the char- 
acters. The color photography is good, but it does not com- 
pensate for the picture's lack of imagination in script, 
staging, and acting:— 

Dan Duryea and Jeffrey Lynn, notorious cowboy rene- 
gades, are saved from a lynching by the timely interference 
of Percy Kilbride, their partner-in-crirae, who puts the 
sheriff and his men to rout. Duryea deems it best to dissolve 
the partnership and, in so doing, cheats his partners out of 
their share of stolen money. He heads for Sacramento, where 
he becomes chummy with John Maclntyre, a minor Wells 
Fargo official, from whom he secures information that enables 
him to perform reckless stagecoach robberies of gold ship- 
ments while dressed in the garb of a hooded highwayman. 
Fabulous rewards are offered for his capture, but Duryea 
manages to elude his pursuers and keeps his identity hidden 
by posing as a wealthy rancher. On one of his robberies 
Duryea holds up a stagecoach carrying as passengers his 
former partners, who fail to recognize him, and Yvonne De 
Carlo, a famous international dancer. The horses bolt during 
a scuffle and, while Duryea makes a getaway, Lynn and 
Kilbride bring the runaway under control and are rewarded 
by Wells Fargo with jobs as a driver and guard team. 
Duryea renews acquaintances with his former buddies, 
vying with Lynn for the attentions of Yvonne. She falls in 
love with Duryea, but refuses to marry him when he in- 
advertently discloses that he was the hunted highwayman. 
He promises to go straight after committing one more hold- 
up of a stagecoach carrying a huge shipment of gold. Mean- 
while Lynn and Kilbride had laid plans to commit the 
robbery, hoping that the blame would be placed on the 
mysterious highwayman. Their paths cross in the events 
that follow and, while they quarrel over the loot, both Lynn 
and Duryea are trapped by a sheriff's posse and shot dead. 
Kilbride ends up in jail. 

Luci Ward and Jack Natteford wrote the story and col- 
laborated on the screen play with William Bowers. Leonard 
Goldstein produced it, and George Sherman directed it. 
Adult entertainment. 



January 31, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



19 



"Holiday Camp" with an all-British cast 

(Univ.-lnt'l.. no rcl. date set; time. 97 min.) 

A thoroughly entertaining, heartwarming, likeable Brit- 
ish-made comedy-drama. The action takes place in a huge 
British vacation camp catering to the working class — people 
with low incomes who save their pennies throughout the 
year for a week of diversion and enjoyment. Told in the 
"Grand Hotel" manner, the story is made up of a series of 
connected sub-plots revolving around the joys and heart- 
aches of some of the people who visit the camp. They in- 
clude Jack Warner, a middle-aged bus driver, and Kathleen 
Harrison, his wife, who come to the camp for their first holi- 
day in more than twenty years, accompanied by Peter 
Hammond, their 16-year-old son, and by Hazel Court, their 
21-year-old war-widowed daughter and her 3-year-old child; 
Jimmy Hanley, a sailor, who finds romance with Hazel; 
Yvonne Owen, Hazel's flighty girl-friend, whose turbulent 
romance with Dennis Price, a flashy crook, is broken up 
when he is picked up by Scotland Yard; Emrys Jones and 
Jeane Tregarten, a young couple on a secret romantic holi- 
day, whose marriage was forbidden by their guardians in 
spite of the fact that she was to become a mother; and Flora 
Robson, a depressed but kindly middle-aged spinster, who 
sets aside her own heartaches to give aid and comfort to the 
sensitive couple. 

The doings of these people and the manner in which they 
become intimate and learn to enjoy one another's company 
as they participate in the difi^erent events arranged by the 
camp officials, unfold in so realistic a way that the spectator 
shares in their joys and sorrows. As the middle-aged couple 
who still find pleasure in each other after years of marriage, 
Mr. Warner and Miss Harrison are completely charming and 
natural. Mr. Warner's work is exceptionally capable, and 
his good humor as he playfully taunts his wife by paying 
innocent attentions to other women makes itself felt in the 
audience. The manner in which he turns the tables on two 
crooked gamblers who had victimized his inexperienced son 
is particularly amusing. On the whole the picture is a skill- 
ful blend of comedy, drama, and romance, presented in a 
warmly appealing way. Since the players are not known to 
American audiences the picture is totally lacking in marquee 
value, but it is worthwhile exploiting for, once in the theatre, 
picture-goers should find it thoroughly enjoyable. 

Peter Rogers and Muriel and Sydney Box wrote the screen 
play from a story by Godfrey Winn. Mr. Box produced it, 
and Ken Annakin directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Campus Honeymoon" with Adele Mara, 

Lee and Lyn Wilde, Richard Crane 

and Hal Hackett 

(Repuhhc, February 1; time, 61 min.) 
A very entertaining comedy with music, far better than 
most program pictures of its type. Basically, the story is 
not new, but it is timely, and Richard Sale's bright screen 
play, coupled with his expert direction, keeps the action 
moving at a swift and merry pace throughout. Moreover, 
there are laughs aplenty, the music is exceptionally good, 
the cast is well-chosen, and the zestful performances by the 
players add much to the entertainment values. The dialogue 
is unusually witty. All in all, there is much about tfiis pic- 
ture that would do credit to many a musical that has been 
produced on a more expensive scale. In addition to his 
screen play and directorial chores, Mr. Sale also wrote 
five of the picture's tuneful songs: — 

Arriving at a badly overcrowded university, veterans 
Richard Crane and Hal Hackett learn that students may not 
register until they furnish proof of adequate housing. 
During their desperate search for lodgings, the boys meet 
sisters Lyn and Lee Wilde, who were in a similar predica- 
ment. Adele Mara, whose husband managed a Veterans 
Housing Project for married veterans only, mistakenly be- 
lieves that the boys were married to the sisters and offers 
them the last two vacant units in the village. Desperate, the 
four agree to pretend that they are married — the boys taking 



one bungalow, and the girls the other. Complications set in 
when, after living in the bungalows for several weeks, the 
two couples are asked to produce their wedding certificates, 
a formality that had been overlooked. They manage to delay 
the inevitable by claiming that they were married in Manila. 
A radiogram is sent to Manila for the papers. While 
awaiting arrival of the fateful news denying the marriages, 
more complications set in when the girls' uncle. Senator 
Edwin Maxwell, who had been demanding that the Govern- 
ment stop supporting veteran housing, comes to the college 
and finds his nieces supposedly "living in sin." The girls, 
furious at his attitude, threaten to say that he had planted 
them in the village to discredit the project. The Senator 
softens and resolves the problem by digging up an old law 
stating that an unmarried couple, publicly registered as man 
and wife, are considered legally married. The two couples, 
by this time very much in love, go through an official mar- 
riage to make things even more legal. 

Jerry Gruskin collaborated on the screen play with Mr. 
Sale, and Fanchon produced it. The cast includes Wilson 
Wood, Stephanie Bachelor, Teddy Infuhr and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Piccadilly Incident" with Anna Neagle 

(MGM, no release date set; time, 88 min.) 

An interesting British-made drama, the sort that should 
exert a strong appeal to feminine fans, for it is dramatically 
effective in spite of the fact that it has a rather improbable 
story. A sincere performance by Anna Neagle, who is known 
to American audiences, gives body and character to the 
provocative though fanciful theme, which revolves around a 
WREN — the British equivalent of an American WAVE — 
who, after being lost for three years, returns to her husband 
only to discover that he, believing her dead, had married 
again and had a child. Her return presents a problem in that 
the child, under British law, would be regarded as illegiti- 
mate. This problem is solved with a rather contrived bit of 
hokum in which Miss Neagle dies in an air raid, but her 
delicate playing puts the scene over in a moving way. Al- 
though the second half of the picture is tragic, the first half, 
which deals with her hasty but tender romance and mar- 
riage, is charming and has touches of light comedy: — • 

Set in wartime London, the story opens with Anna, a 
WREN, bumping into Michael Wilding during an air raid. 
Their accidental meeting blossoms into a romance, and 
when Anne receives orders to be shipped overseas they 
marry and enjoy a short honeymoon before their departure. 
Tragedy strikes when Wilding receives official word that 
Anna was dead — drowned at sea when her ship was sunk 
in an attack. Distraught, he loses interest in life until he 
meets Frances Mercer, an American Red Cross worker, 
whose kindly understanding eventually leads to their mar- 
riage and the birth of a son. Meanwhile Anna, together with 
another WREN and four sailors, had drifted in their life- 
boat to an uncharted South Pacific island, completely cut 
off from the rest of the world. For three years, she resists 
the romantic overtures of one of the sailors, remaining true 
to her husband. All are eventually rescued by an American 
patrol plane and returned to England. She hastens to Wild- 
ing's home unannounced and is greeted by Frances, who 
imagines her to be an old friend of her husband's. Discov- 
ering that he had remarried and that he now had a son, 
Anna leaves without disclosing her identity to Frances. She 
seeks legaJ advice and is informed that even a divorce from 
Wilding would not take away the mark of illegitimacy from 
Wilding's son in the eyes of the British law. Unwilling, 
however, to otherwise interfere with Wilding's new-found 
happiness, Anna goes to him and tells him that their mar- 
riage was a mistake and that she really did not love him. 
Their meeting is disrupted by a sudden bomb hit that in- 
jures Anna fatally. She dies in his arms, happy in the 
knowledge of his love. 

Nicholas Phipps wrote the screen play, and Herbert Wil- 
cox produced and directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



20 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



January 31, 1948 



AN INADVERTENT OMISSION 

In reporting last week that ASCAP has extended 
to March 15 its current music licensing rates, this 
paper, while giving the Theatre Owners of America 
its due for its efforts in securing this extension, said 
that "... there can be no doubt that the militant ef' 
forts of National Allied and of the Pacific Coast Con- 
ference, both in challenging the legality of ASCAP's 
tax impositions and in advocating legislation to curb 
the Society's monopolistic hold on the exhibitors, 
played a major part in the decision reached by the 
ASCAP board." 

In ascribing this extension solely to the efforts of the 
aforementioned exhibitor organizations, Harrison's 
Reports inadvertently erred, for there can be no 
doubt that the militant position taken by the Inde- 
pendent Theatre Owners' Association of New York 
certainly was one of the prime factors that brought 
about this extension of time. 

The major role played by the ITOA is evidenced by 
the following facts: In October, 1947, the ITOA in- 
corporated in its long-standing anti-trust suit against 
ASCAP an application to enjoin ASCAP from put- 
ting its announced new tax rates into effect. The mo- 
tion for a restraining order was stayed pending the 
trial, which had been set for January 5 of this year. 
The trial subsequently was postponed to February 2, 
and the injunction by stipulation was adjourned on 
ASCAP's counsel's agreement that, insofar as the 
ITOA members involved in the suit were concerned, 
the new tax rates would not become effective for at 
least thirty days after the trial. Considering the num- 
ber of days that might be consumed by the trial, the 
date of the extension would be brought to approxi- 
mately March 15. 

In view of the fact that ASCAP's own counsel had 
agreed to an extension to approximately March 1 5 for 
the 165 exhibitors represented in the ITOA suit, it is 
reasonable to assume that the Society deemed it wise 
to grant such an extension to all other exhibitors lest it 
find itself in an anomalous position. And, if there 
should be another postponement of the trial together 
with the stipulation that the new tax rates would not 
become effective until after thirty days, any further 
extension granted to the ITOA members may be 
granted also to all other exhibitors, thus extending the 
deadline beyond March 15. 

Harrison's Reports is happy to correct this inad- 
vertent omission of the credit due the ITOA for its 
eilorts in securing an extension of time from ASCAP. 



PARAMOUNT'S FOREIGN LOSSES 
LIGHT 

In a letter sent to the Paramount stockholders to- 
wards the close of 1947, Barney Balaban, president of 
the company, revealed that Paramount has been af- 
fected less than any other film company by the loss of 
the foreign market, for only ten per cent of its world- 
wide revenue is derived from foreign distribution of 
its pictures. The earnings from Paramount theatres, 
said Mr. Balaban, minimized the company's foreign- 
market losses. 

Mr. Balaban stated that, hereafter, pictures that 
will go into the inventory will represent a lower pro- 
duction cost and they will, therefore, call for lower 



amortization charges when their distribution begins in 
the fall. 

The exhibitors no doubt are pleased to hear at least 
one major company state that its losses from the for- 
eign market are small as compared to its profits from 
the domestic market, both from the theatres and from 
distribution. 

Even the ten per cent loss from the foreign market 
could be offset by the economies effected at the Para- 
mount studio. 

It seems as if Paramount will not ask the exhibitors 
to foot any losses in the coming months, for, according 
to what Mr. Balaban told the stockholders, there 
should be no losses. 



"Fighting Mad" with Leon Errol, 
Joe Kirkwood and Elyse Knox 

(Monogram, January 31; time, 74 min.) 

Like its predecessors, this latest of the "Joe Pa' 
looka" pictures neatly balances tense fight sequences 
v/ith a human interest story; it should make a good 
supporting feature generally, and is strong enough to 
top a double-bill in lesser action and neighborhood 
houses. The story is simple, but it is well written and 
dramatically effective, holding one's interest through- 
out. Its appeal lies in the staunch loyalty that exists be- 
tween "Palooka" and "Knobby Walsh," his manager, 
with both these roles once again played by Joe Kirk- 
wood and Leon Errol in a human, likeable way. The 
romantic interest is pleasant, and the comedy touches 
amusing. The fight sequences are very good : — 

Having injured his optic nerve while defending his 
world's championship title, Kirkwood almost goes 
blind and is ordered by his doctor to retire from the 
ring lest he lose his sight permanently. Errol, searching 
for a new pugilist, buys an interest in Jack Shea, a 
heavyweight, unaware that Shea was under the con- 
trol of Charles Kane, a crooked gambler, who had been 
"fixing" his fights to make him look good. Kane 
planned to use Errol's reputation as a manager to his 
advantage. Errol, eventually discovering that Shea's 
fights had been fixed by Kane, decides to give up his in- 
terest in him, but Kane, by threatening to reveal that 
Errol had been involved in crooked bouts, compels him 
to continue as Shea's manager. Learning of Errol's pre- 
dicament, Kirkwood, though faced with the danger of 
blindness if hit about the head, decides to come out of 
retirement to fight Shea. Errol, unable to induce Kirk- 
wood to change his mind, makes a deal with Kane to 
keep Shea from hitting Kirkwood about the head. The 
double-crossing Kane, however, bets heavily on Shea 
and orders him to concentrate his punches on Kirk- 
wood's head. Since the general public was unaware of 
Kirkwood's condition, Kane has little difiiculty in ob- 
taining bets at good odds. On the night of the fight. 
Shea's tactics soon have Kirkwood on the verge of 
defeat, but the undefeated champ recuperates in time 
to knock out his foe. Kane, having suffered a heavy 
loss, orders his henchmen to threaten Errol after the 
fight, but timely police action saves Errol from harm 
and lands the gamblers in jail. 

John Bright wrote the screen play from a story by 
Ralph Lewis and B. B. Shamburg. Hal E. Chester pro- 
duced it, and Reginald LeBorg directed it. The cast 
includes John Hubbard, Patricia Dane, Wally Vernon 
and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



Kntered «■ aecond-daae matter January ■), 1921, at the post offloa at New York, New Twk, under the a«t of Marofa J, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 1948 No. 6 



BOX-OFFICE MEASLES 

You don't have to be told that business is bad — you feel 
it at the box-office. 

Don't let any one make you believe that a depression has 
set in — such is not the case; pictures are doing poor business 
because their quality is poor. And the proof of it is the fact 
that good pictures draw big crowds. 

Is there any cure for the poor quality of pictures? T hardly 
think so; when you see pictures produced by persons whose 
only qualification is political connection, you can hardly 
expect the betterment of picture quality. 

But how about those who have had experience at produc- 
ing pictures? Let us take just one example — "The Sign of 
the Ram," produced by Columbia, which is reviewed else- 
where in this issue. Here is a case where Columbia had a 
wonderful opportunity to make an outstanding production, 
one that could pull the picture-goers into the theatres by 
droves, for they had in the lead an actress who was a natural 
— Susan Peters. You undoubtedly remember that Miss Peters 
was shot in the spine by an accidental discharge of a gun 
while hunting with her husband, an injury that has left her 
without the use of her legs. The newspapers of the nation 
were full of stories about the brave fight Miss Peters carried 
on to escape with her life. 

Columbia's idea of putting her into a picture was excellent. 
All they needed was a good story with which to rekindle the 
public's interest and stir their emotions — a story that could 
have been a reproduction of the gallant fight Miss Peters put 
up. Such a story would have been a natural at the box-office. 
But what did the Columbia executives do? They gave her a 
story that is an atrocity for any occasion and any actress, let 
alone for this occasion and Miss Peters; she is presented as an 
invalid confined to a wheel chair, a benevolent tyrant with- 
out character, who subtly tries to wreck the lives of different 
members of her family, whose devotion to her knew no 
bounds. 

Miss Peters, a capable performer^ has a personality that 
is naturally appealing, the kind that can easily win an audi- 
ence's sympathy. It is, therefore, unfortunate for her, and 
unpardonable for Columbia, that her screen comeback is 
marked by one of the most unsympathetic roles imaginable. 

Columbia has missed a great opportunity, not only to make 
a handsome profit for itself, but also to help the exhibitors, 
too, make such a profit. 

When one sees an opportunity such as this missed, how 
can one hope that the quality of pictures will improve? 



GOVERNMENT'S ATTITUDE ON 

DIVORCEMENT A BOON 

FOR PRODUCTION 

Nothing but absolute divorcement of theatres from pro- 
duction-distribution will satisfy the Department of Justice. 
This was revealed in the preliminary brief that was ex- 
changed recently with the defendant distributors in the 
New York equity case. 

The Department wants also a ban on cross-licensing of 
pictures for a ten-year period while the long-range divesti- 
ture is carried out. 

The opinion prevails that the courts will eventually rule 
for theatre divestiture. 



Though ownership of theatres has brought millions to 
the theatre-owning producer-distributors, it has now brought 
them headaches, the kind that nothing short of divestiture 
will cure. 

For instance, how many millions have the producers lost 
as a result of the Hollywood jurisdictional strike? And how 
many more millions will they lose? And yet the jurisdictional 
strike could have been settled in a very short time were it 
not for the fact that one of the disputants threatened to pull 
the projectionists out of the affiliated theatres throughout 
the country if the producers gave in to the other side. 

The same fear, no doubt, compelled the producers to give 
in to every demand of the union, no matter how exorbitant, 
thus bringing about the high cost of labor in Hollywood. 

Those who visit Hollywood are filled with tales of juris- 
dictional limitations. A switch cannot be turned on and off 
unless the proper union man does the work. Recently I 
mentioned in these columns an instance where a union man 
turned a switch on and off twice in three days, an operation 
requiring only a few seconds. He occupied the rest of the 
time sitting down, either playing cards or watching the 
others work. 

In another case the script required that a rope be pulled 
to tumble a library case and spill the books. The books and 
the rope were all in place but there was no action. When the 
director asked the reason for the delay, he was told that no 
one else but the proper kind of union man (a stunt man) 
had a right to pull the rope. 

"Have you sent for this man?" the director inquired. 

"Yes!" he was told. 

"Then why don't you go ahead and have some one else 
pull the rope as long as we are willing to pay the right man?" 

Another union man pulled the rope so that the work 
might proceed. But all this delay cost the producer con- 
siderable money, for every member of the crew — cameramen, 
electricians, grips, gaffers, directors, stars, supporting players 
and every one else required on the set were being paid while 
the stunt man was on his way to pull the rope to throw the 
library case down. 

One could fill volumes with similar jurisdictional non- 
senses, which will leave no doubt that they are tolerated by 
the producers only because of the fear that the unions, if 
bucked, may puU the projectionists out of the affiliated 
theatres. 

When the producer-distributors are compelled to give up 
their theatres, they will no longer be bothered by this threat. 
Hence, there will undoubtedly be a liberalization of juris- 
dictional rights, for the unions will be unable to blackjack 
the producers into capitulation. 

The elimination of such ridiculous work division wiU 
undoubtedly contribute to a reduction in the cost of pro- 
duction. Today the union members are getting a full day's 
pay but they are not doing a full day's work — they are de- 
liberately lying down on the job. When they learn that they 
can no longer blackjack the producers with the threat of a 
projectionist strike, and when they are fully aware, as they 
must be now, that the foreign market is practically lost and 
that pictures must be produced at a cost that can be recouped 
in the domestic market, they will be willing to be fair and 
reasonable. And that is all that is needed to start production 
buninung again. 



22 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 7, 1948 



"If You Knew Susie" with Eddie Cantor, 
Joan Davis and Allyn Joslsm 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 89 min.) 
A lively comedy, the sort that should go over pretty well 
with all types of audiences, for the action is speedy and the 
laughs are continuous from start to finish. The farcical story 
is thin, and some of the gags and situations are rather famil- 
iar, but the treatment is good, and the zestful clowning of 
Eddie Cantor and Joan Davis puts the comedy over in a way 
that tickles the spectator's sense of humor, even though 
much of it is in a slapstick vein. Worked into the proceed- 
ings are several melodious songs sung by Cantor and Miss 
Davis, a unique production number featuring a group of 
very pretty girls, and an hilarious opera song number in 
which Cantor and Miss Davis are joined by George Murphy 
and Constance Moore — all this adds much to the entertain- 
ment values. Family audiences will get a kick out of the 
picture, and word-of-mouth advertising should make itself 
felt at the box-office : — 

Retiring from the vaudeville stage, Joan and Cantor use 
their savings to buy back their ancestral family home in a 
staid New England town, so that their children (Bobby 
DriscoU and Margaret Kerry) could be brought up in cul- 
tural surroundings. Cantor incurs the wrath of the commun- 
ity when he turns the mansion into a night-club; no one 
patronizes the place, compelling him to sell out. During the 
auction, an old box is found containing a letter from George 
Washington to Cantor's great-great-grandfather, granting 
him $50,000 for services rendered in the Revolutionary War. 
Accompanied by Joan, Cantor goes to Washington to have 
the document authenticated. There, they meet Allyn Joslyn, 
a newspaperman, who discovers that the Government had 
neglected to pay the grant, and that, with interest com- 
pounded, it now owed Cantor, the rightful heir, seven bil- 
lion dollars. Joslyn's news agency makes the most of the 
sensational news, but a rival news agency, to combat its com- 
petitor, begins a campaign villifying the couple for their 
greed. To recapture the spotlight, Joslyn arranges with two 
underworld characters to kidnap the couple. Joan and Cantor 
happily agree to the scheme, unaware that a pair of tougher 
crooks had taken over the kidnapping in a serious vein. They 
soon learn the truth and, after a series of hair-raising events, 
manage to escape. In due time the Government acknowledges 
its debt to Cantor, but rather than ruin his country finan- 
cially Cantor cancels the debt and becomes a national hero. 
Warren Wilson and Gordon M. Douglas wrote the orig- 
inal screen play, Mr. Cantor produced it, and Mr. Douglas 
directed it. The cast includes Charles Dingle, Sheldon Leon- 
ard, Joe Sawyer, Mabel Paige, Sig Ruman, Fritz Feld and 
others. 



"Alias a Gentleman" with Wallace Beery, 
Tom Drake and Dorothy Patrick 

(MGM, March; time, 76 min.) 
While not an exceptional comedy-melodrama, "Alias a 
Gentleman" holds one's attention fairly well and should 
give satisfaction to the Wallace Beery fans, for he "mugs" 
his way through the proceedings in typical fashion. It does 
not, however, rise above the level of program fare. The story, 
though not very substantial, is suited to Beery's talents and, 
while the accent is on the comedy, the melodramatic and 
sympathetic sides are well developed. Most of the comedy 
centers around Beery's transformation from a crude but 
kindly ex-convict to a Park Avenue gentleman when he 
comes into sudden wealth. His efforts to behave and speak 
like a man of upper-class bearing are good for many chuckles. 
There is considerable human interest in the manner in which 
he brings about the reformation of a young girl who had 
tried to mulct him of his money, and of a young racketeer 
with whom she was in love. The closing scenes, where he 
traps a group of gangsters who were trying to force him back 
into a life of crime, are exciting: — 

Beery, completing a 15-year sentence for bank robbery, 
strikes up a strong friendship with Tom Drake, a cocky 
young racketeer. With a legitimate "bankroll" awaiting him 
on the outside, the result of a lucky investment. Beery had 
spent his spare time studying to be a gentleman. Upon his 
release, he establishes himself in a Park Avenue penthouse, 



and acquires a girl-friend, Gladys George. Leon Ames, his 
former partner-in-crime, doubts that his new wealth was 
honest and, to learn if Beery's money came from hauls they 
had formerly made, Ames arranges with Dorothy Patrick to 
pose as Beery's long-lost daughter, whom he believed dead. 
Beery accepts the girl and lavishes his wealth on her. When 
Drake is released from prison. Beery frowns upon the ro- 
mance that springs up between the boy and Dorothy. Beery's 
genuine affection makes Dorothy ashamed; she plans to run 
away with Drake. Beery intercepts her, and she is compelled 
to confess the hoax. Her confession is a bitter blow to him, 
but when she and Drake are kidnapped by Ames' henchmen 
and a $200,000 ransom is demanded from him. Beery swings 
into action. He arranges to turn over the money at a night- 
club to which Dorothy and Drake were to be brought. There, 
he pulls a gun on Ames to insure the youngsters' safe exit, 
then starts a free-for-all that culminates with the gang's ar- 
rest by the police. It ends with Dorothy's marriage to Drake, 
and with Beery's engagement to Gladys. 

William R. Lipman wrote the screen play from a story by 
Peter Ruric. Nat Perrin produced it, and Harry Beaumont 
directed it. The cast includes Warner Anderson, John 
Qualen, Sheldon Leonard and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Jassy" with Margaret Lockwood, 
Patricia Roc and Dennis Price 

(Univ.-Int'i, no release date set; time, 96 min.) 
Exquisite Technicolor photography and opulent produc- 
tion values have been wasted on a story that is weak, old- 
fashioned and sordid. Produced in Great Britain, it is a 
period melodrama set in 1830 England, revolving around the 
misadventures and romantic triumphs of a half-gypsy girl. 
It is a highly theatrical tale, totally lacking in dramatic im- 
pact because it "wanders all over the lot," dwelling on 
incidents that neither add anything to the plot nor help to 
define more clearly the many characterizations involved. Not 
one of the characters wins the spectator's sympathy, for each 
is either unscrupulous or immoral. Moreover, the acting is 
over-melodramatic and unconvincing. The whole thing can 
be summed up as a hodge-podge of brutal violence, illicit re- 
lationships, drunken rages, crooked gambling, deceit, re- 
venge, murder, and romance, beautifully staged but lacking 
in appeal to one's emotions. It may hold some fascination for 
less critical audiences, but the more discriminating picture- 
goers will probably find the episodic and contrived plot 
rather tiresome. It is definitely not a picture for children:- — 
Margaret Lockwood, a half-gypsy girl, is rescued from 
tormenting villagers by Dermot Walsh, who takes her to his 
family farmhouse to work as a maid. Walsh's family had 
been reduced to poverty when his father, in a gambling spree, 
had lost their ancestral estate to Basil Sydney, an ill-man- 
nered bully, who had accidentally killed Margaret's father 
in a drunken rage. When Walsh begins to take an interest in 
Margaret, his mother sends her away. She obtains employ- 
ment at a boarding school, losing that job when she tries to 
protect Patricia Roc, Sydney's flighty daughter, from an 
escapade with a young soldier. Patricia, expelled, takes Mar- 
garet home with her. Sydney, who had discarded his wife 
after catching her in an illicit love affair, soon tries to make 
love to Margaret. Before long she establishes herself as his 
housekeeper. Meanwhile Patricia carries on a secret love 
affair with Walsh, much to Margaret's sorrow, for she loved 
him deeply. But the fickle Patricia jilts Walsh and marries 
a wealthy landowner. Sydney, passionately in love with Mar- 
garet, asks her to marry him. She agrees, first tricking him 
into signing the estate over to her, then, in revenge for her 
father's murder, refusing to consummate the marriage. Em- 
bittered, Sydney becomes so abusive that a mute servant girl, 
whom Margaret had befriended, poisons him. Circumstantial 
evidence, however, leads to Margaret's conviction for the 
crime, but she wins an acquittal when the mute regains her 
power of speech and confesses to the murder. Freed, Marga- 
ret gives the deed to the estate to Walsh, who, realizing his 
love for her, asks her to marry him. 

Dorothy and Campbell Christie and Geoffrey Unsworth 
wrote the screen play from the novel by Norah Lofts. Sydney 
Box produced it, and Bernard Knowles directed it. 



February 7, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



23 



/ "A Miracle Can Happen" with all-star cast 

(UmttJ Artists. February; time, 107 min.) 

"A Miracle Can Happen" will undoubtedly do good busi- 
ness, for it offers a glittering array of talent, including such 
stars as Paulctte Goddard, Burpcss Meredith, James Stewart, 
Henry Fonda, Dorothy Lamour, Victor Moore, Harry 
James, Fred MacMurray, William Demarest, and Hugh Her- 
bert. It is a comedy, featuring the different players in a 
series of episodic flashback sequences, which are tied to a 
main plot revolving around the adventures of Burgess Mere- 
dith, as an unagressive fellow working in the want-ad de- 
partment of a newspaper, who had led his bride (Miss God- 
dard) to believe that he was the paper's Inquiring Reporter. 
Prodded by his wife to demand a raise, Meredith, to prove 
his worth to the managing editor, takes over the Inquiring 
Reporter's job through a bluff and proceeds to interview 
different people with the following question given to him 
by his wife: "What influence has a little child had upon 
your life?" 

He first interviews Stewart and Fonda, night-club musi- 
cians, who relate how their joint careers as owners of a one- 
night-stand band had been changed when, stuck without 
funds in a small town, they had been given an opportunity 
to earn some money by staging and judging a talent contest 
for local musicians with the understanding that the mayor's 
son would emerge the victor. The fixed contest had been upset 
by a garage owner who had entered into the contest his tal- 
ented baby — 20-year-old Dorothy Ford, and had brought 
along Harry James to judge her work. She not only had won 
the contest despite their efforts to spoil her performance, 
but through a trick contract she had also become the new 
owner of their band. 

The second interview is with Dorothy Lamour, a film star, 
who relates how a precocious child actress (Eilene Jansenn) 
had been responsible for her reaching stardom. This episode 
has some highly amusing sequences involving Victor Moore 
as a silent film star who had seen better days, and it gives 
Miss Lamour an opportunity to burlesque, in song, the fame 
she attained by wearing a sarong. 

The third interview involves Fred MacMurray and Wil- 
liam Demarest, vaudevillians, who relate how they, as itiner- 
ant confidence men, had run afoul of a 12-year-old practical 
joker (David Whorf), who had run away from his rich 
uncle, Hugh Herbert. They had tried to return the boy to 
collect a reward only to learn that the uncle was glad to be 
rid of him. Before they could leave town, however, the 
youngster had virtually made them his kidnap victims, com- 
pelling them to do his bidding and to spend their last $50 to 
buy him a pony under threat of telling the police that they 
had mistreated him. 

The story winds up with Meredith becoming the perma- 
nent Inquiring Reporter as a result of the good stories he 
had turned in, and with his learning that Paulette had prod- 
ded him into action because she was going to have a baby. 
* Each of the episodes has its shortcomings and at times 

some of the comedy falls flat, but on the whole its mixture of 
slapstick, satire, music, and gags should go over pretty well 
with the majority of the movie-goers. 

Benedict Bogeaus and Burgess Meredith co-produced it. 
King Vidor and Leslie Fenton co-directed it, and Laurence 
Stallings, Lou Breslow, and John O'Hara wrote the screen 
play from an original story by Arch Oboler. The cast includes 
Eduardo Ciannelli, Charles D. Brown, Carl Switzer and 
others. Unobjectionable morally. 

"Saigon" with Alan Ladd 
and Veronica Lake 

{Paramount, March 12; time, 94 min.) 
Other than the fact that it may do fairly well at the box- 
office because of the marquee value of Alan Ladd and Ver- 
onica Lake, there is httle to be said in favor of this routine 
melodrama, which revolves around the adventures and mis- 
adventures of three ex-Army flyers in the Orient, The story 
does not ring true, the characterizations are unbelievable, 
and most of the situations are trite and too contrived. The 
action has enough excitement to please the non-critical pic- 
ture-goers, but on the whole there are too many slow spots, 
caused chiefly by the fact that the story becomes over-senti- 
mental in dealing with the impending death of one of the 
flyers. The plot develops some mild interest here and there, 
but one never gets away from the feeling that it is all artificial 
and that the characters are untrue to life: — 

Learning that their buddy, Douglas Dick, was doomed to 
die within a few months because of a war injury, Alan Ladd 
and Wally Cassell agree to keep the news from him and to 
show him a merry time until the end. Needing funds to 



carry out their plan, the boys undertake to fly Morris Carnov- 
sky, a wealthy importer, from Shanghai to Saigon, agreeing 
to ask no questions in lieu of the handsome $10,000 fee. 
Veronica Lafle, Carnovsky's secretary, comes to the airfield 
at departure time, but Carnovsky is delayed. When his ap- 
proaches the field with the police in pursuit, the boys take 
off without him, accompanied by the protesting Veronica, 
who carried with her a briefcase containing $500,000, money 
Carnovsky had obtained as a war profiteer. Motor trouble 
compels Ladd to make a forced landing, and they continue 
their journey by ox-cart and river boat. Distrusting Veronica 
because of her apparent tie with Carnovsky, Ladd tolerates 
her because Dick had fallen in love with her. He compels 
her to pretend that she loved Dick lest he disclose her 
connection with Carnovsky to Luther Adler, a detective, 
who had been trailing their movements. Despite their 
outward animosity, however, Ladd and Veronica find 
themselves falling in love. Complications set in when Car- 
novsky arrives and resorts to violence to recover his money. 
He is killed by Cassell and Dick, who die themselves as they 
come to Ladd's defense. It all ends with their burial in a ceme- 
tery, where Ladd and Veronica determine to start a new life. 
Arthur Shcekman wrote the screen play, P. J. Wolfson 
produced it, and Leslie Fenton directed it. The cast includes 
Mikhail Rasumny and others. Adult fare. 



"The Sign of the Ram" with Susan Peters, 
Alexander Knox and Phyllis Thaxter 

(Columbia, no release date set; time, 84 min.) 
What a shame it is to mark the screen comeback and waste 
the talent of so fine an actress as Susan Peters as well as an 
excellent supporting cast in so weak and disagreeable a 
story! As most of you no doubt remember. Miss Peters was 
one of the screen's rising stars before an unfortunate hunt- 
ing accident paralyzed her legs. Many picture-goers, aware of 
the valiant fight she had put up for her life, and admiring 
her courage to continue with her career, despite her physical 
handicap, will look forward to seeing her on the screen once 
again. Most of them, however, will be disappointed, for, al- 
though she does wonderful work, she had been cast in one 
of the most unsympathetic roles imaginable — that of a wheel- 
chair-ridden stepmother, who outwardly appears devoted to 
her husband and three stepchildren, but who resorts to the 
lowest sort of treachery and deceit to break up the impending 
mariages of two of the children lest she lose the selfish grip 
she had on their hves and activities. She even twists the 
mind of the youngest stepdaughter, influencing the child to 
attempt the murder of a young secretary, whom her step- 
mother imagined was unduly attentive to her husband. Aside 
from the fact that the picture is extremely unpleasant in 
what it depicts, it is handicapped by an inadequate script, 
by too much conversation that slows down the action, and 
by hazy psychological overtones. Its appeal to mass audi- 
ences is doubtful. As a matter of fact, many picture-goers 
will probably look upon it as a pretentious bore: — 

Arriving in Cornwall, England, to become the secretary 
of Susan Peters, an authoress, Phyllis Thaxter finds her to 
be an invalid confined to a wheelchair, the result of an in- 
jury she had suffered when she rescued her now grown step- 
children (Ross Ford, AUene Roberts, and Peggy Ann Gar- 
ner) from certain death in the sea. The children, as well as 
Alexander Knox, her husband, adored Susan and felt in- 
debted to her for their lives. Susan, though devoted to them, 
had become a benevolent tyrant, determined to keep the 
family intact. Through subtle, underhanded methods, she 
manages to break up a romance between AUene and Ron 
Randell, the family doctor, but she is not so successful with 
Ford, her stepson, who announces his engagement to Diana 
Douglas, adopted daughter of a local minister. To prevent 
the marriage, Susan informs Ford that she had investigated 
Diana's orphaned background and had discovered that her 
parents had been insane. Diana, upon being told the same 
tale, throws herself into the sea but is rescued by Knox. Ford 
investigates Susan's story and discovers it to be a deliberate 
lie. As a result, he and AUene decide to marry their respec- 
tive sweethearts and refuse to return to the family home. 
Peggy tries to comfort Susan and, under her influence, 
formulates the idea that PhyUis was stealing her father's 
affections. The youngster attempts to poison PhyUis, but her 
act is discovered in time to save the girl's life. Meanwhile 
Knox becomes alienated by Susan's selfishness. Defeated by 
her own possessiveness and afraid of being left alone, Susan 
wheels herself over the edge of a steep cliff into the sea. 

Charles Bennett wrote the screen play from the novel by 
Margaret Ferguson. Irving Cummings, Jr. produced it, and 
John Sturges directed it. The cast includes Dame Mae 
Whitty and others. Adult fare. 



24 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 7, 1948 



AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD WEEK 

With American Brotherhood Week about to be observed 
from February 22 to February 29, the motion picture industry 
is being called upon to lend its aid in helping to combat the 
forces of bigotry and intolerance. 

The National Conference of Christians and Jews, which 
sponsors American Brotherhood Week, has done and is 
doing great work in spreading the gospel of friendship and 
racial unity, teaching Americans to put into more effective 
use our bedrock principles of freedom, tolerance and under- 
standing. 

Basically, the aim of the industry's efforts in behalf of this 
movement is to help raise the funds needed by the NCCJ 
to continue their splendid work in promoting good will 
among men. Harrison's Reports urges every exhibitor to 
give his fullest support to this drive, for now, more than 
ever, it is important to our American scheme of things that 
we work together, play together, crusade together, without 
distinction as to race, language, or religion. 



THE 



'SAVE A LIFE" CAMPAIGN 
IN LOS ANGELES 



Charles P. Skouras, head of National Theatres, has taken 
an active interest in the safety campaign of the City of Los 
Angeles by showing in all his theatres twenty 30-second 
educational safety trailers aimed at reducing the tragic death 
toll on streets and highways. 

Prominent city officials and civic leaders have commended 
Mr. Skouras highly for his cooperation. 

Theater owners throughout the country should either 
start a "Save a Life" campaign themselves, or offer their 
screens in cooperation whenever such a campaign is started. 
Thousands of lives are lost every year through carelessness 
on the part of both pedestrians and automobile drivers. 
There is no better way for an exhibitor to gain the good will 
of his community. 



"The Hunted" with Belita 
and Preston Foster 

(Allied Artists, April 7; time, 83 min.) 
Good. The story is rather unusual, it is chiefly drama rather 
than melodrama; it deals with a detective who, although he 
loves the heroine with all his heart, arrests her for a crime 
she is supposed to have committed, despite her protests of 
innocence. Never has Preston Foster done better work; as a 
character suffering agonies because of his deep love for the 
heroine, he makes the audience feel his pain. And, what is 
more, one is in sympathy with him because he is not shown 
as a cruel person; he had arrested the heroine because he 
put his duty before love. Belita, too, does excellent work. 
One is incUned to accept her declaration of innocence and, 
even though she shoots and wounds Foster while resisting 
arrest, one does not turn against her. Her work in the ice 
skating scenes is masterful. The direction is good, and the 
photography sharp and clear, even in the night scenes: — 

Out on parole after serving a jail sentence for a jewel 
theft, of which she claimed to be innocent, Belita returns to 
the city and goes to the apartment of Foster, her sweetheart, 
who had arrested her and whose testimony had convicted 
her. Foster, though still in love with her, thinks of his duty 
first and orders her to leave, but he permits her to remain 
when she insists that she cannot find a room in a hotel be- 
cause of the late hour. He hardly sleeps that night, remem- 
bering that she had vowed to kill him upon her release. On 
the following day, he takes her to a hotel and obtains a 
position for her as an ice skater. Belita becomes a sensation 
as a skater, and Foster begins to believe in her insistence that 
she had not committed the crime. But when Pierre Watkin, 
a cagy criminal lawyer who had unsuccessfully defended 
her, is found murdered, the finger of suspicion points at 
Belita because she had threatened to kill him for failing to 
gain her release. Foster places her under arrest, but Belita, 
feeling that she will be unable to prove her innocence, 
eludes him and runs away. He sets out on her trail, eventu- 
ally finding her after many chases. Just as he is about to 
arrest her, she shoots and wounds him in the shoulder. Taken 
to a hospital, Foster again begins to doubt her guilt; he 



determines to resign from the police force in order to help 
her prove her innocence. Meanwhile Paul Guilfoyle, a 
jewel thief, arrested in connection with a killing, confesses 
to the murder of Watkin and at the same time gives testi- 
mony that estabhshes Belita's innocence. His testimony 
shows that Watkin was the "brains" for a gang of jewel 
thieves, with whom Belita had been falsely implicated, and 
that his murder was the result of his having double-crossed 
the gang. Learning of the crook's confession, Foster sets out 
to find Belita to convince her that he still loves her. The two 
are reconciled and determine, after their marriage, to go to 
Paris, a trip they had planned to take previously. 

Scott R. Dunlap produced it, and Jack Bernhard directed 
it, from an original story and screen play by Steve Fisher. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Man of Evil" with James Mason, 
Phyllis Calvert and Stewart Granger 

(United Artists, February: time, 90 min.) 
Produced in England about four years ago and released 
originally under the title, "Fanny by GasHght," this is a 
rather slow-paced period melodrama that is only moderately 
interesting. Its story about the trials and tribulations of the 
illegitimate daughter of a wealthy nobleman creaks with age, 
and it is not helped any by the heavy-handed direction and 
by the choppy editing (18 minutes have been cut from its 
original 108 minutes running time). The picture's chief 
selling point to American audiences is the presence of 
James Mason in the cast, but many of his admirers may feel 
cheated for, although he is given star bilhng, he appears on 
the screen for hardly more than five minutes in what may be 
described as a supporting role. As the heroine of the piece, 
Phylhs Calvert does capable work, winning the spectator's 
sympathy by her nobility of character. The other players, 
too, are competent, but they cannot overcome the artifici- 
ality of their characterizations. Because of the illegitimacy 
theme, its frank treatment of an illicit love affair, and its 
depiction of the doings in a clandestine bordello, it is a pic- 
ture strictly for adults. The production values are first-rate, 
with London in 1870 as the setting; — 

Unaware that she was the illegitimate daughter of Stuart 
Lindsell, a wealthy cabinet minister, Phylhs grows up in 
the home of John Laurie, her foster father, whom her mother 
ultimately married. Laurie, operator of a bordello, is killed 
in a brawl with James Mason, a dissolute English Lord, who 
patronized his place. Shortly thereafter, Phyllis" mother 
dies, and the young girl is taken into the household of her 
real father, as a servant. She soon learns from him the facts 
of her birth, and a strong though necessarily secret affection 
develops between them. Ignorant of Phyllis' identity, Mar- 
garetta Scott, Lindsell's wife, uses her as a personal maid. 
Margaretta eventually discovers that Phyllis was her hus- 
band's illegitimate child and, in order to marry Mason, 
with whom she had been carrying on a clandestine affair, 
she threatens Lindsell with a public scandal unless he grants 
her a divorce. Faced with ruin of his pohtical career, Lind- 
sell commits suicide. Phyllis leaves the estate to work as a 
bar-maid in a pub operated by Wilfred Lawson, an old 
friend. Stewart Granger, in whose hands had been left the 
settlement of Lindsell's estate, locates Phyllis in the pub, 
falls madly in love with her, and proposes marriage. This 
move is opposed by his aristocratic family because of 
Phyllis' background. Rather than endanger her lover's po- 
litical career, PhylHs breaks off the romance and disappears. 
Granger, after a long search, finds her in a public dining 
room, arriving just as Mason insults her. He thrashes him, 
takes Phyllis away, and induces her to run away with him 
to Paris for a holiday. There, they subsequently meet Mason, 
who challenges Granger to a duel. Granger kills Mason but 
is badly wounded himself. With Granger lying at death's 
door, his imperious sister arrives and attempts to force Phyllis 



out of his hfe. But PhyUis, realizing that his love f^ her 

tft job 

of nursing him back to health. 



kept him alive, denounces the sister and returns to tHfe job 



Doreen Montgomery wrote the screen play from the novel 
by Michael Sadleir, Edward Black produced it, and Anthony 
Asquith direrted it. The cast includes Jean Kent and other*. 



Entered aa second-class matter January I, 1921, at the post offlce at New York, N'uw Yurk, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 1948 No. 7 



ASCAP RETREATS 

The stout opposition put up by exhibitors every- 
where against the proposed 300% increase in the 
theatre music tax rates bore fruit last week when 
ASCAP, threatened with legislation and a multitude 
of court actions, revised its demands with the an- 
nouncement of a new tax schedule that provides for 
no increase in the rates now in effect for theatres 
having fewer than 500 seats, with gradual increases 
to a maximum of 25% for all other theatres. 

The new tax rate schedule, which is to cover a 
period of ten years and which becomes effective on 
March 15, is as follows: 

Theatres having 499 seats and under will continue 
to pay the old rate of 10c per seat; theatres having 
500 to 799 seats will pay llYzc per seat, an increase 
of 2]/2C over the old rate of 10c per seat; theatres 
having 800 to 1599 seats will pay 19c per seat, an 
increase of 4c over the old rate of 15c; and theatres 
with 1599 seats and upward will pay 25c per seat, an 
increase of 5c over the old rate of 20c per seat. 

Theatres that operate three days a week or less 
will be required to pay one-half the rates applicable. 

Theatres using "live" talent as a regular policy are 
not included in the aforementioned rates, ASCAP 
reserving the right to establish special scales for such 
theatres. 

The new rate schedule, according to the Theatre 
Owners of America, is the direct result of the negotia- 
tions between its officers and those of ASCAP. With 
all due credit to the TOA for the work it has done ih 
obtaining a reduction from ASCAP's original de- 
mands, there can be no question that the pressure ex- 
erted by National Allied, the Pacific Coast Confer- 
ence, the ITOA of New York and other exhibitor 
organizations was a major motivating factor in 
ASCAP's decision to back down. 

Although the new rates are much more favorable 
than those demanded originally by ASCAP last Sep- 
tember, the exhibitors, in the opinion of this paper, 
would be making a great mistake if they accept the 
new rates as the best possible compromise and relax 
their efforts toward passage of the Lewis Bill, now in 
Congress, which would relieve them entirely of this 
unfair tax by requiring the motion picture producers 
to acquire the full performing rights on all music used 
in a picture. The producer, in turn, would be required 



to transfer such rights to the exhibitor when licensing 
his pictures. This means that, when you play a picture, 
you will not have to pay tribute to ASCAP for the 
right to play the music. 

The danger in the compromise reached with 
ASCAP lies in the possibility that many exhibitors, 
who operate theatres with fewer than 500 seats, of 
which it is estimated there are about eight thousand, 
will be lulled into abandoning support of the Lewis 
Bill because of the fact that no increase in the seat 
tax is being asked of them. But just because they are 
not subject to an increase does not mean that they have 
obtained relief, for, no matter how httle they pay, the 
fact remains that the tax is unjust, should not be 
levied, and must be done away with for good. To 
agree to pay the tax for the next ten years is merely 
to prolong the agony. 

So much has been written in these columns giving 
reasons as to why the music seat tax is unjust, unfair, 
and even unmoral, that none of it needs repetition at 
this time. Besides, most of you are fully acquainted 
with the reasons, as well as with this paper's conten- 
tion that the solution to the music tax problems lies, 
not in a reduction of the tax, but in itj complete 
elimination. 

With the introduction in Congress of Representa- 
tive Earl R. Lewis' bill, known as H.R. 5014, the 
exhibitors' drive against ASCAP, through legislation, 
is getting into full swing. The chances for the bill be- 
ing enacted into a law have never been better, but it 
will need the unqualified support of every exhibitor, 
who can best help by writing to his Congressmen and 
Senators, urging them to vote for the bill. Just be- 
cause ASCAP has reduced its demands is no reason 
for any exhibitor to become pacified and accept the 
tax. ASCAP is not doing the exhibitors any favor by 
reducing its demands; it is merely spreading salve on 
the exhibitors' wounds so that it can continue to collect 
a tax to which it has no moral right in the first place — 
a right given to it by a Copyright Law that was framed 
before talking pictures came into existence, a right 
that would have undoubtedly been excluded by the 
framers of the law had they been able to visualize 
the advent of the talking picture. 

Why submit to an obnoxious tax, born out of an 
outmoded Copyright Law, when the way has been 
opened for its complete elimination? Get busy! Get 
rid of it! 



KEEP AMERICA UNITED-AMERICAN BROTHERHOOD WEEK-FEBRUARY 22-29 



26 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 14, 1948 



^ "The Pearl" with an all-Mexican cast 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 77 min.) 

Made in Mexico, with English dialogue, and based 
on a story by John Steinbeck, this is a forceful and 
intensely moving tragic drama, beautifully photo- 
graphed and produced, directed with rare understand- 
ing and competence, and enacted with superb artistry 
by a fine Mexican cast. It is a simple story, revolving 
around a lowly, ignorant fisherman, who finds a price- 
less pearl, a discovery that, instead of bringing him 
wealth and happiness, awakens the greed of his fellow 
men and brings him tragedy and disillusionment. A 
tragic tone pervades the picture and, as entertain- 
ment, it seems suited for the classes more than for 
the masses, but it should be appreciated also by the 
masses, fur it has deep human appeal, and the action 
is often tense and exciting : — 

Depressed by his squalid surroundings and by his 
inability to provide enough food for his wife (Maria 
Elena Marques) and their baby, Pedro Armendariz, 
a pearl fisherman living in Lower California, looks 
forward to a new and prosperous life when he fishes 
out of the sea one of the largest and most beautiful 
pearls ever found. Word of his find spreads through 
the countryside, and Charles Rooner, an unscrupulous 
pearl dealer, tries to cheat Pedro when he ofi^ers to 
sell the gem to him. Failing, Rooner enters into a 
conspiracy with several henchmen, who resort to 
violent means in an effort to steal the pearl, but Pedro 
manages to outwit them. Maria, afraid for her hus' 
band's life, tries to toss the pearl back into the sea, 
but Pedro manages to restrain her. At the same time, 
two of his enemies attempt to snatch the pearl and, in 
the ensuing struggle, Pedro kills them. Compelled to 
flee, Pedro, taking his wife and child, heads into the 
swamp lands, tracked by Rooner and two Indian 
guides. They live like wild beasts for days, thoroughly 
exhausted and barely able to keep ahead of the pur- 
suing Rooner, finally taking refuge on top a steep 
mountain, where they are cornered by Rooner. While 
still protected by the dark of night, Pedro crawls 
down the mountainside to dispose of his enemies. Just 
as he creeps up behind Rooner, the stillness of the 
night is broken by a muffled cry from the baby. Rooner 
shoots in the direction of the cr)', killing the baby, but 
is in turn killed by Pedro. The unhappy couple re- 
turn to their native community and, bearing visible 
evidence of the suffering the pearl had brought them, 
t053 the gem back into the sea. 

John Steinbeck, Emiho Fernandez and Jack Wag- 
ner wrote the screen play, Oscar Dancigers produced 
it, and Mr. Fernandez directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



"I Became a Criminal" with Sally Gray 
and Trevor Howard 

(Warner Bros., March 6; time, 78 min.) 
An exciting British-made melodrama, of program 
grade. Revolving around underworld characters in 
London, it is a gangster-type picture not unlike those 
made by the American producers for years. The pic- 
ture's chief drawback is the thick British accent used 
by the players, which makes the dialogue difficult to 
understand. Otherwise, it is filled with excitement 
from start to finish, and the tough, slambang action, 
though by no means pleasant, should easily satisfy 
those who enjoy this type of film. The plot follows a 
pattern familiar to gangster pictures, with an escaped 
convict bringing about the capture of a gang leader 



who had framed him and had stolen his girl, but it is 
topical, dealing as it does with black market opera- 
tions in post-war London. Like many another British 
picture, it offers a problem to the exhibitor in that the 
cast is mostly unknown to American picture-goers : — 

Having joined a black-market gang headed by 
Griffith Jones, Trevor Howard, an ex-serviceman, 
threatens to quit when he discovers the gang dealing 
also in dope. Jones, covetous of Eve Ashley, How- 
ard's girl-friend, who was not unresponsive to him, 
frames Howard on a murder charge that sends him to 
prison. Sally Gray, Jones' former girl-friend, who had 
been discarded for Eve .takes her revenge by visiting 
Howard in prison, giving him details about the frame- 
up, and urging him to escape. He does escape, becom- 
ing the object of a nationwide police hunt. He man- 
ages to make his way to London, where he finds Sally, 
who agrees to help him clear his name. But Inspector 
Ballard Berkeley, of Scotland Yard, nabs Howard 
before he can get started on the trail of those who had 
framed him. Aware of Jones' activities, and believing 
in Howard's claim of innocence, Berkeley decides to 
let Howard "escape" so that he might act as bait for 
Jones. Meanwhile Jones, aware that Hov^fard was out 
to get him, rounds up those who were in on the 
frame-up and kills the weaklings lest Howard make 
them talk. Learning of Howard's "escape" from the 
pohce, Jones kidnaps Sally and takes her to the gang's 
hideout, hoping to dispose of Howard when he comes 
to defend her. Howard's arrival at the hideout pre- 
cipitates a battle of wits and guns, which ends with 
Jones' accidental death and with the roundup of the 
gang by the police. Howard, his name cleared to a 
degree, returns to prison to await a re-trial, with Sally 
promising to wait for his return. 

Noel Langley wrote the screen play from a novel 
by Jackson Budd. N. A. Bronstein produced it, and 
Cavalcanti directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Half Past Midnight" with Kent Taylor 
and Peggy Knudson 

(20th Century-Fox, March, time, 69 min.) 
An extremely tiresome program comedy-melo- 
drama. The action moves along at a fast clip, but its 
mixture of murder-mystery, romance, and comedy is 
so irritatingly nonsensical that one can barely keep 
his eyes open for lack of interest. The direction is poor 
and the acting poorer, with the different players run- 
ning around hke maniacs and straining for laughs 
that are not forthcoming because of the silliness of 
the situations. It is an amateurishly produced picture, 
hardly worthy of release under the 20th Century-Fox 
banner : — 

Arriving in Los Angeles, Kent Taylor, a suave 
man-about town, is met by his old friend. Detective 
Joe Sawyer, who promptly locks him in a hotel room 
because of his inability to keep out of trouble with 
the police. Taylor manages to escape. He goes to a 
night-club, where he meets Peggy Knudson, a viva- 
cious blonde, who forthwith becomes involved in 
the murder of Jane Everett, the club's adagio dancer, 
who had been blackmailing her sister. Actually, the 
murder had been committed by Martin Kosleck, 
Jane's dancing partner, who was in on the blackmail- 
ing scheme, but the finger of suspicion falls on Peggy. 
Believing her claim of innocence, Taylor helps her to 
escape from the police. Both Sawj'er and his friendly 
rival in the department, Detective Walter Sande, set 



r^ 



February 14, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



27 



out in pursuit of the young couple, with Sande trying 
to pin the murder on them, and with Sawyer trying 
to protect them. The chase reels through Chinatown, 
where Taylor had numerous friends and, after num- 
erous escapades and complications, involving several 
more murders, Sawyer, aided by Taylor, traps Kos- 
leck and wrings a confession from him. With Peggy 
cleared, Taylor prepares for marital troubles. 

Arnold Belgard wrote the original screen play, 
Sol M. Wurtzel produced it, and William F. Claxton 
directed it. The cast includes Mabel Paige, Gil Strat- 
ton, Jr., Tom Dugan and others. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Take My Life" with Hugh Williams 
and Greta Gynt 

(Eagle-Lion, February 28; time, 79 min.) 

A fair British-made murder mystery melodrama. 
Since the cast is mostly unknown to American audi' 
ences, the picture presents a selling problem to the 
exhibitors, but it should make a suitable supporting 
feature in double-bilhng situations. The action is 
rather slow, and it unfolds with a minimum of ex- 
citement, yet the suspense is fairly well sustained and 
the uncovering of the murderer is worked out logi- 
cally, although the solution, as a matter of fact the 
entire story, depends heavily on coincidents that are 
hard to believe. Since the murderer's identity becomes 
known to the spectator early in the picture, one's 
interest lies in the manner in which he is trapped by 
the heroine, whose husband had been convicted of 
the crime on circumstantial evidence. The flashback 
technique has been used to fairly good advantage : — 

When she comes upon her husband, Hugh Wil- 
liams, speaking to Rosalie Crutchley, a concert violin- 
ist who had once been his girl-friend, Greta Gynt, an 
opera singer, becomes jealous. She taunts him about 
the girl and, in a fit of temper, hurls a perfume 
bottle at him, cutting him over the eye. He goes out 
for a walk to cool off. During his absence, Rosalie is 
murdered by Marius Goring, a schoolmaster, to whom 
she was married secretly, cutting him over the eye 
during their quarrel. As Goring hurries away from 
the murder scene, he is seen holding a handkerchief 
to his head but is not recognized. A silver pencil with 
Williams' initials is found among Rosalie's effects, 
leading the police to him. Both he and Greta, ashamed 
of their quarrel, relate conflicting stories about how 
he received the cut over his eye, causing him to be 
held for the murder. The prosecuting attorney, 
Francis L. Sullivan, learns of the past relationship 
between Rosalie and Williams, and weaves a tightly- 
knit net of circumstantial evidence that brings about 
Williams' conviction. Greta, her faith in Williams 
unshaken, traces Rosalie's life and, through a school 
song composed by Rosalie, the trail leads to Goring, 
whom she discovers had been married to the dead 
woman. Additional clues found by Greta give her 
reason to suspect Goring of the killing. She heads 
back to London to report her findings to Scotland 
Yard, but Goring, aware of her intentions, boards the 
same train and attempts to kill her. She is saved by 
the timely intervention of a Yard detective, who had 
been following her movements. Goring dies in a leap 
from the train, and Williams, on the strength of the 
evidence gathered by his wife, gains his freedom. 

Winston Graham and Valerie Taylor wrote the 
original screen play, Anthony Havelock-Ellis pro- 
duced it, and Ronald Neame directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Three Daring Daughters" with 
Jeanette MacDonald, Jose Iturbi, 
Edward Arnold and Jane Powell 

(MGM, March 5; time, 115 min.) 
This Technicolor musical should give pretty good 
satisfaction to most picturegoers, although it is some- 
what overlong and slow in spots. That it misses being 
a top musical is due to the fact that there isn't much 
to the story, which occupied the time of no less than 
four writers, and which is more or less reminiscent of 
"Three Smart Girls." Nevertheless, it has lush pro- 
duction values, amusing comedy, tender romantic 
interest, and enjoyable music that ranges from the 
popular to the classical. Moreover, it marks the re- 
turn to the screen of Jeanette MacDonald who, 
though more mature, is as beautiful as ever, and whose 
lovely singing voice has lost none of its charm. Her 
duets with youthful Jane Powell, whose clear soprano 
voice is always pleasurable to the ear, are appealing. 
This time Jose Iturbi, in addition to his superb piano 
playing, takes on quite an acting chore as a middle- 
aged suitor who woos and wins Miss MacDonald. He 
handles himself surprisingly well, putting over with 
ease the different moods he is called upon to oiuvcy. 
MoEt of the comedy stems from tho unwitting efforts 
of Miss MacDonald's tlircc "leen-aged daugliters to 
bring her together with their father, whom she had 
divorced years previously, thus complicating her new- 
found life with Iturbi. Edward Arnold, as a news- 
paper publisher who finds himself innocently em- 
broiled in the mixups, adds much to the comedy. A 
highlight of the film is a mouth organ rendition of the 
Roumanian Rhapsody No. 1 by Larry Adler, accom- 
panied by a symphony orchestra: — 

Jeanette, a fashion magazine editor, is ordered by 
her doctor to take a vacation, She takes a cruise to 
Cuba. Her three daughters (Jane Powell, Ann E. 
Todd and Mary Eleanore Donohue) conclude that 
the real cause of their mother's illness is longing for 
their father, an ace newspaperman stationed overseas, 
whom she had divorced years previously. Actually, 
their father left much to be desired as a husband, but 
to the children he was a glamorous figure, and Jean- 
ette, not wanting to disillusion them, had blamed her 
divorce on the fact that his work kept him from home. 
In their mother's absence, the girls visit Arnold, their 
father's employer, who, after listening to their story, 
agrees to recall him. Meanwhile Jeanette meets Iturbi 
on shipboard. Their friendship develops into a serious 
romance, culminating in their marriage when the ship 
docks in Cuba. Returning home, Jeanette becomes 
frantic when she learns that the girls had arranged 
for her ex-husband's return. She induces Iturbi to 
keep their marriage a secret temporarily, and rushes 
to Arnold, persuading the bewildered publisher to 
keep her husband away from America. Iturbi succeeds 
in winning the children's love, but they turn against 
him when they learn of his marriage to their mother. 
Jeanette, in deference to the children, separates from 
him. Disturbed, Iturbi decides that the only solution 
to the problem is to bring the ex-husband home so 
that the children can see and judge him for what he is. 
He approaches Arnold and asks him to bring their 
father home. Realizing that the youngsters were inter- 
fering with their mother's happiness, Arnold brings 
them to their senses, gets them to accept Iturbi, and 
sees to it that the couple are happily reunited. 

Albert Mannheimer, Frederick Kohner, Sonya 
Levien, and John Meehan wrote the original screen 
play, Joe Pasternak produced it, and Fred M. Wilcox 
directed it. Unobjectionable morally. 



28 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 14, 1948 



A POSITIVE AND COMMENDABLE 
ACTION BY ERIC JOHNSTON 

For the past several weeks, Rev. William Howard 
Melish, national chairman of an organization known 
as the National Council of American'Soviet Friend' 
ship, has been conducting a campaign to have the 
20th Century-Fox picture, "The Iron Curtain," 
which is still in production, withdrawn from distribu- 
tion on the grounds that it would impair relations 
between Russia and the United States. 

Having received no satisfaction from the company. 
Rev. Mclish sent a letter to Eric Johnston, president 
of the Motion Picture Association, asking him to exert 
his influence to halt public exhibition of the film. 

Mr. Jiihnston has rejected the protest in no un- 
certain terms, maintaining that, in the United States, 
the screen is free, and that under no circumstances 
will he take any action that would impair that free- 
dom. "The producer, the writer, the editor, the com- 
mentator on the air — each one of these," said Mr. 
Johnston in his reply to Rev. Melish, "must have 
freedom of utterance without prior restraint." In a 
demoi-idcy, continued Mr. Johnson, one is judged 
on his finished product — whether that product is a 
speech, an article, a book, a. broadcoct or a film. "The 
justice of his work is determined in the court of the 
public. To tamper in any way with the hard-won, 
precious right of free speech would clip away at the 
foundations of our democracy." 

"We all want American-Soviet friendship and 
peace," added Mr. Johnston, "but friendship is not 
one-sided ... It must be reciprocal." 

The ten-strike in Mr. Johnston's letter, however, is 
the following: 

"Let me ask you this: What is your organization 
doing in Russia to promote Soviet- American friend- 
ship? I'll be specific : You are aware that a play, 'The 
Russian Question,' is enjoying a great popularity in 
Russia. One performance was honored by the presence 
of Marshal Stalin himself. This play, with its sneer- 
ing, lying attack on the United States, is an open bid 
to stir contempt and hatred for America on the part 
of Russian audiences. 

"Have you written to anyone in Russia protesting 
this deliberate efi^ort to create bad feeling against our 
country? Consistency would dictate that you should 
have. The Russian government controls all forms of 
expression. For it to prohibit a play or a film would 
not be inconsistent with the Soviet policy which denies 
free speech. 

"You must know that the Russian radio, press and 
films are constantly used by the Soviet government to 
viliify and malign American democracy. No Amer- 
ic;:n and nothing American is immune from their 
abuse. 

"Have you protested to anyone in Russia? . . . The 
record doesn't show it. 

"It can only be concluded that the purpose of your 
organization is to create in this country an atmosphere 
of appeasement and acceptance of Russia's policy of 
aggression and expansion. . . . 

"Just as I reject your protest, I must question the 
motives of the National Council of American-Soviet 
Friendship." 

Harrison's Reports is indeed glad that Mr. John- 
ston has brought out the fact that every one of the 
philo-Sovict Americans is concerned with the actions 
and attitude of the United States towards Russia, and 



wants us to act in a way that will appease that coun- 
try, but not one of these persons is doing anything 
about advising Soviet Russia to appease the United 
States? Why? 

Mr. Johnston, as well as every other American citi- 
zen, has a right to question the motives of Rev. Me- 
lish 's organization. 



THE SUPREME COURT TAKES OVER 

The Government's 10-year-old anti -trust suit 
against the eight major companies entered its final 
phase this week when the U. S. Supreme Court heard 
oral arguments on the different appeals that had been 
filed by all the parties involved in the suit. 

The Statutory Court's banning of joint ownership 
of theatres with independents, further theatre expan- 
sion, block-booking, admission price-fixing, and pool- 
ing and franchise agreements, its setting up of a 
competitive bidding system, and its elimination of the 
industry arbitration system came under the fire of 
the top legal talent representing the defendants. 

In opposition to the "million-dollar" battery of de- 
fense lavA'ers. the Government trotted out a few prize 
legal minds of its own, including Attorney General 
Tom Clark, Assistant Attorney General John F. 
Sonnett, and special assistant to the Attorney General 
Robert L. Wright, who had had charge of the case 
for many years. 

Briefly, the gist of the Government's arguments was 
that the Statutory Court's final decree, in view of the 
findings against the defendants, is inadequate in that 
it sets up a system of regulation that will not efi^ec- 
tively terminate either the conspiracy of the defend- 
ants or their incentive to discriminate against com- 
petition. The Government lawyers maintained that, 
in order for the defendants to have some incentive to 
compete with each other and to end their discrimina- 
tions against both independent exhibitors and distribu- 
tors, the minimum relief required is a ban on cross- 
licensing, with "complete ultimate divorcement of the 
major defendants from their affiliated theatres" the 
only appropriate means by which their habitual viola- 
tions of the Sherman Act may be brought to an end. 

In addressing the Court, Mr. Clark stated that the 
Government's entire anti-trust program will be vitally 
affected by the decision, because the appeal "poses a 
basic question of Sherman Act enforcement which 
has a wider significance than the problems of the 
movie industry alone." He cited several prior deci- 
sions handed down by the Court in motion picture 
cases, claiming that they provided precedents uphold- 
ing the Government's contention that complete di- 
vorcement of exhibition from production-distribution 
is the only remedy appropriate in the suit. 

With Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson disquali- 
fying himself because of participation in the suit as 
Attorney General, the case was heard by the remain- 
ing eight justices, thus leaving the possibility of a 
split decision, in which case the decree handed down 
by the lower court will be upheld. 

There is a possibility that the decision in this case 
may come through before the Court adjourns for the 
summer in June, but because of the complexities of the 
suit the decision may not be handed down until the 
next court term in October. But whichever way the 
decision goes, you may be sure that the motion picture 
industry faces a complete change in the existing 
structure of distribution and exhibition. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 



Entered a« eeoond-olaa* matt»r January 4, 1821, at the poai ofllee at New York, New York, undar the ast at March 8, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 



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Vol. XXX 



SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 1948 



No. 8 



SUPPORT OF THE LEWIS BILL 
GAINING MOMENTUM 

On March 1, hearings are scheduled to open in Wash- 
ington before a House Judiciary sub-committee on the 
Lewis Bill (H.R. 5014), which, if enacted into a law, will 
make it impossible for ASCAP to collect from the exhibitors 
a music tax for the performance rights to the music under 
its control. The bill would require the producers to obtain 
performance rights to all copyrighted materijJ incorporated 
into their films so that such rights will be included when 
they offer the pictures to the exhibitors for license. Thus 
ASCAP, in seeking payment for the right to perform its 
music, will be required to deal with the producers instead 
of with the exhibitors. 

The bill is, of course, designed for the benefit of the 
exhibitors, and it is receiving staunch support from many 
truly independent exhibitor organizations, particularly those 
affiliated with Allied States Association, which has taken 
the lead in the fight to rid the exhibitors of this tax through 
legislation. 

But since the bill will impose the tax on the producers, 
where it rightfully belongs, it will come as no surprise to 
most of you to learn that propaganda against the bill is in 
full swing. 

The opening gun fired in the propaganda barrage was a 
statement made two weeks ago by Robert W. Coyne, execu- 
tive director of the Theatre Owners of America, which is 
dominated by the affiliated theatres, that exhibitor reaction 
to the new tax schedule his organization had negotiated with 
ASCAP has been "overwhelmingly favorable." Coyne's re- 
marks were published in the February 10 issue of Motion 
Picture Daily, which credited him with saying that the TOA 
had received many of the expressions from independent 
exhibitors who are not members of the TOA. 

On the following day, Motion Picture Daily published 
a report that the TOA will "strongly oppose" the Lewis Bill 
at the hearings before the Congressional committee, stating 
that the strategy behind the TOA's position is that the bill 
would place ASCAP in a better position to enforce its de- 
mands on a handful of producers rather than on 16,000 
exhibitors; that ASCAP could get from the producers rates 
seven to eight times greater than those demanded from the 
exhibitors; and that the producers would not resist ASCAP's 
demands too strongly since they will be able to pass on the 
tax increase in the form of higher film rentals. 

From the comments that have reached this paper, there is 
no question that the independent exhibitors are gratified 
over the fact that ASCAP has backed down on its demands. 
But there is no question also that most of them look upon 
the renegotiated tax schedule as nothing more than a com- 
promise, and feel that nothing should be left undone to 
eliminate once and for all ASCAP's power to impose the tax. 

Numerous bulletins have been issued by different inde- 
pendent exhibitor organizations, in which they express their 
gratification over the fact that ASCAP has retreated from 
its original demands, a retreat that was brought about by 
the combined militant stand of all exhibitor organizations, 
but all agree that there should not be any tax collected. 
That is, all except the TOA, which is hailing the compromise 
as a great victory. An apt comment on this "victory" is pro- 
vided by Mr. Abram F. Myers, Allied's general counsel, in 
his annual report to Allied's board of directors, in which he 
says that the TOA's claims "are reminiscent of the consola- 
tion offered by the attorney to his client against whom a 
heavy verdict had been returned in a personal injury case: 
■Just think, 1 saved you $10,000; the plaintiff a«ked for 
$25,000 and the jury only gave him $1J,000'." 



Typical of the expressions voiced by the different inde- 
pendent exhibitor organizations, is the following, in part, 
from a bulletin issued by the Associated Theatres of Indiana: 

". . . We still believe that a wrong is a wrong, regardless 
of the degree, and stand on the principle that ASCAP is 
not entitled to anything from any motion picture theatre. 
When an exhibitor leases a film for public performance he 
should have the right to perform all copyrighted material 
that is an integral part of that film and that the producer 
should clear those rights before he offers the film for license. 

"We have talked with a number of our members and they 
unanimously agree that they still hope for passage of the 
Lewis Bill, H.R. JO 14. They recognized the fact that if the 
producer paid these fees he would try to pass these costs 
and more on to the exhibitor. Naturally film salesmen will 
seize on any pretext in an effort to extract more film rentals. 
But at least in that event an exhibitor can do some bargeiin- 
ing. He can even pass up the picture entirely. He is in no 
such bargaining position with ASCAP. 

"Will it in reality be any different than it is now when a 
distributor makes every effort to get the last possible dollar 
and the exhibitor determines to pay no more than he can 
afford and still come out on the picture? Pubhc performance 
rights will be a minor item. Remember that many pictures 
you now buy have public performance rights included — this 
is true of all BMI music. Do you take that into consideration 
and pay more for such a film at the present time? 

"According to our figures ASCAP collected $1,335,248 
from the motion picture industry in 1946. The annual pro- 
duction budget of motion pictures for that same years was 
in excess of $400,000,000. Now if the producers had as- 
sumed all of the charges imposed by ASCAP on the industry 
the amount would only have been one-third of one per cent 
of total product cost. How much more would you have paid, 
or wiU you pay, for any particular picture if the cost of 
making it was raised or lowered by one-third of one per cent? 

"And remember that the Lewis Bill will protect exhibitors 
against pubhc performance charges by writers, orchestra 
leaders, and various groups other than ASCAP, who might 
levy these fees at some future date." 

As this paper stated in last week's issue, the danger in the 
compromise reached with ASCAP by the TOA lies in the 
possibility that many exhibitors, particularly those who 
operate theatres with fewer than 500 seats, of which there 
are more than eight thousand, may be lulled into abandon- 
ing support of the Lewis Bill because either no increase or a 
sh'ght increase is being demanded of them. Many exhibitors 
are of the opinion that the TOA compromise is designed to 
accomplish that very objective, since the greatest majority of 
the country's theatres have fewer than 1,000 seats. Some 
compelling arguments as to why the exhibitors should not 
relax their efforts in support of the Lewis Bill are advanced 
in the following communication sent to this paper by Judge 
Jos. P. Uvick, a Michigan independent exhibitor, who has 
been a tireless leader of the e.xhibitors in that state in the 
fight against ASCAP : 

"ASCAP's new rate schedules obviously have created 
some degree of good will because so many small theatres 
wiU be left where they were. For the major part the in- 
crease on the others is within rhyme and reason. But the 
main, the most important, the power to compel the exhibitor 
to accept a license and pay as demanded, is still there. The 
uselessness of the film we get unless we do pay ASCAP still 
remains as a stigma or stench in our industry that should be 
removed. 

"Let us now hope that ASCAP directors show the same 
degree of good judgment and welcome the proposed Lewis 
(Continued on last page) 



30 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 21, 1948 



"The Big Clock" with Ray Milland, 
Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Sullivan 

(Paramount, March 26; time, 93 min.) 
A superior thriller. It should prove to be a highly sat- 
isfactory box-office attraction, for it is the sort of picture 
that will benefit from word-of-mouth advertising. It is a 
novel and absorbing murder melodrama, with many unusual 
twists that will intrigue and thrill all types of audiences. 
There is no mystery involved, since the spectator is made 
aware of the murderer's identity, but the suspense is main- 
tained from the start to finish because of the odd story twist 
that places the hero in the position of hunter and hunted when 
he is assigned to find a mysterious stranger who had been 
visiting with the murdered woman just prior to her death; 
he himself was that stranger and, because circumstantial 
evidence weighed heavily against him, he tries desperately 
to cover up clues unearthed by an efficient staff of reporters 
under his command lest these clues lead to his identity be- 
fore he can establish his innocence. The production, acting, 
and direction are of a superior quality and, clever bits of 
comedy have been injected to relieve the tension : — 

Charles Laughton, a ruthless publisher, values highly the 
services of Ray Milland, brilliant editor of his "Crimeways" 
magazine, whose ability to track down missing persons was 
a great circulation builder. Needled by his wife for his fail- 
ure to take her on a long-delayed honeymoon, Milland sets 
a definite date for the occasion. But on the day he prepares 
to leave, Laughton insists that he postpone the holiday to 
track down another missing person. He refuses and, after a 
stormy scene, goes to a local cafe, where he meets Rita 
Johnson, Laughton's unhappy mistress. Both get drunk 
during their mutual villification of Laughton, and Milland 
ends up in her apartment. He slips out when Laughton 
arrives, but the publisher, without recognizing him, sees him 
hurry away. Insanely jealous, Laughton kills Rita. He be- 
comes panic-stricken and confides in George Macready, his 
trusted lieutenant. Both decide that they could pin the 
murder on the stranger who had been with Rita; they in- 
struct Milland to start one of his vast manhunts. Having 
lied to his wife about his whereabouts that evening, Milland 
is compelled to accept the assignment, not only to keep the 
truth from her, but also to protect himself from being sad- 
dled with the crime. He keeps smothering the clues brought 
in by his staff of reporters, while vainly trying to obtain 
positive proof of Laughton's guilt. The search for the "mys- 
tery" man finally centers in Laughton's huge publication 
building, with Milland barely able to keep himself from 
being identified. After a series of hair-raising events, he 
manages to pin the crime on Laughton who, in an attempt 
to escape, dies in a fall down an elevator shaft. 

Jonathan Latimer wrote the screen play from a novel by 
Kenneth Fearing. Richard Maibaum produced it, and John 
Farrow directed it. The cast includes Elsa Lanchester, Henry 
Morgan and others. Ault fare. 



"Adventures of Casanova" with 

Arturo De Cordova, Lucille Bremer 

and Turhan Bey 

(£ag!e-Lion. Feb. 7; time, 83 min.) 
A wildly melodramatic swashbuckler, replete with flash- 
ing sword duels, ambushes, chases, gunplay, lusty love- 
making and elaborate costuming. Discriminating patrons 
will probably find the cliche-ridden situations and the total 
lack of credibility either annoying or amusing, depending 
on their mood; but the avid action fans, particularly the 
juveniles, whose only concern about story values is that there 
be plenty of excitement, should find it to their liking. In a 
sense, the picture has everything one expects to find in a 
rousing western, except that the locale is Sicily in the 18th 
Century. The characterizations, from the dashing hero to 
the deep-dyed villain, are grossly exaggerated, and the play- 
ers enact their respective roles with such a lack of restraint 
that, at times, their performances border on the ridiculous: — 
When powerful armies of the Austrian Emperor crush a 
rebellion of patriotic forces in Sicily, Fritz Lieber, patriarchal 
leader of the broken insurgents, sends his trusted aide, 
Turhan Bey, to Malta to summon Arturo de Cordova, a 



great warrior. De Cordova assumes leadership of the patriots 
and, through guerilla tactics, makes life miserable for Lloyd 
Corrigan, the Governor, who was under pressure from John 
Sutton, the Emperor's envoy. Lucille Bremer, the Gover- 
nor's daughter, who was held a prisoner in the palace be- 
cause of her refusal to marry Sutton, conspires with Noreen 
Nash, her lady-in-waiting, to escape. Noreen, by posing as 
Lucille, enlists de Cordova's aid. He rescues them and takes 
them to the patriots' quarters. In due tim,e de Cordova falls 
in love with Lucille, and Bey with Noreen. Meanwhile they 
carry on their daring feats against the Governor's troops. 
Sutton replaces the Governor and, in order to rid himself 
of de Cordova, challenges him to a duel, planning to capture 
him with hidden troops. De Cordova accepts the challenge. 
Bey loses his life trying to aid de Cordova, who is captured 
and sentenced to hang. But Lucille, by pretending that she 
had turned against de Cordova, wins Sutton's confidence 
and manages to arrange her lover's escape. In a rousing finale, 
de Cordova kills Sutton in a duel, leads a successful revo- 
lution, and wins amnesty for all the patriots. 

Crane Wilbur, Walter Bullock, and Karen DeWolf wrote 
the screen play from a story by Mr. DeWoIf. Leonard S. 
Picker produced it, and Roberto Gavaldon directed it. 



"B. F.'s Daughter" with Barbara Stanwyck, 
Van Heflin and Charles Cobum 

(MGM, no release date set; time, 108 min.) 
This drama has good production values, competent direc- 
tion, and able performances, but from the entertainment 
point of view it is only fair. Its tale about a strong-willed 
heiress whose marriage to a poor but brilliant economist 
goes on the rocks, when he learns that she had used her 
wealth to further his career, is rather commonplace, 
differing only in that it works into the proceedings the atti- 
tudes and thinking of old-line capitalists and present-day 
liberals with regard to economics, politics, and human rights. 
But all this seems extraneous, for most of what is said is in- 
decisive and has little relation to the main story line. Another 
drawback is the fact that the story introduces several charac- 
ters whose parts are not clearly defined. So far as the box- 
office is concerned, the exhibitor will have to depend on 
the popularity of the stars, as well as of the novel, on which 
the story is based. Keenan Wynn, as a radio commentator 
and mutual friend of the couple, provides some amusing 
moments. The action takes place in the pre-war days, with 
Washington and New York as the backgrounds: — 

Barbara Stanwyck, daughter of Charles Coburn, a lead- 
ing industrial tycoon, marries Van Heflin, a radical student 
of political economy, in spite of the fact that his opinions 
about capitalists, such as her father, were far from flatter- 
ing. As strong in character as Barbara, Heflin refuses to 
accept her financial aid and insists that they live on his 
earnings as a lecturer and writer. Barbara resolves the situa- 
tion by secretly arranging to give a lecture bureau a cash 
guarantee to book Heflin for a tour. Unaware of the deal, 
Hefln makes the tour. He becomes a highly successful lec- 
turer, winning fame as an economist, and an appointment 
to an important position in the White House. With his 
earnings he arranges for Barbara to purchase a small home. 
I^tead, she buys a magnificent mansion, financed by her 
father's money. Heflin insists that she give it up, and their 
quarrel leads to his learning about how she had financed his 
career. They separate. Already desperately unhappy, Barbara 
is saddened further by the death of her father. She rejoins 
Heflin in Washington. Learning that he had been attentive 
to a woman in Georgetown, Barbara assumes that she was 
his mistress. She feels thoroughly ashamed, however, when 
she discovers that the woman (Barbara Lange) was a bHnd 
refugee, in whose rehabilitation Heflin was interested. At this 
point Barbara becomes concerned over Richard Hart, her 
former boy-friend, who had been reported killed in the Pa- 
cific. Heflin relieves her concern by establshing that Hart 
was safe. In the end, Barbara and Heflin confess their des- 
perate need for each other and agree to start life anew. 

Luther Davis wrote the screen play from the novel by 
Juhn Marquand. Edwin H. Knopf prc;duced it, and Robert 
Z. Leonard directed it. Unobjectionable morally. 



February 21, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



31 



"Arch of Triumph" with Ingrid Bergman, 
Charles Boyer and Charles Laughton 

(United Artists. Marcli, timf, 12U mm.) 
Considering the extraordinary exploitation build-up given 
to this picture for many months, coupled with the fact that 
it is to be released on an advanced admission price policy, 
at a $1.80 top, one would expect it to be a drama of epic 
proportions, another "Gone with the Wind." But such is 
not the case, for it is no more than a fairly good drama, 
which nevertheless leaves one disappointed because he had 
been led to expect something better. It will have to depend 
heavily on the drawing power of the players and on the 
popularity of the novel on which the story is based, and, 
while it may open big because of these attributes, as well 
as of the high-powered ballyhoo that will precede the open- 
ings, it is doubtful if business will remain strong enough to 
warrant extended runs. 

The story itself is a rather sombre romantic tale with 
tragic overtones, set against the background of pre-war Paris 
in 1938, at a time when it was teeming with refugees, the 
victims of Nazi aggression. Briefly, it revolves around Charles 
Boyer, as an Austrian surgeon living in Paris without bene- 
fit of passport, who befriends Ingrid Bergman, a Parisian 
woman bent on suicide because her lover had died. They 
fall madly in love but are unable to marry because of Boyer's 
lack of credentials and his illegal status in the country. 
While helping an injured man on the street, Boyer becomes 
involved with the police, who discover his status and deport 
him. After several months in Switzerland, he makes his way 
back to Paris and finds that Ingrid had become the mistress 
of a wealthy playboy. Each loves the other deeply, but a 
conflict arises between them because of his failure to com- 
municate with her during his absence, and because of her 
unwillingness to break away suddenly from her new-found 
luxurious life. The story ends on a tragic note with Ingrid 
dying from a bullet wound inflicted by her lover in an 
attempt to stop her from going back to Boyer, and with 
Boyer heading for a concentration camp, having been 
rounded up with other refugees upon France's declaration 
of war. Worked into the proceedings is a sub-plot involving 
Charles Laughton, as a bestial Nazi big-wig, who had tor- 
tured and persecuted Boyer in Austria, and whom Boyer 
spots in Paris from time to time. To avenge himself on 
Laughton had become an all-pervading obsession in Boyer's 
life, and in the course of events he succeeds in murdering 
him. 

While the ingredients for strong drama are ever present 
in the story, it somehow fails to come through on the screen 
with any appreciable degree of intensity, a fault that can 
be traced to the choppy continuity, which results in the film 
having a lack of cohesiveness and, to a degree, motivation. 
Another reason why one does not feel the sufferings of the 
two principal characters is that neither one is cast in a 
wholly sympathetic role. 

Charles Laughton seems wasted in his role, as does Ruth 
Warrick, who appears for a few fleeting moments as an 
American woman in love with Boyer. Louis Calhern, as 
Boyer's White Russian friend, contributes an engaging char- 
acterization and manages to inject some wry bits of humor 
in a story that is essentially oppressive and tragic. The 
production values are very good, but it is difficult to see 
where four or five million dollars, as claimed, have been 
spent on the picture, unless, of course, most of it is on the 
cutting room floor. 

Lewis Milestone and Harry Brown wrote the screen play 
from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque. David Lewis pro- 
duced it, and Mr. Milestone directed it. The cast includes 
Roman Bohnen, Stephen Bekassy, and others. Adult fare. 



"Speed to Spare" with Richard Arlen 
and Richard Travis 

{Paramount, May 14; time, 57 min.) 
"Speed to Spare" adequately fills the requirements of an 
action melodrama designed as a supporting feature for 
double-billing situations. The formula plot, which revolves 
around the misadventures of a well-meaning braggard who 
forsakes daredevil auto-racing for a substantial job as a 



truck driver, telegraphs its twists in advance, but since it 
moves along at a swift pace nad offers some thrills it should 
get by in its intended market. The film offers the spectator 
an informative insight on the operations of a trucking firm, 
particularly with respect to the salety precautions such firms 
employ. The direction is good, and the players perform 
adequately in their cut-and-dried roles: — 

Discharged from an auto-stunt driving circus, Richard 
Arlen takes a job with his old pal, Richard Travis, branch 
manager of a trucking concern. Also working at the branch 
are Pat Phelan, the owner's son, and Nanette Parks, a sec- 
retary, who was Phelan's girl-friend. Arlen gains an enemy 
when he takes over the truck of Ian McDonald, who had 
been demoted to a mechanic because of drunkeness. Seek- 
ing revenge, McDonald tampers with the truck's mechanism, 
causing Arlen to become involved in a number of accidents, 
which he finds difficult to explain. Meanwhile Arlen makes 
a play for Nanette, causing a split between Phelan and 
herself. Needing money so that he might ask Nanette to 
marry him, Arlen makes a private deal to carry dangerous 
explosives for a contractor, whose business had been refused 
by Travis. McDonald, unaware of the cargo in the truck, 
once again tampers with the mechanism. Just as he prepares 
to pull the truck out of the terminal, Arlen gets into a fight 
with Phelan and is knocked unconscious. Roscoe Karns, a 
mechanic, fearing that Arlen would lose his life if the truck 
missed its schedule, takes over his run only to be blown to 
bits as a result of McDonald's tampering. It ends with Arlen 
forcing a confession from McDonald, seeing to it that Phelan 
and Nanette are reunited, and joining the police to face his 
indirect responsibility for Karn's death. 

Milton Raison wrote the original screen play. Pine 6^ 
Thomas produced it, and William Berke directed it. The 
cast includes Jean Rogers and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Panhandle" with Rod Cameron, 
Cathy Downs and Anne Gwynne 

(AJIied Artists, February; time, 84 min.) 

A very good Western melodrama, replete with the kind 
of excitement the outdoor fans relish. Although the action 
in the first half is somewhat rambling, the second half is 
loaded with so many thrilling highlights that it more than 
compensates for the slow beginning. The story is not un- 
usual, but it is well constructed and holds one's interest 
throughout. As a two-fisted, six-footer cowboy who en- 
dangers his life to track down the killers of his brother, Rod 
Cameron rdies well, hits hard, shoots straight, and in every 
other respect is convincing as the hero. A brutal fistic en- 
counter between Cameron and one of the villains is one of 
the most realistic ever seen on the screen; this fight alone 
is worth the price of admission, for it will keep the spec- 
tators on the edge of their seats. Comedy and romance are 
worked into the plot in just the right doses. The sepia tone 
photography is very fine : — 

Hiding in Mexico with a price on his head because of 
his handiness with a gun, Cameron learns from Cathy Downs 
that his brother, a crusading newspaperman, who had been 
her sweetheart, had been murdered mysteriously in Sentinel. 
He heads north for the Panhandle, despite the price on his 
head, and finds the town dominated by a lawless element 
headed by Reed Hadley, a saloon-keeper, whom he be- 
lieved responsible for the murder. He sets about gathering 
proof against Hadley, who in turn makes an unsuccessful 
attempt to run him out of town. Meanwhile Cameron be- 
comes friendly with Anne Gwynne, Hadley's secretary. He 
eventually succeeds in obtaining the needed proof against 
Hadley, but through a trick he is disarmed and made Had- 
ley's prisoner. Anne, however, manages to slip him two 
guns. In the battle that follows, Cameron wipes out Hadley 
and his henchmen, avenging his brother's death and bring- 
ing law and order to Sentinel. He leaves to pay his debt to 
society, promising to return to Anne. 

John C. Champion and Blake Edwards wrote and pro- 
duced the original screen play, and Lesley Selander directed 
it. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



32 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 21, 1948 



Amendment thereby removing the necessity to license 18,000 
theatres by dealing with a few producers instead. The ad- 
ministrative costs thereby saved if ASCAP performance 
rights are eliminated from our theatres should inure to the 
benefit of all concerned. However, if ASCAP elects to 
oppose the Lewis Amendment, it will be positive evidence 
that their legal strangle-hold on the exhibitors" throats con- 
cerns them most; that modifying their demands is a well- 
planned effort to break up the national unified collaboration 
of exhibitors, the like of which has never before been be- 
lieved possible. 

"We, as individual exhibitors, should therefore keep our 
exhibitor ranks of opposition intact, regardless of what some 
group leaders do by way of superficial compromise. Let us 
not sign any long term, ten-year, ensnaring contracts that 
will dull our efforts to obtain cure-all legislation. 

"We should not fear that distributors will saddle us with 
more than did ASCAP. It being more than obvious that 
motion picture theatres create popularity for songs that have 
long been dead and forgotten, and little-known new songs, 
the distributors being the good and exceptionally sharp 
busii.essmen that we know they are, can be counted upon 
even to collect from ASCAP for creating revenuS that 
ASCAP will receive on songs popularized in that manner, 
instead of paying ASCAP as we and the producers now do. 
It is not unreasonable to expect that eventually some of such 
revenue should be passed on to the benefit of the exhibitor. 
"In our opinion it is nothing short of stupidity to seri- 
ously consider the suggestion that we should pull our 
punches for the passage of the Lewis Amendment for fear 
that the distributors will charge us more than ASCAP has 
heretofore collected. It is our humble opinion that the dis- 
tributors are now collecting all the traffic will bear, and can 
be expected to so continue. 

"The Lewis Amendment will aid producers to help them* 
selves and relieve us from ASCAP's legal strangle-hold as 
well." 

There is little this paper need add to the cogent arguments 
advanced by the ATOI and by Judge Uvick as to why every 
exhibitor should get solidly behind the Lewis Bill. With the 
date of the hearings almost on hand, you may expect the 
propaganda against the bill to gain momentum. The wise 
exhibitor wUl not be deluded by any of it, but what is more 
important is that he should not permit others to become 
deluded. Those who oppose the bill will make every effort 
to show that the majority of the exhibitors are satisfied with 
the present music-tax set-up, and that the proposed bill will 
be to their disadvantage. And they may get away with it 
urriess each of you make it a point to write to your Congress- 
men and Senators immediately, informing them of how 
unjust the tax is, and urging them to support the Lewis Bill 
to the hilt. 



"Caged Fury" with Richard Denning, 
Buster Crabbe and Sheila Ryan 

(Paramount, March 5; time, 61 min.) 
This program melodrama should give fair satisfaction as 
a supporting feature in small town and neighborhood 
theatres. The fact that the plot is commonplace will, no 
doubt, be overlooked by the action fans, for it has a goodly 
quota of suspense and excitement. Besides, the story's circus 
background provides some pretty interesting scenes, with 
the thrills being brought about by the action that takes place 
in a cage fuU of ferocious lions. The scenes that show the 

Principal characters taming the wild animals have been done 
efore; nevertheless, they hold one in suspense. The direc- 
tion is good and the performances adequate: — 

Richard Denning, a lion trainer, Mary Beth Hughes, a 
lion tamer, and Buster Crabbe, a clown, work together in a 
sensational lion taming act. Engaged to Mary but covetous 
of Sheila Ryan, another performer, who was Denning's 
girl-friend, Crabbe deUberately bolts an escape door in the 
lions" cage, causing Mary to be killed by one of the animals. 
He then induces Frank Wilcox, the circus owner, to give 
Sheila Mary's spot, which she accepts over Denning's ob- 
jections. Sheila proves herself a capable performer, and the 
breach between Denning and herself is soon healed. Unable 
to make any headway in his pursuit of Sheila, Crabbe deter- 
mines to do away with Denning. Several narrow escapes 
from death arouse Denning's suspicions; he catches Crabbe 
bolting the escape door, as he had done for Mary's death. 
Crabbe escapes and, in the chase that follows, his car goes 
over a cliff and vanishes into the sea. BeHeving him dead. 
Sheila and Denning marry and continue with the act them- 
selves. Crabbe reappears several months later and corners 
Denning in his dressing room. A fight ensues, during which 
an overturned oil lamp sets fire to the circus. Spectators run 



for their lives, and wild animals escape from their cages. It 
all ends with Crabbe being clawed to death by a Hon he had 
mistreated. 

David Lang wrote the screen olay, William Pine and 
William Thomas produced it, and WiUiam Berke directed 
it. Adult fare. 

"Mr. Reckless" with William Eythe 
and Barbara Britton 

(Paramount, March 26; time, 66 min.) 
Although the cast of players give it some name value, this 
is just a run-of-the-mill Pine & Thomas program melodrama, 
burdened by a trite screen play that wanders all over the 
lot. Moreover, it is given more to talk than to action. But 
since it does have several exciting situations it wiU probably 
get by with undiscriminating audiences in secondary theatres. 
The main story line revolves around Wilham Eythe, a foot- 
loose oil worker, who returns to Los Angeles after a two- 
year absence and finds that his neglected girl-friend, Barbara 
Britton, a waitress, had become engaged to Nestor Paiva, 
his middle-aged friend, who was her employer. Out of re- 
gard for his friend, Eythe does not attempt to win back 
Barbara, although both were still in love. Obvious plot 
manipulations bring the three together in a nearby oil town, 
where Eythe had obtained a job, and where Paiva, accom- 
panied by Barbara, had gone to open a new restaurant. 
Numerous incidents involving several sub-plots serve to 
delay Barbara's marriage to Paiva, during which time her 
love for Eythe is rekindled. Eythe, rather than break his 
friend's heart, decides to leave town. Barbara, unhappy, 
decides not to marry Paiva and prepares to return to Los 
Angeles. Learning of her love for Eythe, Paiva mistakenly 
beheves that she planned to run off with the young man. He 
heads for the oil field and, in a blind rage, attacks Eythe 
atop an oil rig, falling to his death after a bitter battle. It 
closes with Barbara and Eythe reunited. 

Considering the "old hat" material, the players do as well 
as can be expected, but since most of the characterizations 
are not particularly sympathetic the story is lacking in 
dramatic impact. Some mild comedy is provided by Minna 
Gombell, as a tough but warm-hearted landlady, Walter 
Catlett, as her lazy husband, and Lloyd Corrigan, as Bar- 
bara's problem father. Maxwell Shane and Milton Raison 
wrote the original screen play. Pine & Thomas produced it, 
and Frank McDonald directed it. Unobjectionable morally. 

"The Challenge" with Tom Conway 
and June Vincent 

(20th Century-Pox, March; time, 68 min.) 
This is a "Bulldog Drummond" picture, the first of a new 
program series being released by 20th Century-Fox. Like its 
predecessors, the plot of this version is rather far-fetched; 
nevertheless, its mixture of mystery, murder, skullduggery, 
and some comedy, coupled with the fact that suspicion is 
directed at several of the characters, holds one's attention 
fairly well. The melodrama-loving fans should enjoy it, 
for it has considerable suspense and excitement. Tom Con- 
way, an old hand at playing suave amateur sleuth roles, slips 
into the "Bulldog Drummond" characterization with ease. 
Briefly, the story revolves around several heirs interested 
in the hidden fortune of a retired sea captain, who had been 
murdered mysteriously. Conway enters the case when June 
Vincent, the murdered man's adopted daughter, seeks to 
buy from him a ship model, which had been owned by the 
captain, and which had been given to Conway by a friend. 
Her willingness to pay for the model far more than it was 
worth arouses Conway's curiosity; he refuses to sell it. 
Later, the model is stolen from him and, in his efforts to 
recover it, he becames involved, not only with June, but 
also with the other two heirs, Richard Stapley, the captain's 
nephew, and Eily Malyon, his housekeeper. Each was intent 
upon finding a known gold treasure hidden by the captain, 
and Conway finds reason to suspect each of them for the 
commission of the murder. After numerous adventures, he 
discovers the hiding place of the treasure through a secret 
code stitched into the sails of the ship model. But before 
Conway can act, both he and June are captured by hench- 
men employed by the nephew and housekeeper, who admit 
the crime and force him to reveal the hiding place under 
threat of harming June. He bows to their demands, but 
through a clever trick gets word to the police who trap the 
culprits. June is established as the rightful owner of the gold, 
but by this time she shows a greater interest in Conway. 

Frank Gruber and Irving Elman wrote the screen play 
from the story by Sapper. Ben Pivar and Bernard Small pro- 
duced it, and Jean Yarbrough directed it. Unobjectionable 
morally. 



EInterad a« anttiBil »l<inii m&ttar Jtinuary 4, 1921, at the pusi uflloe at Ntu- VurU, New Ysrk, under the net of Marob 8, 1879. 

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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 1948 No. 9 



THE PCCITO BACKS ITS WORDS 
WITH ACTION 

Meeting in Seattle on February 19, trustees of the 
Pacific Coast Conference of Independent Theatre 
Owners, representing six west coast independent ex' 
hibitor associations, voted to give full support to the 
passage of the Lewis Bill, now in Congress, which 
would reheve the exhibitors from paying any tax to 
ASCAP by requiring the producers to acquire the 
performance rights to all music incoporated in their 
films before licensing them to the exhibitors. Addi- 
tionally, the trustees voted to file a brief as amicus 
curiae with the U. S. District Court at Minneapohs 
in the Benny Berger suit against ASCAP, pledging 
financial support to carry the case to the U. S. Su' 
preme Court. Thus the PCCITO, which has been a 
foremost leader in the fight against ASCAP, is ful- 
filling to the Hmit the action taken at its annual con- 
vention last year, when it voted to raise a fund of not 
less than $25,000 to determine, through a test case, 
the legahty of the ASCAP tax. 

What is particularly admirable about the present 
PCCITO move is this: Last year, at the time it an- 
nounced its plan to battle ASCAP, it stated that 
every effort would be made to enHst the support of 
other exhibitor organizations throughout the country 
so that all could participate in a precedent estabHsh- 
ing case. It felt that any action taken against ASCAP 
should be on a national basis in order for the result to 
be beneficial to all exhibitors. Having originated the 
idea of a unified exhibitor effort in a test case against 
ASCAP, and having done much preliminary work to 
form a strong foundation from which to spearhead 
the action, no one could have blamed the PCCITO 
if it decided to carry on its fight independently, ac- 
cepting whatever outside exhibitor support that may 
have been offered to it. But instead of acting like a 
prima donna, it is throwing its wholehearted support 
into the campaign to pass legislation advocated by 
Allied, and as further evidence that it is concerned, 
not with personal glorification, but with a common 
cause, it offers financial assistance to take the case 
of a non-member before the high court to prove that 
the tax is illegal. 

The PCCITO's sincerity in this matter is indeed 
commendable, and the organization rates the respect, 
let alone thanks, of exhibitors everywhere. 
* * * 

With the regional units of the PCCITO joining 
those of National AUied in the effort to secure pas- 
sage of the Lewis amendment to the Copyright Law, 
independent exhibition is now in a position to put up 
a formidable front in breaking down the arguments 
of those who would lead Congress to believe that the 
exhibitors are satisfied with the present ASCAP ar- 



rangement. But as formidable as this front is, the 
need is still great for even more exhibitor support, not 
only from organizations that are not affiHated with 
either Allied or the PCCITO, but also from exhibi- 
tors who do not belong to any organization. This is not 
a fight that concerns any particular group; the music 
tax affects every exhibitor. 

A fine example of unified independent exhibitor 
action in this matter, regardless of affiliation, can be 
found in Michigan, where exhibitors belonging to 
Allied Theatres of Michigan, the Michigan Inde- 
pendent Theatre Owners, and Co-Operative Thea- 
tres, as well as many who do not belong to any 
organization, have formed a Michigan ASCAP Com- 
mittee to carry on the fight. This group has committed 
itself to support of the Lewis Bill and is advising its 
members not to sign agreements with ASCAP for 
permanent licenses while Congress has the amend- 
ment under consideration. 

Mr. Sam Carver, a member of the Committee and 
head of the Michigan ITO, points out that ASCAP's 
new rates, while very fair as compared to its original 
demands, is tied to a ten-year agreement, and he warns 
that, in the event of a depression, the exhibitors, 
bound by a ten-year contract, would be helpless in any 
effort to secure a readjustment of terms. And he adds 
the warning that acceptance of ASCAP's new terms 
might cause Congress to conclude that the exhibitors 
are satisfied and that no need for the Lewis amend- 
ment exists. Mr. Carver's warnings are indeed logical, 
and they are but two of many reasons why you should 
reject the ASCAP compromise and leave nothing 
undone to secure passage of the Lewis Bill. 

If you haven't written to your Congressional rep- 
resentatives as yet, do so now. By urging them to 
support the Lewis Bill you help, not only your fellow 
exhibitors, but also yourself. 



TIME TO GET RID OF 
THE FRANKENSTEIN 

If the present Hollywood fright on the loss of the 
foreign market will result in bringing the price of 
novels, magazine stories and stage plays to within 
reason, something will have been gained, for up to 
now the prices paid for story material have been in- 
consistent with sound economic production costs. 

We all, of course, admit that a good story is gener- 
ally the basis of a good picture, but there is a limit to 
what can be paid even for fine stories. 

About four years ago, in the issue of June 17, 1944, 
this paper warned that the producers, in their mad 
rush to overbid one another for choice stage plays and 
novels, paying as much as $500,000, were creating a 
Frankenstein, which they would be unable to get rid 
of when times became lean. Nov*- that the honeymoon 
{Continued on last page) 



34 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 28, 1948 



"Sitting Pretty" with Maureen O'Hara, 
Robert Young and Clifton Webb 

(20th Century-Fox, April; time, 84 min.) 

Expert direction, an enthusiastic and talented cast, 
and a cleverly contrived screenplay, make this one of 
the most genuinely-funny comedies seen in a long 
time; it should be thoroughly enjoyed by all types of 
audiences. Refreshingly amusing, the story takes 
place in a suburban community and deals x^ath the 
issues that develop in the household of a young couple 
with three children when they engage Clifton Webb 
as a baby-sitter, thinking him to be a woman. Mr. 
Webb, as a baby-sitter, is something worth seeing. 
A self -proclaimed genius, who proves himself to be 
a man of many talents, he is at once suave, caustic, 
charming and competent, and in no time becomes 
complete master of the household, changing the un- 
ruly children into obedient youngsters, and even 
chastising their parents when they get out of line. 
He even cures the baby of the habit of sprinkling oat- 
meal on every one by the simple expedient of dumping 
the oatmeal bowl on the baby's head. Although 
Webb's movements around the household give rise to 
many mirth-provoking situations, considerable com- 
edy stems from the fact that town gossips link him 
with his comely employer, Maureen O'Hara, when 
her husband, Robert Yoxing, leaves town on a business 
trip. The "scandal" costs Young his job in a local law 
ofBce, and leads to a separation between Maureen and 
himself, but Webb manages to bring them back to- 
gether again at the finish. Throughout the proceedings 
the principal characters, as well as the spectator, re- 
main mystified over the reason why a man of Webb's 
obvious intelligence and capabiHties would tie himself 
down to a job as baby-sitter, but this is cleared up 
towards the finish when he is revealed as the author 
of an overnight best-seller, which unmercifully pokes 
fun at the community's leading residents, particularly 
the gossips; he had taken the job in order to gather 
accurate material for his book. 

Cast in a tailor-made role, Webb dominates the pic- 
ture, but fine performances are turned in also by Miss 
O'Hara and Young, who make their roles believable. 
A choice and highly amusing characterization is con- 
tributed by Richard Haydn, as a prissy, middle-aged 
snooper. All in all, it is the sort of entertainment that 
will keep audiences in a state of near-hilarity. 

F. Hugh Herbert wrote the screen play from a 
novel by Owen Davenport. Samuel G. Engel pro- 
duced it, and Walter Lang directed it. 

Suitable for the family. 



"The Bride Goes Wild" with Van Johnson 
and June AUyson 

(MGM, March; time, 97 min.) 
A laugh-packed farce that should give pretty good 
satisfaction to most patrons, particularly family audi- 
ences in small-town and neighborhood theatres. Re- 
volving around the romance between a demure small- 
town schoolteacher and a carefree but child-hating 
author of children's stories, the story is broadly played 
and completely implausible, with the accent on slap- 
stick situations and exaggerated characterizations that 
excite considerable merriment. Both Van Johnson 
and June Allyson romp through their parts with zest, 
aided greatly by httle Butch Jenkins, as a precocious 
orphan who poses as Johnson's son in a grandiose 
scheme to deceive June. There are so many hilaunous 
highlights that, at times, much of the clever dialogue 



is drowned out by audience laughter. One sequence in 
particular, where Johnson spikes June's coffee with 
hquor and gets her intoxicated, is riotously funny. 
The whole thing goes haywire at the finish, where 
Butch, to bring the separated lovers together, breaks 
up June's wedding to another man by unloosing a 
horde of ants among the wedding guests. This results 
in some frenzied and fanciful fun. Hume Cronyn, as 
Johnson's harrassed pubUsher, contributes much to 
the comedy : — 

June, winner of a contest to illustrate a new book 
by "Uncle Bumps," a popular author of children's 
stories, arrives in New York and discovers that the 
author was none other than Johnson, an irresponsible 
young man with a Hking for drink. Shocked by her 
discovery, she declares her intention to expose John- 
son for what he is. Cronyn, to save the situation, in- 
forms her that Johnson is a widower and that he had 
been driven to drink by his little son, who was a prob- 
lem child. Her offer to help compels Cronyn to borrow 
Butch Jenkins from a local orphan asylum to pose as 
Johnson's son. Butch accepts a bribe to call Johnson 
"daddy." June takes them both in hand and, before 
long, Johnson falls in love with her and proposes mar- 
riage. Quite by accident, however, June learns the 
truth about Butch and breaks off her engagement to 
Johnson because of the deception. She returns to her 
home-town to marry Richard Derr, a former suitor. 
The spht between June and Johnson disappoints 
Butch, because Johnson had promised to adopt him 
after their marriage. Despondent, he runs away from 
the asylum and goes to Johnson. Realizing that only 
married persons may adopt a child, Johnson takes the 
boy to June, arriving on the day of her wedding. 
Unable to bear the thought of her marrying another 
man, Johnson cooks up a scheme whereby Butch dis- 
rupts the wedding and wins June back to their side. 

Albert Beich wrote the original screen play, Wil- 
ham H. Wright produced it, and Norman Taurog 
directed it. The cast includes Una Merkel, Arlene 
Dahl, Lloyd Corrigan and others. 

Suitable for the family. 



"Angels Alley" with the Bowery Boys 

(Monogram, March 7; time, 67 min.) 
One of the better pictures in the "Bowery Boys" 
series. One's interest is held from the beginning to the 
end, and there is one situation with deep human inter- 
est. This is where httle Tommie Menzies, a boy about 
eight or nine, is shown in the hospital hurt — run over 
by a young gangster's car. His good acting reaches 
one's heartstrings. Stealing automobiles and altering 
them beyond recognition is the theme. Leo Gorcey 
again takes the part of the good kid leader in the 
New York slums. Nelson Leigh is good as the neigh- 
borhood priest, who stands by his boys because they 
do not fail him. The direction is good, and so is the 
acting. The photography is clear: — 

When Frankie Darro, his cousin, just out of jail on 
probation, comes to live at his mother's home, Gorcey 
warns him to either go straight or get out. Frankie, 
however, joins up with Nestor Paiva, head of a syndi- 
cate that stole cars and altered them in a secret garage 
to re-sell them. The police suspect Paiva but cannot 
do anything because of insufficient evidence. Upon 
learning that Frankie had joined Paiva, Gorcey goes 
to the gangster's headquarters behind a poolroom to 
warn him, but Frankie resents his interference. Learn- 
ing also that Paiva's young hoodlums were to rob a 



February 28, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



35 



a warehouse that night, Gorcey and his gang go to 
watch them. Gorcey tries to stop Frankie, but the lad 
knocks him unconscious. The poHce find Gorcey and 
arrest him, but Father Leigh gains his release. Im- 
pressed by Gorcey 's refusal to squeal on him, Frankie 
decides to go straight. Meanwhile one of the hood- 
lums, while making a getaway with a stolen car, in- 
jures seriously little Tommie. After visiting Tommie 
at the hospital, Gorcey determines to put Paiva be- 
hind bars. He gains the gangster "s confidence, becomes 
a member of his gang, and in this way learns of the 
secret garage where Paiva's gang altered the stolen 
cars. He gives this information to the district attorney, 
who devises a plan to trap the gang. Gorcey and his 
own gang help to round up the mob, only to find 
themselves trapped. The police arrive in time to arrest 
the gangsters and to prevent them from taking the 
Bowery Boys for a ride. 

Jan Grippo produced it and William Beaudine di- 
rected it from an original story and screen play by 
Edmond Seward, Tim Ryan and Gerald Schnitzer. 
The cast includes Huntz Hall, Gabriel Dell, Mary 
Gordon and others. 

Suitable for children because of the good moral the 
story conveys. 



"The Wreck of the Hesperus" with 
Willard Parker and Edgar Buchanan 

{Columbia, no release date set; time, 68 min.) 

A minor program melodrama that will barely get 
by as a supporting feature in secondary theatres. The 
thin story follows a hackneyed formula, and the ele- 
ment of surprise is totally lacking. As a matter of fact, 
the twistings of the plot are so obvious that one loses 
interest in the picture long before the final reel. The 
ordinary direction, the trite characterizations, and 
the frequently ponderous dialogue do not help mat- 
ters. There is some romantic interest, but it is of no 
importance to the plot and is dragged in by the ear. 
The action takes place in 1830 : — 

Blackballed by ship owners because he had lost his 
ship on the rocks. Captain Willard Parker goes into 
the salvage business. He works together with Edgar 
Buchanan, a wealthy Bostonian, unaware that Bu- 
chanan was deliberately wrecking ships, in order to 
help their business, by placing lanterns along false 
channels. The townspeople, alarmed by the many 
wrecks, seek to have a lighthouse built on a dangerous 
reef, but the proposal fails because of Parker's oppo- 
sition. Meanwhile Buchanan arranges with two ac- 
complices to wreck another ship. On the following 
day, Parker learns that his brother had died in the 
wreck. Despondent, he walks along the beach and dis- 
covers a discarded lantern, which he traces to Bu- 
chanan. He accuses him of having wrecked the difl^er- 
ent ships. Fearing betrayal, Buchanan arranges his 
own appointment as the Governor's representative in 
Gloucester, and arrests Parker on a trumped-up 
charge. But Parker is saved by Patricia White, his 
sweetheart, who visits the Governor and wins his 
freedom. Parker lays a trap for Buchanan and suc- 
ceeds in exposing him to the Governor, after which 
he helps build the lighthouse on the dangerous reef. 

Aubrey Wisberg wrote the screen play, suggested 
by a story by Edward Huebsch, and based upon the 
poem by Henr>' W. Longfellow. Wallace MacDonald 
produced it, and John HoflFman directed it. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"All My Sons" with Edward G. Robinson, 
Burt Lancaster and Mady Christians 

{Universal'lnt'l, April; time, 93 min.) 

A powerful drama, based on Arthur Miller's prize- 
winning stage play of the same name. Dealing as it 
does with the dupUcity of a man whose actions bring 
sorrow and tragedy into the lives of those close to him, 
and wholesale death to others, the story is not a 
pleasant one, but it is extremely well directed and 
played, gripping one's attention from start to finish. 
Its tale of conflicting human emotions unfolds with 
considerable dramatic impact, particularly in the situa- 
tions that find son pitted against father when he learns 
the truth about his criminal acts. As the small-town 
factory owner who shunts aside his moral duty to 
man and country in order to achieve personal success, 
Edward G. Robinson fills out a fascinating portrait of 
an egoist, cloaking his motives with a kindly nature 
and excusing his acts with the claim that what he 
had done had been for the welfare of his family. His 
ultimate suicide ends the story on a tragic note. Fine 
performances are contributed also by Burt Lancaster, 
as the son whose moral sense proves stronger than 
his devotion to his father; Mady Christians, as Robin- 
son's wife, who seeks to protect him despite his fail- 
ings; and Louisa Horton, a newcomer, as Lancaster's 
sweetheart and the daughter of Robinson's partner, 
who had been convicted and sentenced to jail for a 
crime Robinson had committed. The story is told with 
considerable human appeal, and the romantic interest 
is tender : — 

Robinson, owner of a prosperous machine shop, 
which had been producing engine parts during the 
war, had knowingly shipped to the Government de- 
fective parts lest the loss bankrupt him. The defective 
parts had caused the death of twenty-one fliers. 
Brought to trial, Robinson, through his own false 
testimony, had been acquitted, while his partner, 
Frank Conroy, though innocent, had been convicted 
and sentenced to jail. Louisa, Conroy 's daughter, 
who before the war had been engaged to one of Rob- 
inson's sons, who had died in action, falls in love 
with Lancaster, Robinson's other son. Their marriage 
is opposed by Robinson's wife, who still hoped that 
her other son would turn up ahve, and by Howard 
Duif , Louisa's brother, who believed his father's claim 
that Robinson had testified falsely. The conflicting 
stories, coupled with Robinson's evasiveness, put a 
doubt in Lancaster's mind about his father's inno- 
cence. He visits Conroy in jail and, from information 
supplied by him, ultimately obtains from his father 
an admission of guilt. Robinson, however, defends 
his actions on the ground that he wanted to save his 
business for the financial security of the family. Mean- 
while Louisa, unable to live without Lancaster, shows 
his mother a letter from her former sweetheart, prov- 
ing conclusively that he was dead. In it, the boy had 
declared his intention to take his own Hfe because of 
the shame he felt over his father's unpatriotic act. 
Lancaster obtains the letter and shows it to Robinson. 
Unrepentant up to this time, Robinson breaks down. 
He retires to his room and commits suicide. 

Chester Erskine wrote and produced the screen- 
play, and Irving Reis directed it. 

While there is nothing about the story that is 
morally objectionable it is a picture that is best suited 
for adult audiences. 



36 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



February 28, 1948 



is over and the watchword is economy, the producers 
reaHze, no doubt, that the monster they created is out 
of hand and must be done away with. 

Having become accustomed to receiving fabulous 
sums for their works, the authors of either successful 
stage plays or novels will continue to demand every- 
thing but the studio itself, but the producers, now 
aware of the new level of receipts, will tell them to 
jump back into their inkwells and soon compel them 
to moderate their demands. 

In the same aforementioned article, it was stated 
that experience has proved that many expensive 
novels, as well as stage plays, were failures on the 
screen in spite of the fact that the producers believed 
that such stories cannot help but turn out to be great 
pictures. In the four years that have passed, any 
number of these high-priced story properties have 
been made into pictures, but the record shows that the 
ratio of successful pictures based on these expensive 
properties is no greater now that in the past. True, the 
fame of either a novel or a stage play is a great box- 
office asset, but often it is not enough, for if the pic- 
ture hasn't got what it takes the word soon gets around 
to the movie-wise public. Word-of-mouth advertising 
works both ways. 



A SUGGESTION WORTHY 
OF CONSIDERATION 

There is logic behind the suggestion that the United 
States Government reimburse the motion picture pro- 
ducers for their losses abroad caused by the freezing 
of their profits there. 

If "The Voice of America" is worth maintaining 
at a cost of anywhere from fifty to sixty milUon dol- 
lars a year, the showing of American pictures abroad 
is worth many times more, for pictures are far more 
powerful than either the printed or the spoken word. 
Words, whether spoken or read, represent images — 
that is, the mind must transform those words into the 
images they represent before it can grasp them, with 
the result that much of the power of those words is 
lost in the transformation, whereas in moving pictures 
the images are there, and the mind grasps them with 
little effort. 

Assuming that our producers would take extreme 
care to send abroad only such pictures as do not mis- 
represent the American way of life, the American 
motion pictures can do much, not only to prevent the 
Russian Communists from injuring the United States 
with their distortions of the truth, but also to enable 
our Government to reach the people of the world 
with what democracy means to the life of every indi- 
vidual living in this country. By visualizing pictori- 
ally the American way of life — the freedom we enjoy, 
the abundance of food and clothing, the right to work 
in a business, trade, or profession of one's own choos- 
ing, and the many other advantages we in the United 
States have learned to accept as a matter of course, 
American motion pictures can make so powerful an 
impression on the people of foreign countries that 
they, too, would want to obtain these comforts be- 
cause they cannot obtain them now. 

Harrison's Reports hopes that the leaders of our 
industry wdll be able to impress the United States 
Government with the necessity of maintaining the 
showing of American pictures abroad. The cost of 
such maintenance will be infinitesimal as compared 
with the benefit that the American nation will get. 



THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD 

SETS AN EXAMPLE 

By a vote of 1307 against 157, the members of the 
Screen Actors Guild have approved a resolution re- 
quiring that each of the officers, directors and com- 
mittee members furnish an affidavit stating that he is 
not a member of the Communist party. 

By having passed such a resolution, the SAG mem- 
bers did not lower their dignity as American citizens 
or as members of the Guild, nor did they attach 
any stigma on the officers, directors and committee 
members; they merely complied with a law requiring 
that the officers of all unions sign such an affidavit. 

Just as no harm will come to the industry from the 
action taken by the SAG, no harm would have been 
done if the Ten answered the questions of the Con- 
gressional Committee on Un-American Activities. 
If anything, their willingness to answer the questions 
would have shown that they are good American citi- 
zens. Instead, they saw fit to take a stand that has 
discredited the motion picture industry. Their atti- 
tude has created an impression among the public that 
the motion picture industry in general, and the Screen 
Writers Guild in particular, is infested with Commu- 
nists, and that these are able to insert in motion pic- 
ture scripts Communistic propaganda that is detri- 
mental to the interests of the country. Here is some 
proof of this statement : 

In a poll conducted by the Minneapolis Star- 
Tribune recently, seven per cent of those polled felt 
that the Communists were very successful in getting 
Communistic propaganda into films, twenty-six per 
cent stated that they were fairly successful, forty-nine 
per cent said that they were not successful, and 
eighteen per cent had no opinion. 

The fact that only seven per cent thought that the 
Communists were successful and twenty-six per cent 
thought them fairly successful is not the point; the 
point is that there are people who think that the 
Communists were successful, even though they could 
not recall a single film in which Communistic propa- 
ganda was put across. 

As said repeatedly in these columns, this writer 
cannot recall a single film that could make even one 
Communist. There were, of course, instances that de- 
cried our system by presenting the banker and the 
generally wealthy man as villains, but such twists 
were given to fijms long before the Communistic 
problem became the issue of the day. 

Now and then the Communists might have treated 
a subject in a manner designed to condemn the capi- 
talistic system and thus promote, indirectly, the 
Communistic system, but the efforts of these Com- 
munists must have been crude, for in the course of 
my motion picture career I have seen more than ten 
thousand features and yet I cannot recall a single pic- 
ture that could induce one to embrace Communism. 

Oh, yes: "Monsieur Verdoux," Charles Chaplin's 
last picture, did contain a situation in which Mr. 
Chaplin tried to put over an ideology of his — that the 
murders he had committed were infinitesimal as com- 
pared with the deaths that were caused by the atomic 
bomb. But what was the American people's verdict? 
Ask Chaplin! 



B>nt«red ka se«owl-ctese naitt*r Juiuarjr i, liiX, at thu fuai offl«« at New York, New Turk, under the aet of Uaroh 8, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS PubUahed Weekly by 

United States JIB.OO (Form.rly Sixth Avenue) Harrison's Reports. Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 „ v i, on M v Publisher 

Canada 16.50 «ew York ZO, IM. T. P. S. HARRISON, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Great Britain IB.Ti Deroted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1 1919 

Australia, New Zealand, 

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35c a Copy Columns, it It is to Benefit ilie Exhibitor, 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 1948 No. 10 



A MISTAKEN NOTION 

Daily Variety reported recently that, in a letter 
sent to the London Times, J. Arthur Rank stated that 
British production is now ready to challenge Holly- 
wood. "We now have," stated Mr. Rank, "a powerful 
bargaining weapon in our theatre interests here and 
overseas," and "our aim is to secure fair showing for 
our films on the world screens and we are well on our 
way to achieve this." 

Were Mr. Rank not filled with patriotic fervor, his 
letter to the London Times, either would not have 
been written, or it would not have contained ambi- 
tious statements that are doubtful of fulfillment. For 
instance, several weeks after Mr. Rank's letter was 
published, Tom O'Brien, Labor member of Parlia- 
ment and general secretary of the British National 
Association of Theatrical and Kine Employees, 
warned that, unless an early solution was found to the 
tax deadlock caused by Britain's 75% tax on Amer- 
ican film earnings, one hundred thousand British 
cinema and studio workers would find themselves out 
of work, and sixty per cent of the British movie 
theatres would have to shut down. In the face of such 
a statement, how can Mr. Rank feel that the British 
film industry is now ready to challenge Hollywood, 
when it cannot produce enough pictures to either keep 
its own nationals employed or British theatres operat- 
ing? And just imagine what will happen to Mr. Rank's 
own production plans if sixty per cent of the British 
theatres close down because of a product shortage: 
His own pictures will bring in less revenue and, with 
the income much less than it is now, he will be unable 
to spend as much money on production as he is 
spending now, with the result that the quality of his 
pictures will suffer. 

Not only Mr. Rank but also other British pro- 
ducers have consistently claimed that their pictures 
are not getting a fair showing on the American 
screens, indicating, of course, that there is a boycott 
in the United States against British pictures. 

The quickest way by which the British producers 
could ascertain whether such a boycott exists is to 
buy a few theatres in the United States, preferably 
choice theatres, if possible, and play British films ex- 
clusively, exploiting them in the most sensational way. 
If the American pubHc should patronize these films, 
making the theatres' operation profitable, then there 
can be drawn no other conclusion than that there is a 
definite boycott. But until such a method is followed, 
it is unfair for the British Government to condition 
the remittal of American dollars from Britain to the 
United States on the number of dollars that British 
films earn in the United States. 

The plan has, of course, been tried — a Httle over 
two years ago Mr. Rank leased the Winter Garden 



Theatre on Broadway and operated it as a showcase 
for his pictures, but he was not very successful. 
H-^rrison's Reports, however, does not wish to hold 
up this experiment as an example of what will happen 
to a new test by reason of the fact that the competi- 
tion in the Broadway district is too keen to enable one 
to reach a definite conclusion. But theatres can cer- 
tainly be bought or leased in better locations, where 
the theatres have been yielding a profit all along. All 
the British producers have to do is to offer an attrac- 
tive price. 

To the American exhibitor, theatre operating is not 
a charitable affair. Before booking a film, he wants to 
be sure that he will at least have a reasonable chance to 
make a profit. The British producers may argue that 
such is not the case by reason of the fact that, in the 
past few years, a number of their films have been 
acclaimed by the critics yet the exhibitors shied away 
from them. The answer is that these films, though 
worthy productions, are the sort that appeal to the 
few rather than to the many. In other words, they are 
what is known in the trade as "arty" pictures. What 
the British producers have yet to learn is that, to the 
rank-and-file exhibitors in this country, art belongs in 
a museum. 

Of course, not all British pictures sent to these 
shores are of the "arty" type. There have been some 
good dramas and melodramas, the sort that should 
appeal to the American masses. But here again the 
British are up against it, for, even though these films 
contain ingredients that will please the majority of 
picture-goers, they lack the one thing that will draw 
people to the box-office — star value. While the story 
is all-important, it has been the experience of the 
American exhibitor that his patrons go to see a film 
chiefly because their favorite players are in the lead- 
ing roles. The British players are, in the main, un- 
known to the American public. Consequently, if an 
American exhibitor offers very Httle for an American 
film, no matter how meritorious, unless a popular 
player is in the leading role, how can the British pro- 
ducers expect any better treatment when the players 
in their pictures are practically unknown? 

Before the British films can become popular in the 
United States and bring in sufficient revenue to satisfy 
the British producers, these producers must make their 
stars known to the American pubhc through the 
newspapers, magazines and exploitation stunts. Once 
this is accomplished, and the pictures are of good 
quaHty, with British accents that are not too thick to 
be understood, the American independent exhibitors 
will be more than glad to book them, not only because 
they will have a reasonable chance to make a profit, 
but also because it ^^dll pay them to establish another 
(Continued on last page) 



38 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 6, 1948 



"Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay!" with 
June Haver and Lon McCallister 

(20th Century-Fox, April; time, 93 min.) 
A pretty good outdoor Technicolor melodrama, revolv- 
ing around the domestic, romantic, and business troubles 
of a young farm boy, who buys a pair of hard-to-handle 
mules and struggles to pay for them out of his meagre earn- 
ings as a hired hand. Based on the novel by George Agnew 
Chamberlain, the story blends human appeal, drama, com- 
edy, youthful romance and occasional thrills in a way that 
should satisfy most patrons, in spite of the fact that there 
is considerable hokum in spots. A novel and interesting 
part of the film has to do with the depiction of the mule as 
a hard-working, intelligent animal, one whose prowess and 
service to man is in many ways superior to the horse. The 
title, incidentally, is the cry used to urge the mules on. How 
the mules solve the boy's troubles, romantic and otherwise, 
gives the tale a happy ending. The direction and perform- 
ances are good and, though the story unfolds in just the 
manner one expects, it holds one's interest throughout and 
is easy to take: — 

Left with a mean stepmother (Anne Revere) and a cruel 
stepbrother (Robert Karnes) when his father (Henry Hull) 
leaves their midwest farm to return to the sea, Lon Mc- 
Callister obtains a job as a hired hand for Tom Tully, with 
whose daughter (June Haver) he was in love. June, how- 
ever, favors Karnes. Tully, a loud-mouthed farmer, becomes 
livid with anger when two mules he had just paid $300 for 
refuse to budge; he threatens to shoot the animals. Lon, 
horrified, offers to buy them and signs a contract with Tully 
agreeing to pay him $5 a week out of his wages. With the 
aid of Walter Brennan, a friendly neighbor, Lon learns to 
handle the mules and soon finds an opportunity to earn $1T 
a day with them hauling logs. Karnes, jealous, cooks up a 
scheme with Tully whereby he would fire Lon and then take 
back the mules because of his inability to meet the $5 pay- 
ment. The scheme is overheard by Natalie Wood, June's 
precocious little sister, who informs Lon. The young man 
goads Tully into firing him so that he could go to work 
hauhng logs. The feud between the stepbrothers is inten- 
sified when Lon thrashes Karnes for making improper ad- 
vances to June. By this time June realizes her love for Lon 
and denounces her father when he attempts to take the mules 
away from the lad because of his inability, due to a delayed 
payday, to meet the weekly $5 payment. She gives him the 
money herself. Meanwhile word had come of Lon's father's 
death, making the lad sole owner of the farm. He manages 
to rid himself of Karnes and his stepmother, leaving him- 
self prepared with a home for June. Tully remains his only 
problem, for he needed his consent to marry June. The situa- 
tion resolves itself when Tully, stuck in a muddy field with 
his tractor, bets Lon that the mules could not pull him out — 
the wager being his consent to the marriage. The mules 
come through for Lon to the joy of everyone concerned, 
including Tully. 

F. Hugh Herbert wrote the screen play and directed it, 
and Walter Morosco produced it. Suitable for the family. 



"Madonna of the Desert" with 
Lynne Roberts and Don Castle 

(Republic, Feb. 23; time. 60 min.) 
Fair program entertainment, suitable for neighborhood 
theatres. Revolving around the efforts of several crooks to 
steal the jewelled statue of a madonna, the story is developed 
along familiar lines; nevertheless, it holds one in suspense 
because of the constant danger to the heroine, one of the 
thieves, whose reformation is brought about by the statue's 
miraculous power to ward off evil. The action is slow in 
spots, but for the most part it generates a fair amount of 
excitement, caused by the heroine's efforts to thwart the 
crook with whom she had been in league, as well as another 
crook, who was "muscling in" on the scheme. The closing 
scenes, where the two crooks kill each other, are wildly 
melodramatic. The romantic interest is pleasant, the pho- 
tography sharp, and the production values pretty good: — 
Sheldon Leonard, a suave Los Angeles crook dealing in 
art treasures, sends Lynne Robrts, an accomplice, to the 
ranch of Don Castle to steal a email jewelled madonna, 



which the young man prized highly because of its miracu- 
lous power to ward off evil. She takes along a copy of the 
statue, planning to substitute it for the original. She becomes 
a guest at the ranch through a subterfuge, but Castle's trust- 
ing nature, coupled with the fact that her every attempt to 
steal the madonna is somehow thwarted, causes her to have 
a change of heart. She buries the copy and determines to 
face Leonard with a refusal to carry out his orders. She 
mistakenly buries the original statue, however, leaving the 
copy in its place to be stolen by Don Barry, another crook, 
who had learned of Leonard's scheme. Angered when Lynne 
confronts him with her decision, Leonard heads for the 
ranch himself and, en route, intercepts Barry fleeing with 
the copy. He gives Barry a beating and, realizing that Lynne 
had buried the original statue, compels her to return to the 
ranch to point out the resting place. Castle intercepts them 
and, as he slugs it out with Leonard, Barry returns. He kills 
Leonard to settle old scores but dies himself in the exchange 
of gunfire. Castle forgives Lynne, pointing out that the 
Madonna had brought her to the ranch, not to steal, but to 
become his wife. 

Albert DeMond wrote the screen play from a story by 
Frank Wisbar. Stephen Auer produced it, and George Blair 
directed it. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Casbah" with Yvonne DeCarlo, 
Tony Martin and Peter Lorre 

(Uniu.-Int'i., no release date set; time, 94 min.) 

A fairly good remake of "Algiers," which was produced 
originally in this country by United Artists in 1938, with 
Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamar as the stars. While the story 
is substantially the same, this version differs in that music 
and dancing have been added, with several songs sung by 
Tony Martin, and the dances executed expertly by Kather- 
ine Dunham and her troupe. Like the original version, this 
story lacks human appeal, for not one character stands out 
as worthy of the spectator's sympathy. The hero is a crook 
who feels no repentance for his misdeeds, and the two 
women in his Hfe are both of low moral character. More- 
over, some of the features, such as a ruthless murder, are un- 
pleasant. The romantic interest, however, is quite warm, 
and there are some good comedy touches. Tony Martin 
gives a good account of himself as "Pcpe Le Moko," the 
romantic thief, as do Yvonne De Carlo, as his Algerian 
sweetheart, and Marta Toren, a newcomer, as a sultry 
Parisian tourist with whom he falls in love. Peter Lorre, as 
the detective who matches wits with Martin, is a standout. 
Algiers is the locale: — 

To evade imprisonment in Paris, Martin exiles himself 
in the Casbah section of Algiers, which was inhabited by 
crooks who protected him from the pohce. Yvonne, his 
girl-friend, loves him, but realizes that he just tolerates her. 
Lorre sees Martin in the Casbah regularly but makes no 
effort to arrest him in the knowledge that Martin's followers 
would never permit him to be taken within the Casbah. 
Lorre looked forward to the day when he could lure Martin 
from the Casbah and effect his arrest. The opportunity pre- 
sents itself when Martin becomes attracted to Marta, a 
beautiful Parisian tourist, who sneaks away from her wealthy 
fiance every day to visit him. He induces her to break her 
engagement and promises to go back to Paris with her. 
Learning of the affair, Lorre decides to use Marta as bait to 
lure Martin outside the Casbah's gates. He keeps Marta 
from meeting Martin by leading her to believe that Martin 
had been killed. Despondent, she decides to return to Paris. 
Learning of the trick Lorre had played on him, Martin de- 
cides to steal out of the Casbah and buy a ticket on the 
same plane. But Yvonne, who could not bear to have Martin 
leave her, informs the police. They trap him at the airport. 
As Marta's plane takes off, Martin rushes out on the field 
to wave goodbye. A detective, believing he was attempting 
an escape, shoots him down; he dies. 

L. Bush-Fckete and Arnold Manoff wrote the screen play 
from the novel, "Pepe Le Moko," by Detective Ashelbe. 
Nat G. Goldstone produced it, and John Berry directed it. 
The cast includes Thomas Gomez, Hugo Haas, Douglas 
Dick and others. 

Adult entertainment. 



March 6. 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



39 



"Jiggs and Maggie in Society" 
with Joe Yule and Renie Riano 

(Monogram, January 10; time, 65 min.) 

A pleasing light comedy with occasional strong laughs. 
It is of the slapstick variety, but of higher order. The pro- 
duction is classy, and the direction and acting very good. 
The story has been founded on the MacManus series of 
"Bringing Up Father" cartoons, so popular among adults as 
well as children. The situation where Joe Yule is shown 
listening to a broadcast of a spooky story is laughter-pro- 
voking. The one where he is shown outside a window, high 
up over the street, talking to his sweetie over the telephone 
and in danger of falling to the pavement below, should hold 
the audience in tense suspense. (This situation reminds one 
of Harold Lloyd's "Safety Last," although it is not a dupli- 
cation.) Joe Yule, who is Mickey Rooney's father, does fine 
work as "Jiggs," as does Renie Riano as "Maggie." The ap- 
pearance of Dale Carnegie, Arthur Murray and Sheilah 
Graham in the cast, as themselves, adds novelty to the picture 
and enhances the exploitation values: — 

Maggie intensifies her efforts to crash the gate of upper 
Manhattan society, while Jiggs continues to mingle with his 
old cronies at Dinty Moore's, on Tenth Avenue. Taking 
advantage of Maggie's social ambitions. Van De Graft (Lee 
Bonnell), a shady character, informs her that his company 
had succeeded in tracing Jiggs' family tree and the family's 
coat of arms, and that, for a given amount of money, he will 
be able to list Jiggs' name in the social register. He suggests 
also that she give a party for important socialites. Maggie 
engages Dale Carnegie to tutor Jiggs, and Arthur Murray 
to give him dancing lessons. Through Murray, Maggie 
meets and is eventually interviewed on the air by Sheilah 
Graham. Maggie becomes jealous when she sees Jiggs in the 
company of Millicent Parker (Wanda McKay). A profes- 
sional party planner is engaged by Maggie to stage a novel 
party and, at the height of the festivities, several crooks, 
friends of Van De Graft, rob many of the bejeweled socialite 
guests. But the police, who had followed the crooks, arrive 
in time to arrest the thieves and retrieve the jewels. 

Barney Gerard produced it, and Eddie Cline directed it, 
from an original screenplay written by both of them. 

A family audience picture. 



"The Return of the Whistler" with 
Michael Duane and Lenore Aubert 

(Columbia, March 18; time, 63 min.) 
Although its quality is not as good as some of the 
"Whistler" pictures directed by William Castle, this first of 
the new series is a fair enough melodrama that should get by 
as a supporting feature in double-billing houses. The story 
is not without its implausibilities, and on occasion the pad- 
ding is obvious, but on the whole it tells its story with suffi- 
cient speed, excitement and intrigue to satisfy audiences in 
its intended market. The production values are modest, and 
the direction and acting adequate. The players, however, 
mean little at the box-office: — 

Lenore Aubert, French-born widow of an American avia- 
tor, disappears on the eve of her marriage to Michael Duane, 
a civil engineer. Duane had met her several weeks earlier, 
at which time she had told him that she had run away from 
her dead husband's relatives because of cruel treatment. 
Learning the address of the relatives, he goes there and 
meets James Cardwell, who informs him that he is Lenore's 
husband, and that, during mental lapses, she imagined her- 
self to be a widow. He takes him to Lenore, who confirms 
the story. Bewildered, Duane leaves her, unaware that the 
relatives, who were after the fortune left to her by her hus- 
band, had threatened to kill him (Duane) unless she con- 
firmed the story. In the course of events, Duane comes 
across evidence indicating that Cardwell had lied. Mean- 
while the relatives had managed to place Lenore in an in- 
sane asylum. Duane investigates, learns the truth and, after 
a series of different happenings, effects her rescue and im- 
prisons the relatives. 

Edward Bock and Maurice Tombragel wrote the screen 
play from a story by Cornell Woolrich. Rudolph Fluthow 
produced it, and D. Ross Lederman directed it. The cast 
includes Richard Lane and othert. Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Miracle of the Bells" with Valli, 
Fred MacMurray and Frank Sinatra 

(RKO. no release date set, time, 126 min.) 

Excellent mass entertainment. Adapted from Russell Jan- 
ney's best-selling novel of the same name, "The Miracle of 
the Bells" is a powerful human interest drama, of a quality 
rarely achieved in motion picture production. Its story about 
the tragic death of a talented girl whose untimely end robs 
her of the fame she would have achieved, and about the ef- 
forts of a press agent to bring to her, in death, the fame she 
would have enjoyed in life, is filled with situations that will 
stir one's emotions deeply. From the opening to the closing 
scenes, one's attention is gripped so strongly that the more 
than two hours running time pass by unnoticed. 

Told partly in flashback, the story opens with Fred Mac- 
Murray, a press agent, bringing the body of a young girl 
(Valli) to Coaltown, a dingy Pennsylvania mining town, 
to be buried beside her father. A greedy undertaker (Harold 
Vermilyea) takes advantage of MacMurray's grief and tries 
to burden him with expenses he could not afford by steering 
him to the town's largest church. But MacMurray, to carry 
out the girl's dying wish, takes the body to St. Michael's, 
an impoverished church, whose priest, Frank Sinatra, sym- 
pathetically offers to conduct the burial services at no cost 
because of MacMurray's low finances. Asked about Valli's 
life history, MacMurray relates to Sinatra how he had first 
met her in a burlesque theatre where she was struggling for 
a chance to get on the stage. He had helped her to obtain 
a job in the chorus, and in subsequent meetings they had 
formed a strong friendship, during which he had learned 
of her ambition to become a great star. Their paths had 
crossed again in Hollywood, at a time when a temperamental 
star had walked out on the leading role in "Joan of Arc," 
for which picture he was studio press agent. Because of his 
faith in Valli, he had persuaded Lee J. Cobb, the producer, 
to give her the part, in spite of the fact that she was an un- 
known. She had played the part magnificently, hiding the 
fact that she was ill with tuberculosis, but she had burned 
herself out working and, three days after the film had been 
completed, she had died of the disease, contracted during 
her early, underprivileged life in Coaltown. Despite Mac- 
Murray's urgings, Cobb had refused to release the film, 
claiming that the public would not accept a dead star in the 
role. As Sinatra arranges for the burial, MacMurray hits 
upon an idea to get nationwide publicity for the funeral in 
the hope that it might induce Cobb to release the film as 
a tribute to Valli's faith and courage. By giving worthless 
checks to the different churches in town, he induces them to 
ring their bells continuously for three days and nights. The 
unusual stunt wins nationwide attention and brings Valli's 
story to the public, but Cobb, though he makes good the 
worthless checks, refuses to change his mind. One morning, 
however, the worshipers in the church notice two statues at 
the altar turn on their bases and face Valli's coffin. Word of 
the "miracle" spreads like wildfire. Sinatra investigates and 
finds that the statues' movements were the result of the shift- 
ing of an old mine working beneath the church, caused by 
the weight of the unusual crowds in the church. MacMurray 
induces him to defer an explanation to the worshipers be- 
cause of the spiritual lift the illusion had given them. Cobb, 
by this time convinced of MacMurray's sincerity in his de- 
sire to honor Valli, agrees to release the film but donates the 
profits for a memorial hospital in Coaltown to combat the 
disease that had killed Valli. 

It is a beautifully produced and directed picture, and the 
acting is of the highest order. Valli is very impressive as the 
stricken girl, and MacMurray, as the press agent, delivers 
one of his finest performances. Sinatra, as the priest, is un- 
usually good and restrained, never overacting or spoiHng 
situations with too much sentiment. Lee J. Cobb, as the 
producer who places his principles before profits, is excellent. 

Ben Hecht and Quentin Reynolds wrote the very fine 
screen play, Irving Pichel directed it with understanding, 
and Jesse L, Lasky and Walter MacEwen produced it in the 
very best of taste. 

It is a picture for the entire family. 



40 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 6, 1948 



source of product, which in turn will serve to step up 
competition among the American producers for an 
exhibitor's available playing time. 

And the affiliated theatres will have no way out but 
to book them, too — that is, if the theatre-owning 
producer'distributors don't want to see their own 
films excluded from the screens of the theatres Mr. 
Rank controls in and outside of England. 

Harrison's Reports predicted some time ago that 
Mr. Rank was in a hurry to acquire theatres through- 
out the world for the purpose of using them as a black- 
jack to compel the American theatre-owning pro- 
ducers to book his films under penalty of effecting the 
exclusion of their films. He now speaks of these thea- 
tre holdings as "a powerful bargaining weapon." 

Of course, no one can blame Mr. Rank for adopting 
methods that will insure the greatest possible revenue 
for British films. Certainly, the American producers 
have not been angels when one considers some of the 
methods they have used. But along with the smart 
moves he makes Mr. Rank should see to it that the 
star value and quahty of British films are so raised as 
to enable him to say to the American exhibitors: 
"Gentlemen, I am producing pictures that will make 
you as much profit as you are making from American 
pictures. I believe that I am entitled to the same con- 
sideration for my pictures that I am extending to 
American pictures. For years the American producers 
were getting fat on the profits they made from the 
showing of their pictures in British theatres. I am not 
asking for a favor; all I want is fair play." Who could 
say that Mr. Rank was wrong if he were able to take 
such a position? But, before he could take such a posi- 
tion, he must have pictures that will back him up. 
Right now he hasn't got them. 

Employing a blackjack is not a good method to get 
results. Mr Rank will soon find this out. 



A PATRIOTIC DUTY FOR 
THE AMERICAN PRODUCERS 

According to trade paper reports, Nathan D. 
Golden, chief of the Motion Picture Bureau of the 
U. S. Department of Commerce, has assured the pro- 
ducers that the Government, in requiring them to 
obtain export licenses for all films shipped abroad, is 
not seeking to impose a form of censorship. But he 
warned that, unless the industry becomes selective in 
the type of product it sends abroad, the action might 
"handicap" it at some future date. Meaning, of course, 
that the industry, unless it recognizes the importance 
of sending abroad pictures that contain nothing dis- 
paraging to the American way of hfe, might invite 
Federal censorship. 

In suggesting to the producers that they recognize 
their responsibility in selecting films for export, Mr. 
Golden is reflecting the attitude held by many Sena- 
tors and Congressmen, Republican and Democratic 
alike. For instance, last January, during Senate debate 
of the need to increase appropriations for the State 
Department's information and educational division 
for the purpose of counter-attacking the vicious anti- 
U. S. propaganda disseminated by the Soviet Union, 
Senator H. Alexander Smith, of New Jersey, stressed 
the importance of not sending abroad pictures that 
represent the American way of life falsely. He pointed 
out that "misrepresentation does have its effect and 
does leave questions in the minds of people who other- 



wise would be friendly to the United States." The 
Senator observed also that "while none of us want to 
impose any type of censorship, there should be some 
way by agreement with the producers themselves to 
maintain the highest possible quality of production" 
for export. 

The justified attitude of our Government officials is 
in a way a warning that, unless extreme care is taken 
to send abroad only the finest pictures the industry 
is capable of producing, there will be Federal censor- 
ship on pictures intended for export; and once such 
censorship is established you may be sure that, before 
long, it will be imposed also on pictures distributed 
in the domestic market. 

There is no other way out: there will be, either 
voluntary screening of the pictures that degrade 
America, or involuntary — by law. 

With the nation taxing itself billions of dollars to 
aid the recovery of Europe, and with our Government 
spending millions to counteract Communistic propa- 
ganda, it behooves our picture producers to take the 
utmost care to protect the United States from slander, 
both at home and abroad. We are going through a 
crisis, one that may lead to a catastrophe — to war, 
unless every one of us supports the Government in its 
efforts to bring peace and good will to all the peoples 
of the world. 



THE MUSIC TAX 

Hearings on the Lewis Bill, which will relieve the 
exhibitors from paying a music tax by compelling the 
producers to acquire the public performance rights to 
all music in their films before licensing them to the 
exhibitors, have been postponed from March 1 to 
March 22, the delay being granted at the request of 
both proponents and opponents of the bill. 

Those of you who are wondering how to deal with 
ASCAP while Congress has the Lewis Bill under con- 
sideration will be interested in the advice given to the 
members of the Independent Theatre Owners of Ohio 
by Martin G. Smith, their president, in a service 
bulletin dated March 2. 

Mr. Smith suggests that, instead of signing 
ASCAP's application form, the exhibitors might send 
ASCAP their check for a license on a monthly basis 
at the new rates, accompanied by the following letter : 
"Dear Sirs: 

"Enclosed is my check for $ for public per- 
formance rights for the month beginning March 15 

and ending April 15, 1948 for the Theatre, 

located at This is in accordance 

with the rates effective March 1 5 as pubhshed in the 
motion picture trade papers. 

"Due to the pendency of H.R. 5014 and various 
litigations involving your right to collect these royal- 
ties, plus falling off in box-office receipts, I must pay 
these royalties under protest and in monthly install- 
ments. 

"Yours very truly" 

Mr. Smith suggests also that the following notation 

be made on the check : P.P. rights, Theatre, 

from 3/15/48 to 4/15/48, paid under protest. 

According to Mr. Smith, the purpose of this course 
is to keep the matter in the correspondence stage until 
the fate of the Lewis Bill is determined, and to test out 
ASCAP'S willingness to do business on less than a 
yearly basis. 



Entered afi second-class raattir January 4. 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, undoi- the act of March 3, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MARCH 13, 1948 No. 11 



TIME FOR THE HOLLYWOOD UNIONS 
TO TAKE NOTICE 

The intentions of the producers to increase their produc- 
tion activities in foreign countries must have been read by 
the Hollywood unions and guilds. Italy has invited them to 
use the frozen money in that country for the production of 
American pictures. The Canadian Government, according 
to a report in weekly Variety, has already negotiated deals 
with the American producers whereby the flow of film earn- 
ings from the Dominion to the United States, estimated at 
$17,000,000 a year, will be ofi'set by the production of 
American pictures in Canada, with production expenditures 
eventually equalling the amount of money taken out of 
Canada. Both Italy and Canada have offered the producers 
facilities and conveniences that will assure them of economi- 
cal production costs. And the solution of the 75% tax in 
Great Britain seems to offer no other way out than for the 
British Government to eliminate the tax and to make a deal 
with the American producers to use their frozen funds to 
make pictures in England. By this method the British and 
other governments will not be drained of valuable dollars, 
and they will create employment for their nationals. 

Though sound commerce requires that a country earn 
from its exports at least as much as it spends for imports in 
order to keep its economy balanced, the fact remains that 
the flight of American production abroad will not do much 
good to the American workers, whether they are studio 
technicians or laborers, for it follows that fewer pictures will 
be produced in Hollj'wood and. in consequence, fewer 
people will be employed. 

Though the freezing of their earnings in the different 
countries has compelled the producers to think of producing 
pictures abroad as the only means by which these earnings 
could be brought back to the United States, the labor situa- 
tion in Hollywood undoubtedly has been a motivating factor 
in any thoughts they have about foreign production, perhaps 
more important than the money-freezing factor itself, for 
by their exorbitant demands as well as by their jurisdictional 
disputes the Hollywood unions and guilds have sent the 
cost of production so high that the producers are finding it 
impossible to make pictures at a figure that will reasonably 
assure them of recovery of costs with a profit. In short, if 
employment in Hollywood keeps on diminishing as a result 
of, either the flight of production abroad, or the excessive 
costs, the unions and guilds will have no one to blame but 
themselves. 

It is to the self-interest of the workers in Hollywood to 
discourage the producers' ideas about making pictures 
abroad, but before they succeed they will have to take posi- 
tive action to remove the many causes of discontent among 
the producers. 

One of the causes of discontent, aside from the stiff rates 
of wages, which for comparable occupations and crafts are 
higher in the motion picture industry than in any other in- 
dustry in the world, has been the silly division of work. For 
the unions to demand that only a member of the electricians' 
union shall have the right to turn on a switch or change a 
light bulb, compeUing the producer to employ a special man 
at a full day's salary for work that requires no more than 
five minutes of his time; or that only a member of a stunt 
men's union shall have the right to pull a rope that will 
topple a library case filled with books, requiring the payment 
of a full day's salary for work that, not only takes less than 
a minute of a man's time, but does not require special train- 
ing, is so disgusting to a producer that it is only natural for 



him to think of ways and means by which he may rid him- 
self of the union's stranglehold. And the only way of 
escape is for the producer to transfer his activities to places 
where he will have some protection against "feather-bed- 
ding" and other unreasonable demands. 

This paper recognizes the fact that, when there were no 
unions to protect the workers in the studios, the producers 
used to take advantage of them. The writer has been told of 
cases where the producers used to work a man for fifteen 
and sixteen hours in a stretch without even giving him time 
for his meals. But the unions should not adopt retaliatory 
measures now, for it is not doing their interests any good. 

A little good will and a little more sound thinking can 
solve many a studio problem. But who is going to make the 
first move? 



SOME INTERESTING OBSERVATIONS 
ON TWO SUPREME COURT DECISIONS 

Under the heading, "Supreme Court Decisions a Por- 
tent?" Abram F. Myers, National Allied's general counsel, 
made the following observations in a bulletin dated March 9: 

"Yesterday the Supreme Court handed down its decisions 
in the Gypsum Case and the Electrical Case. We have not 
yet received the official text of the opinions. But we do know 
this much about the opinions: 

"In the Gypsum Case the Court ruled that the tying of a 
group of patents into one Licensing agreement under which 
the patent holder and the licensed companies agreed to a 
schedule of prices was a violation of the anti-trust laws, 
which forbid conspiracy to fix prices in restraint of trade. 

"In the case of the electrical companies the Court held 
that patent rights do not extend to a cross-licensing agree- 
ment by competing companies to exchange patents with 
each other and to maintain agreed prices for the patented 
products. 

"This office will reserve specific comment as to the bearing 
of these decisions on the motion picture cases now under 
consideration by the Court until the full text can be studied. 
However, so far as monopoly rights are concerned there is 
no essential difference between patents and copyrights. This 
much is certain,, if the Government had lost these cases, 
instead of winning them, its chances in the motion picture 
cases would be dismal. It is certain that the rulings will pro- 
voke no cheers in major company circles. 

"Bearing of the Decisions on ASCAP" 

"We do not have to await the official text to realize that 
these decisions have an important bearing on the legality of 
ASCAP. Just read 'copyright' instead of 'patent' in the first 
and second paragraphs of this bulletin and it will be clear 
that the Court has dealt a blow to the music trust. These 
decisions should be of the greatest comfort to Berger, 
Brandt and others now fighting ASCAP. 

"It appears certain under these rulings that a great copy- 
right pool issuing uniform licenses at uniform rates amounts 
to a price-fixing conspiracy. When film moving in interstate 
commerce is burdened by that conspiracy the application of 
the Sherman Act becomes apparent. And under well-estab- 
lished principles, anyone who participates in such price- 
fixing activities is equally guilty. 

"Allied has been criticized for standing aloof from the 
price-fixing negotiations with ASCAP. Allied is not a party 
to the recent 'deal' fixing rates for all theatres. Undoubtedly 
these decisions will give rise to new lawsuits. And among 
the defendants to such actions may be some new and very 
red faces." 



42 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 13, 1948 



"Fort Apache" with John Wayne, 
Henry Fonda and Shirley Temple 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 127 min.) 
Beautiful scenery and players of potent marquee value 
are on the credit side of this frontier melodrama, but these 
arc not enough to compensate for a story that lacks clarifii' 
cation and is excessively ovcrlong, with the result that it 
shapes up as no more than a fair entertainment. Basically, 
the plot concerns itself with Indian warfare on the Arizona' 
Mexico border in the post-Civil War era, but it is not until 
the final reel, during a battle between the Apaches and the 
U. S. Cavalry, that the excitement reaches any appreciable 
heights. For the most part the action is slow-moving, with 
most of the footage devoted to army life at the Fort, and to 
the conflict between seasoned officers, veterans of Indian 
fighting, and an arrogant commanding officer who, embit- 
tered because he had been assigned to a remote outpost, 
antagoni-cs his men by demanding rigid conformity to all 
rules, ignores their advice, and finally leads them into a 
massacre in an effort to gain personal glory. It is not a 
pleasant tale, and the fact that the commanding officer of a 
U. S. Cavalry unit tricks the Indians with an offer of peace 
and then double-crosses them by the use of force is a bit 
hard to take, particularly since his perfidiousness is ignored 
by our government and he is played up as a hero who died a 
glorious death. Some good comedy relief is provided by the 
horseplay revolving around the training of recruits, and 
there is a routine romance that is not too important to the 
plot: — 

Embittered because the War Department had demoted him 
from his Civil War rank of general and had ordered him to 
take command of lonely Fort Apache, Lt. Col. Henry Fonda 
thinks only of winning fame and glory so that he can return 
to Washington. He wins the antagonism of the Fort's per- 
sonnel because of his rigid discipUnary measures, and of his 
adlierence to the Army's caste system, which causes him to 
frown upon the idea of his daughter, Shirley Temple, 
marrying Lt. John Agar, whose father. Ward Bond, was a 
non-commissioned officer. Learning that a tribe of Apache 
Indians had fled across the border into Mexico from a 
reservation because of their resentment against the corrupt 
practices of Grant Withers, a Government Indian agent, 
Fonda sees an opportunity to gain national fame if he can 
bring them back. He dispatches Capt. John Wayne to ar- 
range a peace meeting with the Indians, and the tribe 
leader, trusting Wayne's word, leads his people back over 
the line. Backed up by his entire command, Fonda arro- 
gantly orders the Apaches to proceed to the reservation or 
suffer the consequences. Wayne protests, but Fonda ignores 
him and, sending him to the rear, launches an attack. The 
Apaches, however, prove themselves formidable foes and 
wipe out the cavalry to a man, including Fonda, with the 
exception of Wayne's small detail in the rear. Wayne takes 
command of the Fort and, for the good of the service and 
out of respect for the memory of the fallen men, covers up 
Fonda's blunder and allows him to be hailed as a hero. 

John Ford produced and directed it from a screen play by 
Frank S. Nugent, suggested by the story "Massacre," by 
James Warner Bellah. The cast includes Pedro Armendaris, 
Victor McLaglen, George O'Brien, Irene Rich, Guy Kibbee 
and others. Suitable for the family. 



"Are You With It?" with Donald O'Connor 
and Olga San Juan 

(Universal, April; time. 90 min.) 
Just a fair comedy with music. Donald O'Connor's danc- 
ing and clowning do much to bolster the entertainment 
values, but even his efforts are not enough to overcome the 
frail, threadbare plot which, for the most part, makes one 
restless. As a young statistical wizard who loses hope for his 
future when he inadvertently misplaces a decimal point, 
O'Connor handles his role well enough, but his entangle- 
ments with a carnival and his romantic difficulties make for 
situations that are only mildly amusing at best. Other than 
O'Connor's skillful dance routines, neither the music nor the 
poduction numbers are sufficiently good to make up for the 
deficiencies. Since the picture doesn't offer much in the way 
of cast names, it may not have an easy time at the box'office. 



O'Connor, a model employee of a large insurance com- 
pany, loses his job when he misplaces a decimal point in his 
calculation of rate-tables, thus upsetting his plans to marry 
Olga San Juan. He meets Lew Parker, a pitchman with a 
traveling carnival, who, upon learning of O'Connor's mathe- 
matical genius, persuades him to join the carnival so that his 
wizardry could be employed to swindle people in games of 
chance. O'Connor's inherent honesty works to Parker's dis- 
advantage, but Walter Catlett, the carnival owner, hires him 
as an entertainer. O'Connor finds carnival life enjoyable, but 
Olga objects because of his proximity to the girl entertainers. 
She, too, joins the carnival to protect her interest in him. 
Meanwhile Catlett has his troubles meeting payments on 
notes held by a widow, who threatened to take over the 
carnival. One day, Olga appears on the stage in an abbrevi- 
ated costume, and O'Connor, in trying to get her off the 
stage, infuriates the audience and starts a riot. The entire 
troupe lands in jail, and Catlett, unable to meet his payments, 
loses the carnival to the widow. O'Connor is bailed out by 
his former employers, who wanted him to resume his old 
job. But, having become suspicious of the widow, O'Connor 
investigates her and discovers that, years previously, she had 
defrauded his company out of a large sum of money, which 
she had loaned to Catlett. As a result of this discovery, the 
insurance company becomes the owner of the carnival, and 
O'Connor is appointed as its business manager. 

Robert Arthur produced it and Jack Hively directed it 
from a screen play by Oscar Brodney, based on the musical 
comedy by Sam Perrin and George Balzer. The cast includes 
Martha Stewart, Pat Dane and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Sainted Sisters" with Veronica Lake, 
Joan Caulfield and Barry Fitzgerald 

(Paramount, April 30; time. 89 min.) 

A moderately amusing comedy-drama that will have to 
depend on the name value of the players. The story idea, 
that of two confidence women who are blackmailed into 
becoming good citizens and using their ill-gotten gains to 
help needy people, is good, but it is weakened by unbeliev- 
able characterizations and by comedy situations that are 
forced. Moreover, the pace is slow. But undiscriminating 
audiences in small-town and neighborhood theatres may get 
quite a few chuckles out of the proceedings, which take 
place in a small New England village at the turn of the 
century, for the humor is of the rustic type and much of it 
has been treated in a slapstick vein. Barry Fitzgerald, as the 
shrewd but kindly tombstone carver who makes the girls see 
the error of their ways, carries the picture with his amusing 
characterization : — 

Having fleeced an elderly New York banker of $25,000, 
Veronica Lake and Joan Caulfield head for the Canadian 
border with the police hot on their trail. A violent storm 
compels them to seek refuge in Fitzgerald's home. As they 
prepare to continue their flight, Fitzgerald discovers their 
loot and learns that the police were after them. Under threat 
of turning them in, he gains control of the money and 
compels them to remain in his home to do the household 
chores. The impoverished villagers, kept poor by the miserly 
tactics of Beulah Bondi, who owned most of the town, 
suddenly find themselves with necessities they had long 
prayed for. Fitzgerald spreads the word that the girls had 
donated the gifts out of the kindness of their hearts and, like 
it or not, the girls find themselves idolized by the villagers. 
Meanwhile George Reeves, a local tinker, seeks financial 
aid from Miss Bondi to bring electric power to the town. 
Through shrewd manipulation, Fitzgerald induces Miss 
Bondi to match a contribution (the last of the loot) from 
the girls to build a power plant and bring prosperity to the 
town. Entrusted with the money, the girls plan to make off 
with it, but. not wanting to shatter Fitzgerald's new-found 
faith in them they return the money to him. Both go back to 
New York to pay for their misdeeds and, months later, 
return to the village to settle down and marry. 

Richard Maibaum produced it and William D. Russell 
directed it, from a screen play by Harry Clork and N. Rich- 
ard Nash, based on a story by Elisa Bialk. The cast includes 
William Dcmarest, Chill Wills and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



March 13, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



43 



"Summer Holiday" with Mickey Rooney, 
Walter Huston and Frank Morgan 

(MGM. no release date set; time, 92 min.) 
Good mass entertainment. It is a remake of Eugene 
CNcill's play, "Ah, Wilderness," which was first produced 
by MGM in 1935. This version, photographed in Techni- 
color, is far more lavish, and it introduces some tuneful 
songs. The story, however remains the same, and its depic- 
tion of the family life of an average American family is a 
delightful combination of human interest, adolescent love, 
and comedy, with characters that are familiar to all. The 
locale is a small Connecticut town in the year 1906, and the 
action revolves around the "Miller" family, consisting of 
Walter Huston, a newspaper editor, as the father; Selena 
Roylc, as the mother; Mickey Rooney, as their 17-year-old 
son, a high school valedictorian whose revolutionary ideas 
about how to make a better world are a constant source of 
both amusement and embarrassment to his parents; Butch 
Jenkins, as Mickey's precocious kid brother; Agnes Moore- 
head, as a spinster aunt; and Frank Morgan, as a bachelor 
cousin, a lovable fellow whose weakness for drink was the 
cause of Miss Moorehead's refusal to marry him. Briefly, the 
story deals with Mickey's disillusionment when he is ordered 
to stay away from Gloria DcHaven, whose Puritan-minded 
father had caught him kissing her. Hurt when he receives a 
note from Gloria renouncing her love for him, Mickey joins 
an older boy on a date with two burlesque queens. His com- 
panion, Marilyn Maxwell, gets him drunk and, after making 
him spend all his money, has him thrown out of the saloon. 
His parents are shocked when he staggers home drunk and, 
as a disdplinary measure, confine him to his room. In a talk 
with his father on the following day, Mickey assures him 
that he had done nothing to be ashamed of, and promises 
not to associate with such a woman in the future. In the end 
he becomes reconciled with Gloria, while Morgan, having 
sworn off drink, is accepted by Miss Moorehead. 

A brief synopsis cannot do justice to the many situations 
that arouse hearty laughter, such as Morgan's winning of a 
beer-drinking contest at a Fourth of July picnic; Huston's 
embarrassment as he tries to explain the facts of life to 
Mickey; Butch Jenkins' childish pranks; and Mickey's dazed 
condition after he kisses his sweetheart for the first time. The 
sequence where Miss Maxwell takes advantage of Mickey in 
the saloon is well done, but it is pretty suggestive and for 
that reason an otherwise wholesome family entertainment 
rates an adult classification. Arthur Freed produced it and 
Rouben Mamoulian directed it from a screen play by 
Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. 



"April Showers" with Ann Sothem, 
Jack Carson and Robert Alda 

(Warner Bros., March 27; time, 94 min.) 
A good backstage musical. Revolving around the trials 
and tribulations of a family troupe of vaudevillians in 1912, 
the story offers little that is novel, but it is a satisfying enter- 
tainment, for it has good comedy touches, engaging musical 
sequences, human interest, and several situations that touch 
one deeply. Moreover, it has a number of songs that were 
popular in the old days, giving the film a pleasant nostalgic 
qualit)'. The surprise of the picture is Robert Ellis, a talented 
twelve-year-old youngster, whose dancing prowess is some- 
thing to see. And he acts well, too, endearing himself to the 
audience because of the devotion he shows for his parents. 
As the youngster's mother and father. Jack Carson and 
Ann Sothern are appealing, winning one's sympathy because 
of the sacrifices they make for each other. And their expert 
handling of the song and dance routines gives the proceed- 
ings quite a lift. S. Z. Sakall contributes an amusing charac- 
terization as a kindly theatrical hotel keeper, and Robert 
Alda, as the heavy, is efficient in an unsympathetic role: — 

Because of their stale comedy gags and outdated song-and- 
dance routines, Ann and Carson barely get along with their 
vaudeville act. But when their talented young son leaves 
military school and persuades them to let him join them on 
the stage, the act becomes one of the most successful on th& 
west coast. They soon receive an offer to appear on Broad- 
way and jubilantly head for New York. But Broadway 
proves to be a headache when the Gerry Society steps in and 
invokes a law prohibiting the youngster's appearance on the 



stage. Compelled to double up in their old act, Ann and 
Carson prove to be a bust. They return to San Francisco 
where Carson, his pride injured and misinterpreting remarks 
from fellow vaudevillians, takes to drink. He comes to the 
theatre drunk, causing the manager to cancel the act. With 
Carson branded as unreliable, the act is unable to obtain any 
bookings. Desperate, Carson arranges for Robert Alda, an 
old flame of Ann's, to take his place in the act. Ann and 
Robert object, but Carson, feigning anger, walks out on 
them in order to keep them in show business. The new act 
prospers and, after several months, is offered a spot in a new 
musical show. The producer, however, insists upon Alda 
doing Carson's old routine. Robert balks at teaching Alda 
his father's routine, and Alda, angered, beats the boy. Just 
then Carson, now reduced to the job of busboy in a cheap 
cafe, arrives for a visit with his son. He gives Alda a sound 
thrashing, much to the delight of the producer, who offers to 
give him another chance in show business if he would resume 
his old place in the act. It ends with the family back together 
again, scoring a huge success on opening night. 

William Jacobs produced and James V. Kern directed it 
from a screen play by Peter Milne, suggested by a story by 
Joe Laurie, Jr. Suitable for the family. 



"I Remember Mama" with Irene Dunne, 

Barbara Bel Geddes, Oscar Homolka 

and Philip Dom 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 137 min.) 

Excellent mass entertainment! It is a delightful, completely 
heart-warming film version of the successful Broadway stage 
play of the same name. Finely produced, expertly directed, 
and beautifully played by a great cast, the story, which takes 
place in San Francisco in the early 1900's, is a deeply moving 
drama of mother love, revolving around a collection of 
loosely related episodes in the life of a Norwegian- American 
family. It is the type of picture that can be enjoyed by both 
young and old, for its intensely human story presents domestic 
problems that will be recognized and appreciated by every 
one. Its innumerable heart-warming and amusing touches 
make the spectator sympathetic to every one of the principal 
characters. 

The center of the activity is Irene Dunne, who gives a 
wonderful performance as the patient and understanding 
mother, skillfully maintaining throughout a sbght Scandi' 
navian accent that serves to make the characterisation ail 
the more genuine. The manner in which she runs the house- 
hold on her husband's meagre earnings; the wisdom with 
which she meets the many little family crises that crop up; 
her patient understanding of the problems of her growing 
children; her masquerading as a scrub-woman in order to 
sneak by hospital authorities who had refused her permission 
to see her sick child for twenty-four hours — these and many 
other things she does to help her husband and four children 
through the many problems that beset them, give the film a 
great abundance of humorous incidents and emotional 
tangles, the sort that make you laugh one moment and break 
your heart the next. 

A brilliant performance is contributed by Oscar Homolka 
as lusty Uncle Chris, the accepted head of the family, whose 
rough manners, booming voice, and addiction to drink ter- 
rorize every one, but his gruffness proves to be only a 
camouflage when he reveals himself to be a man of tender 
feelings, as well as a benevolent fellow who spent every cent 
he made helping crippled youngsters to get well, Barbara 
Bel Geddes, as the eldest daughter, is appealing, as are the 
other children played by Peggy Mclntyre, June Hedin, and 
Steve Brown. As the father, Philip Dorn handles his part 
deftly. Edgar Bergen, as a meek undertaker who marries 
Mama's spinster sister; Rudy Vallee, as the pompous family 
doctor: Sir Cedric Hardwicke, as a scholarly boarder; ElUn 
Corby, Hope Landin, and Edith Evanson, as Mama's sisters; 
Tommy Ivo, as a crippled boy; and Barbara O'Neil, as 
Homolka's wife, are among the others in the cast who help 
make the picture a memorable experience. About the only 
criticism one can make is that the picture is overlong and 
can be cut to advantage. 

George Stevens directed it and co-produced it with Harriet 
Parsons from a screen play by DeWitt Bodeen, based on the 
play by John Van Druten. 



44 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 13, 1948 



"Let's Live Again" with John Emery, 
Hillary Brooke and James Millican 

(20th Century-Fox, April; time, 67 min.) 

A fine program comedy. The story is different — it is 
novel and it has been handled with good taste. Though there 
are only a few spots where the audience will roar with 
laughter, the picture is, as a whole, pleasing. The comedy 
stems from the hero's belief that his brother, who beUeved 
in reincarnation and who had supposedly died in a plane 
crash, had come back in the form of a dog, a belief that is 
heightened by the fact that the dog displays some of the 
brother's habits. The scenes that show the hero committed 
to a sanitarium for the mentally unbalanced are highly 
amusing without being offensive. The direction and acting 
are excellent, the production values lavish, and the photog- 
raphy sharp and clear: — 

John Emery, an atomic scientist, and James Millican, his 
brother, an idler who believed in the theory of reincarnation, 
do not get along well because Millican teases Emery. When 
Millican announces his intention to fly to the Himilayas to 
investigate rumors that people there had been reincarnated, 
Emery resents it on the ground that he would be made the 
laughing stock of the world. But Millican insists on going 
and teasingly assures Emery that, if he were to lose his life, 
he will return in some other form. Soon afterwards word 
comes that Millican had died in a plane crash. Heartbroken, 
Emery goes to a saloon to drown his grief. As he talks to 
the bartender about MiUican's last words, a mongrel dog 
jumps up on the stool beside him, looks at him wistfully, and 
with his teeth pulls the handkerchief from his breast pocket. 
Because only Millican had been in the habit of doing that, 
Emery conceives the idea that his brother had returned in 
the form of a poodle to continue teasing him. Emery's insist- 
ence that the dog was his brother causes his uncle, Taylor 
Holmes, to suspect that his mind had cracked under the 
strain of his work at the Atomic Society. He suggests that 
he enter a rest home, but Emery sends for his own physi- 
cian to prove that he is sane. In the course of events, the dog 
disappears and is eventually found by Emery in the park on 
a leash held by Hillary Brooke. He tries to convince her that 
the dog was his brother but she refuses to surrender the 
animal. That night he breaks into her apartment to carry 
away the dog but is arrested and taken to a sanitarium. His 
uncle obtains his release. The shock of the arrest brings 
Emery back to sanity and he begins to appreciate Hillary's 
charms, but a few nights later he cracks again when the 
dog takes his handkerchief out of his breast pocket. He is 
again taken to the sanitarium and, while recuperating, his 
brother returns and assures him that he had not been killed. 
MiUican's reappearance causes Emery to have another set- 
back, but he soon recovers. At a party celebrating his en- 
gagement to Hillary, Emery again cracks, and it all ends in 
the sanitarium with Emery among the inmates. 

Frank N. Selt?er produced it, and Herbert L. Leeds di- 
rected it, from a screen play by Rodney Carlisle and Robert 
Smiley, taken from a story by Herman Wohl and John 
Vlahos. 

Good for the entire family. 



"Docks of New Orleans" 
with Roland Winters 

(Monogram, March 21; time, 67 min.) 
A routine "CharHe Chan" program mystery picture. It 
may get by as a supporting feature wherever the series is 
liked, but it probably will have rough going elsewhere, for 
the story is developed more by talk than by action and is, for 
the most part, too confusing to hold one's interest. The plot 
follows a pattern familiar to the series, with the oriental 
detective involved with numerous suspects and wading 
through a maze of clues before coming up with a far-fetched 
solution to several murders. For comedy, there is the well- 
meaning interference of the detective's son and of his valet, 
but it is not very effective. The direction and the acting , 
are undistinguished. 

From what one can make out of the story, it revolves 
around the efforts of several men to obtain the secret formula 



of a powerful explosive, owned by a syndicate of three men 
who had an agreement that the rights to the formula would 
revert to the surviving principals if one of them dies. The 
mysterious death of one of the partners brings Charlie Chan 
(Roland Winters) into the case. He learns of the agreement 
and discovers that the man had been killed by a poisonous 
gas released from a broken radio tube. Suspicion falls on the 
surviving partners, but when they, too, are killed in a similar 
manner, Chan finds himself stumped. The bungling efforts of 
Chan's son (Victor Sen Young) and of his valet (Manton 
Moreland) to solve the case lead Chan to other clues, 
which enable him to trap the murderer, a chemical engineer, 
who had committed the crimes to avenge himself on the 
syndicate because they had swindled him in the purchase of 
the formula. Chan reveals that the radio tubes were shattered 
by the murderer's wife, a radio singer, whose high notes 
broke the tubes and released the poison gas. 

James S. Burkett produced it and Derwin Abrahams 
directed it from a screen play by W. Scott Darling. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Smart Woman" with Constance Bennett, 
Brian Aherne and Barry Sullivan 

(Allied Artists, Apr, 30; time, 93 min.) 

A good dramatic picture. The story is a mixture of racket- 
eering, a courtroom trial, and the love of a successful woman 
criminal lawyer for her young son, for whose happiness she 
is willing to make a great sacrifice. The racketeering action 
is developed in a way to hold one's interest, and so is the 
Special District Attorney's effort to expose the racketeers. 
The fact that the spectator is unaware, until the finish, of 
the mysterious hold the racketeers have on the heroine, adds 
to one's interest in the proceedings. The love that the 
lawyer-mother shows for her young son, who reciprocates 
her affection, is touching. The direction is very good, and so 
is the acting of Constance Bennett, Brian Aherne, Barry 
Sullivan, James Gleason, Otto Kruger and all the others in 
the expert cast: — 

Having been convinced that District Attorney Otto 
Kruger is in league with racketeers, the Governor appoints 
Brian Aherne as special prosecutor to rid the city of crime. 
Barry Sulhvan, a local racketeer and Kruger's partner-in- 
crime, engages Constance Bennett, a renowned criminal 
lawyer, to defend one of his henchmen in a case prosecuted 
by Aherne; she accepts the case reluctantly, fearing that 
Sullivan will disclose something from her past, a disclosure 
that threatened the future happiness of Richard Lyon, her 
twelve-year-old son. Aherne bests Constance in their first 
encounter, but, struck by her beauty and intelligence, he 
cultivates her friendship and the two eventually fall in love. 
Meanwhile Aherne, aided by James Gleason, his assistant, 
gets on the trail of Taylor Holmes, a missing witness in the 
case. Kruger, fearing that the arrest of Holmes will mean 
his doom, kills him. He then offers Sullivan a fortune to 
accept responsibility for the murder but to flee the country. 
When Sullivan refuses, he threatens to shoot him, only to 
die himself when the gun goes off as Sullivan attempts to 
wrest it from his hand. Arrested for Kruger's murder, Sulli- 
van compels Constance to defend him, much to Aherne's 
mystification. Constance finds herself losing the case and, 
though not in sympathy with Sullivan but believing him 
innocent of the charge, takes the stand as a witness and 
testifies that she knew him to be averse to killing, for she 
had once been his wife. She reveals also that Sullivan was 
the father of her son, a fact she had been keeping from the 
boy. Her testimony saves Sulhvan from the chair but not 
from the penitentiary for his other misdeeds. Aherne, now 
aware of the reason why Constance opposed him in court, 
effects a reconciliation with her, much to the joy of her son. 

It is a Constance Bennett production, produced by Hal 
E. Chester. Edward A. Blatt directed it from a screen play 
by Alvah Bessie, Louis Morheim, and Herbert Margolis, 
based on a story by Leon Gutterman and Edwin V. West- 
rate, The cast includes Michael O'Shea, Isobel Elsom, 
Selena Royle, John Litel and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



Entered ns second-olass matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March S, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 1948 No. 12 



NARROW THINKING 

By this time, no doubt, every reader of Harrison's 
Reports knows that the British Government and the 
American film companies reached a settlement last 
week, whereby the British agreed to rescind the 75^0 
"confiscatory" tax and to permit the American com' 
panics to withdraw from Britain during the first two 
years of a four-year pact an annual sum of $17,000,- 
000, which, added to other earnings the companies 
will be able to retain through other concessions 
granted in the agreement, will total an estimated $40,' 
000,000. The American companies, of course, will re- 
sume shipment of their films to Britain, thus ending 
the retaliatory embargo they imposed at the time 
Britain announced the tax. 

With only one exception, the Hollywood producers 
took the settlement of the British tax matter with 
grace. Some of them were not willing to make any 
comment on the grounds that they wanted a chance 
to acquaint themselves with the terms of the settle- 
ment. Harry (Pop) Sherman, the well known and 
popular producer, is quoted in the March 1 2 issue of 
the Los Angeles Times as having said: "This gives the 
green Hght to the greatest surge of production activity 
in Hollywood's history." 

The name of the producer who disagreed with the 
others is not given in the Los Angeles Times, which 
quotes him as observing gloomily: "Remember, money 
spent on British movies here is just that much not 
spent for U. S. movies." Obviously, this unnamed 
producer was referring to the fact that, in the future, 
British films will receive more bookings in this country 
than in the past because, under the new agreement, 
the American companies will be permitted to with- 
draw from Britain an amount equal to that earned by 
British films in this country. 

If this producer had taken into consideration the 
fact that the British tax situation had reduced the 
morale of the American producers to the lowest point 
in years, he would not have so expressed himself, for 
after all a business relationship must be beneficial to 
both sides; otherwise, it is not a fair relationship and 
cannot endure. For years the American producers 
were getting fat on their income from the British mar- 
ket, why should they not, then, accept graciously an 
arrangement whereby the American theatres will send 
back to England at least a part of what the American 
producers are earning in that country, particularly at 
this time when Britain's economic life is so dependent 
on her dollar position? If the English market furnishes 
the American producers with the profits that are so 
necessary for their success at home, these producers 
should be more than willing to give back a part of that 
benefit. It is nothing more than fair. 

Harry Sherman put it right when he said that 
Hollywood will see the greatest resumption of pro- 



duction activity, not because the "hurt" from the loss 
of the English revenue was so great, but because the 
producers' morale in Hollywood had sunk to the low- 
est it had been since the last year of the silent films. 
Employment at the studios will increase, the number 
of pictures that will be produced will be greater, and 
new hfe will be put into production. The tax settle- 
ment will undoubtedly serve as ctn inspiration that 
will spur the producers into greater activity; and if it 
turns out that the British producers will take out of 
the United States twice as many dollars as they were 
taking in the pre-tax era, God bless them, for it will 
mean that the quahty of their pictures will be such as 
to deserve the increased revenue. 

As Mr. Robert R. Young once said at a Hollywood 
gathering of industry' heads to honor J. Arthur Rank, 
commerce must be a two-way street. If we want dol- 
lars from the English market, we must help the Eng- 
lish to sell their pictures in the United States so as to 
enable them to earn the dollars that they must send to 
us, if not all, at least a substantial amount. And any 
producer who will lament the loss of some dollars to 
the British had better either improve the quahty of his 
product or suffer the loss. 

Harrison's Reports is sure that the American ex- 
hibitors will not mind giving the British more dollars 
when their pictures deserve them. 



FAREWELL ADVANCED ADMISSIONS 
—AND GOOD RIDDANCE! 

Enterprise Studios has announced that it has de- 
cided to drop its plans to seek advanced admission 
prices for "Arch of Triumph," and that it will release 
the picture, through United Artists, at regular prices. 

With this announcement. Enterprise becomes the 
last of the producing companies to give way to the 
strong exhibitor and public opposition that grew up 
in the past eighteen months, a period that saw the pro- 
ducers running wild with the unusual number of pic- 
tures that they either released or contemplated releas- 
ing on an advanced admission price policy. 

There is some talk that Universal may decide to 
seek increased admissions for "All My Sons," but this 
paper is of the opinion that it will not, for though the 
picture is a fine drama it is not of a magnitude that 
either warrants or commands an extra tariff to be seen. 
Besides, with one producer after another having drop- 
ped advance admissions after announcing that such a 
policy would be employed on certain of their pictures, 
it is doubtful if Universal will try to buck the opposi- 
tion that compelled the others to back down. 

Just why advanced admissions did not prove suc- 
cessful is not difficult to understand. To begin with, 
the distributors tried to foist these "specials" on the 
exhibitors and the public at a most inappropriate time 
(Continued on last page) 



46 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 20, 1948 



"The Mating of Millie" with Glenn Ford 
and Evelyn Keyes 

{Columbia, April; time, 87 rnin.) 
A good comedy. Though the story is somewhat far- 
fetched, skillful direction and accomplished acting 
keep one in fine humor throughout. At times one is 
made to laugh hilariously. Moreover, there is consid' 
erable human interest, caused by the love of Evelyn 
Keyes for Jimmy Hunt, a seven-year-old boy, whom 
she is shown trying to adopt in order to save him from 
being sent to a foundling home. Occasionally there is 
strong emotion. As two of the men Evelyn seeks to 
marry so as to be eligible to adopt the child, Willard 
Parker and Ron Randell contribute much to the com- 
edy. There is a slight touch of sex, but it is harmless; it 
is implied in the scenes where Willard Parker, Eve- 
lyn's neighbor, is shown entertaining ladies con- 
stantly, and also in Glenn Ford's efforts to prevent her 
from falling in love with Parker. The photography is 
fine, and the sets appropriate and pleasing to the eye :- 
As personnel manager of a swanky department 
store, Evelyn is highly successful, but as a displayer of 
her natural feminine charms she is a failure because 
of her cold, precise manners, and of her plain dress. 
On her way home one evening, Evelyn boards a bus 
driven by Glenn Ford who, incensed because the pas- 
sengers refused to move to the rear to make room for 
incoming passengers, drives the bus to a side street and 
abandons it. Evelyn, struck by Ford's independence, 
overtakes him and invites him to call on her should he 
ever want a job. Returning home, she finds little 
Jimmy, the son of a girl-friend neighbor, crying and 
hungry because his mother was not at home. She 
quiets the weeping child with the aid of Parker, and 
puts him to bed in her apartment. On the following 
morning, she learns that Jimmy's mother had been 
killed in an accident. When the child is removed to a 
foundling home, Evelyn tries to adopt him, but Ron 
Randell, head of the institution, informs her that she 
cannot adopt the boy unless she is married. She sets 
out to find a husband, and her thoughts run to Ford. 
When Ford calls on her for a job as a floor walker, she 
clumsily tries to dazzle him with her charm. Ford, 
seeing through her clumsiness, makes her confess what 
she had in mind. He informs her that he was not in 
line for marriage but offers to help her find some one 
else. In the course of events, her efforts to interest 
either Parker or Randell awaken Ford's love for her. 
Meanwhile Evelyn decides to marry Parker to save 
Jimmy from adoption by strangers. Ford, however, 
intervenes, and it all ends with his marriage to Evelyn 
and with their adoption of Jimmy. 

Louella MacFarlane and St. Clair McKelway wrote 
the screen play from a story by Adele Comandini. 
Casey Robinson produced it, and Henry Levin di- 
rected it. The cast includes Mabel Page, Virginia Bris- 
sac and others. Suitable for the family. 



"The October Man" with John Mills 

(Eagle-Lion, March 20; time, 91 min.) 
A fairly good British-made psychological thriller. 
It has some slow spots, and its story about a mentally 
ill fellow who strives against great odds to prove 
himself innocent of a murder charge is not too well 
knit, but on the whole it is melodramatically effective, 
and the flow of events keep one interested in the pro- 
ceedings pretty well. The only one in the cast who is 
known to American audiences is John Mills, who 
gives an impressive performance as the luckless hero, 



victim of a severe head injury. But since there is noth' 
ing really outstanding about the production, and since 
it is low on name value, the picture is best suited for 
double-billing situations where it can be coupled with 
a strong co-feature: — 

Having suffered a brain injury in an automoouc 
crash. Mills, a chemical engineer, is released from the 
hospital with a warning that he take life easy lest any 
undue excitement cause him to have a relapse. He ob- 
tains a job in London and rents a room in a small hotel 
in one of the outlying suburbs. Lest he subject himself 
to unnecessary activity, he avoids becoming chummy 
with other roomers but does strike up an acquaint- 
anceship with Kay Walsh, an unemployed fashion 
model, who was harried by the persistent attentions 
of Edward Chapman, another roomer, who was a re- 
tired middle-aged businessman. In the meantime Mills 
falls in love with Joan Greenwood, sister of a fellow- 
worker. One evening Kay is found murdered in a park 
nearby. Circumstantial evidence, coupled with vicious 
gossip by the roomers because of his friendship with 
Kay, suggest to the poHce that Mills had killed her 
during a mental lapse. He makes every effort to clear 
himself of suspicion but succeeds only in making him- 
self appear more guilty. He eventually traces the mur- 
der to Chapman, who privately admits his guilt but 
points out that he (Mills) will be blamed for the 
crime. Unable to convince the police that Chapman is 
the killer, and learning that the crafty fellow was 
leaving town. Mills determines to catch him himself. 
To do so, he finds it necessary to escape from the 
police. Aided by his sweetheart, he rushes to London 
and, after a series of events, during which he himself 
is pursued as he pursues the killer, and during which 
the police find evidence of Chapman's guilt. Mills suc- 
ceeds in trapping the criminal just as he is about to 
flee the country. 

Eric Ambler wrote the original screen play and 
produced it, and Roy Baker directed it. Adult fare. 



"Adventures in Silverado" with 

William Bishop, Gloria Henry 

and Edgar Buchanan 

(Columbia, March 25; time, 75 min.) 
A pretty fair program western. The story is cut 
from a familiar pattern, and its development offers 
nothing unusual, but it should prove to be a satisfying 
supporting feature wherever this type of entertain- 
ment is liked, for it contains all the tried-and-true 
ingredients the avid cowboy fans enjoy. In addition 
to races between careening stagecoaches, gunplay, and 
rough-and-tumble fights, there is a touch of mystery in 
the story in connection with the identity of a mysteri- 
ous hooded highwayman, known as "The Monk," 
who turns out to be a sort of western Robin Hood. 
The characterizations are more or less standard, and 
the acting passable : — 

Driving a new stage coach, William Bishop over- 
takes a coach driven by Forrest Tucker and speeds into 
Silverado. Believing that Bishop had come to town to 
compete with the established stage line owned by 
Gloria Henry, Tucker, spoiling for a fight, challenges 
him to a race. Bishop accepts. Out in the country. 
Tucker deliberately forces Bishop off the road, wrecks 
his coach, and injures his prize horse. Edgar Bu- 
chanan, a kindly doctor who was admired for his 
philanthropies to the region's unemployed miners, 
treats the horse and arranges with Gloria to give 
Bishop a job hauling water to Squatters' Flats, a desert 



March 20, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



47 



waste that needed irrigation to help the miners grow 
food. Meanwhile Gloria's stages are robbed of several 
gold shipments by "The Monk." Bishop, being a 
stranger, is suspected. After a series of incidents, dur' 
ing which he is almost lynched. Bishop discovers that 
Buchanan had robbed the gold to aid the destitute 
miners. He restrains Buchanan from giving himself 
up, planning to trade him to the mining company, 
from which the gold was stolen, in exchange for their 
promise to irrigate Squatters' Flats. The mine owners 
agree, but through a mixup Buchanan flees Silverado 
and is shot dead by the sheriff. The mine owners, how- 
ever, hold to their promise, and Bishop, his reputation 
cleared, merges his interests with Gloria, who had 
fallen in love with him. 

Ted Richmond and Robert Cohn produced it, and 
Will Jason directed it, from a screen play by Jo Pag- 
ano, suggested by a story by Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



wounded slightly. With every one's code of honor 
satisfied, Eythe marries Hazel. 

Marcel Hellman produced it, and Thornton Free- 
land directed it from a screen play by Lesley Storm 
and James Seymour. The cast includes Stanley Hollo- 
way, Margaret Rutherford and other English players. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Meet Me at Dawn" with 'William Eythe 

(20th Century-Fox, April; time, 89 tnin.) 
Produced in England, this is a fairly amusing ro- 
mantic farce, revolving around a professional Parisian 
duellist who, for a price, is engaged by others to insult 
and challenge persons they dislike. It is one of those 
lightweight, unbelievable tales that misses being a 
winner because the dialogue is not sufficiently blithe 
and brittle, and because the acting lacks a jauntiness 
and zest required in a story of this type. Despite its 
deficiencies, however, the overall efi^ect is one of pleas- 
ing comedy, for it has more than a fair share of laughs 
and keeps one amused throughout. William Eythe, 
who gives a competent if not outstanding performance 
in the leading role, is the only player known to 
American audiences, but even his marquee value is 
limited. Paris in 1902 is the locale: — 

Eythe, a Parisian playboy who earned his living as 
a professional duellist, is engaged by a politician to 
insult George Thorpe, a government official, and 
challenge him to a duel. That night, at the Paris Ex- 
hibition grounds, Eythe picks a quarrel with Thorpe 
by accusing him of molesting Hazel Court, an unwit- 
ting young lady, with whom he manages to spend the 
rest of the evening but who does not reveal her iden- 
tity. When Hazel's father, Basil Sydney, a powerful 
newspaper publisher, learns that Thorpe, his political 
enemy, is involved in a duel over a woman, he publi- 
cizes the affair with lurid stories and starts a campaign 
to find the woman without realizing that she is his own 
daughter. The affair becomes the talk of Paris, with 
every one seeking to learn the identity of the mystery 
woman. Meanwhile the duel between Eythe and 
Thorpe ends with each wounding the other superfi- 
cially. Still unaware of Hazel's identity but worried 
lest she become involved in a scandal, Eythe visits 
Sydney and demands that he stop the campaign. Syd- 
ney refuses. Just as Eythe prepares to leave, Hazel 
enters the office and reveals herself as Sydney's daugh- 
ter. Realizing that she had said nothing to her father, 
Eythe keeps her secret. Both fall in love and, in the 
course of events, Thorpe sees Hazel in Eythe's com- 
pany and recognizes her as the woman involved in the 
insult. Learning that she was Sydney's daughter, he 
publicizes the fact and makes Sydney the laughing 
stock of all Paris. Sydney, incensed, blames Eythe for 
his predicament, insults him publicly, and challenges 
him to a duel. Faced with the prospect of killing his 
future father-in-law, Eythe makes it appear as if he 
were fighting for his life and allows himself to be 



"Hazard" with Paulette Goddard 
and Macdonald Carey 

(Paramount, May 28; time, 94 min.) 
A flimsy but diverting package of nonsense, with 
enough laughter to make it a pretty fair entertain- 
ment for audiences that are not too discriminating. 
Revolving around a young woman with an uncontrol- 
able penchant for gambling, and around a merry 
cross-country chase she leads a private detective, who 
had been engaged by a tough gambler to bring her 
back to New York for welching on a debt, the story 
has been given a broad comedy treatment, with slap- 
stick touches that keep the proceedings roUing along 
at a lively pace. There is nothing about either the 
story or the characterizations that will appeal to one's 
emotions, but this does not matter since the piece is 
played out for laughs and succeeds in getting them. 
Here and there a situation borders on the risque, but 
nothing offensive is shown. Good dialogue and zestful 
performances help put the picture over: — 

Unable to resist gambling, Paulette Goddard loses 
a fortune left to her by her father. Fred Clark, a 
ruthless gambling lord, to whom she had given a 
worthless $16,000 check, threatens to turn her over 
to the police, but to give her a break he offers to cut 
for high card — the debt to be cancelled if she wins, or 
her hand in marriage if she loses. Paulette loses, but 
she welches on the debt and runs away. Clark engages 
Macdonald Carey, a private detective, to find her and 
bring her back. She leads Carey a merry chase from 
New York to Chicago and thence to Los Angeles, 
where he finally catches up with her when she lands in 
jail after being caught in a raided crap game. He 
agrees to bail her out when she promises not to attempt 
an escape for at least twelve hours. They head back 
east in her automobile and, when the twelve-hour 
truce expires, she tries to bring about his arrest on a 
charge that he had abducted her across a state line. 
Carey, however, foils this move. Later, when she at- 
tempts another escape, her car crashes into a tree and 
bursts into flames. Carey rescues her, but is badly 
burned in the effort. His courage indicates to Paulette 
his latent love for her, and she in turn realizes her love 
for him. They agree to marry, but this plan is foiled 
by the sudden appearance of Clark and his henchmen, 
who take Paulette back to New York under the im- 
pression that she had been tricked by Carey. In New 
York, Paulette prefers to go to jail rather than marry 
Clark, but the gambler decides to take her on a yacht- 
ing trip despite her wishes. Meanwhile Carey, having 
learned that Paulette had run away from a wedding 
and not from a gambling debt, storms into Clark's 
office. A terrific brawl ensues, during which Paulette 
learns that the cards had been "stacked" when she had 
cut for high card. It all ends with Clark, thoroughly 
beaten, cancelling the debt, and with Paulette will- 
ingly carried out of the office by Carey. 

Mel Epstein produced it and George Marshall di- 
rected it from a screen play by Arthur Sheekman and 
Roy Chanslor, based on a novel by Mr. Chanslor. The 
cast includes Stanley Clements, Maxie Rosenbloom, 
Frank Faylen and others. Adult fare. 



48 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 20, 1948 



— a time when box-office receipts were diminishing as 
a result of the general low quaUty of pictures, as well 
as of the fact that picture-patrons, their pockets no 
longer lined with the easy money of the lush war 
years, had become price-conscious. Consequently, the 
exhibitor, having received from his patrons a fair ad- 
mission price for pictures that were frequently in- 
ferior, could not risk incurring their ill will by de- 
manding of them increased admissions on the rare 
occasion that a good picture came along. 

Aside from the fact that the time was inappropriate, 
the greatest mistake that the producers made was that, 
as a general rule, their setting of an advanced admis- 
sion price policy on a particular picture was predi- 
cated, not on its entertainment values, but on its cost. 
They soon found out, however, that cost alone cannot 
be the decisive factor in raising admission prices — the 
picture must have exceptional merit. 



COLUMBIA WINS THE 
LARRY PARKS CASE 

Seeking to invalidate his contract with Columbia, 
Larry Parks, who made his fame by taking the part of 
Al Jolson in "The Jolson Story," sued the company on 
the grounds that he had signed the contract under 
coercion. 

Federal Judge William C. Mathes, who heard the 
case, sympathized with Parks, but he ruled that Parks 
must finish out his contract, basing his decision on the 
fact that the actor waited too long to start an action 
for the abrogation of his contract, in the meantime ac- 
cepting benefits under it. 

Larry Parks is no difi^erent from a substantial num- 
ber of other actors who, having become popular, at- 
tribute their rise to stardom entirely to their own abil- 
ity; they give no credit to the organisation behind 
them. 

Larry Parks is a good actor, but he is not a glamor- 
ous one. During his career on the screen, he appeared 
in many pictures but he did not attain any high degree 
of popularity until he took the part of Al Jolson in the 
aforementioned picture. He did a remarkable piece of 
acting in that film, and the praise he received was well 
deserved. But he forgot one thing — he was, to all in- 
tents and purposes, not Larry Parks, but Al Jolson. 
And, having attained popularity by virtue of this role, 
he became dissatisfied — no doubt he wanted more 
money than his contract called for; and, having per- 
haps been refused, he appealed to the court for the 
cancellation of his contract. 

It does not seem as if Parks has given credit to those 
who made it possible for him to become a star — those 
who chose the story, prepared it, and proceeded to 
spend the many hundreds of thousands of dollars. re- 
quired to make an outstanding picture. Nor does it 
seem as if he has given credit to Al Jolson, who under- 
took to coach him and without whose efforts his im- 
personation might not have been so remarkable. It 
seems as if Parks just felt that, without him, "The 
Jolson Story" would not have been v.'hat it turned out 
to be. 

Perhaps Larry Parks is lucky that Judge Mathes 
denied his prayer; Harrison's Reports knows of 
many similar cases where actors or actresses, after suc- 
ceeding in obtaining cancellations of their contracts, 
found that their popularity had diminished to a shock- 
ing degree. On the other hand, many players, wiser in 
business ways, remained and cooperated with the com- 
panies that built them into stars, resulting in benefit, 



not only to their companies as well as to themselves, 
but also to the exhibitors. 

It should be painted out, however, that Judge 
Mathes, in rendering his decision against Parks, con- 
demned severely the practice resorted to by many 
companies, whereby they loan stars to other com- 
panies at many times the salary that is paid to the 
players by the companies that have them under con- 
tract, retaining the income for themselves and giving 
no part of it to the actors. A practice such as this is, 
indeed, a morale breaker, for when an actor knows 
that his company receives three and four times the 
amount of money he is paid, and he is given no share 
of the profit, it is only human for him to become so 
dissatisfied that his mind is not on his work, with the 
result that the pictures suffer. 

Another practice that was condemned by Judge 
Mathes in no uncertain terms is the one by which a 
company, at a time when only a short period remains 
on a rising star's contract, insists that the star sign a 
new term contract, using as a blackjack the threat to 
assign the star to minor roles in "B" pictures for the 
remainder of the existing contract if he or she should 
refuse to sign the new contract. The star, rather than 
risk damage to his professional reputation, gives in to 
the company's demands. Parks claimed that such co- 
ercive methods had been employed by Columbia to 
obtain his signature on a new contract and, from the 
evidence. Judge Mathes found that it had been ob- 
tained by undue influence, indicating that he might 
have ruled in Parks' favor had he not waited too long 
to file the suit. 

The Screen Actors' Guild will do well to make a 
careful study of the Larry Parks case with a view to 
putting an end to such injustices. 



IS IRVING MAAS "KIDDING" HIMSELF? 

According to Variety, Irving Maas, vice-president 
and general manager of the Motion Picture Export 
Association, which handles the distribution of major 
company pictures in many foreign countries, expressed 
the belief that the capitulation of the Czechoslovakian 
nation to the Communists will have no serious conse- 
quences upon the export of American films to that 
country. 

Mr. Maas bases this belief upon the fact that there 
have long been Communists who are active in the 
Czech film monopoly, which controls all theatres and 
the distribution of films in that country, and that it 
was with them that the MPEA negotiated a pact in 
1946 calhng for the deUvery of eighty American films. 
This pact has since expired and, according to Variety, 
negotiations for a new contract were at a standstill 
when the Communists took over the government sev- 
eral weeks ago. 

I don't know if Variety reported Mr. Maas' views 
accurately, but if they were then Mr. Maas is a very 
optimistic fellow. Unfortunately, his optimism is not 
founded on logic. 

Of course, this writer has not had as much experi- 
ence as Mr. Maas is foreign exporting — as a matter 
of fact, no experience at all. But I am willing to wager 
a hat to a peanut that the time will come when Amer- 
ican pictures will be barred from Czechoslovakia just 
as they are now barred in Russia. And if the Czech 
monopoly does lease any films from the American pro- 
ducers, you may be sure that they will be only such 
films as tend to discredit the American way of life and 
not those that may entertain the Czechoslovakian 
picture-going pubHc. 



Kntored oa Booond-olaas matter January 4, 1921, at the poet offlce at New York, New York, under the act of March t, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MARCH 27, 1948 No. 13 



SUB-COMMITTEE'S ACTION ON LEWIS 
BILL NOT THE FINAL WORD 

On Monday, March 22, the House Judiciary Sub' 
Committee on Patents and Copyrights conducted an 
all-day hearing on the Lewis Bill (H.R. 5014) which, 
if enacted into law, will relieve the exhibitors from 
paying license fees to ASCAP by requiring the pro- 
ducer-distributors to include in their Ucenses to exhibit 
a picture the right to publicly perform the music re- 
corded in the picture. In short, the burden of paying 
ASCAP for public performance rights to its music 
will be shifted from the exhibitor to the producer- 
distributors. 

A group of Allied States Association leaders, 
headed by Abram F. Myers, their general counsel, and 
including Sidney E. Samuelson, Trueman T. Rem- 
busch, Joseph P. Uvick and Martin G. Smith, ap- 
peared as witnesses in support of the Bill. 

Appearing as witnesses in opposition to the measure 
were Ted R. Gamble, president of the Theatre Own- 
ers of America; Herman M. Levy, TOA's general 
counsel; Adolph Schimel, secretary of Universal Pic- 
tures and a member of the Copyright Committee of 
the producers' association; Abe Montague, Colum- 
bia's sales manager; and James M. Barnes, attorney 
for the Society of Independent Motion Picture Pro- 
ducers. 

The hearing was marked by spirited clashes between 
the opposing witnesses as they presented their con- 
flicting views, but, contrary to the sketchy trade paper 
accounts of what transpired, the reaction of the sub- 
committee members was such as to give the Allied 
leaders every reason to believe that their arguments 
recommending passage of the Bill had made a favor- 
able impression. 

But on Wednesday morning, March 24, the sub- 
committee announced that it had reported the bill 
adversely. 

This announcement, of course, came as a surprise to 
the Allied leaders, not only because they had been 
encouraged by the attitude of the sub-committee mem- 
bers, but also because the sub-committee, in reaching 
its decision, followed a procedure that was, to say the 
least, unusual: First, the decision was reached at an 
unscheduled meeting, and secondly, the sub-commit- 
tee, which had requested the submission of additional 
evidence to support the contenrions of the different 
witnesses, came to a decision before the requested 
evidence could be submitted to it. 

Harrison's Reports does not know just what 
moves, if any, were made to induce the sub-committee 
to reach a decision by such an unusual procedure, but 



if the facts were to become known they would, no 
doubt, be mighty interesting. 

Although there is no question that the action of the 
sub-committee has dealt a severe blow to the hopes of 
the independent e.xhibitors, who are overwhelmingly 
in favor of the Bill, there is no reason for them to lose 
courage, for the final word on whether or not the Bill 
will reach the floor of Congress rests, not with the sub- 
committee, but with the full House Judiciary Com- 
mittee, which can either accept or reject the recom- 
mendation of the sub-committee. True, the chances of 
the full Committee overruling the sub-committee are 
admittedly small, but if enough exhibitors bombard 
the Committee, as well as their Congressmen, with 
letters stating how necessary it is to break the mo- 
nopolistic power of the "music trust," the Committee 
may think twice before accepting the recommendation 
of the sub-committee. 

You should point out to the Committee that, under 
the present Copyright Law, which the Lewis Bill 
would amend, you are at the mercy of a music monop- 
oly that has the power of Hfe or death over your busi- 
ness. Point out to them that, unlike other businessmen 
who can refuse to deal with a seller if the price of his 
goods does not suit them, you are compelled to either 
accept whatever arbitrary charges ASCAP decides to 
impose upon you or go out of business — you have no 
choice in the matter. Point out that the Bill will not 
affect the potential royalties of the composers for the 
pubhc performance rights to their music, for these 
will be paid by the producer-distributors, from whom 
you have a right to expect complete exhibition rights 
when licensing a film. And to refute the bugaboo that 
has been raised by the Bill's opponents who say that 
the producers will pass on the royalties to the exhibitor 
in the form of higher film rentals, tell the Committee 
that you will be willing to take your chances because 
you will at least be able to bargain on film rentals. 
Tell them, as Mr. Myers did, that if the price of a 
particular picture is too steep, you can pass it up, but 
that you have no such latitude in dealing with 
ASCAP. 

The producers, aided by the TOA, have conducted 
a fierce campaign to kill this Bill in Committee, and it 
is necessary that the independent exhibitors do all they 
can to offset this campaign. Time is of the essence, and 
a campaign of letter-writing, to be effective, must be 
started at once. You should, therefore, roll up your 
sleeves and get to work in a supreme effort to enlist 
the interest and support of your Congressmen, urging 
them to get behind the Lewis Bill with all their power. 
This is an election year, and your vote, particularly 
because of your standing in the community, means 
much to them. 



so 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 27, 1948 



"The Search" with Aline MacMahon, 
Montgomery Clif t and Ivan Jandl 

(MGM, no release date set; time, 105 min.) 

Powerful! It exerts so strong an appeal to the emotions of 
sympathy that it will be almost impossible for one to see it 
and suppress his tears. Filmed in the American zone of Ger- 
many and given a superb semi-documentary treatment, the 
story is a heart-tugging human drama centering around the 
experiences of a nine-year-old displaced Czech boy who, at 
the age of five, had become separated from his mother when 
both had been sent to a concentration camp. From the open- 
ing scene, where the frightened youngster is brought into a 
UNNRA camp, to the closing scene, where he is reunited 
with his mother after a long, heart-breaking search, one is 
treated to a feast of situations that are so emotion-stirring 
that they make the muscles of one's throat contract. 

Briefly, the story opens with youngster, typical of thou- 
sands of other homeless waifs who had been wandering lost 
among the ruins of war-torn Europe, being brought to a 
UNRRA camp for displaced children. Bewildered and 
frightened, he, like the other children, distrusts every one, 
even those who seek to aid him. But, unlike the others, the 
harrowing experiences he had undergone had left him a 
victim of amnesia, unable to either remember his name or 
to speak, except for a repetition of the phrase, "I don't 
know," in German. While being sent to another camp, he 
and several other children break out of a Red Cross aimbu- 
lance because they feared that they were being taken to a 
gas chamber. He escapes among the ruins of the city and is 
presumed to have been drowned when the officials find his 
hat floating in the river. Days later, he is found famished by 
an American soldier, who takes him home, gains his confi- 
dence, and befriends him. The soldier learns to love the child 
and teaches him to speak English. When his efi^orts to iden- 
tify the boy prove unavailing, the soldier determines to take 
him back to America. Meanwhile the youngster's mother 
had been carrying on a long, arduous search for h im , trek- 
king from one relief center to another in a futile effort to 
identify him. She finally reaches the center from which he 
had escaped and learns that he is presumed to have been 
drowned. She refuses, however, to abandon the search. 
Months later the soldier, preparing to return home, brings 
the child to the UNRRA center to stay there until such 
time as he can send for him. An alert official recognizes the 
youngster as the one presumed to have been drowned. 
Through the efforts of this official, mother and son are re- 
united in an eloquent, moving climax. 

A brief synopsis cannot do justice to the many situations 
that make this one of the most absorbing and emotionally 
satisfying dramas ever produced. The production, direction, 
and acting, are excellent. Only four professional actors ap- 
pear in the cast, including Montgomery Clift, as the soldier; 
AUne MacMahon, as the UNRRA official; Jarmila Novotna, 
as the mother; and Wendell Corey, as Chft's buddy — each 
gives a performance that is precisely right. But the most 
remarkable performance is the one delivered by Ivan Jandl, 
as the homeless waif; it is almost unbelievable that a child 
of his age, particularly a newcomer to the screen, could be 
so natural in portraying a part. The tragic expression in his 
eyes, the bewildered, frightened look on his face, his every 
movement, in fact, emanates such sympathetic appeal that 
the spectator wants to reach out to the screen to gather the 
boy into his arms and comfort him. 

"The Search" is a great picture in every sense of the word, 
a compassionate drama that will not only be understood and 
appreciated by any one with a heart but will also impress 
itself so deeply in the minds of those who see it that they 
will remember it for years to come. It is a picture that should 
be shown in every theatre in the world, and the exhibitor 
who gets behind it with an intensive exploitation campaign 
can do so safe in the knowledge that it will leave his patrons 
satisfied that they have seen a memorable film, one that they 
will heartily recommend to their families and friends. 

L. Wechsler produced it and Fred Zinnemann directed it 
from an original screen play by Richard Schweizer and 
David Weschler. 



"Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House" 

with Cary Grant, Msrrna Loy 

and Melvyn Douglas 

(Selzmc\ Rel. Org., July; time, 94 min.) 

A first-rate topical comedy-farce. Based on Eric Hodgins' 
best-selling novel of the same name, the story centers around 
the trials and tribulations of an impetuous married couple of 
moderate means who, fed up with the inconveniences of their 
overcrowded Manhattan apartment, decide to buy a home in 
the country. The story itself is a flimsy affair, but it is so 
rich in witty dialogue and in comedy incidents that one is 
kept laughing all the time. Some of the situations are so 
true to life that any one who has ever bought or built a 
home, and even those who haven't should find the merry 
proceedings highly amusing, for every conceivable mis- 
fortune that one might have in trying to fulfill a desire to 
own a home is encountered by the couple. The performances, 
from the stars down to the smallest bit part, are delightful : — 

When conditions in his New York apartment become too 
overcrowded for comfort, Cary Grant, an advertising execu- 
tive, gives in to a desire to establish a home in the country 
for his wife (Myrna Loy) and their two daughters (Sharyn 
Moffet and Connie Marshall). Accompanied by Myrna, he 
drives out to suburban Connecticut, where a shrewd real 
estate agent sells them an ancient home for five times more 
than It is worth. They close the deal against the advice of 
their lawyer and close family friend, Melvyn Douglas. Their 
plans to remodel the house hit a snag when several engineers 
advise them that the house was beyond repair and should 
be torn down. They decide to build a new house and, from 
the start, encounter numerous difficulties as they try to keep 
the cost within the bounds of their bank account. Extra 
charges keep piling up as the contractors come across un- 
foreseen obstacles, such as a ledge of solid rock that requires 
blasting in order to excavate the basement, which blasting is 
followed by the appearance of an underground stream that 
has to be diverted so as not to flood the basement, and the 
endless drilling of a water well at five dollars per foot. 
More troubles pile up when they are compelled to vacate 
their New York apartment and to move into the unfinished 
home, at which time Grant discovers that the train schedules 
do not fit his office hours, requiring him to rise at five 
o'clock in the morning. Throughout all these mishaps and 
disappointments they disregard the practical advice of Doug- 
las, but in the end, though flat broke and heavily in debt, 
they find themselves with the house of their dreams, which 
even Douglas concedes is a thing of joy and beauty, well 
worth the trials and tribulations they went through. 

Norman Panama and Melvin Frank wrote the screen play 
and produced it, and H. C. Potter directed it. The cast 
includes Louise Beavers, Reginald Denny, Will Wright, 
Harry Shannon and others. It is an RKO-Radio production 
released through the Selznick Releasing Organization. 

Morally suitable for all. 



"Tarzan and the Mermaids" with Johnny 
Weissmuller and Brenda Joyce 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 68 min.) 
A fairly entertaining "Tarzan" picture; it should go over 
pretty well with those who like plenty of action but do not 
mind an implausible story. This time Johnny Weissmuller 
tangles with an unscrupulous white trader who, by posing 
as a living god, subjugates the natives of a mythical island 
and steals their pearls. Aside from the usual heroics, the 
picture, which was filmed in Mexico, offers some fascinating 
seacoast backgrounds, as well as several acquatic sequences, 
some of which have been photographed under water. One of 
these sequences is devoted to high-diving shots that are so 
beautifully and thrillingly executed that they take one's 
breath away. These scenes alone are worth the price of 
admission : — 

Fishing in a river near his jungle domain, Tarzan (Weiss- 
muller) pulls out of the water Mara (Linda Christian), a 



March 27, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



51 



native girl from the seacoast village of Aquatania. Tarzan 
and his wife, Jane (Brenda Joyce) learn that Mara had run 
away to avoid a forced marriage to Varga (Fernando Wag- 
ner) who, in league with a high priest (George Zucco), led 
the villagers to believe that he was their tribal god and 
mulcted them of their pearls. Before Tarsan can hide his 
visitor, a group of Aquatanians seize and take her back to 
the village. Tarsan follows them and, upon reaching the 
village, steals into the temple and satisfies himself that 
Varga had been denuding the natives by wearing a god's 
costume and mask. After numerous adventures, Tarzan suc- 
ceeds in exposing Varga and the high priest to the wrath 
of the natives, leaving Mara free to marry the man of her 
choice. His mission accomplished, Tarzan returns to his 
jungle domain. 

Sol Lesser produced it and Robert Florey directed it from 
an original screen play by Carroll Young. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Inside Story" with Marsha Hunt, 
William Lundigan and Charles Winninger 

(Republic, March 14; time, 87 min.) 
An unpretentious but fairly entertaining homespun type 
of comedy-drama, best suited for the family trade in small- 
town and neighborhood theatres. The setting is a small Ver- 
mont town at the height of the 1933 depression, and it 
is a story of what happens when $1000 in currency is in- 
advertently placed into circulation. How the money affects 
the hves and settles the problems of those who come in con- 
tact with it, unfolds with considerable human interest and 
simple humor, all of which points up the moral that money 
should be kept in circulation if we are to avoid another 
depression. While the picture doesn't offer any excitement, 
it moves along at a steady pace and holds one's interest 
well. The performances are generally good, and there is a 
routine but pleasant romance: — 

When he sees a friend putting away $20,000 in a safety 
deposit box as a cash cushion against a possible depression, 
Charles Winninger informs him that money, Uke life blood, 
has to be kept in circulation. He then relates to him a story 
of how the circulation of $1000 had helped the community 
in 1933, when the banks took a "hoHday." Every one in 
town was broke, in debt, and desperate. Winninger had 
been employed as a clerk in a hotel owned by Gene Lockhart, 
who had vainly tried to raise enough money to pay a 
grocer bill so as to stave off disaster. Roscoe Karns had 
come to town to deliver $1000 to a farmer, and pending his 
meeting with the farmer he had given the money to Winnin- 
ger for safekeeping in the hotel vault. Winninger had put 
the money in a discarded envelope addressed to William 
Lundigan, a struggling artist engaged to Marsha Hunt, 
Lockhart's daughter. Finding the money in the safe, Lock- 
hart had mistakenly believed that Lundigan had sold one 
of his paintings and had paid him a long overdue rent bill 
of a similar amount. He had given the money to the grocer, 
who had in turn paid it to Florence Bates, his landlady, for 
back rent. Miss Bates had in turn given it to Robert Shayne, 
a depressed lawyer bent on suicide, as a retainer for future 
legal services. Learning that the money did not belong to 
him, Lockhart had been scurrying all over town to recover 
it, at the same time managing to stall off Karns, who had 
demanded its return. Meanwhile Shayne had given the 
money to his wife, who had in turn paid it to Lundigan for 
a portrait he had done for her. Lockhart, no longer able to 
hold off Karns, had resigned himself to his fate and had 
opened the vault. To his surprise it contained the $1000, 
obligingly placed there by Lundigan in payment of his bill. 
Thus the $1000 had been returned to its original owner, yet 
its circulation over a period of a few hours had solved the 
problems of all .who handled it. 

Mary Loos and Richard Sales wrote the screen play from 
a story by Ernest Lehman and Geza Herczeg. Allan Dwan 
directed it. The cast includes Gail Patrick, Allen Jenkins, 
Will Wright and others. 



"State of the Union" with Spencer Tracy, 
Katharine Hepburn and Van Johnson 

(MGM, April; time, 121 min.) 
Excellent! The fame of the Pulitzer Play on which the 
story is based, the marquee value of the stars, and the fact 
that it is a Frank Capra production are enough to make it 
an outstanding box-office attraction, but since it is also an 
irresistibly engrossing entertainment and is as timely as 
today's newspaper it just cannot miss being a huge success. 
Revolving around an idealist who accepts the backing of a 
ruthless political machine in a bid for the presidential nom- 
ination, the story is a contemporary political comedy-drama, 
a sort of satire on machine politics, which is at once a drama 
of deep emotional content as well as a courageous expose and 
indictment of professional politicians. Neither labor leaders, 
nor powerful newspaper publishers, nor the voters them- 
selves escape the stinging rebukes the film hands out as it 
pulls back the curtain for a behind-the-scenes view of cor- 
rupt political machinations in the selection and approval of 
presidential aspirants. It is a slick tale, full of rich humor, 
pungent dialogue, and strong dramatic situations, and 
worked into the proceedings is the vaUant fight put up by 
the candidate's wife for his love, which she finds slipping 
away from her when he comes under the influence of an 
attractive and ambitious woman publisher, who was deter- 
mined to put him in the White House. Frank Capra's pro- 
duction is first-rate, and his direction is nothing short of 
inspired. Spencer Tracy, as the presidential aspirant; Kath- 
arine Hepburn, as his wife; Van Johnson, as a gb'b-tongued 
press agent; Adolphe Menjou, as a conniving campaign mana- 
ger; and Angela Lansbury, as the domineering woman news- 
paper publisher, give great strength to this attraction with 
their expert delineations of the different characters. The 
supporting cast surrounding them is excellent: — 

Tracy, a wealthy plane manufacturer noted for his ideal- 
ism, is persuaded by Angela, owner of a vast newspaper 
chain, to campaign for the Republican presidential nomina- 
tion. Appointed by Angela as Tracy's campaign-manager, 
Menjou arranges for him to make a cross-country tour, ac- 
companied by Katharine and by Johnson. A political "babe- 
in-the-woods," Tracy, in his speeches, speaks frankly to the 
people and becomes highly popular with them because of his 
fearless blasts against big business, unions and other threats 
to the country. His political backers, however, become 
alarmed over his actions because he did not foUow the 
party line. They prove to him that, though his fearless talks 
won him the admiration of the people, they were not win- 
ning him any convention delegates. They persuade him to 
pull his punches and he agrees to read only such speeches 
as are prepared for him. Hurt because Tracy had foresaken 
his straightforward principles and ideals to play ball with 
the politicians, Katharine withdraws her active support from 
him, and the rift between them widens because of his atten- 
tions to Angela. At a final radio broadcast designed to pre- 
sent Tracy as a loving husband and father, a man of and 
for the people, Katharine, against her will, begins to read a 
speech extolling her husband's virtues. Realizing that he had 
forced his wife into a situation that was contrary to her be- 
liefs, Tracy grabs the microphone from her, denounces him- 
self as a fraud, and exposes the perfidies of his political 
backers. He then renounces his candidacy for the nomination 
but promises the people that he will attend the conventions 
of both major parties in an effort to get them a square deal. 
Anthony Veillcr and Myles Connolly wrote the screen 
play from the play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. 
The cast includes Lewis Stone, Charles Dingle, Raymond 
Walburn, Margaret Hamilton, Irving Bacon and many 
others. Adult entertainment. 



"Ruthless" with Zachary Scott, Louis 
Hayward, Diana Lynn, Sydney 
Greenstreet and Lucille Bremer 

(Eagle-Lion, April 3; time, 104 min.) 
A disappointing and rather confusing character study of 
a man whose lust for power and wealth wrecks the lives of 
those associated with him. Full review next week. 



52 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



March 27, 1948 



ALLIED SPREADS ITS WINGS 

Due to the rapid growth of AlHed States Assoda' 
tion of Motion Picture Exhibitors during the past sev 
era! years, Wm. L. "Bill" Ainsworth, newlyelected 
president succeeding Jack Kirsch, has increased the 
number of Regional Vice-Presidents from three to 
five. The new arrangement, explains Mr. Ainsworth, 
will give the different Regional Vice-Presidents an 
opportunity to make a more complete coverage of their 
respective Allied territories. The appointments made 
are as follows : 

Meyer Leventhal, Baltimore, Md., for the Eastern 
Division, comprising Maine, New Hampshire, Ver- 
mont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, 
Eastern Pennsylvania and other Eastern potential 
territories. 

Morris M. Finkel, Pittsburgh, Pa., for the Mid- 
States Division, comprising West Virginia, Western 
Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky. 

Leo Jones, Upper Sandusky, Ohio, for the Great 
Lakes Division, comprising Ohio, Michigan, Illinois 
and Wisconsin. 

John M. Wolfberg, Denver, Colo., for the Western 
Division, comprising Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Ne- 
braska, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, 
Colorado and other potential Western territories. 

W. A. Prewitt, Jr., New Orleans, La., for the 
Southern Division, comprising Louisiana, Mississippi, 
Florida, Alabama, Texas and other potential Southern 
territories. 



"The Big City" with Margaret O'Brien, 

George Murphy, Robert Preston, 

Danny Thomas and Edward Arnold 

(MGM, no release date set; time, 103 min.) 
From the story point of view there is nothing un- 
usual in this frankly sentimental tale of a little orphan 
who is found and brought up in New York's East Side 
by three bachelors, each of a different religious faith, 
but smart showmanship went into its making and it 
shapes up as a very enjoyable entertainment that will 
have a particular appeal to the family trade. Its under- 
lying theme of religious tolerance and brotherly love 
combines comedy, romance, human interest and pa- 
thos, into which has been blended deftly a number of 
delightful musical interludes, which range from relig- 
ious chants in church and synagogue to popular songs 
in a beer parlor and children's recreation room. Addi- 
tionally, there are several folk songs sung by Lotte 
Lehmann, whose rich voice is pleasurable to the ear. 
The entire cast performs very well, with Margaret 
O'Brien, in the pivotal role, given ample opportunity 
to display her versatile talents. George O'Brien, as an 
Irish CathoHc policeman, Robert Preston, as a Protes- 
tant minister, and Danny Thomas, as a Jewish Cantor, 
are impressive as the three bachelors, as are Karin 
Booth and newcomer Betty Garrett, who supply the 
love interest, and Edward Arnold, as an understand- 
ing judge. Butch Jenkins, as Margaret's playmate, gets 
many laughs : — 

Found abandoned as a baby, Margaret is brought 
up by Murphy, Preston and Thomas, under the guid- 
ance of Lotte Lehmann, Thomas' mother. Being bache- 
lors, the three men had agreed that the first to marry 
would have the right to adopt Margaret. Their happy 
relationship hits a snag when Murphy marries Betty 
Garrett, a beer hall entertainer, and claims the child. 



Preston and Thomas object on the grounds that Betty, 
because of her background, would not make a suitable 
parent. A court battle ensues over Margaret's custody 
and, at the trial, the judge allows Margaret to decide 
the issue. She asks to be sent to an institution so that 
her three "fathers" will be friends again. The judge, 
however, secretly takes her to his home, permitting 
the others to believe that she had been sent away. The 
thought of Margaret in an institution becomes unbear- 
able to all concerned and, rather than sacrifice her 
happiness, each visits the judge privately to relinquish 
claim to her. Their special pleas and concessions result 
in Margaret being placed in the custody of Murphy 
and Betty, much to the deHght of Preston and Thomas. 
It all ends with renewed friendships at a happy 
reunion. 

Joe Pasternak produced it and Norman Taurog 
directed it from a screen play by Whitfield Cook and 
Anne Morrison Chapin, based on a story by Miklos 
Laszlo. The cast includes Connie Gilchrist, the Page 
Cavanaugh Trio and others. 

Suitable for the entire family. 



"The Enchanted Valley" with Alan Curtis 
and Anne Gwynne 

(Eagle-Lion. March 27; time, 77 min.) 

Minor program fare. Photographed in Cinecolor, 
the picture is similar to "The Enchanted Forest," 
which PRC produced several years ago, and like that 
picture this one is best classified as fair "kid" enter- 
tainment. Its appeal to adults is doubtful because of 
the idyllic nature of the story, which dwells at length 
on the friendship of a crippled boy with birds and 
little animals. The first part of the picture is extremely 
slow, but it picks up some movement in the second half 
when two gunmen and a gunmoll invade the tran- 
quility of the boy's home and use it as a hideout from 
the police. How the goodness in the boy serves to re- 
form the gangsters makes up the rest of the story, 
which unfolds in just the manner one expects. There 
is some excitement towards the finish where a rival 
gangster fight takes place, but hardly enough to satisfy 
the avid action fans. The acting is just passable, but 
the players are not to blame for they were up against 
some pretty trite material : — • 

The idyllic existence of Donn Gift, a crippled 
youngster, and Charley Grapewin, his grandfather, 
who lived in an isolated mountain cabin, is interrupted 
by the arrival of Alan Curtis, Anne Gwynne, and 
Joseph Devlin, payroll bandits, who take over the 
cabin as a hideout. Under the spell of the peaceful 
existence, the three undergo a change of character, 
and even feel themselves responsible for Donn's wel- 
fare when his grandfather dies. Detective Joseph Cre- 
han catches up with Curtis and, noticing a change, 
offers to recommend a minimum sentence if he will 
return the stolen money and give himself up. Curtis 
agrees, provided the reward money is turned over to 
Donn for an operation. Meanwhile a rival gangster, 
seeking a share of the loot, arrives at the cabin. In the 
gun battle that follows, the gangster is killed and Dev- 
lin loses his life defending Curtis. As Curtis leaves in 
Crehan's custody to pay for his misdeeds, Anne and 
Donn promise to wait for his return. 

Jack Schwarz produced it and Robert Emmett Tan- 
sey directed it, from an original screen play by Frances 
Kavanaugh. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



fcttar JmavMTT 4. UU. at Um poat oAo* at New Tork. N«w Tork, QdOM' a« Mt a( MaMk I, ] 

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T<arl7 SulMcrlpUon Batas: 1X70 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS FabUalMd WaaMd W 

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Canada 18.B0 ««w York ZO, «. T. P. S. HJlRRISOK. Bdltor 

Mexico, Cuba. Spain IIBO .«. Motion Plctirra BeTlewlnir Serrice 

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Australia, N«w Zealand, 

India. Europa. Aala .... 174>0 j^^ Editorial PoUcr: No Problem Too BJ« for Ita Editorial CIrola 7-lttl 
Uo a Copy Columna, U It Is tn Benefit the E^xhlbltor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FR E E FROM THE I NFLUENCE OF FILM ADV E RTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 1948 No. 14 



SOAP-BOX ORATORY 

Eric Johnston, president of the Motion Picture Assodation 
ol America, has rejected a resolution passed by the Pacific 
Coast Conference of Independent Theatre Owners protest- 
ing against the appearance of motion picture stars in political 
propaganda films, including newsreels. 

In a letter to Robert H. Poole, executive secretary of the 
PCCITO, Johnston stated that a Government such as ours 
is threatened "whenever any one person is deprived, directly 
or indirealy, of his right to exercise his political sovereignty 
to the fullest extent." and he added that "motion picture 
stars belong to the public but in a broader sense this relation- 
ship in no way .-tenli:cs their rights and duties as American 
citizens." 

"If it is within my power to prevent it," concluded John- 
ston, "this industry will not set a dangerous national example 
by limiting, curtailing or denying any of the sovereign right-s 
of any one connected with it. .^ny such attempt would justly 
be condemned by the American people as interference with 
the rights of citiienship. It would be paltry, shoddy Amer- 
icanism." 

From Mr, Johnston's grandiose defense of an aaor's right 
to exercise his political sovereignty, one would think that 
there was a dire plot afoot to take away that right. A copy of 
the PCCITO resolution is not at hand at the time of this 
writing, but according to information that has reached this 
writer there is nothing in tht- resolution that even remotely 
implies that '.he industry should take steps to sterilize an 
actor's rights and duties as an American citizen. 

It is quite obvious that an actor's right to think and act in 
accordance with his political beliefs is inviolable, unless, of 
course, he advocates the overthrow of the Government by 
force or by other illegal means, and no one, whether produ- 
cer, distributor, or exhibitor, can compel an actor to moderate 
his political activities i! he does not choose to do »o of his 
own accord. Consequently Mr. John.ston, by literally jumping 
up on a soap-box wit!i a flag in one hand in a spirited defense 
of an actor's rights, and by handing his statement to the wire 
services for publication in the nation's newspapers, turned 
the spotlight on what is essentially an industry problem and, 
if anything, created unfavorable publicity for the industry 
a.' a whole. It is to be noted, however, that Mr. Johnston him- 
self emerges as a champion of the individual's civil rights. 

The question involved in the PCCITO resolution is not 
one ol the industry "limiting, curtailing, or denying any 
of the sovereign rights ' of any one connected with it, but of 
the individual!, in this ca^e the star, recognizing that he has a 
moral rc-poiisibility to those who gave hmi the status of a 
star, namely, the producer, distributor, and exhibitor. 

No one can quarrel with a star's desire to belong to a 
particular political party and to work for the election of that 
party's candidates, if he does so in a quiet, unobtrusive man- 
ner. But when that st.ir comes out into the open and uses his 
popularity to electioneer for this, that, or the other political 
party, he violates the faith and confidence of those who had 
helped him to attain his popularity, in which they have a 
definite stake. 



It takes moie than a player'* pcnonal magnetise to Sake 
him a favorite with the public. If it were not for the ctnobtned 
painstaking publicity efforts of the producer-dt^ributon and 
the exhibitors, few if any of At stars would be where they 
are. Their popularity is the result of the expenditure of mil- 
lions of dollars for publicity purposes, as well as of the many 
more millions of dollars that have been invested in the pic- 
tures in which they appear. The people who have invested 
their time and money to pubbcizc tlie stars, produce the pic- 
tures, and exhibit them, look to the pubh'c's patroliage to 
recoup their investments. For a star, then, to use for partisan 
political work the popularity he has gained through the 
efforts of others, is tantamount to the greatest disservice he 
can do to the motion picture industry as s whole, for in doing 
partisan poUtical work he cannot help offending millions of 
movie patrons whose sentiments he with other political 
parties. 

By this time Mr. Johnston should know that our busiocss 
depends heavdy on star value. Its importance is evidenced by 
the fact that it has saved many a bad picture from beia( a 
total finanual flop, as well as by the fact that, today, a (op 
Stat demands and receives fantastically high payments (or 
his or her services in a picture. It follows, therefore, that with 
a star's acceptance of such fantastic salaries goes the moral 
rcsponsibibty of doing nothing that might injure his popu- 
larity for which payments had been made. 

Unlike most successful people who reach the top through 
their individual efforts, the success of a star is owed mainly to 
the efforts contributed by others. When the average successful 
person takes a controversial stand on political issues, he risks 
injury to no one but himself. But such is not the case with a 
star, whose conrinued success depends on his remaining a 
favorite with the public as a whole; when he antagonize* a 
good part of that public, he does harm, not only to himself, 
but also to the producers who have invested heavily in the 
pictiires in which he appears, as well as to the exhibitors 
who, on the basis of his popularity, paid stiff rentals for the 
privilege of showing these pictures. If a star willingly makes 
his living by virtue of the limehght in which he is kept by 
others, he should willingly accept the responsibility of doing 
nothing that might serve to injure his popularity so that those 
whv keep him in the limelight will not suffer. 

All in all, the issue boils down to the fact that, in a moral 
sense, a star's popularity cannot be considered his exclusive 
property, for the industry as a whole has a definite equity in 
it. And just as well as he is not asked by any segment of the 
industry to use that popularity to further the ambitions of a 
particular political group, he should refrain from using it to 
espouse his own political beliefs. 

In the opinion of Harrison's Reports, the PCCITO's 
resolution to keep actors out of films produced for poUtical 
propaganda purposes is not unreasonable. It is, as a matter 
of fact, justified. And Mr. Johnston's soap-box oratory not- 
withstanding, no actor, by keeping out of such films and by 
generally recognizing his moral responsibility to the industry, 
will be deprived of his rights and duties as an American 
citizen. 



HARRISON*S REPORTS 



April 3, 1948 



^ttoAim**' with Zmchmrj Scott, 

Louis Hayward, Diana Lynn, 

Sfiiamy Greenstreet and Lucille Bremer 

(Eagle-Lion, April 3; time, 104 min.) 
Being a character study of a conscienceless man 
whose luat for power and wealth wrecks the Uves of 
those associated with him. this is a grim drama, but 
it is only mildly interesting. It can boast of good pro- 
ducticHi values and of a cast whose names Aould be of 
help at the box-office, but these attributes are not 
enough to overcome a story that is not only uncon- 
vincing but made worse by a series of confusing 
( jynhharlpi and by affected direction and acting. More- 
over, its running time is unreasonably long and the 
action is slowed down considerably by too much talk. 
The manner in which the flashback method has been 
employed serves to distract the spectator, making him 
lose interest in the outcome. 

The story opens at a reception in the opulent home 
of Zachary Scott, a fabulously rich man, who, with 
typical unabashed fanfare, gives away a fortune to 
an organization designed to further the cause of 
peace. During the reception, Scott is fascinated by 
the beauty of Diana Lynn, sweetheart of Louis Hay- 
ward, his boyhood friend. As Scott makes an obvious 
play for her, Hayward's memory is set in motion. He 
recalls how thirty years previously Scott, whose home- 
hfe had been poverty-stricken, had been befriended 
by a wealthy couple whose daughter he had saved 
from drowning. Hayward himself had been in love 
with the girl, but Scott had taken his place in her 
affections. Before long, however, he had jilted her for 
Martha Vickere, a wealthy debutante, whose family 
had important connections in Wall Street. After set- 
ting himself up in the brokerage business with Martha's 
help, Scott had discarded her for Lucille Bremer, a 
bored young woman, whose aged husband, Sydney 
Greenstreet, was a powerful financier. Taking ad- 
vantage of her boredom, Scott had wrecked her mar- 
riage to Greenstreet and had married her himself, 
evoituaily discarding her after she had helped him to 
ruin her former husband. With a ruthlcssness that 
had characterized his earlier dealings, Scott had used 
his newly-gained business power to force former 
friends to the wall in a desire for even greater power 
and wealth. His thoughts returning to the present, 
Hayward sees Diana coming under Scott's spell as he 
urges her to accompany him on a yachting trip. De- 
spite Hayu'ards pleadings, Diana insists on going to 
the pier to bid Scott bon voyage. There Greenstreet, 
drunk and desperate, puts in an appearance. Giving 
vent to years of silent embittermcnt, he grasps Scott 
by the throat. Both topple into the water and drown. 
Scott's death breaks the spell on Diana, and she re- 
turns to Hayward's arms. 

Arthur S Lyons produced it and Edgar G. Ulmer 
directed it from a screen play by S. K. Lauren and 
Gordon Kahn, based on the novel, 'Trelude to 
Night," by Dayton Stoddard. Adult faro. 



"To the Victor" with Dennis Morgan 
and Viveca Lindfors 

(Warner Bros., April 10; time, 100 min.) 
This melodrama has much to recommend it, but on 
the whole it misses fire because of a mixcd-up story 
that is presented in a muddled way. It is a tale of post- 
war intrigue in Paris, revolving around a demobilized 
American, a black marketeer, who seeks to protect 
the estranged wife of a captured French coUabora- 
tiooist, whose henchmen were trying to kill her to 
prevent her from testifying at his trial. There arc 



many sptuts of duilling excitement, particukiiy in 

the opening and closing scenes, but these are unevenly 
spaced and the net result is a spottily suspenseful 
film which, for the most part, is a talkative but not 
very clear discourse on black market and collabora- 
tionist activities, and on the need for unity to prevent 
a third world war. It is not a very pleasant story, and 
it is peopled by characters who are more or less un- 
savory, yet the characterizations of the hero and the 
heroine, despite their moral failings, are molded Lq a 
way that gives them some measure of sympathy. A 
bad flaw in the script, however, is that there are sev- 
eral characters whose parts in the heavy proceedings 
are never clearly explained. On the plus side of the 
film are the impressive backgrounds; most of the foot- 
age was shot on actual locations in Paris and in Nor- 
mandy, giving the picture an authentic flavor. The 
film serves also to introduce to American audiences 
Viveca Lindfors, a Swedish star, who makes a very 
favorable impression as the heroine; she has an ap- 
pealing personality, not unlike that of Ingrid Berg' 
man's: — 

Seeking to escape death at the hands of her hus- 
band's henchmen, Viveca takes refuge in the private 
office of Dermis Morgan, a former American officer 
engaged in black market operations, who helps her to 
elude her pursuers. He accompanies her to a hideout 
in Normandy, where both fall in love, but Viveca does 
not tell him she was the wife of a collaborationist lest 
she lose his love. While Morgan is away from the 
hideout, Inspector Victor Francen arrives and takes 
Viveca back to Paris to testify against her husband. 
Returning to the house, Morgan finds her pursuers 
waiting. They beat him up in a vain eff^ort to learn 
her whereabouts, then advise him to keep away from 
her because she was the wife of a collaborationist. 
Shocked by this news, Morgan returns to Paris and 
refuses to have any-thing to do with Viveca, but she 
soon convinces him that she had not behaved as a 
collaborationist although married to one. She decides 
not to testify against her husband so that she would be 
left in peace to eventually marr/ Morgan. Her action 
disappoints Francen; he enlists Morgan's aid to per- 
suade her to testify, offering to overlook his illegal 
acti\'ities for the service. Aware that it was important 
for the collaborationist to be convicted, and that he 
himself turn over a new leaf, Morgan, through a 
clever trap, tricks a pair of vicious black market op- 
erators and Viveca 's pursuers into killing one another 
With both vicious elements having eliminated them 
selves, Morgan severs his black market connection.s 
and takes his stand by Viveca 's side as she goes before 
the court to testify. 

Jerry Wald produced it and Delmcr Daves directed 
It from an original screenplay by Richard Brooks. 
The cast includes Bruce Bennett, Dorothy Malone, 
Eduardo Cianelli and others Adult tare. 



"The Noose Hangs High" with 
Abbott and Costello 

(Eagle-Lion, April 17; time, 77 min.) 
As a slapstick program comedy, this latest Abbott 
and Costello effort should satisfy the youngsters as 
well as thoee grown-ups who avidly devour the type 
of buffooner>- this comedy pair specializes in. Others 
will undoubtedly find it quite trying, for most of the 
comedy, which ranges from the 'Safety Last" type of 
situations to stock vaudeville routines, is old stuff 
and has lost its humor through repetition. There is 
httle rhyme or reason in the plot, but it moves along 
at a snappy pace and, detpite its inanity, Costello 



April J. 1948 



HAKfiXSON'S RBPORT8 




manigea to squeeze out a few genuine laughi. All in 
all, it shapes up as a serviceable comedy for the un' 
discriminating, one that will neither raise nor lower 
the box-office value of these comedians : — 

Mistaken by a big-time bookie Goeeph CalleiA) 
as employees of a messenger service. Bud Abbott and 
Lou Costello, window washers, are sent to the office 
of a gambler to collect a $50,000 debt. As they wail 
for the money, the boys overhear the gambler instruct- 
ing his henchmen to retrieve the money after they sign 
a receipt for it. The boys foil the plot by ducking into 
an office where a corps of girls were busy auiling 
envelopes containings samples of face powder. Ckw- 
tello hurriedly addresses an envelope to Calleia, but 
in the excitement the money is placed in a sample 
envelope and mailed to someone else. As a result, the 
boys find their lives threatened by Calleia unless the 
money is found. By means of a mailing list they man- 
age to trace the money to Cathy Downs, only to leam 
that she had spent it on luxuries. From then on they 
become the object of a series of comic chases, during 
which they unsuccessfully try to get themselves ar- 
rested so as to be protected from Calleia. Finally, 
through an acquaintanceship that had struck up with 
Leon Errol, a millionaire, the debt is settled to every 
one's satisfaction. 

Charles Barton produced and directed it from a 
screen play by John Grant and Howard Harris. 

"Man From Texas" with James Craig:, 
Lynn Bari and Johnnie Johnston 

(jEagle-Lion, Mar. 6; time, 71 tnin.) 
An ordinary program Western. Although it has its 
moments of hard-riding and shooting action, it is far 
from a satisfying entertainment principally because 
of a plot that lacks clarity, and of haphazard, loose- 
jointed direction. Moreover, the characterizations are 
neither clear nor believable, and the dialogue pretty 
trite. At times the plot is so muddled that the specta- 
tor will not understand what is happening. The play- 
ers try to put some meaning into their respective parts, 
but they are handicapped by the poor material and 
by the fact that their actions are not particularly 
sympathy-awakening. The photography is sharp : — 

Married to Lynn Bari by a Justice of the Peace 
more than eight years previously, James Craig, a 
notorious bandit known as the El Paso Kid, is unable 
to keep his promise to re-marry her at a church wed- 
ding; every time he had prepared for it, he had been 
forced to flee because of an approaching posse. He 
finally decides to open up an honest business. To ac- 
complish this, he borrows $500 from a locil bank. 
Everything goes smoothly until Craig decides that he 
needs more capital to expand. Despite his wife's pro- 
tests, he plans another bank ftibbery but promises to 
commit the crime in a distant town so as not to sully 
locally his new reputation for honesty. The robbery is 
a success. On his way home, Craig stops for a meal at 
the cabm of Una Merkel, a penniless widow with nine 
childern, and learns that the bank was to foreclose on 
her homestead on the following day. Through trick- 
ery, he manages to save the homestead by arranging 
for pajonent to be made to the bank messenger, then 
steals the money back from him. In the course of 
events, Craig is betrayed by one of his own henchmen 
and is arrested. He heads for jail in the custody of a 
Marshal and, en route, he foils an attempted holdup 
of the train's gold cargo, wounds several of the rob- 
htrs, iind saves the Marshal from death. Fired to en- 
thusiastic heights by Craig's action on the sidr of 'he 
law, the Texas newspapers start an editon^ cam- 



paign in his behalf, with the r-'jiult that the Govcroot 
reduces his jail sentence Upon bis release, Craif le" 
turns home and holds the. cauich wiiddiag t^^nW^ 
Lynn and himself had wanted for ao long, 

Joseph Fields and Jenae Chodacoir wrpM ihc 
screen play by E. B. Ginty. 14r. Fidds j 
and Leigh Jason directed it. Unobj< 




"Thm Pirate^ with Jody GmAfo^ 
GwM KellT and Waltar SUmak 

QAGM, Ms>; time. 102 mm.) . .,„. 

This is an elaborate production in Tedmioolof 

which, despite some moments of tedium, shapes tio-m 
a good, hght entertainment by virtue of Gene KeUy'a 
outstanding work. His dance routines alone are wivth 
the price of admission, for his graceful footwork ia 
about the most imiaginative and spectacular that has 
ever been seen on the screen. The story, which takn 
place on a tiny Caribbean isle early in the l$>th Cen- 
tury, is a fandf ul tale that beccxnes labored and cxxi-- 
trived on more than one occaaon, but on the whcie 
it is rather amusing. The main dving about the filin, 
however, are the excellently staged song-and-daacc 
numbers, the magnificent color effects, and tha brfl- 
hant costumes. Of the Cole Porter songs, one in par- 
ticular, "Be a Clown," is very good. This number is 
done twice, the first time by Kelly and the Nicholas 
Brothers in a brilliantly executed dance nJStme, and 
the second time in the fiinale by Kelly and Judy Gar- 
land who, dressed as clowns, put the song over in a 
manner that will send patrons out of die theatte 
humming the tune. The buoyant perfcrmaaces hy 
the entire cast help to make this a sprighdy add 
happy show: — 

At the behest of her domineering aunt (Gladys 
Cooper) , Judy Garland, a cloistered Latin girl, be' 
comes engaged to the island's wealthy mayor (Walter 
Slezak), a fat, middle-aged man. She agrees to the 
marriage in spite of the fact that her dream idol had 
always been a handsome and dashing man, like "MS' 
coco," the fabled pirate. Meeting the boat that bnngi 
her trousseau from Paris, Judy becomes the unwilling 
object of the attentions of Gene Kelly, head of a gro(^> 
of traveling actors, who loses no time trying to make 
her acquaintance. Kelly traces her to her home-luwB, 
arriving there on the day of her wedding. He breaks 
into her home and is threatened by Slesak with hang- 
ing. But Slezak chainges his attitude when iuellyrsqDi^, 
nizes him as "Macoco," the pirate, who had gone into 
hiding. Threatened with exposure, Slezak agrees not 
to hamper Kelly's movements. Kelly, in turn, capital- 
izes on the situation by claiming to be "Macoco,' and 
succeeds in terrorizing the town. Judy sees tfarpugh 
his impersonation but, being infatuated with him, 
meekly does his bidding. Slezak decides to rid himself 
of the intruder by calling in the Viceroy and the 
militia, which had long been searching for "Macoco." 
Unable to convince the Viceroy that he was not die 
notorious pirate, Kelly is sentenced to hang. On the 
day set for execution, Kelly receives from the Viceroy 
permission to put on one last performance with his 
troupe. He hypnotizes Judy and makes her state pub- 
licly that she loved him, "Macoco," and not Sle*ak. 
Her words so infuriate Slezak that he leaps to tht 
stage and fJhouts out that he, not KcUy, is "Maox^.. ' 
thus clearing Kelly add sealing his own doom. 

Arthur Freed produced it and Vincent Mh^BgMi 
directed it from a screen play by Albert H^-^^- -"-^ 
Frances Goodrich, based on the play by S 
man. The cast includes George Zucco, Rigica- .: 
and others. Unobjectionable poonuily. 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 3, 1948 



LEWIS BILL REVIVED 

Tbe Ltmm Bill, whidi would relieve the exhibiton from 
pitying a «eat tax to ASCAP by eompelling tbe producer* to 
aoquifc tbe public perfonnance rights to the music recorded 
tm film, win be recoiuidered by tbe full House Judiciary 



The Bill received ita new leaae on life through the effort* 
of Rep. Lewi*, author of the Bill and diairman of the ■ub' 
conunittce, which laxt week rejected the measure by a vote 
of five to one. Rep. Lewis persuaded Rep. Lane, who had 
voted against the Bill, to move for its reconsideration. Thi* 
action means that the full Committee will consider the Bill 
in executive session. 

As this paper has already pointed out, the sub-committee's 
original action in reporting the Bill adversely has done con- 
siderable damage, and the chance that it will be enacted into 
a law is admittedly slun. But the chance is there and every 
cahS>itor should do his utmost to take advantage of it by 
urging his Congressmen and Senators to give the Bill their 
fuU backing. 

The TOA, which oppoaed the Bill at the recent hearing, 
made it appear as if the ASCAP issue was an intra-industry 
dispute over which the exhibitors were sharply divided. Some 
pertinent information as to why the TOA may have con- 
ducted its campaign will be found elsewhere en this page in 
a letter from Mr. Milton C. Wei»man, jsrominent Ne^s' York 
attorney who, on behalf of 164 independent exhibitors, 
handled the recently completed anti-trust suit against 
ASCAP. The decision on this suit is still pending and, if 
favorable to the plaintif s, it may end for all time the ASCAP 
gouge. Read what Mr. Weisman has to say; tbe facts he 
presents tear a gaping hole in the arguments set forth by the 
Bill's opponents. You should use these facts in urging your 
Congressional representatives to support this badly needed 
legislation. 



WEISMAN, CELLER, QUINN. ALLAN » SPETT 

1450 Broadway 

New York 18, N. Y. 

March 30. 1948 
Harrison's Reports 
1270 Avenue of the Americas 
New York 20, N. Y. 
Attention: P. S. Harrison, Esquire 
Dear Pete: 

I read with interest the excellent and trenchant article re- 
garding the Lewis Bill, which appeared in your issue of 
March 27th. 

There is a rather relevant and important fact of the 
ASCAP situation and the T.O.A. position that seems to 
have been missed by all interested parties and which has not 
been presented to the Sub-Committee which heard the mat- 
ter. It was developed during the recent trial of the suit under 
the Sherman and Clayton Acts that I conducted against 
ASCAP for 164 independent exhbiitors. This suit was tried 
in the United States District Court for the Southern District 
of New York before the Honorable Vincent L. Leibell. This 
may explain in part T.O.A.'s efforts to kill the Lewis Bill. 

As you know, the theatres of Warijer's, Loew's, Para- 
mount and Twentieth Century-Fox are all members of 
T.O.A., yet these very companies controlling or operating 
these theatres have a very heavy financial stake in ASC.^P's 
continued "take" through their ownership and interests in 
publishing companies which are members of ASCAP. The 
"take" of these companies out of ASCAP is really surprising 
and very lucrative. Thus Warner's owns outright some of the 
largest publishing houses in the country including 

( 1 ) Harms, Inc. 

( 2 ) Remick Music Corp. 

(3) M, Witmark d Sons 

(4) New World Music Corp. 
(1) Atlas Music Corp. 

In addition it has a fifty per cent interest in two other music 

publishing companies, to wit. 

Advance Music Corporation 
Schubert Music Publishing Company 



These companies — all member* of ASCAP — received from 
it tbe sum of $789,000.00 for the year 1947 alone. Similarly 
large annual stuns have been received over the last ten years. 
Similarly Loew's and Twentieth Century-Fox control 
music publishing comparues — members of ASCAP, to wit, 

(1) Miller Music Corp. 

(2) Leo Feist, Inc. 

(3) Robbtns Music Corp. 

Theae three are known as three of the largest publishing 
houses in the country. During 1947 these companies received 
from ASCAP the sum of $114,714.79. 

Paramount also owiu outright two large music publishing 
companies of ASCAP, to wit. 

Famous Music Corporation 
Paramount Music Corporation 
In 1947 these companies received from ASCAP the sum of 
$150,000.00. 

Of course, in the light of this information it becomes 
apparent that whatever Warner's, Loew's, Paramount. 
Twentieth Century-Fox pay into ASCAP through its so- 
called "seat tax" is really infinitesimal compared to the return 
that their music publishing companies get from the ASCAP 
monopoly. 

Of course, the situation of the independent exhibitor who 
has no interest in any publishing company that is a member 
of ASCAP and feeds from its monopoly is diametrically 
different. 

The fight that you are conducting in behalf of the inde- 
pendent exhibitor against ASCAP's music monopoly and 
the illogical, unscientific and arbitrary tax it imposes on the 
independent exhibitor is a splendid one. It is logical, trench- 
ant and fully demonstrates not only your absolute devotion 
to the cause of the independent exhibitor but the ability with 
which you champion his cause. 

With kindest personal regards to you and v/ith my con- 
gratulations to you for the fight you are ceaselessly carrying 
out for the independent exhibitor, I am 

Sincerely yours, 
(signed) Milton C. Weisuan. 



HoUywood 28, Calif. 
March 24, 1948. 
Dear Mr. Harrison: 

Reading your frank and thoroughly enlighting "Reports," 
which is my weekly custom (I am a cover-to-cover reader), 
I have juct digested what you had to say about a producer 
(unnamed) who looked with pessimism on the new Holly- 
wood-Brituh agreement. 

I think you fellows have mused the boat, in weighing the 
new deal and its consequences, and if your unnamed pro- 
ducer is an independent producer, I would share his fear of 
the results of the "treaty." 

I think the independent movie producers may be booted 
in the rear by this tie-up. Reason : The major companies can 
take so much money out of England, plus an amount equal 
to what Britith movies taJ^e out of the United States. There 
is the catch: I will not be surprised to see the major com- 
panies promote English movies here, not by cutting down 
their own playing time, but by substituting, as much as 
possible, British films for films made by independent Holly- 
wood companies and producers. It is no money out of the 
major company's pockets if profits they don't get from Amer- 
ican theatres goes into British coffers, instead of going into 
the pots of independent Hollywood producers. Fact is, it is 
money in their pockets, for what the independent producer 
may make means nothing to the majors, but what the British 
films make over here, means just that much more the majors 
may take from England. 

But if the majors have no such idea, it will be the first 
time in motion picture history that they have overlooked a 
way or chance to net themselves more dough. 

Think it over. I offer my suggestion to you, because it is 
to tradey for my use. and because I think HAUasON's Rb- 
FORTS is the most respected of the trade publications, and a 
discussion of this, in your pages, will get real attention. 

Good luck, 
(signed) JlKMIB FiDLBa. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 



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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 1948 No. 15 



AGAIN ABOUT ASCAP AND 
THE LEWIS BILL 

According to a report in the April 7 issue of Film Daily, 
Representative Earl Michener (R., Mich.), who is chairman 
of the full House Judiciary Committee, told the Washington 
correspondent of that paper that "he is very much in favor 
of the Lewis Bill and determined to put it to a vote before 
his fuU committee." 

The Bill, which would require the producers rather than 
the exhibitors to pay ASCAP for the pubhc performance 
rights to music recorded on film, was scheduled for a re- 
hearing this Wednesday before Rep. Michener's sub-com- 
mittee on patents, trade marks and copyrights, which two 
weeks ago reported the Bill adversely but has since agreed 
to reconsider it. 

film Daily credits Rep. Michener with stating that, even 
if the bill is voted down again by the sub-committee, he will 
put the motion to table before his full committee, and if it 
fails to clear his committee he may bring the measure up 
again in the next Congress. Quotely directly. Rep. Michener 
said that "something has got to be done to clear up this 
ASCAP situation." 

Rep. Michener's attitude towards the Lewis Bill, coupled 
with the fact that he is the chairman of the powerful House 
Judiciary Committee, definitely gives the Bill a badly needed 
boost and should serve to encourage the exhibitors" hopes 
that it will be enacted into a law. If you haven't yet written 
to your Congressman urging him to support this measure 
you should do so at once so that he will have a chance to use 
his influence before the Bill is put to a vote before the full 
committee. 



The March 6 issue of this paper carried a suggestion from 
Martin G. Smith, president of the ITO of Ohio, that the 
exhibitors, instead of signing ASCAP's application form, 
send the Society a check for a Ucense on a monthly basis, 
accompanied by a letter stating that the payment was being 
made under protest due to the pendency of the Lewis Bill 
and of different law suits involving the Society's right to 
collect hcense fees from the exhibitors. 

Having followed this suggestion, a number of exhibitors 
have advised this paper that ASCAP returned their checks 
with a letter stating that, since no hcense has been in effect 
since March 1 J, they had no account to which to credit the 
payment. An application form was enclosed in the letter, 
which stated also that, though it was the Society's custom to 
accept only quarterly, semi-annual, or annual payments, 
they were wiUing to accept monthly payments if more satis- 
factory to the exhibitor. 

Those of you who want to know what to do when 
ASCAP refuses to accept payments unless a hcense agree- 
ment is signed will be interested in the advice being given by 
AUied leaders to their members. These leaders are caution- 
ing those who desire to sign up with ASCAP to insist that 
the following clause be inserted into the contract: 

"Payments may be made in monthly or quarterly install- 
ment! at licensee's election and licensee shall have the option 



to cancel this agreement in case hcensor's right to collect 
such payments is terminated by an act of Congress or by the 
final judgment of any Federal Court of last resort." 

The purpose of this clause is to protect the exhibitor from 
a long-term contract in the event that either legislation or a 
court decision terminates ASCAP's right to collect license 
fees from the exhibitors for public performance rights to 
music on film. 

(Editor's Note : As we go to press, a report from Wash- 
ington states that the sub-committee had again vetoed the 
Lewis Bill by a vote of 3 to 2.) 



BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES 

The previous box-office performances were published in 
the September 27, 1947, issue. 

Columbia 

"BuUdog Drummond Strikes Back" : Fair 
"When a Girl's Beautiful" : Fair 
"Key Witness" : Fair-Poor 
"Blondie in the Dough": Fair 
"Sweet Genevieve": Fair 
"Down to Earth" : Good 
"Her Husband's Affairs" : Good-Fair 
"Two Blondes and a Redhead": Fair 
"The Lone Wolf in London": Fair-Poor 
"Crime Doctor's Gamble": Fair-Poor 
"Devil Ship": Fair-Poor 
"It Had to Be You" : Fair 
"Blondie's Anniversary": Fair 
"The Swordsman": Good-Fair 
"The Prince of Thieves" : Fair 
"I Love Trouble" : Fair 
"Glamour Girl" : Fair-Poor 
"Mary Lou" : Fair 
"Relentless" : Good-Fair 
"To the Ends of the Earth": Good 
"The Woman from Tangier" : Fair 
"The Return of the Whistler" : Fair-Poor 
"The Sign of the Ram" : Fair 

Twenty-three pictures have been checked with the follow- 
ing results:: Fair-Poor, 6; Fair, 12; Good-Fair, 3; Good, 2. 

Eagle-Lion 

"Green for Danger" (British) : Fair 
"Out of the Blue": Fair 
"Bury Me Dead" : Fair-Poor 
"The Return of Rin Tin Tin" : Fair-Poor 
"Whispering City": Fair 
"Love from a Stranger" : Fair 
"Blonde Savage": Fair 
"Linda Be Good" : Fair-Poor 
"T-Men": Very Good-Good 
"Heading for Heaven" : Fair-Poor 
'The Smugglers": Fair 
"Adventures of Casanova": Fair 
"Open Secret": Fair-Poor 
"The Man from Texas": Fair 

Fourteen pictures have been checked with the following 
results: Fair-Poor, 5; Fair, 8; Very Good-Good, 1. 



58 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 10, 1948 



"Berlin Express" with Merle Oberon, 
Robert Ryan and Paul Lukas 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 86 min.) 
A good spy thriller. Although the story is on the far- 
fetched side, it is superior to most pictures of this type 
because of the effective semi-documentary treatment and of 
the realism given to it by the actual backgrounds of Paris, 
Berlin, and Frankfurt, where the action takes place. More- 
over, it has imagination in script, staging, and acting. Re- 
volving around a manhunt for a German statesman who is 
kidnapped by the Nasi underground to prevent his working 
with the Allies, the plot stresses intrigue and undercover 
violence in a way that keeps audience interest at a high 
pitch. Many of the exciting scenes have the stuff of which 
first-rate melodramas are made. Those who carry on the 
manhunt are representatives of different nations, and the 
story, with moderate success, attempts to put over the mes- 
sage that, if individuals of different nations can learn to 
work together, the nations should be able to do the same: — 
Through the interception of a code message, AUicd au- 
thorities in Paris suspect that an attempt will be made on 
the life of Paul Lukas, a German statesman working on a 
plan to unify his country. Despite the precautions taken on 
a train taking Lukas to Berlin, a bomb is planted in his 
compartment kilUng an Allied agent who had been placed 
there to impersonate him. Lukas, posing as a business man, 
permits his fellow passengers to believe that he had been 
killed. After being interrogated at American military head- 
quarters in Frankfurt, the passengers, including Robert 
Ryan, an American agricultural expert; Robert Coote, a 
British educator; Roman Toporow, a Russian lieutenant; 
Charles Korvin, a French importer; and Merle Oberon, 
Lukas" secretary, are permitted to continue their journey to 
Berhn. Through a clever ruse, however, the Nazis succeed 
in kidnapping Lukas at the railway station. Frantic, Merle 
appeals to her fellow-travelers for help, revealing to them 
who Lukas really is. All begin a thorough search of the 
war-devastated city, with Merle and Ryan finding a clue at 
a black-market cabaret. But the clever Nazis lure them to a 
hideout in an abandoned brewery, where they held Lukas 
captive. Aided by an American agent posing as a Nazi, 
Ryan attempts to escape. He is hurled into a huge beer vat 
and left for dead. The agent escapes, however, and summons 
miUtary police. They arrive in time to capture the Nazis and 
to save Lukas, Merle, and Ryan. On the way to Berlin, 
Ryan suggests to the others that each take turns guarding 
Lukas. Korvin manages to take the first watch but through 
a slip of the tongue causes Ryan to suspect his motive. Ryan 
catches him in the act of stranghng Lukas and exposes him 
as a leader of the underground Nazis. Korvin is shot and 
killed as he attempts to escape. 

Bert Granet produced it and Jacques Tourneur directed 
it from a screen play by Harold Medford, based on a story 
by Curt Siodmak. The cast includes Reinhold Schunzel, 
Fritz Kortner and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Hatter's Castle" with Robert Newton, 
James Mason and Deborah Kerr 

(Paramount, June 18; time, 99 min.) 
An unpleasant, depressing British-made drama, which 
Paramount has kept on the shelf since 1941, and which it 
has obviously decided to release now because of the presence 
in the cast of Deborah Kerr and James Mason, who appear 
in supporting roles. The leading role, that of a brutal tyrant 
who makes hfe miserable for everyone, including his own 
family, is played by Robert Newton, who does a magnificent 
job in a most unsympathetic role. The picture, however, can 
hardly be classed as an entertainment, for it is far too depress- 
ing and the atmosphere throughout is gloomy. Moreover, it 
is peopled with unprincipled characters, for whose victims 
one feels pity rather than sympathy. At times the action is 
loathsome, such as the situation where Newton brings home 
his mistress, thus hastening the death of his ill and grieving 
wife. Another such situation is where Newton's conniving 
clerk, employed in his hat store, takes advantage of Miss 
Kerr, Newton's daughter, and seduces her. There is nothing 
in the picture that can be called entertaining, for when it 
i« not cruel it is ugly. 



Briefly, Newton is shown as an arrogant, brutal owner of 
a hat shop in a small Scottish town, whose two driving ambi- 
tions were to make a castle of his home and to make a genius 
of his young son, a sickly boy, whom he denied a normal life. 
He treats his daughter sternly and denies to his sickly wife 
badly needed medical attention, which she receives secretly 
from Mason, a local physician, who was in love with Deb- 
orah. When he learns of the seduction of his daughter by 
the clerk, whom he finds in the arms of his mistress, Newton 
chases the young man out of town and drives his daughter 
out of the house. The scandal, coupled with the fact that 
Newton brings his mistress home, ostensibly as a house- 
keeper, hastens the end of his sickly wife. He takes to drink 
and becomes bankrupt, resulting in the mistress' leaving 
him. With everything else lost, his one great passion re- 
maining is to have his son win a scholarship. But even this 
is not reahzed when the boy, expelled from school for 
cheating, commits suicide. Newton goes berserk and, cursing 
his home as a symbol of his pride, ambition, and frustrations, 
sets fire to the place, making it a funeral pyre for himself 
and his son. 

L Goldsmith produced it and Lance Comfort directed it 
from a screen play by Paul Merzbach and R. Bernaur, based 
on a novel by A. J. Cronin. Strictly adult fare. 



"Winter Meeting" with Bette Davis, 
James Davis and Janis Paige 

{Warner Bros., April 24; time, 104 min.) 
It is doubtful if even Bette Davis' popularity will be 
enough to save this tedious, slow-moving, confusing romantic 
drama. From start to finish the characters do nothing but 
talk, talk, talk, and what is even worse is that most of the 
time the spectator does not know what they are talking 
about. The story is a bewildering mixture of romance, fixa- 
tions, and soul-searching, full of vague dialogue and about 
as explosive as a pop gun. The characters do not act as 
flesh-and-blood people would and, since one cannot com- 
prehend what makes them tick, one feels no sympathy for 
them. As a New England spinster who is somewhat neurotic. 
Miss Davis is cast in the type of role that is well suited to 
her talents, while a newcomer, James Davis, as a disillusioned 
war hero with whom she falls in love, makes a good im- 
pression, but their efforts are in vain, for no matter how 
hard they try the picture achieves nothing better than pre- 
tentiousness. Not much can be said for the direction, which 
is stagey: — 

Bette, a poetess, meets Davis at a dinner party arranged 
by John Hoyt, a friend, who brings along his flashy secretary 
(Janis Paige) as a companion for Davis. Davis, however, 
finds Bette more to his liking and, at the end of the party, 
escorts her home. At her apartment, they find themselves 
at sword's points because of their different philosophies, but 
they fall in love before the evening is over. On the following 
day they take Bette's car for a drive to her Connecticut 
farmhouse, which she was reluctant to visit. In the friend- 
liness of the house they pour out their hearts to each other. 
Bette tells him that she had kept away from the house be- 
cause her father had committed suicide there, the result of 
an unfaithful wife, her mother, whom she hated. Davis 
berates her for her uncompromising attitude towards her 
mother but this outburst does not affect their love. Later, 
Bette finds him in a disturbed mood and, upon questioning 
him, learns that he had planned to become a priest but had 
given it up because he felt himself indirectly responsible for 
the death of several sailors in a war emergency. He now felt 
himself unfit for the priesthood because of a troubled con- 
science. For reasons that are not made very clear, Bette and 
Davis part, but, after an incident involving Janis and Davis, 
they come together again and he asks her to marry him. 
After some puzzling soul-searching on the part of both, it 
ends with Davis deciding to join the church and with Bette 
assuming a more tolerant attitude towards her mother, from 
whom she had received a pitiful letter requesting help. 

Henry Blanke produced it and Bretaigne Windust di- 
rected it from a screen play by Catherine Turney, based on 
a novel by Ethel Vance. Adult entettainmect. 



April 10, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



59 



"Fury at Furnace Creek" with 
Victor Mature and Coleen Gray 

(20i)i CcnturyPox. May; time, 88 min.) 

Replete with rip-roaring action, beautiful outdoor photog- 
raphy, an interesting story, expert direction and fine per- 
formances, this is a first-rate "super-western" that should not 
only go over big with the Western fans but also please others 
as well. It is one of the better examples of this type of film 
fare, for it has a plot that does not offend logic, characteri- 
zations that are different, and a sprinkling of comedy, fur- 
nished by Charles Kemper, as the town's good-natured bad 
boy, which is refreshing. As a ne'er-do-well who sets out to 
clear the reputation of his dead father, an army officer who 
had been implicated innocently in an Indian massacre, Victor 
Mature makes a completely convincing hero in a perform- 
ance that adds much to his acting stature. His romance with 
Coleen Gray is pleasant and properly subdued. An exciting 
highlight is a vicious Indian attack on a wagon train in the 
opening scenes: — 

Unjustly accused of giving orders that resulted in an 
Apache Indian massacre. General Robert Warwick dies of a 
heart attack while being court-martialed. His two sons, 
Glenn Langan, an army officer, and Victor Mature, an ad- 
venturer who had been estranged from the family, set out 
to clear his reputation. Mature traces Captain Reginald 
Gardiner, who had testified against his father, to Furnace 
Creek, where he finds the man retired, a drunken weakling 
who feared that a silver mining syndicate, headed by Albert 
Dekker, would kill him. Learning that the syndicate owned 
huge silver deposits in the territory from which the Apaches 
had been routed after the massacre, Mature suspects that 
Dekker had engineered the massacre for his own benefit, and 
that he had bribed Gardiner to forge his father's name to the 
orders. Mature enters Dekker's employ under an assumed 
name in the hope of gaining a confession from Gardiner. 
Meanwhile his brother arrives in town. Dekker, fearing that 
Gardiner might talk to Langan, orders the weakling killed. 
Aware that the syndicate was out to murder him, Gardiner 
writes a confession just as he is shot down. Langan manages 
to obtain the paper and conceal it, but through a frame-up 
he is charged with Gardiner's murder and sentenced to 
hang. Mature helps him to escape with the confession while 
he shoots it out with Dekker and his henchmen in a rousing 
finale, during which he overcomes the villains with the un- 
expected aid of an Apache Indian, whom Dekker had 
double-crossed. Though seriously wonded. Mature recovers 
and learns that Langan had dehvered the confession to the 
authorities, thus clearing their father's name. 

Fred Kohlmar produced it and Bruce Humberstone di- 
rected it from a screen play by Charles G. Booth, suggested 
from a story by David Garth. The Cast includes George 
Cleveland, Roy Roberts, Fred Clark and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Shaggy" with Brenda Joyce, Robert 
Shayne and George Nokes 

{Paramount, June 11; time, 72 min.) 
Ordinary program fare. Photographed in Cinecolor, it is 
one of those oft-told stories about a boy's devotion to his 
dog, and about the misunderstandings between the youngster 
and his new stepmother, despite her efforts to win his love. 
It is the sort of entertainment that will appeal mainly to 
the juvenile trade, for the story has been done many times 
and this version offers little that is original. The use of color 
photography makes for some nice scenic shots of the outdoor 
backgrounds, but it is not enough to compensate for the trite 
handling of an overworked theme. The performances are 
adequate, but no one in the cast means anything at the 
box-office : — 

Returning home to his sheep ranch, Robert Shayne brings 
with him Brenda Joyce, his new wife and stepmother for 
George Nokes, his eight-year-old son. Brenda does her best 
to make friends with the boy, but her fear of his pet 
raccoon, which he is compelled to keep out of the house, 
causes him to resent her. To add to the youngster's troubles, 
a neighboring ranch owner accuser the boy's pet dog, 



Shaggy, of killing his sheep. Certain that the dog was not a 
killer, Shayne rejects the accusation. Brenda finally wins 
the boy's affection when he sees her trying to make friends 
with the raccoon. But this affection is shortlived when the 
raccoon dies after eating some poisoned food and the young- 
ster mistakenly believes that Brenda has fed it to him. 
Meanwhile a vicious mountain lion had been roaming the 
range killing sheep and, through a series of coincidents, 
during which Shaggy is seen traveling at night with a she 
wolf, and during which he gets blood on his fur while 
defending his mate from an attack by the lion, the dog is 
erroneously identified as the sheep killer. Shayne decides to 
shoot him, but George helps the animal to escape into the 
hills and follows him when scolded by his father. Brenda, 
worried over the child's safety, goes in search of him and 
finds him. Just then the mountain lion appears and attacks 
them. Shaggy springs to their defense and courageously 
wards off the attack in a losing battle, but he, too, is saved 
by the timely arrival of Shayne, who shoots the lion dead. 
Shaggy is cleared when sheep bones and skins are found in 
the lion's den, and it all ends with a happy family reunion. 

William Pine and William Thomas produced it, and 
Robert Emmett Tansey directed it from an original screen 
play by Maxwell Shane. The cast includes Ralph Sanford, 
Jody Gilbert and others. 

Suitable for the family. 



"Homecoming" with Clark Gable, 
Lana Turner and Anne Baxter 

(MGM, May; time, 113 min.) 

With Clark Gable and Lana Turner heading the cast, 
"Homecoming" undoubtedly will prove to be an outstand- 
ing box-office attraction. The substance of the story is in no 
sense novel and it is not without its shortcomings, but on 
the whole most audiences, particularly women, will find it 
to be a well-acted, interest-holding drama that will give them 
a full measure of entertainment. As a successful and happily 
married surgeon whose experiences make him realize that 
his life had been self-centered and lacking in purpose. Gable 
handles his role with poise and meaning, as does Lana Tur- 
ner, as a widowed army nurse, with whom he falls in love 
but who is killed before he returns to his wife. Their ro- 
mance is restrained, quite believable, and sympathetic. Anne 
Baxter, as his understanding wife, and John Hodiak, as a 
fellow-doctor and family friend, contribute effective char- 
acterizations. The chief criticisms one may make of the film 
are that some of the situations are too pat and contrived, and 
that the action tends to drag in spots. There are, however, 
several exciting war scenes: — 

Happily married to Anne, Gable, a successful small-town 
surgeon, is so busy improving his own practice and attend- 
ing social functions that he cannot find time to help his 
friend, Hodiak, eradicate the malaria-infested slums of a 
town nearby. When war is declared, he enlists in a medical 
unit because it seems "the thing to do," but once overseas 
he faces real problems while operating on battle casualties 
and comes to the realization that his work at home had been 
lacking in purpose. He discovers also that more than anyone 
else his nurse, Lana, a forthright, down-to-earth person, 
was responsible for the change in his attitude. Working side 
by side with her through different battle campaigns. Gable 
eventually falls in love with her. They are separated when 
Lana is transferred to another unit but meet again during a 
furlough in Paris, just as word comes that the Germans had 
broken through Bastoigne. Gable returns to the front at 
once and Lana insists upon accompanying him. She is 
wounded on the battlefield and dies in a Paris hospital 
shortly thereafter. Returning home at the end of the war. 
Gable, his mind confused, confides to Anne the story of 
Lana and the influence she had on his Hfe. Through Anne's 
patient understanding, he gets a new grip on himself and 
sets out to use his medical skill in a way that will benefit 
mankind. 

Sidney Franklin produced it and Mervyn LeRoy directed 
it from an original screen play by Sidney Kingsley. The cast 
includes Ray CoUins, Gladys Cooper and others. 

Unobjecrionable morally. 



60 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 10, 1948 



"Letter from an Unknown Woman" with 
Joan Fontaine and Louis Jourdan 

{Universal-InteTnationdl, May; time, 86 min.) 

Although it has been given a very dressy production, and 
a sincere effort has been made by all concerned to make it a 
meaningful drama, "Letter from an Unknown Woman" is 
handicapped by a hackneyed, talky story which, for the 
great bulk of its running time, is tedious. Set in Vienna in 
the 1890's, its tale about a young woman's misguided love 
has all the ingredients of a grim romantic tragedy, but as 
presented it fails to come through the screen with any power 
of conviction. Moreover, the camera dawdles too long on 
inconsequential matters, making it a drawn-out affair that 
seems much longer than its actual running time. It has some 
good dialogue, acting and direction in individual scenes, but 
on the whole it packs only a weak emotional punch: — 

About to leave the country to avoid fighting a pistol duel, 
Louis Jourdan, a once brilliant pianist, receives a letter from 
Joan Fontaine in which his past is brought sharply into 
focus. She relates how, as a girl of fifteen, she had fallen 
madly in love with him when he, then a man of twenty-five, 
had moved into the same apartment house where she had 
lived. Rebelhng when her widowed mother had remarried 
and her stepfather had tried to arrange her marriage to an 
army man, she had left her family to make her own way. At 
the age of eighteen, while working as a dress model, she had 
managed to meet him again and, after a night of love- 
making, he had taken his leave with a promise to return to 
her within a fortnight. But by the time he had returned he 
had forgotten all about her. Shortly thereafter she had given 
birth to their illegitimate son and, after a struggle of eight 
years, had married a kindly middle-aged man to whom she 
had admitted her youthful indiscretion. While thus happily 
married she had met Jourdan again at the opera, and her 
love for him had been awakened. She had gone to his apart- 
ment and, to her dismay, had discovered that he did not 
remember her, and that, to him, she was just another beauti- 
ful woman and a possible conquest. She had fled from the 
apartment, and several days later tragedy had struck when 
her son, stricken with typhus, had died. She, too, had been 
stricken with the disease and was writing the letter to inform 
him of the love she had carried through the years. A post- 
script on the letter from the hospital authorities informs 
Jourdan that she had died. After reading the letter, Jourdan 
prepares to fight the duel, now aware that his opponent was 
Joan's middle-aged husband. 

John Houseman produced it and Max Opuls directed it 
from a screen play by Howard Koch, based on the story by 
Stefan Zweig. The cast includes Mady Christians, Marcel 
Journet, Art Smith, Howard Freeman and others. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Arthur Takes Over" with Lois Collier, 
Richeu-d Crane and Skip Homeier 

(20th Century-Fox, May; time, 63 min.) 
An unpretentious but entertaining domestic comedy. Re- 
volving around the farcical comphcations that arise when a 
young lady returns to her small-town home secretly married 
and finds her doting mother prepared to marry her off to a 
local bore, the story is a mixture of family crises and adoles- 
cent doings, all of it quite improbable and none of it too 
original. But it moves along at a swift and merry pace and 
adds up to harmless and diverting film fare that is easy to 
take, for it is packed to the hilt with slapstick antics and 
exaggerated domestic touches which, though silly, are amus- 
ing enough to raise giggles. All in all, it should serve nicely 
as a supporting feature in theatres that cater to family audi- 
ences, particularly where soinething light is needed to round 
out a double-bill: — 

Aware that her mother (Barbara Brown) had picked out 
WiUiam Blakewell, a stuffy, young autocrat, for a future 
son-in-law, Lois Collier returns home after a year's absence, 
accompanied by Richard Crane, her sailor-husband, whom 
she introduces as a friend. The effort to keep their marriage 
a secret proves too much for Crane, who finally bluits the 



truth out to her mother. Lois' father, Howard Freeman, and 
her "teen-aged brother. Skip Homeier, are dehghted with the 
news, but not so her mother, who felt that the secret mar- 
riage would make her family the subject of gossipy tongues 
and thus affect her election as head of the Parent-Teachers 
Association. She orders Crane out of the house, and Lois, 
rather than break her mother's heart, refuses to leave with 
him. At this point. Skip decides to take matters in hand: He 
arranges to become engaged to Ann E. Todd, his bobby-sox 
girl-friend, the objective being that his mother will be so 
happy to break up the engagement that she will let Lois and 
Crane alone. The idea gets out of hand, however, when Ann 
takes the engagement too seriously and, to compel Skip to 
elope with her, informs him that her father, Jerome Cowan, 
was determined to shoot him on sight. After a series of com- 
phcations, during which Skip is charged with kidnapping, 
his mother becomes uncontrollably frantic, and Cowan 
threatens to ruin Freeman's business name. Crane sets 
out to find the youngsters and brings them home none the 
worse for their experience and still unmarried. It all ends 
with Crane being accepted as Lois' husband with her 
mother's blessing, and with Skip swearing off women until 
he reaches the age of seventeen. 

Sol M. Wurtzel produced it and Mai St. Clair directed it 
from a story and screen play by Mauri Grashin. The cast 
includes ALmira Sessions and others. 

Suitable family entertainment. 



"Old Los Angeles" with William Elliott, 
John Carroll and Catherine McLeod 

(Republic, April 25; time. 88 min.) 
Just fair. Except for the fact that it can boast of shghtly 
better-than-average production values, and of fair name 
value, this is a typical 60-minute western dragged out to a 
one and one-half hour's length through the interjection of 
too many musical interludes, none of which are particularly 
outstanding and all of which serve to slow down the film's 
pace. The formula plot has a fair quota of thrilling high- 
lights but in between the action is too rambling and on the 
whole will hold few surprises for even the avid followers of 
this type of entertainment. The characterizations are stand- 
ard, and the players go through their paces in workmanlike 
fashion but they never really succeed in making their por- 
trayals convincing. The action takes place in 1848: — 

Accompanied by Andy Devine, his partner, William Elli- 
ott arrives in Los Angeles to prospect for gold. He finds that 
outlaws rule the territory, and learns that his brother 
(Henry Brandon) had been murdered for a gold claim he 
had staked. Elliott sets out to avenge his brother's death but 
runs into difficulties when EsteUta Rodigruez deliberately 
misleads him to protect her lawless lover, John Carroll, who 
unbeknownst to Elliott, had killed his brother. In the course 
of events, Elliott finds reason to suspect Joseph Schildkraut, 
a gambhng house proprietor, and Catherine McLeod, an 
entertainer, with whom he (Elliott) had fallen in love. Ac- 
tually, Schildkraut was the brains behind the lawless ele- 
ment, which was headed secretly by Grant Withers, a 
crooked sheriff. With the aid of Estelita's mother, who ob- 
jected to Carroll, Elliott baits the outlaws by leaving a gold 
storage vault open to a raid. Carroll, who had killed Withers, 
takes comamnd of the gang and prepares to lead them on the 
raid. When Schildkraut reveals himself as the brains behind 
the gang and demands that Carroll take his orders, Carroll 
shoots him down and leaves him for dead. But he lives long 
enough to inform Elliott that Carroll had killed his brother. 
In a final showdown, Elhott kills Carroll during a gun 
battle. Meanwhile Catherine clears herself of comphcity in 
the lawlessness by revealing that she is a secret government 
agent sent to the territory to obtain evidence against the 
outlaws. With the outlaw element cleaned up, Los Angeles 
returns to a peaceful existence, while Catherine and Elhott 
prepare for their marriage. 

Joe Kane produced and directed it from a screen play by 
Gerald Adams and Clements Ripley, based on an original 
story by Mr. Ripley. The cast includes Virginia Brissac, 
Roy Barcroft and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



} 



BntareJ a* •o«ond-(»la»« mattar January i, 1921, at th« po»l otilaa at Now York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, APRIL 17, 1948 No. 16 



WILL THE BRITISH AVOID THE 

PITFALLS OF CONCEALED 

ADVERTISING? 

Under the heading, "Rank Plans to Plug British-made 
Goods on Theatre Screens," the April 2 issue of The HoIIy- 
wood Reporter published a significant news item in which it 
is stated that J. Arthur Rank, in a further move to build 
favorable dollar balances for Great Britain, is spearheading 
a project to utilize films as a medium of commercial exploita' 
tion of British manufactured and consumer goods in the 
world market. 

Quoting an unnamed Rank spokesman, the news item 
states that the Rank Organization has established a special 
department to work out arrangements with British manu' 
facturers for the loan of products that will fit into a particu- 
lar picture, and also for the exploitation of these products 
wherever the picture is shown. 

In view of the fact that the Rank pictures are shown also 
in the United States, the American public may now be 
compelled to view also British advertisements. 

No one can blame the British for desiring to utilize their 
films to exploit British goods, for it is generally conceded 
that American pictures are perhaps the greatest medium for 
the exploitation of American goods in the different foreign 
markets. But before going ahead with this project, Mr. Rank, 
as well as other British producers who may be inclined to 
follow his lead, will do well to give the matter close study so 
as to avoid making the same mistakes that some of the 
American producers have been making all along; otherwise, 
the British producers will incur the resentment of the Amer- 
ican picture-going public just as have the American pro- 
ducers. 

The important thing for the British producers to remem- 
ber is that the products they wish to exploit must be shown 
in a manner that will add either atmosphere or realism to a 
story without in any way being either a subtle or obvious 
plug for the manufacturer of the product shown. For ex- 
ample, no one can have any objection to the use of either 
a modern electric stove to enhance the setting of a kitchen 
scene, or a television set to dress up a modern Uving room 
set, or even a new type of vacuum cleaner if a house-cleaning 
sequence is part of the story, but nothing will make a 
picture-goer more hostile than to have these articles appear 
in unnecessary closeups in order for the brand names to 
be visible, or to hear the characters in the picture work the 
brand names into their lines. For instance, if a character 
in a cafe scene should ask the bartender for scotch, it would 
not be objectionable since scotch is a British product; but, 
if that character should ask for a specific brand of scotch, 
then the spectator has a right to feel antagonistic, for he 
will feel that he is having advertising thrust upon him after 
he had paid an admission price to be entertained. 

One of the more recent examples of such blatant com- 
mercial advertising will be found in "Arch of Triumph." 
Just think of it! Here is a picture that cost Enterprise Studios 
more than four million dollars to produce, yet it contains 
commercial advertising — it plugs Chesterfield cigarettes. 

The producers may argue that the plug was put in to 
create proper atmosphere by indicating that pre-war Paris in 
1938, which is the picture's background, was short of 



American cigarettes and that they were obtainable only as a 
luxury item. While such a condition probably existed, the 
fact remains that its exclusion would not have detracted 
one iota from the picture's atmospheric values, nor would it 
have hurt the story's dramatic values, for it had nothing to 
do with the plot. But even if the producers felt that the 
cigarette shortage should have been worked into the story, 
why couldn't the characters have merely referred to Amer- 
ican cigarettes rather than to "Chesterfields"? 

No matter how you look at this plug for Chesterfields, 
which is mentioned in the picture several times, it is mani- 
fest that it was inserted to advertise the brand to the 
American pubHc. It is a flagrant disregard of the rights of, 
not only the movie-goer who pays his money at the box- 
office to be entertained, but also of those who own the 
screens — the exhibitors. 

It is just this sort of thing that Mr. Rank and other 
British producers must prevent in plugging British-made 
products lest they invite an avalanche of adverse pubhc 
opinion. 



WHEN WILL THE HOLLYWOOD 
UNIONS OPEN THEIR EYES? 

Hardly a day goes by without one company or another 
announcing plans for the production of pictures abroad. 
MGM and 20th Century-Fox, to mention only two, plan to 
produce five pictures each in England alone. And in addi' 
tion to present and proposed production activities in Great 
Britain, other major and independent producers are either 
producing or planning to produce pictures in France, Italy, 
Sweden, Australia, Mexico, and Canada. 

The main purpose of the producers in starting production 
in these different countries is, of course, to utilize their 
frozen funds there. But will this do the Hollywood unions 
any good? Of course not, for every picture produced abroad 
means so much less work for the Hollywood artists and 
technicians. 

To alleviate the drain of badly needed American dollars 
out of the different countries is not the only reason that is 
prompting the American producers to shift some of their 
production activities abroad; the behaviour of the Holly 
wood unions has been a motivating factor, too. Feather- 
bedding — that is, the practice of paying for workers whose 
services are neither used nor needed, and slowing down on 
the job, to mention but two of the abuses, have run the cost 
of production so high that a producer finds it almost im- 
possible to make even an ordinary picture at a cost that will 
reasonably insure the return of his investment. And these 
abuses hit the independents more than the majors, for the 
terms demanded of them are as stiff, and in many instances 
stiffer, than those demanded of the majors. 

Unless the umon leaders instruct their members to speed 
up the work and do a man's job for a man's pay, the pro- 
ducers wiU have no alternative but to increase their produc- 
tion activities abroad. The consequences will be that jobs in 
the Hollywood studios will get scarcer and, with fewer men 
in work, the power of the unions will diminish. 

The sooner the unions decide to change their policies 
and encourage the producers to remain at home, the sooner 
they will see ihe day when Hollywood will again be hum- 
ming with production activities. 



62 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 17, 1948 



"The Lady from Shanghai" with 
Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles 

(Columbia, May; time, 86 min.) 

If ever a picture has been produced that may be classified 
as the work of either a genius or a lunatic, this is the one, 
for direction, acting, story, settings, camera work — all seem 
to deal with a world that is divided thinly between the in- 
genious and the lunatic. To an objective critic, however, the 
picture is unusual, and its box-oifice success will be, either 
good, or great, the results depending on puMicity and 
exploitation; but it seems unlikely that its box-office per- 
formance will be less than good. The story is fantastic; it 
deals with double-crossers and with the fate of one of the 
principal characters — Orson Welles, who is accused of hav- 
ing committed a murder he had not committed, but had 
signed a confession that he had committed it. Some of the 
action is, at times, confusing, but it seems as if the confusion 
was purposeful. Some of the photographic effects with their 
lights and shadows are highly ingenious; they enhance the 
effect of the action, whether dramatic or melodramatic. The 
dialogue is, at times, indistinct, but this, too, is apparently 
purposeful — to create mood. The music, too, is fitting; it 
contributes to the creation and maintenance of the mood. 
The action is chiefly melodramatic, and at no time does it 
allow the spectator's interest to dwindle. The courtroom 
trial, which ends with the escape of Welles from the police, 
is highly exciting. And so are the scenes in a closed 
amusement park's "crasy house," and later in a mirror room, 
where a fantastic gun duel takes place with each figure mul- 
tiphed by the number of mirrors and reflections: — 

While walking through New York's Central Park, Welles, 
a philosophical Irish merchant sailor, saves Rita Hayworth 
from three thugs. Rita, wife of Everett Sloane, a crippled 
but renowned criminal lawyer, urges her husband to per- 
suade Welles to accept a job on his yacht. The yacht heads 
for the West Indies and, before long, a love affair develops 
between Welles and Rita, whom Sloane, a sinister character, 
constantly abused. Their meetings are reported to Sloane 
by Ted de Corsia, a private detective, and by Glenn Anders, 
Sloane's law partner. But Sloane, who had compelled Rita to 
marry him lest he discloses her sordid past in Shanghai, 
knew that she would not dare to leave him. While anchored 
at Acapulco, Anders offers Welles $5000 if he will sign 
a confession that he had murdered him. Anders explains 
that he intended to disappear, so that his wife might collect 
his insurance, and assures Welles that he could never be 
convicted of the crime because no corpse could be produced. 
Their conversation is overheard by De Corsia, who reports 
it to Sloane, who in turn believes that it was a plot against 
his life. The cruise comes to an end in San Francisco, where 
Welles, needing money to take Rita away from Sloane, ac- 
cepts the "phoney" murder proposal and signs the confes- 
sion. He tells Rita about the deal, but she believes that it is 
one of her husbands tricks. Meanwhile De Corsia informs 
Anders that he knew of the plot and accuses him of really 
planning to kill Sloane and to frame Welles for the murder. 
Anders shoots De Corsia and hurries away to join Welles 
on a drive to the waterfront, where the fake murder is to be 
staged. En route, their car crashes into a truck and, although 
neither one is injured seriously, Welles is spattered with 
blood. The murder is staged as planned, with both Welles 
and Anders making their getaways before people aroused 
by the shooting can catch them. Welles goes to a telephone 
to inform Rita of the progress of the plot, while Anders, 
supposedly headed for the open sea in a speedboat, returns 
to the wharf. De Corsia, dying as a result of Anders' bullet, 
answers the telephone and informs Welles of his suspicions. 
Jumping into the bloodstained car, Welles speeds towards 
Sloane's office in San Francisco, arriving there to find a 
crowd gathered around Anders' body. The police, noticing 
his clothes spattered with blood, arrest him and find the 
fake confession in his pocket. Sloane offers to defend Welles 
and, although suspicious of him, Welles has no alternative 
but to accept the offer. At the trial, Sloane puts up a weak 
defense and, while the jury is out, slyly admits to Welles that 
he had felt pleasure in losing the case. As the jury files in, 
Welles, now aware that Sloane himself was the killer, grabs 



a bottle of sedative pills carried by Sloane and swallows 
them all. In the turmoil that follows, Welles manages to 
make his way out of the courthouse undetected. Rita follows 
him to Chinatown, where she sees him enter a Chinese the- 
atre. She joins him in the audience and informs him that, 
through her Chinese manservant, she will arrange a hiding 
place for him until she can find the gun that killed Anders 
and thus establish his innocence. As she talks to him, he feels 
the gun in her handbag and realizes that she had much to 
gain by Anders" death, because a partnership insurance 
would go to Sloane and thence to her if Sloane should die 
for the murder of his partner. He realizes also that Anders 
had no wife, and had planned to murder Sloane and pin 
the crime on him (Welles), so that he could obtain the 
partnership insurance and at the same time remove the two 
men who stood in the way of his getting Rita for himself. 
But before he can make another move, Welles shps into 
unconsciousness because of the pills. He awakens to find 
himself in a grotesque room hned with mirrors, part of a 
closed amusement park's "crazy house" concession, where 
Rita's Chinese friends had taken him. Still benumbed but 
conscious, Welles accuses Rita of double-crossing him and 
of planning to kill him. Sloane makes a sudden appearance 
and declares that he, too, knows the details of the chicanery 
that involved them all. Rita and Sloane start a gun duel, 
shooting at the different mirrors, which had multiplied their 
images, until each finally wounds the other mortally. As he 
dies, Sloane reveals that he had given the facts to the district 
attorney in a letter, to be opened after his death. Rita, 
dying but still unreformed, curses her fate. Welles leaves 
them, confident that Sloane's letter would clear him. 

Orson Welles produced, directed, and wrote the screen 
play, from a novel by Sherwood King. Strictly adult fare. 



"Here Comes Trouble" with 
William Tracy and Joe Sawyer 

(United Artists, no release date set; time, 50 min.) 

Photographed in Cinecolor, this is a Hal Roach "stream- 
lined" comedy, known as Part I of "Laff-Time," which, like 
Roach's recent "Comedy Carnival," is a two-picture package. 
Part II, which has not yet been made available for reviews, 
is known as "Who Killed Doc Robbin?" This part, "Here 
Comes Trouble," is an all-out slapstick comedy, completely 
nonsensical but amusing enough to get by on the lower half 
of a double-bill wherever audiences are not too discriminat- 
ing. Revolving around the misadventures of a not-too-bright 
cub reporter, the inane doings take in just about every 
hackneyed routine that has ever been employed in countless 
other slapstick comedies. The different characters either 
chase or throw each other all over the place, and generally 
behave like a pack of lunatics on the loose. About the only 
thing missing is the pie-in-the-face routine. Children will no 
doubt find much in it that will make them howl: — 

Returning from array service, William Tracy, a former 
copy boy, is assigned as a pohce reporter by Emory Parnell, 
his prospective father-in-law and publisher of the Tribune. 
Parnell, who was conducting a campaign to stamp out vice 
in town, is blackmailed by Joan Woodbury, a burlesque 
queen, who had noted in her diary the details of an escapade 
he had once had with her. Worried lest his wife, Betty 
Compson, learn of the incident, Parnell agrees to buy Joan's 
diary and sends Tracy to the theatre to obtain it. Backstage, 
Tracy becomes involved in Joan's mysterious murder under 
circumstances that point the finger of suspicion on both 
Parnell and himself. But Tracy manages to clear himself 
when he stumbles across the killer — Paul Stanton, Parnell's 
lawyer, who was secretly in league with the gangster element, 
and who wanted the diary to compel Parnell to drop his 
vice campaign. A mad scramble ensues backstage as the 
police try to trap Stanton in the fly-loft of the theatre, with 
Tracy constantly tangling with Joe Sawyer, his former top- 
sergeant, now a detective. In the end, however, the blunder- 
ing Tracy captures Stanton and emerges a hero. 

Fred Guiol produced and directed it from an original 
screen play by George Carleton Brown and Edward E. Sea- 
brook. The cast includes Beverly Loyd and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



April 17, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



63 



"Close-Up" with Alan Baxter, 
Virgina Gilmore and Richard Kollmar 

(Eagle-Lion, no release date set: time, 72 min.) 

The fact that this picture has been shot against actual New 
York backgrounds gives it an air of authenticity, but as en- 
tertainment it is no more than a run-of-lhe-mill melodrama 
that belongs on the lower half of a double-bill. Revolving 
around a manhunt for an escaped Nazi leader, who had been 
accidentally photographed by a ncwsrecl cameraman, the 
story is rambling and complicated, and has many loose ends. 
Moreover, it is hampered by ineffective comedy gags and, 
during the first part, by a slow pace. It picks up speed in the 
second half and, at the finish, it offers considerable excite 
ment in a thrilling gun battle that takes place along Manhat- 
tan's East River Drive. There are other sequences that are 
fraught with suspense, but faulty direction fails to sustain the 
mood. The performances are adequate, and the camera work 
very good: — 

As Alan Baxter, a cameraman, photographs a group of 
fashion models on a New York street, Richard Kollmar, in- 
advertently crosses in front of the camera, spoiling the shot. 
Later, at Baxter's office, a strange man offers to buy the 
ruined film. Baxter and his employer, Loring Smith, run off 
the exposed film and discover that Kollmar was a missing 
Nazi leader who had been living in New York incognito. 
The strange man disappears, but Baxter is met by Phil 
Huston, a detective, who asks him to accompany him to head- 
quarters, bringing the film as evidence. En route, Baxter dis- 
covers that Houston was really a gangster, hired by Kollmar 
to recover the film. He manages to escape and, back in his 
apartment, finds Virginia Gilmore, a magazine reporter he 
had met that day, bound and gagged. He takes her home in 
a taxicab, but before escorting her to her door gives the film 
to the driver with instructions to take it to the police. After 
bidding Virginia goodnight, Baxter is waylaid by two ruffians 
and taken to the basement of Huston's home, where he is 
held captive. There, he learns that Virginia was Huston's 
stooge. She admits it, but offers to help him escape. In the 
course of events, Kollmar and Huston get into an argument 
over payment for Huston's services in arranging for a sea- 
plane to take the Nazi out of the country. Huston is slugged, 
and Kollmar, taking Baxter with him as a shield, races to 
meet the seaplane. Huston follows in pursuit, while Virginia 
telephones the police. All converge on the East River Drive, 
where poh'ce bullets down Huston and Kollmar, saving 
Baxter. As Virginia is led away by the police, Baxter thanks 
her for saving his life. 

Frank Satenstein produced it and Jack Donohue directed 
it from an original screen play by John Bright and Max Wilk. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Lightnin' in the Forest" with 
Lynne Roberts and Warren Douglas 

(Republic, March 25; time, ?8 min.) 
A fairly entertaining mixture of romantic comedy-farce 
and gangsterism; it should serve adequately as a supporting 
feature in secondary theatres. Its story about a pampered 
rich girl who is taken in hand by a young psychiatrist to cure 
her mania for thrills is not too weighty, and at times it 
borders on the inane and ridiculous, but it has several laugh- 
provoking situations and some excitement. Towards the 
finish the storj' has a goodly quota of suspense and thrills, 
caused by a gun duel between the police and a group of 
gunmen, with whom the young couple had become inno- 
cently involved, but even this part has its touches of comedy. 
The players are unable to give credibility to what transpires, 
but they manage to squeeze a fair share of laughs from some 
of the siUy doings: — 

Lynne Roberts' love for excitement proves too much for 
her uncle. Judge Paul Harvey, who turns her over to Warren 
Douglas, a young psychiatrist, to be cured. Douglas balks 
at the assignment because Lynne had already involved him 
in a mixup with the police, but he soon changes his mind 
when the Judge threatens to publicize their escapade. Doug- 
las starts the cure by taking Lynne to the Judge's secluded 
mountain cabin, chaperoned by an elderly couple (Claire 
DuBrey and Lucien Littlefield). Balky at first, Lynne finds 
herself falling in love with Douglas. Their budding romance 



IS interrupted by the sudden appearance of gunman Donald 
Barry, his moll, Adrian Booth, and two henchmen, who take 
over the cabin as a hideout after escaping with a big payroll 
haul. The police eventually surround the cabin and, during 
the siege, the two henchmen are killed. Finally, Barry, in a 
clever move, compels the police to guarantee him and his 
moll a safe getaway lest he kill Lynne and Douglas and the 
elderly couple. Just as Barry prepares to use Lynne and 
Douglas as shields, Douglas kicks the gun out of his hand 
and starts a fight, while Lynne engages the gun moll in a 
hair-pulling contest. The police close in and capture them. 
Admitting that she had had enough excitement to last her for 
the rest of her life, Lynne looks forward to a more peaceful 
existence with Douglas. 

Sidney Picker produced it and George Blair directed it 
from a screen play by John K. Butler, based on a story by 
J. Benton Cheney. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Another Part of the Forest" with 

Fredric March, Dan Duryea, 

Edmond O'Brien and Ann Blyth 

(Uniu.-Int'i, no release date set; time, 107 min.) 

A depressing but fascinating drama, superbly produced 
and brilliantly acted. Based on Lillian Hellman's successful 
stage play of the same name, this story is related to her "The 
Little Foxes" in that it deals with the same unsavory set of 
decadent characters, this time in the 1880's, twenty years 
prior to the time the action took place in "Foxes." The set' 
ting is once again a Southern town, and like "Foxes," the 
story is extremely unpleasant and distasteful, for it is a mix' 
ture of avarice, deceit, depravity and double-crosses, revolv- 
ing around a family of schemers — two brothers, a sister, and 
father, who are constantly pitted against one another as each 
tries to gain his own selfish ends. The only decent character 
in the story is the mother, who eventually leaves her home 
because she finds both her children and her husband despica- 
ble. Like "The Little Foxes," it will probably fare better in 
large cities than in small towns; — 

Fredric March, a wealthy merchant, is the most hated man 
in Bowden, Ala., because he smuggled badly needed salt 
through the Union blockade during the Civil War only to 
sell it to his fellow townsmen at exorbitant prices. The feel- 
ing of hatred existed within his own family. Except for his 
daughter, Ann Blythe, whose every wish was his command, 
he had little regard for either his sons, Dan Duryea and 
Edmond O'Brien, or his wife, Flornece Eldredge, who got 
little consideration even from her children. Ann was in love 
with John Dall, a Confederate army officer, with whom she 
wanted to elope in spite of the fact that she knew her father 
would be against it. Duryea, a snivelling weakling, was in 
love with Dona Drake, the town tart, who refused to marry 
him because he had no money. O'Brien, a schemer, had been 
unsuccessfully trying to obtain money from his father to 
invest in cotton stocks. In a series of intricate conspiracies, 
March is plotted against by each of his children, who in turn 
plot against each other as they seek a solution to their own 
problems. These conspiracies come to a head when Ann loses 
Dall, Duryea loses Dona, and when O'Brien, having at' 
ranged for his father to loan $7,000 to a plantation owner, 
whose plantation March coveted, is exposed by Ann as hav- 
ing planned to pocket $2,000 of the money for himself. 
March, angered, orders him to get out of the house. March's 
wife pleads with him to let O'Brien remain, but March re- 
fuses to relent. In the ensuing quarrel, March's wife inad- 
vertently reveals his secret traitorous activities during the 
Civil War which, if known to the townspeople, would cause 
them to lynch him. Taking immediate advantage of this in- 
formation, O'Brien compels his father to sign over to hJTn 
his total wealth and business by threatening to expose him 
to the townspeople. Once in control of the wealth, O'Brien 
turns against his entire family. Ann and Duryea, still pursu- 
ing their selfish interests, abandon their father to seek 
O'Brien's favor. Their mother, after bitterly denouncing 
them, leaves the house. 

Jerry Brealer produced it and Michael Gordon directed it 
from a screen play by Vladimir Pozner. 

Strictly adult fare. 



64 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 17, 1948 



BOX-OFFICE PERFORMANCES 
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 

"The Great Waltz" (reissue) : Fair 

"Romance of Rosy Ridge" : Fair 

"Song of the Thin Man" : Fair 

"The Unfinished Dance": Fair 

"The Arnelo Affair" : Fair 

"Song of Love": Good-Fair 

"Merton of the Movies" : Fair 

"The Women" (reissue) : Fair-Poor 

"Desire Me": Fair 

"This Time for Keeps" : Good 

"Killer McCoy" : Good 

"Good News": Good 

"Green Dolphin Street" : Very Good 

"Ninotchka" (reissue) : Fair-Poor 

"Cass Timberlane": Very Good 

"If Winter Comes" : Fair 

"High WaU": Good-Fair 

"Tenth Avenue Angel" : Fair 

"Three Daring Daughters": Good 

"Alias a Gentleman": Fair 

Twenty pictures have been checked with the following 
results: Fair-poor, 2; Fair, 10; Good-Fair, 2; Good, 4; Very 
Good, 2. 

Paramount 

"Desert Fury" : Good 

"Jungle Flight": Fair-Poor 

"Welcome Stranger" : Excellent-Very Good 

"Wild Harvest": Good 

"Adventure Island": Fair 

"Golden Earrings": Good 

"Where There's Life": Good 

"Big Town After Dark" : Fair-Poor 

"Road to Rio" : Excellent- Very Good 

"I Walk Alone" : Good-Fair 

"Albuquerque": Good-Fair 

"Caged Fury": Fair-Poor 

"Saigon": Fair 

Thirteen pictures have been checked with the following 
results: Fair-Poor, 3; Fair, 2; Good-Fair, 2; Good, 4; Excel- 
lent-Very Good, 2. 

RKO 

"Seven Keys to Baldpate": Fair-Poor 

"Riff -Raff": Fair 

"Crossfire": Very Good 

"Night Song": Good-Fair 

'-'So Well Remembered" (British) : Fair- Poor 

"Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome": Fair-Poor 

"Out of the Past" : Fair 

"If You Knew Susie" : Good-Fair 

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" : Very Good 

"Fun and Fancy Free": Good 

"Magic Town" : Good 

"The Fugitive": Fair-Poor 

"Man About Town": Poor 

"The Bishop's Wife" : Very Good 

"Tycoon": Good 

"The Pearl": Fair 

"Bambi" (reissue) : Good- Fair 

Seventeen pictures have been checked with the following 
results: Poor, 1; Fair-Poor, 4; Fair, 3; Good-Fair, 3; Good, 
3; Very Good, 3. 

20th Century-Fox 

"Mother Wore Tights": Very Good 

"Kiss of Death": Good-Fair 

"Second Chance": Fair 

"How Green Was My Valley" (reissue) : Fair 

"Swamp Water" (reissue) : Good-Fair 

"The Foxes of Harrow" : Good 

"Nightmare Alley": Good 



"The Invisible Wall" : Fair-Good 

"Forever Amber" : Very Good-Good 

"Mark of Zorro" (reissue) : Good-Fair 

"Drums Along the Mohawk" (reissue) : Good-Fair 

"Thunder in the Valley" : Fair 

"Roses are Red": Fair-Poor 

"Daisy Kenyon": Good 

"Tobacco Road" (reissue) : Good 

"Grapes of Wrath" (reissue) : Good 

"Captain from Castile": Very Good 

"The Tender Years" : Fair 

"You Were Meant for Me" : Good-Fair 

"Dangerous Years": Fair 

"Call Northside 777": Very Good-Good 

"Gentleman's Agreement": Excellent- Very Good 

"Half Past Midnight": Fair 

"An Ideal Husband": Fair-Poor 

Twenty-four pictures have been checked with the follow- 
ing results: Fair-Poor, 3; Fair, 6; Good-Fair, 5; Good, 5; 
Very Good-Good, 2; Excellent-Very Good, 1. 

United Artists 

"Body and Soul": Very Good-Good 
"Hal Roach Comedy Carnival": Fair-Poor 
"Lured" (or "Personal Column') : Fair 
"Heaven Only Knows": Fair 
"Christmas Eve": Fair 
"Monsieur Verdoux" : Fair 
"The Roosevelt Story": Fair-Poor 
"Intrigue": Fair 
"Sleep My Love": Fair 

Nine pictures have been checked with the following 
results: Fair-Poor, 2; Fair, 6; Very Good-Good, 1. 

Universal 

"Something in the Wind" : Fair 

"Singapore": Good-Fair 

"Frieda" (British) : Fair 

"Ride the Pink Horse": Good 

"Black Narcissus" (British) : Good 

"Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap": Good-Fair 

"The Exile": Good-Fair 

"The Upturned Glass" (British): Fair-Poor 

"The Lost Moment": Poor 

"Pirates of Monterey" : Fair 

"The Senator Was Indiscreet": Fair 

"Captain Boycott" (British) : Fair-Poor 

"Secret Beyond the Door": Fair-Poor 

"A Woman's Vengeance": Fair-Poor 

"A Double Life": Good-Fair 

"Naked City": Very Good 

"Jassy" (British): Fair 

Seventeen pictures have been checked with the following 
results: Poor, 1; Fair-Poor, 4; Fair, 5; Good-Fair, 4; Good, 
2; Very Good, 1. 

Warner Brothers 

"Deep Valley": Fair 

"Life With Father": Good 

"Bad Men of Missouri" (reissue) : Fair 

"Each Dawn I Die" (reissue) : Fair 

"The Unsuspected": Fair 

"That Hagen Girl" : Fair 

"Escape Me Never": Fair-Poor 

"Anthony Adverse" (reissue) : Fair-Poor 

"Jezebel" (reissue): Fair 

"My Wild Irish Rose": Very Good 

"Always Together": Fair 

"Treasure of the Sierra Madre" : Very Good-Good 

"My Girl Tisa" : Fair 

"Voice of the Turtle" : Very Good-Good 

"I Became a Criminal" (British) : Fair-Poor 

"Adventures of Robin Hood": Good 

Sixteen pictures have been checked with the following 
results: Fair-Poor, 3; Fair, 7; Good-Fair, 1; Good, 2; Very 
Good-Good, 2; Very Good, 1. 



Entered as second-class matter January i, 1921, at the post office at Now York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS Published Weekly by 

United States »15.00 (Formerly Sixth Avenue) Harrison's Reports. Inc.. 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.60 „ „„,!, -Jn N Y Publisher 

Canada 16.50 New York .^0, IN. Y. P. S. HARRISON, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.B0 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

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Australia, New Zealand, 

India. Europe, Asia .... 17.50 j^^ Editorial Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

35c a Copy Columns, if It Is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 1948 No. 17 



MOTIVE RIGHT— APPROACH WRONG 

Several weeks ago, the advertising and publicity committee 
of the MPAA, embarked on an over-all industry public 
relations program, designed to offset the public's unfavor- 
able attitude towards Hollywood and its product — an atti- 
tude that can be traced to numerous causes, not the least 
of which has been the steady diet of poor pictures. 

Hasing its campaign on the slogan: "Great days are 
ahead for the moviegoers of America," and apparently 
keeping in mind Nicholas Schenck's oft-repeated words 
to the effect that there is nothing wrong with this industry 
that good pictures can't cure, the committee inaugurated 
its campaign with a publicity release aimed at acquainting 
the pubhc with what the committee described as "more 
good pictures than ever before in the history of the Amer- 
ican film industry." The list of thirty-four pictures recom- 
mended by the committee to the public as exceptionally 
worthwhile does not make mention of either the producing 
or distributing companies, the idea being that credit for good 
pictures should redound to the benefit of the industry as 
a whole. 

A somewhat similar public relations campaign has been 
formulated by the Theatre; Owners of America, which plans 
to coordinate its work with that of the MPAA and to do 
its job on what may be called a local basis, through the 
exhibitors in each community. Additionally, both MGM 
and 20th Century-Fox have announced that their field 
forces, besides plugging their own films, will be instructed 
to boost the good pictures of other companies and to do 
everything possible in other ways to help create good will 
for the industry. 

If ever the motion picture industry was in need of a 
sound public relations program to garner good will for itself 
and to combat the adverse criticism that has been and still 
is being levelled against it from many quarters, the time 
is now. Consequently, the effort that is being put forth by 
the different segments of the industry to accomplish better 
public relations is indeed commendable in that their motive 
is good. But is their approach right? Will the industry get 
the maximum benefit from their efforts? Harrison's Re- 
ports doubts if it will, for, under the MPAA set-up, when 
it comes to selecting pictures to recommend to the public, 
industry politics cannot help entering into the deliberations. 
Once that happens, the purpose behind the campaign is de- 
feated. And it has happened already! 

For instance, among the exploitation ideas that had been 
formulated by the MPAA committee was the production of 
an all-industry trailer to ballyhoo the best pictures the in- 
dustry has to offer without identifying the companies that 
produced them. The following news item from the April 
16 issue of Daily Variety, under the heading, "All-Industry 
Trailer Hits Jealousy Rocks and Sinks," tells the story: 

"It was a good idea while it lasted, but it didn't last. 
Consequently, in an atmosphere mildly reminiscent of a 
United Nations meeting . . . , the Eastern Advertising- 
Publicity Committee of MPAA decided yesterday to aban- 
don plans for an all-industry trailer to plug upcoming top 
films without studio identification. 

"Eastern execs and John Joseph, chairman of the parallel 
committee on the coast, were unable to agree on procedure 
and the veto finally was invoked. Major problem was how 
to choose pix to be included without making some studios 



mad and without picking a few flops that would weaken the 
whole promotion." 

That the idea about the all-industry trailer had to be 
given up is no surprise; the producer-distributors may co- 
operate on many questions, but when it comes to determining 
the quality of pictures, their own as well as other companies', 
they are torn asunder. And the proof of it lies in the selec- 
tion of the thirty-four pictures that are being recommended 
to the public. It is obvious that the selections were made, 
not on the basis of merit alone, but on the basis of giving 
each company as equal a break as possible in the number of 
pictures chosen. Hence, the list includes four pictures each 
from Columbia, MGM, Paramount, Universal, and Warners; 
six each from RKO and 20th Century-Fox; and two from 
United Artists. 

Of the thirty-four pictures listed, only twelve have been 
made available to the trade press for reviews, thus this 
paper is in no position to comment on the calibre of the 
remaining twenty-two. But let us take a look at the calibre 
of several of the twelve that have been reviewed : 

Columbia's "The Lady from Shanghai" is an odd picture 
from an artistic point of view, one that will probably get 
mixed notices but may do pretty well as the box-office by 
reason of its star value. It is certainly no great shakes as 
an entertainment, and definitely not one for the family 
circle because of its sexy overtones and of the despicable 
characters around which the unpleasant story revolves. 

United Artists' "Arch of Triumph" is one of those multi- 
million dollar pictures that falls somewhat flat as entertain- 
ment but which the producer is trying to put over with a 
high-powered exploitation campaign. The picture was not 
treated too kindly in the trade press reviews, and it was 
generally lambasted by the New York newspaper critics after 
it opened on Broadway early this week. 

Warner Brothers' "Winter Meeting" is a dreary, talka- 
tive drama, which the critics, both lay and trade press, have 
panned severely. 

Of the remaining nine pictures, no more than three or 
four are deserving of an exceptional rating, while the others 
range from fair to good. The point to consider is this: Out of 
thirty-four pictures recommended, twelve have been made 
available for reviews and, of these twelve, the three afore- 
mentioned pictures can hardly be considered as being worthy 
of special recommendation to the public as exjunples of the 
outstanding product that is forthcoming. If this same ratio 
— three out of twelve or twenty-five per cent — holds true in 
the case of the other twenty-two pictures recommended, just 
what kind of confidence can we expect the public to have 
in the future recommendations of the MPAA committee? 

Still another very important point to consider is this: 
Let Uo suppose that by some miracle the producer-distribu- 
tors could get together to produce an all-industry trailer that 
would be free of industry poHtics and exploit only such 
pictures as are truly worthwhile. Such a trailer, to be effec- 
tive, would have to be exhibited in every theatre in the 
country. Assuming that the trailer would be furnished to the 
exhibitors at no charge, how many of them might refuse to 
show it if the majority of the pictures plugged are films that 
are either played by their competitors or are the product of 
companies with which they are unable to come to terms? 
It will not be easy to convince an exhibitor that the industry 
(Continued on last page) 



66 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 24, 1948 



J 



"The Woman in White" with Alexis Smith, 
Eleanor Parker and Sidney Greenstreet 

(Warner Bros. May 15; time, 109 min.) 
An overlong but (airly good psychological drama that 
holds one's attention mainly because of the expert perform- 
ances. Set in England in the 1850"s, the story itself is rather 
old-fashioned and familiar and, for the most part, one has 
to pay close attention to the dialogue to understand what it 
is all about. Even then it leaves one confused, for the story 
unfolds in so perplexing a manner that one cannot compre- 
hend just what is moti%ating the actions of several of the 
characters. Towards the end the mystification is cleared up, 
but the explanation comes as an anti-climax. DeaUng as it 
does with the ruthless efforts of plotters to gain control of 
a girl's fortune by driving her insane, the story is ugly and 
sordid. But the characterizations, though not clearly defined, 
are fascinating. It has a considerable amount of suspense, 
but since there is more talk than action, and since the 
dialogue is on a rather high level, the picture seems to be 
more suited to the classes than to the masses: — 

On his way to the home of John Abbott, an eccentric 
invalid, who had hired him as a drawing instructor for his 
niece, Eleanor Parker, Gig Young encounters a babbling 
young lady (also played by Miss Parker), who disappears 
into the woods when a carriage approaches and its occu- 
pants ask Young if he had seen her, explaining that she had 
escaped from an insane asylum. At the house, Young is 
greeted by Alexis Smith, Eleanor's cousin and companion, 
and by Sidney Greenstreet, an art critic and family friend. 
When he meets Eleanor, Young mistakes her for the bab- 
bling girl because they resembled one another so closely. 
He tells the family of his strange experience and, through 
some old letters dug up by Alexis, they identify the insane 
girl as a childhood playmate of Eleanor's. The disappearance 
of these letters, obviously stolen by Greenstreet, makes 
Young suspicious of him. Actually, the insane girl was 
Eleanor's cousin, born out of wedlock to a younger sister of 
Abbott's. Greenstreet, in league with John Emery, a penni- 
less nobleman, was using this information to compel Abbott 
to enter into a scheme whereby Emery would marry Eleanor 
and gain control of her fortune. Young falls in love with 
Eleanor, but the shrewd Greenstreet engineers his dismissal. 
Leaving the house. Young again encounters the insane girl, 
who warns him of Greenstreet's scheme. He endeavors to 
warn Eleanor and Alexis, but to no avail. Eleanor and 
Emery are married and, after a series of odd events, she 
becomes aware of the fact that Greenstreet and her husband 
had designs on her money. She confides her suspicions to 
Alexis, who overhears Greenstreet and Emery planning 
Eleanor's death. In the course of events, the insane girl 
attempts to warn Eleanor, who had been put under the 
influence of drugs. Greenstreet catches her in Eleanor's room, 
frightening the demented girl to death. Thinking quickly, 
he arranges for the dead girl to be buried as Eleanor, who in 
turn take the insane girl's place in the asylum. Aware that a 
switch had been made, Alexis enlists Young's aid. He 
manages to free Eleanor from the asylum after a series of 
complicated happenings, which end with the murder of 
Emery by henchmen who mistake him for Young, and with 
the killing of Greenstreet by his wife, Agnes Moorehead, 
who is revealed as Abbott's sister and the mother of the 
dead girl. 

Henry Blanke produced it and Peter Godfrey directed it 
from a screen play by Stephen Morehouse Avery, based on 
the novel by Wilkie Collins. Adult fare. 



"The Argyle Secrets" with William Gargan 
and Marjorie Lord 

(Film Classics, May 7; time, 64 min.) 
A pretty good program murder-mystery melodrama of the 
stolen secrets variety, suitable for double-billing. The pro- 
duction is not cheap, despite the budget limitations. The di- 
rection and the acting are good, and the photography, 
although dark in places, clear. One of the weaknesses of the 
script is the fact that the hero, after obtaining the secret 
document, keeps it for himself. Thus one is left perplexed 



wondering whether he intended to use it for blackmailing 
purposes or just to write a story for his newspaper. There 
are several thrilling situations, the most thrilling being that 
in which William Gargan is shown trapped by the villains, 
who use an oxygen torch to cut a hole in the iron bars that 
protected him. The spectator is held in pretty tense suspense 
throughout as a result of the fact that the hero has several 
encounters with the blackmailers, who are out to get the 
secret document by whatever means they could: — 

A famous political columnist is in the hospital, ill. Several 
reporters call on him but no one is allowed to see him 
except William Gargan. Fearing death, the sick man hands 
to Gargan a note about the Argyle Album, which con- 
tained the names of big shots who had been trading with the 
enemy during the war. Some international blackmailers, too, 
are after the document, their purpose being to blackmail the 
guilty persons. As soon as Gargan leaves the sick room, the 
columnist is found dead, murdered mysteriously. Gargan, 
the last man to leave the room, is suspected of the murder. 
He escapes with the intention of, not only obtaining the 
document, but also uncovering the murderers. Marjorie 
Lord, one of the gang, is detailed to lure him into the lair of 
the blackmailers. She succeeds. The blackmailers, mistakenly 
believing that Gargan had the document, beat him un- 
mercifully in vain. After the beating, Miss Lord relents and 
tries to help Gargan. He eventually obtains the document, 
but instead of delivering it to the police, keeps it for himself. 
Although a love affair had started between Gargan and 
Miss Lord, in the end each goes his separate way. 

Alan H. Posner and Sam X. Abarbanel produced it, and 
Cyril Endfield directed it from his own screen play, based 
on the "Suspense" radio play, "The Argyle Album." 

Not unsuitable for children. 



"French Leave" with Jackie Cooper 
and Jackie Coogan 

(Monogram, April 25; time, 65 min.) 
A mixture of brawls, chases, and other slapstick doings, 
this is a fast-moving, enjoyable progriim comedy, dealing 
with the misadventures of two young American merchant 
seamen in a highly improbable plot. The story formula and 
treatment are of the "Flagg-Quirt" variety, with both men 
\'ying for the attentions of the same girl, and with each 
resorting to tricks to take her away from the other. Worked 
into the proceedings are the machinations of a French black 
market ring, but one does not take this seriously since the 
accent is on the comedy. Jackie Cooper and Jackie Coogan, 
as the hapless sailors, make a good comedy team. Ralph 
Sanford, as their tough skipper who makes life miserable 
for them, contributes much the general hilarity: — 

Cooper and Coogan arrive in Marseilles, eager to resume 
their friendship with Renee Godfrey, with whom both were 
in love. But both are ordered by their skipper, Sanford, to 
remain aboard the freighter to guard against theft of food- 
stuffs by a black market gang. While on guard, they are 
lured from their posts by a pretty French girl, an accomplice 
of the black marketeers, who raid the ship. Realizing that 
they had been duped, the boys set out to trap the gang. 
First, however, they visit Renee and, to their surprise, find 
in her apartment canned goods of the same brand that had 
been stolen from the ship, thus linking her to the gang. 
By following Renee, the boys get a lead on the different 
members of the gang, whose headquarters were in a wine 
cellar of a bistro where Renee entertained. They become 
mixed up in a series of fights and cafe brawls and, by dis- 
guising themselves as members of the gang, eventually 
succeed in bringing their operations to light and in aiding 
the police to capture them. Renee, however, proves to be 
a secret police agent, who had been trying to break up the 
black market but had allowed the boys to suspect her. 
Cooper and Coogan head back for the U.S.A., satisfied that 
they had done a good job but feeling foolish at having been 
fooled by a couple of pretty girls. 

Sid Luft produced it and Frank MacDonald directed it 
from an original screen play by Jameson Brewer and Jack 
Rubin. Unobjectionable morally. 



April 24, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



67 



"Green Grass of Wyoming" with 

Peggy Cummins, Charles Coburn 

and Robert Arthur 

(20th Century-Fox, June; time, 89 min.) 
Like "Flicka" and "Thundcrhead," this is another one of 
Mary O'Hara's horse stories, which pleasingly blends human 
interest, outdoor action, and gorgeous Technicolor photog- 
raphy in a way that is as charming and tender as it is action- 
ful. Moreover, it offers a pleasing youthful romance, the 
engaging voice of Burl Ives, who sings several folk songs at 
a ranch dance, and at the finish a scries of thrilling trotting- 
racc scenes. The first part of the story, which takes place 
in the Wyoming ranch country, is a treat to the eye, so 
beautiful are the outdoor shots. And the camera has caught 
some magnificent shots of wild horses amid locales of scenic 
grandeur. One sequence in particular, where Thunderhead, 
a beautiful white stallion, fights off a pack of wolves to 
protect his injured mare, is highly exciting. Extremely color- 
ful, too, are the scenes at the State Fair in Lancaster, Ohio, 
where the second part of the story takes place. All in all, it 
is a wholesome entertainment that shapes up as first-rate 
family fare: — - 

Over the objections of his father (Lloyd Nolan), Robert 
Arthur buys Crown Jewel, a horse he intended to train as 
a trotter. Lloyd permits the youngster to keep the horse on 
condition that the boy will not become his partner in the 
ranch until the animal brings back its cost. Meanwhile 
Lloyd had other troubles: Thunderhead, a stallion he had 
turned loose on the range, was incurring the wrath of 
neighboring ranchers by stealing their mares. Charles Co- 
burn, with whose granddaughter, Peggy Cummins, Arthur 
was in love, vows to shoot Thunderhead on sight. Eventu- 
ally, Thunderhead steals Crown Jewel from the corral. The 
ranchers unsuccessfully try to trap the horses, but later, 
Arthur manages to retrieve his mare when she gets stuck in 
a quagmire. Aided by Peggy, Arthur nurses Crown Jewel 
through a siege of illness and begins training her for the 
trotting stakes at the State Fair. Thunderhead, however, 
interferes with the training by attempts to entice Crown 
Jewel away from the ranch. Arthur solves the problem by 
inducing Thunderhead to make the ranch his home. On the 
day of the big race, Arthur finds himself in the unhappy 
spot of racing against Peggy's grandfather, to whom victory 
meant enough money to put his run-down ranch back in 
shape. On the other hand, Arthur needed the victory in 
order to become his father's partner. Coburn wins the first 
heat, and Arthur the second. On the third and decisive heat, 
Arthur's horse takes the lead only to falter and lose the 
race to Coburn's horse. Coburn congratulates the youngster 
for driving a great race and, to his delight, informs him that 
Crown Jewel had faltered because she was carrying Thun- 
derhead's foal. Arthur gets his partnership and looks for- 
ward to the raising of a new champion — Thunderhead's 
colt. 

Robert Bassler produced it and Louis King directed it 
from a screen play by Martin Berkeley. 



"Trapped by Boston Blackie" 
with Chester Morris 

(Columbia, May 13; time, 66 min.) 
A routine program melodrama. Except for the fact that 
almost one and one-half years have gone by since the last 
"Boston Blackie" picture was made, there is not much 
difference between this one and the previous entries in the 
series, for in story, treatment, and situations, it is practically 
a carbon copy. It follows the long-familiar pattern in which 
Chester Morris, as the reformed crook, becomes involved 
innocently in a jewel robbery and finds himself faced with 
the problem of catching the thieves in order to clear himself 
with the police, from whom he is compelled to hide. As in 
the previous pictures, he resorts to a series of disguises to 
evade capture. There is practically no suspense in the action, 
for what happens is old stuff that has lost its suspense value 
through endless repetition. The comedy is mild at best, much 
of it being of the stupid detective variety : — 



When a friend, a private detective, is killed under mysteri' 
ous circumstances, Chester Morris offers to take his place 
as a guard at a private party given by wealthy Sarah Sclby, 
owner of an expensive pearl necklace. George E. Stone, 
Morris' pal, goes along to help him. While Miss Selby enter- 
tains her guests by dancing with Edward Norris ,a dancing 
instructor, the necklace is stolen. Inspector Richard Lane is 
summoned and, while he conducts a search, Morris finds the 
necklace in his own pocket. He and Stone make a hasty de- 
parture, leaving the pearls behind, but they are pocketed by 
some one else. To clear himself of suspicion, Morris starts an 
investigation of his own. He finds the necklace in the 
apartment of June Vincent, Miss Selby's niece, hidden in 
the lining of a coat owned by Patricia White, June's friend 
and Norris' sweetheart. Neither girl is able to explain how 
the necklace got there. Finding reason to suspect Norris, 
Morris investigates the man and learns that his secretary. 
Fay Baker, had been involved in a jewel robbery in the 
South. He sets a trap for them and, after a series of events, 
discovers that Norris was innocent but that Fay, in league 
with William Forrest, Miss Selby's husband, had planned 
the robbery. Fay is arrested while Forrest is killed by Inspec- 
tor Lane as he attempts to escape. 

Rudolph C. Flothow produced it and Seymour Friedman 
directed it from a screen ply by Maurice Trombragel, based 
on a story by Charles Marion and Edward Bock. The cast 
includes Frank Sully and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



A TIMELY WORD OF CAUTION 

(Continued jrom bac\ page) 

"There is also involved the problem of the violation of 
'civli rights.' Certain states have enacted laws under which 
a person has the power to prevent the use of his name and 
photograph from being used for commercial purposes, with- 
out his consent. It is felt by some authorities that this power 
exists even in those States where there is no stdtute creating 
it. 'News' events would probably be excluded from the stric- 
tures of this law. It may very well be that when the per- 
formers in a telecast give their consent to the use of their 
names, faces, etc., they impliedly consent to the general use 
thereof by theatres, and others. However, how about those 
other than the performers, e.g., the patrons at a prize fight 
or ball game? Will it not be necessary to evolve some system 
to get their consent, on entrance (perhaps by stating it on 
the ticket of admission), or in some other manner, to be 
televised? This is a large litigation potential. 

"It would certainly seem that the Courts will try to find 
ways to protect the telecasters from the reception of tele- 
casts where it is used by others for profit. Profit has been 
defined in the law as an attraction to a customer, even 
though no extra charge is made, e.g., where a hotel picks up 
a broadcast musical program and relays it to the rooms of 
its guests without charging the guests anything additional 
for the service. The Court considered this service one of the 
hotel's attractions and, therefore, an inducement to patron- 
age and consequently a public performance for profit. Some 
feel that it is a matter for the Legislature to regulate and to 
define and not for the Courts. 

"Some of these matters discussed represent major prob- 
lems. The motion picture theatre operator must not go on 
feeling that television is free for him to pick up to show to 
his patrons. It would be well for him to become fully ad- 
vised and informed before making any substantial excursions 
into the field of television in his theatre." 



A CORRECTION 

Mr. Milton C. Weisman, whose informative letter on 
ASCAP was published in the April 3 issue of this paper, has 
notified us that his letter contained an inadvertent inaccuracy 
in that he is now informed that neither Warner's nor Loew's 
is member of the T.O.A. 

This correction is printed at Mr. Weisman's request. 



68 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



April 24, 1948 



will benefit if he plugs his opposition's pictures, or if he 
whets the appetites of his own patrons for pictures that may 
eventually be offered to him at exorbitant rentals. 

Part of the TOA's campaign for better public relations 
includes cooperation with the National Conference on Pre- 
vention and Control of Juvenile Delinquency, which is 
indeed a worthy cause, and which should bring much credit 
to the industry. But just how the rest of its campaign will 
tie in with MPAA's has not yet been clearly defined. Since 
it is a known fact that the TOA derives it main support from 
the affiliated theatres, the developments, insofar as industry 
politics are concerned, will be interesting to watch. 

There is only one way by which cooperation among the 
different companies, including the exhibitors, may be effected 
without jealousies — by conducting institutional advertising, 
free from any reference to individual pictures or companies. 
The advertisements, inserted in all national magazines and 
leading newspapers, as well as radio shows, should ballyhoo, 
not what a particular picture or a particular company means 
to the public, but what the entire industry means to it. 

There is so much that can be brought out to win the 
public's good will! What other industry, for example, is 
doing so much for the youth of the country by keeping them 
off the streets? What other industry can furnish relaxation 
and entertainment to people and at the same time elevate 
them with inspiring pictures? 

It is indeed peculiar that the one industry that can do 
so much for itself allows its strength to be dissipated, not 
only by adopting the wrong methods, but also by failing to 
take advantage of its own opportunities. 

Something has to be done to increase public good will 
toward the industry and its product, for, with the national 
income still at a fantastically high level, the industry is not 
reaUzing what it should and could at the box-office. During 
the war years, of course, it was immaterial whether the in- 
dustry did anything or not — people had money but had no 
place to spend it, so they flocked to the movies. Conditions 
today, however, are different; most people are still earning 
good wages, but the high cost of living leaves them with 
fewer dollars for entertainment, and so they have become 
"choosey" in their selection of pictures to see. 

If Eric Johnston wants to do something constructive for 
the industry, here is his opportunity; let him convince the 
members of his association that boosting the industry as a 
whole, through genuine institutional advertising, is prefer- 
able to each company's boosting itself under the present 
MPAA public relations program, which can be summed up 
as nothing more than a pseudo-institutional advertising 
campaign in which each company insists upon getting into 
the act regardless of whether or not its pictures truly merit 
a boost. 

The motion picture industry has much to be proud of and, 
through effective instiutional advertising, its virtues, its 
contributions to the general welfare of our society, can be 
brought to the attention of the public in a manner that will 
insure enduring results. This type of advertising can even 
boast of the forthcoming array of fine films without mention- 
ing the pictures' titles so as not to create points of disagree- 
ment. The ballyhoo for these fine films can be left to the 
companies that produce them, but therein lies the answer to 
whether or not the industry, after gaining the pubhc's con- 
fidence and good will, will retain it, for unless the pictures 
thus exploited are really good the benefits gained from insti- 
tutional advertising will vanish in no time. 

In this respect, the producer-distributors will do well to 
heed the words of Charles Schlaifer, 20th Century-Fox's 
advertising and publicity director, who had this to say, in 
part, in a talk before the New York Society of Kentucky 
Women : 

"Public taste has advanced to the point where it will not 
be satisfied with mere glamor and glittering adjectives. In 
taking a new look at ourselves we have long since found this 
out, both in production and promotion of motion pictures. 
We know that we must present an honest product, honestly 
advertise it, or lack the audiences which make motion pic- 
tures possible." 



A TIMELY WORD OF CAUTION ON 
THE USE OF TELEVISION MATERIAL 

Television is moving ahead at so rapid a pace that many 
exhibitors are giving thought to the use of the medium as an 
adjunct to their regular film programs. 

Great strides have been made in the perfection of theatre 
television equipment for large-screen presentation, but it 
will probably be some time before this equipment will be 
made available to the exhibitors at a reasonable cost, and 
before arrangements can be worked out for the presentation 
of television programs in a manner that will make the in- 
stallation of this special equipment a profitable venture. 

Meanwhile some exhibitors have already installed tele- 
vision receiving sets in the lobbies or lounges of their theatres 
so that their patrons can come to the theatre and still not 
miss a special event that would otherwise keep them at home. 
Other exhibitors will undoubtedly follow suit. 

An exhibitor's use of television material is not, however, 
free from the possibility of legal entanglements, and those 
of you who are thinking of making use of the medium will 
do well to read the very informative analysis of some of the 
legal problems involved, which has been prepared by Mr. 
Herman M. Levy, general counsel of the Theatre Owners 
of America. Mr. Levy's analysis follows: 

"Because of current misconceptions in the minds of many 
moving picture theatre operators it seems important to dis- 
cuss some of the legal problems affecting them with regard 
to the showing of television in their theatres to their patrons. 

"Where the material being televised is copyrighted, 
whether it be a play, music, a motion picture, or some other 
object, it seems clear, in the law, that the theatre owner may 
not use that material anywhere or in any way in his theatre 
without a license from the copyright owner. 

"It would also seem that televising uncopyrighted works, 
without a hcense, would be an infringement. The owner of 
such a work is declared to have a common law right (as 
distinguished from a statutory copyright) in his work. He is 
protected by the law, without a copyright, even though there 
may have already been a performance of his work. The per- 
formance does not dedicate his work to the public, as would 
be the case where copies of an uncopyrighted publication 
are offered for sale. 

"As to 'news events,' however, there is no property right. 
Such televised material may be shown in theatres without 
infringement, provided, however, that no music, drama, 
etc., either under statutory copyright or common law right, 
is contained in the television. In other words, the theatre is 
not violating any laws or rights by showing television of a 
news event to its patrons without permission. However, if 
music, etc., protected by statutory copyright, or by common 
law, are used in the television (for example, a band playing 
a copyrighted song at a prize fight) there may well be an 
infringement in regard to the item used. In connection with 
this freedom to use a 'news' event it is important to deter- 
mine just what a 'news' event is and how long and in what 
manner it remains a 'news' event. For example, suppose it is 
assumed that the law will consider the next Louis- Walcott 
fight a 'news' event: it is going to be telecast from a private 
restricted place. To the event an admission will be charged, 
and for the event exclusive telecasting rights will probably be 
given to a broadcasting station and to an advertising sponsor. 
The promoter of the fight is deemed in the law to have the 
exclusive right to broadcast from the restricted area in which 
the event takes place. The problem, then, is this: is the 
theatre that shows the telecast to its patrons on its screen 
(or in the lounge, or elsewhere on the premises — there is no 
difference where it is located) — indulging in 'unfair com- 
petition' by so doing? This is the most important question 
to be answered and may have to be determined by the Courts. 
In the broad sense and definition of the word the prize-fight 
arenas and ball parks are in competition with motion picture 
theatres — both outlets seek the amusement dollar. Whether 
or not, however, it would be held that they are in such 
competition as to make an unfair violation of it actionable in 
law has not as yet been determined, but will undoubtedly 
be before the Courts soon after theatres start using television. 
(Continued on inside page) 



Entered aa ■econd-class matt«r January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New Tork, under the act of March 8, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Ratee: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS Published Weekly by 

United States $16.00 (Formerly Sixth Avenu.) HarrUons Reports, Inc.. 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.B0 „ „ i, 9fi N V Publisher 

Canada 16.50 new I oric IM, n. \. p g HARRISON, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Great Britain 15.75 Devoted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1919 

Australia, New Zealand, 

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35o a Copy Columns, If It Is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MAY 1, 1948 No. 18 



FARAMOUNT'S THEATRE TELEVISION 

DISAPPOINTS ON SECOND TRIAL 

That theatre television, at least the system em' 
ployed by Paramount, is not quite ready for commef 
cial use by theatres as a box-office stimulant was 
demonstrated early this week in New York, where 
Paramount, extending its experiments in fuU'Screen 
theatre television, presented a portion of General 
Omar Bradley's speech before the New York State 
Magazine Pubhshers' dinner on the screen of the 
Paramount Theatre on Broadway. 

Like the first experiment, which was held on April 
14, when Paramount presented a series of boxing 
matches that originated across the river in Brooklyn, 
the Bradley speech, which originated in the Waldorf- 
Astoria Hotel, was fed by the television cameras at 
the dinner to Paramount 's 7000-foot megacycle relay 
to the top of the Paramount Building, thence down 
a coaxial cable to the television equipment in the pro- 
jection room of the theatre. There, the equipment 
transferred the television to 35mm. film, reducing the 
30 per second television image to the 24 per second 
image required for 35mm. projection and, after de- 
veloping and drying the film, projected it through 
, the regular 35mm. projection machines onto the full- 
size theatre screen — all this within 66 seconds after 
the images had been televised at the dinner. 

The series of boxing matches presented in the first 
experiment was a decided success because the tele- 
vision-to-film projection, though not as sharp as stand- 
ard film projection, was so good in quality that most 
people in the audience would not have known that 
they were viewing an event one minute after it ac- 
tually happened if there had not been an explanatory 
foreword. 

On the second experiment, however, the quality of 
the television-to-film projection was so poor that the 
audience became restless. General Bradley's image on 
the theatre screen was blurred and, throughout the 
telecast, the picture had a disturbing gray tone that 
was made worse by continuous flickers and distor- 
tions. All this was so distracting that one paid little 
attention to what the General had to say. 

Not being an expert on television, the writer can- 
not explain the causes that brought about this poor 
reception. Paramount itself offered no explanation. 
But whatever the causes, whether mechanical or at- 
mospheric, the fact remains that these will have to be 
overcome before Paramount's system of theatre tele- 
vision can be declared ready for commercial use. 
Meanwhile, there is no denying that the company has 
made great forward strides towards perfecting it. 

In addition to Paramount, other major companies 
that have jumped on the video bandwagon include 



Loew's, 20th Century-Fox, and Warner Brothers. It 
is reported that, unlike Paramount, these companies 
are experimenting with theatre television systems that 
involve direct television projection on a full-size thea- 
tre screen without the intermediate use of film. 

Harrison's Reports will keep its subscribers in- 
formed of the developments of the different systems 
employed. 



THE PATH OF THE BRITISH ACCORD 
NOT STREWN WITH ROSES 

Jimmy Fidler, the famous radio commentator and 
columnist, stated partly the following in a letter that 
was sent to this paper and published in the April 3 
issue: 

"... You fellows have missed the boat, in weighing 
the new deal [the British tax settlement} and its con- 
sequences. . . . 

"I think the independent movie producers may be 
booted in the rear by this tie-up. Reason: The major 
companies can take so much money out of England, 
plus an amount equal to what British movies take out 
of the United States. I will not be surprised to see the 
major companies promote English movies here, not 
by cutting down their own playing time, but by sub- 
stituting, as much as possible, British films for films 
made by independent Hollywood companies and pro- 
ducers. . . ." 

There is a great deal of truth in Mr. Fidler "s ob- 
servations: The theatre-owning producers will no 
doubt increase their bookings on British pictures, for 
whatever they are supposed to pay to the British dis- 
tributors will be retained in this country. In other 
words, the producer-owned theatres, rather than book 
the "B" pictures of the American producer-distribu- 
tors, will book British films, because the rentals paid 
for these films will revert back to them. Thus the in- 
dependent producers, makers of the "B" pictures, will 
suffer irreparably by the shrinking of their market. 

This will, of course, be true as long as the theatre- 
owning producers are permitted to retain their thea- 
tres; but the situation will no doubt change radically 
if the U. S. Supreme Court should accept the Gov- 
ernment's petition and order theatre divorcement. 

What will happen if and when divorcement is or- 
dered is hardly easy to forecast, but one may be sure 
that the independent producers will not suffer there- 
by — their market cannot help widening, particularly 
if the Government should insist upon restricting the 
size of the big circuits. 

There is still another problem that the independent 

producers face — the apportionment of the money that 

will be taken out of Great Britain, either directly, 

from the seventeen million dollars annually that the 

iPontinuei on \ast page) 



70 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 1, 1948 



"The Dude Goes West" with Eddie Albert, 
Gale Storm and James Gleason 

(Allied Artists, May 30; time, 87 min.) 

This picture will undoubtedly turn out to be a "sleeper," 
for it keeps one chuckling all the way through and, at times, 
roaring with laughter. The comedy is caused by "wacky" 
situations as well as by the excellent work of Eddie Albert. 
As the dude, in western country, where he went to set up a 
gun repairing shop, he is inimitable. Though he takes the 
part of an innocent, and at times simple, fellow, he wins 
the spectator's friendship. For this reason the comedy is 
more hearty. The audience is pleasurably surprised when 
the simple Albert outdraws and outshoots the bad men of 
the region, to such an extent that one of the worst of the 
bad men is compeled to acknowledge his superiority. There 
are, in addition, some thrilling situations, and a good ro- 
mance between Albert and Gale Storm. Miss Storm, too, 
does good work. The story is told in flashback as Albert, 
through pictures in the family album, tells his grandchildren 
of his experiences in the West, including those that led to 
his marriage to their grandmother: — 

Immediately after the massacre of Custard's command at 
Little Big Horn in 1876, Albert leaves his gunshop on the 
Bowery and heads for Arsenic City, Nevada. On the train 
he meets Gale, who, too, was headed for Arsenic City, 
where her father had been murdered by outlaws after dis' 
covering a gold mine. Gale had in her possession a map 
showing the location of the mine. Gilbert Roland, a tough 
gunfighter, tries to steal the map but is foiled by Albert. 
Through a misunderstanding, however. Gale believe; that 
Albert is a crook. Having learned in Carson City that it 
would be several weeks before they could board a stage for 
Arsenic City, each buys a horse and wagon and heads for 
their destination separately. James Gleason, a prospector, 
accompanies Albert on the trip but parts company with 
him in the desert. Shortly afterwards, Albert comes upon 
Barton MacLane, a wounded desperado, whom he befriends, 
only to be slugged and robbed of his horse and wagon. 
Continuing on foot, Albert comes upon Gale and compels 
her to give him a ride. Both are captured by Indians, but 
Albert's knowledge of their sign language saves their Hves 
and makes the Indians their friends. He leads the Indians 
to believe that Gale was his "squaw." Learning that Gale 
had the map to her father's mine, Albert memorizes it, then 
burns it. His action convinces Gale he was one of the out- 
laws. At Arsenic City, Binnie Barnes, owner of the town's 
gambling palace, orders Roland to steal the map from Gale. 
Albert's life is endangered as he tries to foil the plan, but 
the Indians come to his rescue, take him to the mine, and 
begin working it for Gale's benefit. He then arranges with 
the Indians to abduct Gale and bring her to the mine, where 
he shows her the gold he had dug out for her. Loading the 
gold on a wagon, they start for the city. Binnie's outlaws 
intercept them only to be intercepted themselves by Mac- 
Lane, who comes to Albert's aid. MacLane, though willing 
to spare their lives, insists upon taking the gold. At this 
point the redskins come to their rescue. Satisfied that Albert 
was not an outlaw. Gale decides to marry him. 

Frank and Maurice King produced it and Kurt Neumann 
directed it from an original screen play by Richard Sale and 
Mary Loos. 

Excellent for the entire family. 



"Heart of Virginia" with Janet Martin, 
Robert Lowery and Frankie Darro 

(Republic, April 25; time, 60 min.) 
A run-of-the-mill horse-racing melodrama. While it will 
probably get by on the lower half of a mid-week double bill, 
there's not much to it, for nothing novel is presented in the 
story, which is poorly directed, and the performances are 
ordinary. The players, however, are not to blame, for there 
is little that they could do within the limited possibilities 
of the trite script, which barely holds one's interest since the 
outcome is so obvious. It has a fair share of horse-racing, 
but even this fails to reach any appreciable pitch of excite- 
ment. A little more action and a httle less talk might have 
helped matters: — 



Seeking to win an all-important race for his hard-pressed 
employer (Paul Hurst), Frankie Darro, a crack jockey, 
forces his way through a pack of horses and inadvertently 
causes a fellow jockey to be thrown and killed. He broods 
over the accident and loses his nerve. As a result. Hurst goes 
broke. Furious, he discharges Darro. Other owners refuse to 
hire Darro, and he ends up working as a garage mechanic. 
Several years later, Janet Martin, Hurst's daughter, decides 
to race a filly her father had given her as a gift and, against 
her father's will, arranges for Darro to train and ride the 
horse. He mistakes her action for love but, just before the 
big race, he learns that she had become engaged to Robert 
Lowery, a wealthy rival owner, who had graciously allowed 
Janet and her father to utilize his stable facilities. His morale 
shattered, Darro gets drunk. Meanwhile, through a series 
of misunderstandings, Janet is led to believe that Lowery 
wanted to marry her in order to share the ownership of her 
prize horse. She breaks the engagement. To prove his love, 
Lowery, in spite of the fact that his own horse was entered, 
sobers up Darro and persuades him to do his utmost to win 
the race for Janet. Inspired by Lowery, Darro pulls himself 
together and rides Janet's horse to victory. Having regained 
his own confidence, and having put Janet and her father 
back into the prestige racing class, Darro reconciles himself 
to Janet's love for Lowery. 

Sidney Picker produced it and R. G. Springsteen directed 
it from an original screen play by Jerry Sackheim. The cast 
includes Sam McDaniel and others. Suitable for the family. 



"I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes" 

with Don Castle, Elyse Knox 

and Regis Toomey 

(Monogram. May 23; time, 70 min.) 
A passable murder-mystery melodrama; it should get by 
as a supporting feature wherever audiences are not too fussy 
about incredible plots. The main trouble with the picture 
lies in the loosely written screen play, which depends too 
heavily on unbehevable coincidents. As a result it lacks 
emotional intensity, and the suspense is reduced to a mini- 
mum. The murderer's identity is not disclosed until the 
finish, but picture-wise patrons will have no trouble iden- 
tifying him long before the final reel. The players carry 
ofi^ their assignments in capable fashion, despite the failings 
of the script. On the credit side of the film is the attractive 
title. A good part of the photography is in a low-key, but 
it is of a superior quahty: — 

Don Castle and Elyse Knox are a down-and-out married 
dance team. While Castle seeks engagements, Elyse works 
as an instructress in a dance academy, where she meets Regis 
Toomey, a lonely detective. Unable to sleep one night be- 
cause of two howling cats. Castle throws his only pair of 
shoes out the window to quiet them. He goes down to the 
backyard of his cheap rooming house to retrieve the shoes 
but is unable to find them. On the following morning, 
however, he finds the shoes in front of his door. Later, a 
wealthy recluse is found murdered in a nearby shack. That 
same day. Castle finds $2,000 in old $20 bills. Meanwhile 
detectives, led by Toomey, investigate the murder and find 
footprints bearing the imprint of steel plates like those 
worn on a tap-dancer's shoes. The footprints are traced to 
Castle, and this clue, coupled with his new-found riches, 
serve to bring about his conviction as the killer on circum- 
stantial evidence. Elyse tries desperately to prove her hus- 
band's innocence and enhsts Toomey's aid. Toomey tries 
to pin the crime on Robert Lowell, a former boarder in the 
rooming house, who appears guilty until cleared by an air- 
tight alibi. On the eve of the execution. Toomey drops a 
clue that causes Elyse to become suspicious of him. She 
plays upon his vanity and wiUingly accompanies him to his 
extravagantly furnished apartment, where he reveals that 
he had outfitted it for her and admits his long love for her. 
She tricks him into a confession of the crime just as the 
police, whom she had notified of her suspicions, arrive on 
the scene. Toomey is arrested and Castle set free. 

Walter Mirisch produced it and WiUiam Nigh directed 
it from a screen play by Steve Fisher, based on the novel by 
(jornell Woolrich. Adult entertainment. 



May 1, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



71 



"Anna Karenina" with Viven Leigh 
and Ralph Richardson 

(20th Century-fox, May; time, 111 min.) 
This British-made version of Tolstoy's famous tragic 
novel, which deals with the illicit love affair of a Russian 
nobleman's errant wife, is a lavishly mounted period piece 
that has an undeniable appeal to the eye from the \'icwpoint 
of production and technical beauty. Unfortunately, its ap- 
appeal to one's emotions falls somewhat flat, in spite of the 
fact that the story material offered powerful dramatic situa- 
tions. As presented, the story is extremely slow and talky, 
making it more tedious than absorbing. Vivien Leigh, as the 
unhappy heroine, is indeed alluring, but her characterization 
IS rather cold and she fails to get across the mental agonies 
the heroine suffers because of her separation from her child, 
and because of the social ostracism to which she is subjected. 
Consequently, she fails to rouse one's deepest sympathy. 
Ralph Richardson, as her husband, walks away with the 
film's acting honors with his credible portrayal of a pomp- 
ous, ambitious diplomat. But Kicron Moore, as her lover, 
barely meets the requirements of the role. The story, of 
course, is heavy and depressing and, at the finish, where the 
heroine commits suicide, tragic. The action takes place in 
the Ciarist Russia of 1870. This is the fourth film version 
of the Tolstoy novel, having been made as a silent film 
twice, once in 1915 and again in 1927, with Greta Garbo 
and John Gilbert as the stars. The first talkie version, pro- 
duced by MGM in 193 5, starred Miss Garbo and Fredric 
March. Emotionally, this version suffers by comparison with 
the 1935 version :^ — 

Neglected by Richardson, her husband, Vivien finds joy 
in the companionship of her eight-year-old son. She meets 
Moore, a guards officer, while on a visit to her family in 
Moscow and, despite her efforts to discourage his pur- 
suit, falls in love with him. He follows her back to St. 
Petersburg, where their open love affair is resented by Rich- 
ardson, who gives Vivien the alternative of parting from 
her son or giving up Moore. The ultimatum chastens her. 
She remains at home and, after giving birth to Moore's 
stillborn child, becomes reconciled with Richardson. But 
her thoughts soon go back to Moore, who had given up his 
array career to be near her, and she leaves her home and 
child to run away with him to Venice. After a few months 
of bhssful happiness, she longs to see her son. She returns 
home and learns that the boy had been told that she was 
dead. Richardson orders her from the house and refuses 
her request for a divorce so that she might marry Moore. 
She keeps this information from Moore, but he learns of 
It from a third party and quarrels with her for hiding it 
from him. Moore leaves her to go to another dty, and Vivien 
decides to follow him. At the railroad station, she reviews 
her life and decides that all hope for happiness is lost to 
her. Dejected and miserable, she throws herself on the rail- 
road tracks and is killed by a speeding train. 

Alexander Korda produced it and Julien Duvivier di- 
rected it from a screen play by Jean Anouilh, Guy Morgan, 
and Mr. Duvivier. Adult fare. 



tious youngster vacationing in the sheep-raising country, 
who invites him to dinner at her father's (Jonathan Hale) 
ranch. He falls in love with her, despite the attempts of 
her jealous sister (Gale Sherwood) to break up the romance. 
To add to Roddy's romantic troubles, however, he is con- 
stantly caught by Nita's father in compromising but per- 
fectly innocent situations. Meanwhile the neighboring ranch- 
ers start a hunt for a sheep-killing dog and suspect Rocky 
because of his close resemblance to the animal. Rocky gets 
into a fight with a wolf-pack and, when he returns home 
with blood on his fur, Roddy believes that he may actually 
be the killer. Heartbroken, he turns Rocky over to the 
sheepmen for trial. Just then, the howl of a wolf-dog is 
heard. Rocky breaks free and, though chased by the sheep- 
men, finds the real killer and beats him in a fight. His faith 
in Rocky vindicated, Roddy turns his attentions to Nita. 

Lindsley Parsons produced it and Phil Karlson directed 
it from a screen play by Jack DeWitt, based on a story by 
George W. Sayre. The cast includes Irving Bacon, William 
Ruhl and others. Suitable for the entire family. 



"Rocky" with Roddy McDowall, 
Edgar Barrier and Nina Hunter 

(Monogram, March 7; time, 76 min.) 
A pleasing "boy and dog" program picture, best suited 
for small-town and neighborhood theatres. The story is 
simple and there is little about it that is novel, but it offers 
a nice blend of human interest, youthful romance, and 
comedy, all revolving around a boy's devotion to his dog, 
which is wrongly suspected by neighbors of being a sheep- 
killer. Sophisticated audiences may find it a bit too slow 
and too homespun to suit their tastes, but family audiences, 
particularly the youngsters, should enjoy it. The perform- 
ances are competent, the photography sharp and clear, and 
the outdoor backgrounds realistic: — 

While fishing, Roddy McDowall and his father (Edgar 
Barrier) find a puppy, unaware that it had escaped from a 
sheep-killing dog's htter, which neighboring sheepmen had 
destroyed. Roddy names the puppy Rocky, and raises it into 
a friendly loyal animal. Roddy meets Nita Hunter, a flirta- 



"On an Island with You" 
with Esther Williams, Peter Lawford;ij 
and Jimmy Durante 

(MGM, June 24; time ,107 min.) 
Good. Like many other expensively mounted Techni- 
color musicals, this one has a weak story, but the extrava- 
gant production numbers, the tuneful music, and particu- 
larly Jimmy Durante's comedy, more than compensate for 
the deficiencies of the script. And not the least of the film's 
attractive assets is Esther Williams in a bathing suit and 
sarong. The production may be called a picture about a 
picture, for it revolves around a Hollywood troupe on loca- 
tion on a tropical island, and deals with the romantic diffi- 
culties of the leading lady who believes herself in love 
with the leading man until a Navy flyer, assigned to the 
film as a technical adviser, wins her heart. As said, the 
story is thin, but it provides some amusing romantic by- 
play between Miss WilHams and Peter Lawford. Jimmy 
Durante, as the assistant director, brightens the proceed- 
ings considerably with his brand of humor and sings several 
songs in his inimitable style. The versatile Richard Mon- 
talban ("Fiesta") does well as the third man in the roman- 
tic triangle, and his dance numbers with Cyd Charisse are 
beautifully executed. Several water ballets, headed by Miss 
Williams, are effectively done. Xavier Cugat and his or- 
chestra furnish the music: — 

Esther, a picture star, beUeves herself in love with Mon- 
talban, her leading man. Cyd, a featured player, loves him 
secretly. Lt. Peter Lawford, assigned by the Navy as tech- 
nical adviser on Esther's latest picture, pursues her despite 
her efforts to discourage him. When a scene calls for Esther 
to enter a plane piloted by Montalban, Lawford is substi- 
tuted at the controls. Instead of circling the field once and 
returning, Lawford, to the distress of everyone, including 
Esther, flies out to sea and heads for a small island. He 
explains to Esther that he had brought her to the island to 
remind her of a date she had kept with him several years 
previously while entertaining the armed forces during war- 
time. As they talk, several essential parts are stolen from 
their plane by natives, leaving them stranded. They remain 
on the island overnight and are picked up by a Navy plane 
on the following day. Lawford is held for court-martial, 
and Esther, to make his lot easier, intercedes with the 
commander. Misunderstanding her motive, Lawford accuses 
her of seeking publicity. His remark causes a break between 
them but she remains unhappy because of her love for him. 
Meanwhile, Montalban comes to the reaHzation that he had 
lost her love. Durante decides to take matters in hand and, 
with the aid of the commander, brings Esther and Lawford 
together. Montalban, meanwhile, discovers his love for Cyd. 
Joe Pasternak produced it and Richard Thorpe directed 
it from a screen play by Dorothy Kingsley, Dorothy Cooper, 
Charles Martin and Hans Wilhelm, based on an original 
story by the Messrs. Martin and Wilhelm. The cast includes 
Leon Ames, Dick Simmons and others. Unobjectionable 
morally. 



72 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 1, 1948 



agreement calls for, or from the accumulated rentals 
of British pictures shown in the United States, and 
from other sources provided for in the agreement. 
Who is going to do the dividing, and in what manner? 

This paper has been told by a prominent inde- 
pendent producer that Eric Johnston is sincerely try- 
ing to solve this problem in a fair and impartial way. 
Unfortunately, the chiselers have swooped down, 
trying by different methods to get a bigger share out 
of the pot than they are entitled to. But whether they 
will succeed or not will depend on the stiffness of the 
fight that will be put up by the independents. 

According to trade paper reports, a tentative agree- 
ment has been reached between the major companies 
and leading independents on the principal points of 
a formula which, on the basis of individual company 
billings in the British market, will give each a pro- 
portionate share from the pool of remittable earn- 
ings. There still remains, however, many controversial 
points that have to be worked out. 

This paper will be watching with great interest 
the outcome. 



PRODUCTION IN FOREIGN LANDS 
MEANS LESS PRODUCTION IN THE U. S. 

According to the April 22 issue of Daily Variety, 
the American producers have thus far ear-marked 
forty-seven pictures for production in foreign coun- 
tries. This number is equivalent to one-seventh or 
fifteen per cent of the total yearly American output 
which, for the past few years, has averaged 350 pic- 
tures. 

There is every reason to believe that, as soon as an 
agreement can be reached as to how the remittable 
funds from foreign countries can be divided among 
the different producers, more pictures will be an- 
nounced for foreign production. 

To make use of their frozen funds is, of course, the 
main reason why the American producers are shift- 
ing some of their activities to foreign shores. But, un- 
less domestic production is stepped up, this shift to 
foreign production cannot help aggravating the al- 
ready serious unemployment situation in Hollywood. 

The Hollywood union members may look upon this 
shift in production as an economic condition over 
which they have no control, but they would indeed 
be short-sighted not to see the possible consequences, 
for once the producers get set in foreign production, 
it may very well be that conditions will prove so much 
more favorable overseas that it will serve as an induce- 
ment for the producers to expand their production 
activities to the point of spending even more money 
than they have frozen. 

And there is every reason to believe that conditions 
will be favorable, for practically every foreign coun- 
try is in need of American dollars, and it will be to 
their advantage to encourage film production within 
their borders, perhaps to the extent that it will be- 
come a permanent arrangement rather than a tempo- 
rary one. Of course, low cost of production will be a 
prime consideration in any producer's decision to 
continue making pictures abroad, and to accomplish 
this end you may be sure that every foreign nation 
will do its utmost to extend encouragement in every 
possible way, not the least of which will be labor con- 



ditions that will assure a producer of a full day's work 
for a full day's pay. 

If the American producers should increase their 
production activities abroad beyond the point of using 
up their frozen funds, the union men in Hollywood 
will have no one to blame but themselves. They are 
asking for it because of their impossible conditions of 
employment; and unless they do something to make 
these conditions equitable, the number of pictures 
produced in Hollywood will be fewer and, conse- 
quently, there will be fewer jobs. 

The union men themselves are not to blame so 
much; it is their leaders, who estabUsh short-sighted 
policies. 



ABOUT ASCAP CONTRACTS 

Several mid-west exhibitors have written to this 
paper stating that they have followed the suggestion 
given by several Allied leaders to insert a special can- 
cellation clause in the contracts they sign with 
ASCAP. This clause, which was quoted in the April 
10 issue of this paper, called for payments to be 
made either monthly or quarterly at the exhibi- 
tor's election, and gave the exhibitor the option 
to cancel the contract in the event that either an act 
of Congress or a final court ruHng terminated 
ASCAP's right to collect a license fee from the ex- 
hibitor. 

These exhibitors now report that ASCAP has re- 
turned the agreements to them with a letter stating 
that the insertion of such a clause makes the agree- 
ments unacceptable. ASCAP further advised them 
that the only change they are willing to make in the 
agreement is in the termination date thereof. In other 
words, if an exhibitor does not desire a license for ten 
years as provided for in the agreement, ASCAP is will- 
ing to issue a license for a shorter period in whatever 
length of time the exhibitor desires. They are willing 
also to accept payments on a monthly, quarterly, 
semi-annual, or annual basis, whichever is most con- 
venient for the exhibitor. 

In view of the fact that either legislation, such as 
the Lewis Bill, or a final court ruling on one of the 
numerous suits that have been instituted against 
ASCAP could invalidate existing contracts between 
the Society and the exhibitors, its refusal to accept 
the insertion of a special cancellation clause is diffi- 
cult to understand. Despite this refusal, however, 
there would seem to be no harm in the exhibitors 
signing up for short-term periods. Several Allied 
units, having been advised by ASCAP's attorneys of 
the Society's stand, are recommending to their mem- 
bers that they sign applications for a one-year con- 
tract with payments on a quarterly basis. 

In a recent service bulletin of the Independent 
Theatre Owners of Ohio, secretary Pete Wood states 
that ASCAP's attorneys, in addition to giving him 
.substantially the same information that is contained 
in this article, further advise that ASCAP will give 
credit on a pro-rata basis for any period of time that 
a theatre is closed down. 

In signing an application for a contract you should, 
therefore, stipulate not only the exact length of time 
for which a license is desired but also that credit be 
given on a pro-rata basis for whatever period of time 
your theatre might be closed. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 



Ent«r«d «« aecond-okiss matter January 4, 1921, at tho post office at New York, Now Tork, under the act of March 8, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MAY 8, 1948 No. 19 



THE SUPREME COURT SPEAKS 

by Abram F. Myers 



(Editor's Note: As most of you no doubt ^noiu b>i tfiis 
time, the judicial axe of the highest court in the land struc\ 
a devastating blow at monopoly in the motion picture in- 
dustry on Monday of this wee\, when the Supreme Court 
handed dou;n decisions on four industry anti-trust suits, 
namely, the Paramount, Schine, Grifith, and Goldman cases. 

The attitude of the Court in each of these cases is so 
unmista\ably clear that there can be no room for doubt in 
any one's mind that the Government has won a sweeping 
victory in its long /ight to restore free enterprise and open 
competition amongst all branches of the motion picture 
industry. 

Of the truly independent leaders that have staunchly 
carried on the /ight against the motion picture trust, none 
has wor\ed more diligently and tirelessly than Mr. Abram 
F. Myers, the distinguished General Counsel and Chairman 
of the Board of Allied States Association of Motion Picture 
Exhibitors. 

Ever since he became head of Allied in 1929, when the 
organization was formed, Mr. Myers has led and guided the 
independent exhibitors' ejfort to put an end to the discrim- 
inatory practices of the major companies and their affiliated 
circuits, and it was largely through his ef orts that the Gov- 
ernment was induced to start the anti-trust suit against the 
Big Eight in 1938. As a result of the decision just handed 
doujn in this case, as well as the others, the independent 
exhibitors can notu loo\ forward to operating their theatres 
in an open and untrammeled mar\et, free from producer- 
distributor control. The Government attorneys who handled 
the case, particularly Robert L. Wright, deserve great credit 
for a job well done, but in giving credit let us not forget the 
marvelous wor}{ done by Mr. Myers. 

Because a court decision frequently leaves uncertainty and 
doubt in the minds of those whose interests are affected by 
the ruling, particularly because of conflicting opinions as to 
what is meant by the Court's legal language, Harrison's 
Reports is presenting to its readers the complete text of 
Mr. Myers' analysis of the decision in the belief that his 
opinions luill help them to better understand its meaning 
and intent.^ 



Monday, May 3, 1948, was a fateful day in the long and 
somewhat checkered career of the motion picture industry. 
For on that day the United States Supreme Court rendered 
decisions in four cases which are of vital importance to the 
industry and all who are engaged in it. 

These long-awaited decisions unfortunately do not spell 
the end of the industry's legal difficulties because they merely 
set a course for the lower courts to follow in subsequent 
proceedings looking to the framing and entry of appropriate 
final decrees. 

It was hoped that with the complete records before it, the 
Supreme Court would prescribe in detail the form of final 



decrees to be entered in the Paramount, Schine and Griffith 
Cases. But such decrees must be based upon proper findings 
and it is customary for the trial courts, not the Supreme 
Court, to make such findings. 

And since the Supreme Court determined that the findings 
in the Paramount and Schine Cases were in certain particu' 
lars erroneous, incomplete and vague, it followed the tradi- 
tional procedure of returning the cases to the lower courts 
for the making of proper findings and the formulation and 
entry of effective decrees based thereon. 

In the Griffith case the District Court had dismissed the 
Government's complaint and its findings were appropriate 
to such a judgment. But the Supreme Court held that those 
findings were clearly erroneous and remanded the case for 
the making of new and correct findings and "the fashioning 
of a decree which will undo as near as may be the wrongs 
that were done and prevent their recurrence in the future." 

The opinions plainly indicate that the Supreme Court felt 
that the Paramount, Schine and Griffith cases revealed 
flagrant violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and that 
its main concern was that legally proper findings be made 
by the lower courts upon which to enter drastic decrees of 
divestiture. 

The Supreme Court upheld virtually all of the lower 
court's findings of unlawful conduct in the Paramount and 
Schine cases and in the Griffith case it reversed District 
Judge Vaught on virtually every point. 

In the Goldman case the court simply denied the major 
companies' petition for a review of the money judgment and 
the injunctions which had been entered against them. There 
was no opinion but by its action it made final one of the 
most drastic judgments ever entered in a private action under 
the anti-trust laws and cleared the way for all independent 
exhibitors who have suffered from the depredations of the 
motion picture trust to prove and collect treble damages. 

The Problem of Divestiture 

The Government contended and many of us hoped the 
Court would rule that the vertical integration of the produc- 
tion, distribution and exhibition of motion pictures is in 
itself illegal. Such a ruling would have made unnecessary the 
further proceedings and would have cleared the way for the 
prompt entry of a decree of total divestiture. But the major- 
ity of the Court was unwilhng to make that ruling. Conse- 
quently, it was necessary to correct the findings and theories 
of the lower courts in order to lay a proper foundation for 
effective relief. 

The District Court in the Paramount case, it will be re- 
called, assumed that a finding of monopoly was essential to 
total divestiture, and it made no such finding. It ordered the 
joint ownership of theatres by the defendants be terminated 
and that their theatre pools be dissolved. These provisions 
(Continued on last page) 



74 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 8, 1948 



"River Lady" with Yvonne DeCarlo, 
Dan Duryea and Rod Cameron 

(Universal, June; time. 78 min.) 
Photographed in Technicolor, "River Lady" should go 
over fairly well with those who like plenty of action and 
excitement in their film fare. Critical patrons may find the 
plot too obvious to hold their interest. It is a well mounted, 
if spotty, outdoor melodrama, and not the least of its better 
points is the strikingly beautiful background of logging 
and timber country. The story itself is the old one about a 
powerful lumber syndicate trying to squeeze out the inde- 
pendent lumbermen in the area, all of which is tied in with 
a rather trite romantic triangle. The characterizations are 
stereotyped, and the story's dramatic content is never as 
persuasive as it tries to be, but what it lacks dramatically is 
made up for by the well staged brawls and the inevitable 
climatic battle at the finish between the opposing factions. 
The action takes place in 1860: — 

With the aid of Dan Duryea, a smooth but ruthless 
confidence man, Yvonne DeCarlo, wealthy owner of a 
Mississippi gambling boat, organizes a syndicate to squeeze 
out the territory's independent lumbermen. In love with 
Rod Cameron, a happy-go-lucky lumberjack, Yvonne urges 
him to marry her, but he declines, proclaiming that he in- 
tended to make his own way in life first. Yvonne, desperate, 
pays $50,000 for an interest in the failing business of John 
Mclntire, an independent lumberman, with the understand- 
ing that he make Cameron his general manager without re- 
vealing her part in the arrangement. Cameron accepts the 
job. In the course of events, Helena Carter, Mclntire's 
daughter, falls in love with him. But Cameron retains his 
love for Yvonne and, within several months, feels himself 
financially able to announce his engagement to her. Deter- 
mined to break up the impending marriage, Helena reveals 
to him Yvonne's part in getting him the job. Furious over 
Yvonne's meddling, and learning that she was head of the 
syndicate, Cameron breaks with her, marries Helena, and 
rallies the independents to form a combine to market their 
lumber. Yvonne, in revenge, sets out to break up the com- 
bine. With Duryea to do her bidding, she takes the lumber- 
jacks away from Cameron by offering to pay them double 
wages. Cameron, however, succeeds in getting the men back. 
In a final move, Yvonne orders Duryea and his cohorts to 
create a log jam to prevent Cameron from delivering 
his lumber to the mills. A terrific fight ensues on the 
river, culminating with Duryea's death. Realizing that 
her love for Cameron was hopeless, Yvonne gives up the 
fight and bows out of his life. 

Leonard Goldstein produced it and George Sherman di- 
rected it from a screen play by D. D. Beauchamp and 
William Bowers, based on the novel by Houston Branch and 
Frank Waters. The cast includes Lloyd Gough, Jack Lam- 
bert and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Waterfront at Midnight" with 

William Gargan, Mary Beth Hughes 

and Richard Travis 

(Paramount, June 25; time, 63 min.) 
A fairly interesting "cops and robbers" melodrama: it 
should serve adequately as a supporting feature on a double- 
bill. The story is not particularly novel, but it has human 
interest and is well-contrived. Moreover, expert direction has 
given it a swift pace and a goodly quota of excitement and 
suspense that is neatly maintained throughout. A novel 
twist to the story is where the villain murders the hero's 
wayward brother, then tricks the hero into believing that he 
(the hero) had killed him. The hero's grief saddens one, 
but at the finish he learns of the trickery and captures the 
crooks. The performances are uniformly good: — - 

Having been reduced in rank for arresting Richard Travis, 
leader of a waterfront gang of thieves, on flimsy evidence, 
William Gargan is reinstated as a police lieutenant to cope 
with the rise in ship lootings. Gargan warns Travis that he 
was out to get him. Meanwhile Travis learns that Richard 
Crane, Gargan's younger brother, was in need of a job; he 
sees to it that he is employed by a rent-a-car agency owned 
by him. Shortly thereafter. Crane becomes involved in a 



shooting committed by one of Travis' henchmen and, as 
his price for silence, demands that Travis cut him in on his 
nefarious schemes. Gargan learns of his brother's tie-up with 
Travis when he catches him and the others looting a ship. 
The crooks make their escape by blowing up the police 
launch. Gargan, unhurt, goes into hiding after letting it be 
known that he had been kill«d. Crane, embittered over his 
brother's "death," gets into a fight with Travis and is mur- 
dered. Discovering that Gargan was still ahve, Travis tricks 
him into following two of his henchmen to a boatshed 
where, after drawing his gunfire, they toss Crane's body 
down a flight of steps, leading Gargan to believe that he had 
killed him. Heartbroken, Gargan resigns from the force. 
Meanwhile Mary Beth Hughes, Travis' sweetheart, gets into 
an argument with him because of his attentions to an- 
other woman. He discards her. In revenge, she reveals to 
Gargan the trickery in connection with his brother's death. 
Gargan confronts the gangster and, in the fight that ensues, 
Travis dies when he falls backwards and is impaled on a 
pair of knitting needles. 

It is a Pine-Thomas production directed by William Berke 
from an original screen play by Bernard Girard. The cast 
includes Horace McMahon, Cheryl Walker, Paul Harvey 
and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Fuller Brush Man" with Red Skelton 
and Janet Blair 

(Columbia, June; time, 91 min.) 
A pretty good comedy-mystery, with the accent on slap- 
stick. Cast in the type of role that suits his brand of humor. 
Red Skelton has a field day as an inept brush salesman who 
becomes involved in a murder. There is little sense to the 
story, but it serves nicely as a framework for the many 
funny gags and situations. The most hilarious part of the 
picture is the final chase sequence, which takes up every bit 
of two reels or more. This sequence takes place in a huge 
warehouse loaded with surplus war goods, such as rockets, 
rubber rafts, and many other gadgets, which Skelton ex- 
plodes and inflates as he tries to hinder the villain and his 
cohorts who were bent on capturing him. The whole se- 
quence is slapstick in its broadest form and, in crowded 
theatres, will be greeted v.'ith howls of laughter. The story is 
not without its occasional dull moments, but these are not 
serious enough to impair one's overall enjoyment of the film. 
The producer has evidently tried to avoid inserting into the 
story anything that might smack of commercial propaganda; 
nevertheless, the picture cannot help being one big advertise- 
ment for the Fuller Brush Company: — 

Skelton, a street cleaner, proposes to Janet Blair, but she 
refuses to marry him until he is a success hke Dan McGuire, 
a brush salesman, who had been courting her. Fired when 
he unwittingly damages the car of Nicholas Joy, the sanita- 
tion commissioner, Skelton sets out to prove his mettle as a 
brush salesman. After a discouraging day, he finally succeeds 
in selling ten brushes to Hillary Brooke, the commissioner's 
wife, but forgets to collect for them in the excitement. He 
returns to the house that night to collect the money. There, 
besides the commissioner and his wife, he finds their nephew, 
Ross Ford; his fiancee, Trudy Marshall: and the commis- 
sioner's partner, Donald Curtis. The lights go out suddenly, 
during which the commissioner is murdered. Although the 
murder weapon cannot be found, Skelton, because of his 
falling out with the dead man, becomes the major suspect. 
He sets out to clear himself and, after finding reason to sus- 
pect each of the others present at the murder, centers his 
attention on Curtis. In the course of events, Skelton and 
Janet are lured to a warehouse by Curtis, who reveals him- 
self as the murderer and plans to kill them. The couple lead 
Curtis and his hechmen a wild chase through the maze of 
war surplus equipment until finally saved by the police and 
the fire departments. Skelton seals the case against Curtis by 
proving that the murder weapon was a plastic brush handle, 
which took the form of a dagger when placed in boiling 
water and which resumed it original shape when cool. 

S. Sylvan Simon produced and directed it from a screen 
play by Frank Tashlin and Devery Freeman, based a story by 
Roy Huggins. Unobjectionable morally. 



May 8, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



75 



"Silver River" with Ann Sheridan, 
Errol Flynn and Thomas Mitchell 

{Warner Bros., May 29; time, 106 mm.) 
Although it is a "big" picture from the viewpoint of pro- 
duction and star value, this Western saga of the rise and 
fall of an empire builder, and of the struggle between mining 
interests for control of the silver market, is a spotty enter- 
tainment. To begin with, it is overlong and, though it opens 
on a high melodramatic note, giving promise of being a brisk 
action movie, the story goes astray, slowing down the action 
and leaving too many lapses between the exciting events. 
Moreover it atcmpts, but barely succeeds, to build sympathy 
for a hero whose actions are both ruthless and far from edi- 
fying. As a matter of fact, the episodic manner in which 
the story is presented somehow makes the hero's rise and 
fall, and even his romance with the heroine, never seem 
believable. Despite its faults, however, the picture has 
enough rousing action and usual Western ingredients to 
assure it of a fairly good reception by most audiences: — 

Cashiered out of the Union Array for burning money that 
would have fallen into Confederate hands, Errol Flynn, 
embittered, determines to live by his own rules. He begins 
by taking over, in a high-handed manner, the equipment of 
a crooked gambling tent operated by Barton MacLane. He 
takes the equipment to Silver City, Nevada, where he opens 
a gaudy gambling establishment. Shortly thereafter, he be- 
comes a one-third partner in a silver mine owned by Bruce 
Bennett in exchange for his financial help, an arrangement 
made over the objections of Ann Sheridan, Bennett's wife. 
Flynn's gambling joint soon drains off the miners' cash, 
compelling the mine owners to pay their employees with 
paper promises. Taking advantage of the miners' dissatis- 
faction, Flynn compels the owners to cut him in on all their 
properties in exchange for his guarantee to open a bank that 
would honor their paper promises with cash. Meanwhile he 
falls in love with Ann and indirectly sends her husband to 
his death by sending him to look over new silver veins in a 
territory controlled by hostile Indians. Thomas Mitchell, 
Flynn's lawyer and close friend, breaks with him after ac- 
cusing him of sending Bennett to certain death so that he 
might have Ann for himself. Continuing his ruthless ways, 
Flynn soon becomes the wealthiest and most powerful man 
in the territory. Ann, after a long period of mourning, 
marries him. Flynn's troubles begin when the enemies he had 
created form a combine and set out to wreck him. They 
precipitate a run on his bank and, before long, strip him of 
everything he owns. In the meantime he had lost the com- 
panionship of both Ann and Mitchell because of his refusal 
to heed their pleas that he stop resisting the combine in order 
to help the impoverished miners. The cold-blooded killing of 
Mitchell by a gang of the combine's hoodlums brings Flynn 
to his senses. He becomes reconciled with Ann and vows to 
transfer his concern from himself to his fellow-men. 

Owen Crump produced it and Raoul Walsh directed it 
from a screen play by Harriet Frank, Jr. and Stephen Long- 
street, based on the latter's novel. Adult fare. 



"Dream Girl" with Betty Hutton 
and Macdonald Carey 

(Paramount, ]u]y 23; time. 85 min.) 
Adapted from the Elmer Rice stage play of the same name, 
"Dream Girl" shapes up as no more than a mildly amusing 
comedy that provokes laughs in several spots but waxes 
tedious throughout most of its footage. Its story revolves 
around a young girl given to day-dreams, which to her are 
far more real than what she considers to be her humdrum, 
ordinary life. Briefly, the girl, played by Betty Hutton, is 
depicted as a would-be authoress with a secret yen for 
Patric Knowles, her sister's husband, until she meets Mac 
donald Carey, a brash young newspaperman, who pursues 
her despite her efforts to shake him off with an assumed air 
of sophistication. How she plans to flee with her brother- 
in-law when that worthy decides to divorce her sister, and 
how Carey, aware of the fact that she took refuge in a 
world of fantasy, saves her from the entanglement and 
marries her himself, make up the rest of the story. 

The picture is at its best in its depiction of Miss Hutton's 
day-dreams, which are brought about by different happen- 



ings in her daily life. These sequences includes Knowles' 
desire to take her for his bride at the moment of his mar- 
riage to her sister; imagining herself as a fallen woman 
singing in a cheap cafe, where she commits suicide; picturing 
herself scoring a huge success as an opera singer when she 
is called upon to substitute for the star; fancying herself 
involved in a scandal with another woman's husband; and 
imagining herself married to her sister's divorced husband 
and coming to a tragic end in a backwoods cabin. These 
hallucinations are good for many chuckles, but when the 
story deals with the heroine's real life it becomes labored 
and contrived, and teeters between static stretches of dia- 
logue and forced comedy. The performances are generally 
good, with Miss Hutton at her best in the day-dreams; her 
real-life characterization has a naiveness that is a bit hard 
to take. The story idea draws comparison with "The Secret 
Life of Walter Mitty," but the entertainment values are 
not as rewarding as in that film. 

P. J. Wolfson produced it and Mitchell Leisen directed 
it. No screen play credit is given. The cast includes Virginia 
Field, Walter Abel, Peggy Wood and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Emperor Waltz" with Bing Crosby 
and Joan Fontaine 

{Paramount, July 2; time, 106 min.) 
Very good mass entertainment. Set in Vienna in 1901, it 
is an elegantly mounted romantic comedy in Technicolor, 
revolving around the adventures of an American phono- 
graph salesman and his romance with a Viennese countess. 
The story itself is a rather familiar version of the "commoner- 
falls-in-love-with-royalty" theme, but it has been endowed 
with many delightfully humorous touches that keep one 
chuckling throughout, and at times roaring with laughter. 
What is particularly comical is the way in which the romance 
is brought about by the hero's mongrel dog and the count- 
ess' pedigreed poodle, whose own romance parallels the 
difficulties encountered by their master and mistress. As the 
salesman, Bing Crosby is cast in a tailor-made role that fits 
his personality like a glove. Whether he sings, romances, or 
makes flip wisecracks, he goes through his acting chores with 
a naturalness that is at all times ingratiating. As the class- 
conscious countess, Joan Fontaine is not only beautiful but 
extremely good in her handling of a light comedy role. To- 
gether, Crosby and Miss Fontaine make a grand team, and 
their romance, which is developed in a gay manner, cul' 
minates to the satisfaction of the audience: — 

While unsuccessfully seeking an inter\'iew with Emperor 
Franz Josef (Richard Haydn) for the purpose of seUing 
him a phonograph, Crosby encounters Joan when their dogs 
get into a fight. By special arrangement with the Emperor, 
Joan's pedigreed poodle was to be mated with the Emperor's 
prize dog, but the poodle, smitten with Crosby's mongrel 
dog, has a nervous breakdown. Sig Ruman, a psychiatric 
veterinarian, suggests to Joan that she take the poodle to 
see Crosby's dog again. She does this and, in the process, 
succumbs to Crosby's charm. They fall in love but, because 
of their different stations in Hfe, Joan informs him that he 
will require the Emperor's permission to marry her. She 
arranges an audience with the Emperor, who convinces 
Crosby that he cannot support Joan in her accustomed style, 
and persuades him to break away from her. In appreciation 
for his understanding, the Emperor endorses the phono- 
graph. To make the break complete, Crosby allows Joan to 
believe that he had used her love for commercial gain. But 
before departing for home, Crosby crashes the Emperor's 
ball to tell Joan the truth. That same evening Joan's poodle 
gives birth to three pups, which prove to have been fathered 
by Crosby's dog. Fearing the Emperor's wrath, Joan's im- 
poverished father (Roland Culver) orders the pups de- 
stroyed. Crosby learns of the plan, manages to retrieve the 
pups and. with the palace guards at his heels, crashes into 
the ballroom to give the Emperor a piece of his mind, during 
which he reveals to Joan why he had left her. Recognizing 
their true love, the Emperor grants them permission to wed 
on condition that the pups be given to him. 

Charles Brackett produced it and Billy Wilder directed it 
from their own original screen play. 

Suitable for the entire family. 



76 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 8, 1948 



amounted merely to the unscrambling of combinations 
among the defendants and did not constitute divcstitvire, 
and they were expressly affirmed. 

As regards the joint ownership of theatres by a major 
company and independent exhibitors, the District Court held 
that these joint holdings suppressed competition between 
the joint owners and ordered that such joint relationships 
be terminated wherever the major company's interest was 
more than 5% and less than 95%. This was without regard 
to whether the interests were unlawfully acquired, whether 
the independents involved were theatre operators able and 
wiUing to operate the theatres, or whether the theatres in 
question had been used in furtherance of the unlawful con- 
spiracy. 

This admittedly was a doubtful provision and it was made 
worse by the fact that the lower court further provided that, 
upon a proper showing and with its approval, such relation- 
ships might be terminated by the purchase by the major 
company of the interest of its independent partner. 

The Supreme Court found fault with the entire theory 
upon which the District Court had proceeded. It criticized 
the lower court's finding that there was no monopoly because 
the defendants individually and collectively controlled only 
a small fraction of the total number of theatres. It particu- 
larly criticized the failure of that court to find the presence 
or absence of a monopoly of the first-runs in the entire 
country or of the first-runs in the 92 largest cities, pointing 
out that the first-run field "constitutes the cream of the exhi- 
bition business (and) is the core of the present cases." 

It very pointedly reminded the lower court that Section 2 
of the Sherman Act condemns monopoly of "any part" of 
trade or commerce, and that those words have been con- 
strued to mean "an appreciable part of trade or commerce." 
The figures cited in the opinion as to the number of first-runs 
controlled by the defendants and the percentage of film 
rentals derived by all distributors from those runs, plus the 
above-quoted observation as to the importance of such runs 
together constitute a virtual direction to the lower court to 
find such a monopoly and to dissolve it. 

Even more important is the Supreme Court's ruling that 
where, as in these cases, the starting point is a conspiracy to 
effect a monopoly — and the court refers to this conspiracy 
throughout its opinions — "it is relevant to determine what 
the results of the conspiracy were even if they fell short of 
monopoly." In other words, assuming there was no monop- 
oly in the strict sense of the word, the ownership of even a 
single theatre might be legally vulnerable "if the property 
was acquired, or its strategic position was maintained, as a 
result of practices which constitute unreasonable restraints 
of trade." "Hence," says the Court, "the problem of the 
District Court does not end with enjoining the continuance 
of the unlawful restraints nor with dissolving the combina- 
tion which launched the conspiracy. Its function includes 
undoing what the conspiracy achieved." 

I will not dwell upon other important but technical points 
raised by the Supreme Court in its criticism of the lower 
court's findings, as, for example, that size and accumulated 
power are the earmarks of monopoly; that such power, if 
created for the purpose of crushing or preventing competi- 
tion may be unlawful even though not exerted; and that in 
decreeing divestiture and dissolution there must be parity 
of treatment as between the affiliated and the independent 
circuits — and, as we all know, rough treatment was dealt the 
Crescent, Schine and Griffith chains. 

This all points to divestiture in a big way, since many of 
the great first-run theatres are wholly owned by the defend- 
ants. Thus the virtual mandate to the District Court is to 
break up the first-run monopoly, and in this there is no dis- 
tinction between wholly-owned and partly-owned theatres. 
(Continued on second section) 



"Assigned to Danger" with Gene Raymond 
and Noreen Nash 

(Eagle-Lion, May 19; time, 65 min.) 

This crook melodrama is moderately entertaining program 
fare. The production is unpretentious, and the story is not 
only trite but also far-fetched, and at times illogical. It starts 
off with a bang-up holdup and chase but soon peters down 
to a slow pace throughout most of its length until the closing 
scenes, where the hero subdues and captures the criminals. 
Not much imagination has gone into the treatment, and the 
outcome is obvious, but it has enough shooting and suspense 
to get by with undiscriminating audiences: — 

A murderous gang of ex-convicts, headed by Robert Bice, 
hold up a warehouse and kill the night watchman. Bice is 
wounded in the ensuing escape, and the other members of 
the gang (Martin Kosleck, Jack Overman and Ralf Harolde) 
decide to take him to a mountain lodge owned and op- 
erated by Noreen Nash, Bice's wife. Meanwhile Gene 
Raymond, an insurance investigator, is assigned to the case. 
He learns of the lodge and goes there to investigate. Through 
a doctor's business card he had discarded, Raymond is mis- 
taken for a physician by Noreen, with whom he becomes 
friendly. The gang arrives on the following day, with Bice 
in a desperate condition from the bullet wound received in 
the escape. Believing that Raymond is a doctor, they compel 
him to remove the bullet and threaten to kill him if Bice 
should die. Bice recovers slowly, only to be murdered by 
George Evans, a deaf mute working at the lodge, who 
resented his mistreatment of Noreen, whom he (Evans) 
idolized. Discovering the body, Noreen and Raymond decide 
to escape before the other gangsters learn that Bice was 
dead. This precipitates a gun battle in which the mute sac- 
rifices his life to save Noreen, thus giving Raymond an 
opportunity to gain the upper hand on the gangsters and 
capture them. It all ends with Raymond and Noreen decid- 
ing to wed. 

Eugene Ling produced it from his own screen play, based 
on a story by Robert E. Kent. Oscar Boetticher directed it. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Who Killed 'Doc' Robbin?" 
with Virginia Grey and Don Castle 

(United Artists, no release date set; time. 51 min.) 
A passable "Our Gang" type of streamlined slapstick 
comedy. Photographed in Cinecolor, it is Part II of Hal 
Roach's "Laff-Time," of which Part I is "Here Comes 
Trouble," which is reviewed in the April 17 issue of this 
paper. As entertainment, it is best suited for juvenile audi- 
ences who should find much in it to howl at, for the non- 
sensical story features a gang of kids who become involved 
in the mysterious murder of a scientist when they try to 
exonerate the chief suspect, a kindly, understanding old 
man, who had always been their friend. Most of the action 
takes place in the scientist's gloomy, forbidding mansion 
where, in pursuit of an important clue, the kids are beset 
by a series of hair-raising adventures as they encounter secret 
passages, sunken pits, underground laboratories, and a huge 
gorilla who runs amuck and menaces them. There is nothing 
new about the gags and situations, but the pace is fast and, 
as said, the youngsters should get a kick out of it. Adults 
should be able to enjoy it if they accept the picture for what 
it is. In any event, most of them should at least find it 
tolerable. 

Robert F. McGowan produced it and Bernard Carr di- 
rected it from an original screen play by Maurice Geraghty 
and Dorothy Reid. The cast includes George Zucco, Whit- 
ford Kane, Grant Mitchell, Larry Olsen, Eilene Janssen, 
Gerald Perreau, Dale Belding and others. 
Suitable for the family. 



Kiiter«d nu ••cond-cla«» matter January 4, 1D21, at the post ofBo« at Nrw Vnrk, NVw York, und«r th« aot ef itartb 8, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MAY 15, 1948 No. 20 



ABRAM F. MYERS' SOUND ADVICE 
TO THE MAJOR COMPANIES 

Now that the U. S. Supreme Court has sent the Govern- 
ment's anti-trust suit against the major companies back to the 
lower court for further study and for the entry of a more 
effective decree, it is to he expected that the industry will go 
through more litigation before the final decree is entered. 
The big question, of course, is this. How much litigation, 
and how long will it take? 

In his comprehensive and highly informative analysis of 
the decision, which was published in this paper last week, 
Mr. Abram F. Myers stated that "we can only hope that the 
action of the Supreme Court in remanding these cases (Para- 
mount, Schine and Griffith) to the District Courts with 
directions to explore new fields, to correct, and enlarge their 
findings and to formulate and enter effective decrees will not 
result in undue loss of time." He pointed out that the pro- 
cedure entails considerable delay, but felt that "at most it 
should not take more than six months — although insistence 
by the judges on their long summer vacations may upset this 
calculation." 

According to some trade paper stories, in which unnamed 
industry lawyers are quoted, final disposition of the case 
cannot be expected before 1950, at the earliest, and some of 
them even go so far as to say that it may take another ten 
years. The reasons on which these predictions are based are 
numerous: They include, to mention just a few, a crowded 
docket in the New York District Court; a replacement on 
the three-judge lower court for the late Judge John Bright, 
who died recently, thus necessitating considerable time for 
the new judge to familiarize himself with the case; the possi- 
bility that the lower court will not reconsider the case until 
it reconvenes in October, following the summer recess: and 
the probabihty that, on the matter of theatre divorcement, 
the defendants might endeavor to compel the Government 
to prove theatre by theatre whether or not each is subject to 
divestiture in acordance with the higher court's mandate. In 
addition, the stories imply that the defendants, by taking full 
advantage of the many rules of court procedure, could keep 
the case before the courts for many more years. 

While no one can predict for sure just how long it will 
take for a final decree to be entered, this paper doubts if 
the lower court, in view of the Supreme Court's sharp 
criticism of its findings, and of its virtual order to enter a 
drastic decree of divestiture, will permit the defendants to 
engage in legalistic antics aimed at delaying the inescapable 
mandates of the law. Besides, the language of the Supreme 
Court defines so distinctly the restrictions that the anti- 
trust laws place upon the defendants' right to sell, buy, and 
exhibit films, and the course that the high court has set for 
the lower court to follow is so unmistakably clear, that the 
lower court, in reaching its conclusions, should be enabled 
to eliminate much of the delaying legal maneuvers. 

In discussing the possibility that the defendants might 
resume "their petti-fogging and dilatory tactics," Mr. Myers 
had this to say in his analysis of the decision; 

"If they persist in their stalling tactics, they will soon 
find that they have exhausted the patience of the courts. 
They should not overlook the fact that in the Paramount 
Case the Court twice referred to their 'marked proclivity 
for unlawful conduct.' They will do well to recall that their 
unlawful practices have been before the Supreme Court 



in many cases and that they have not been successful in a 
single one of them. With the facts of the Interstate, Crescent, 
Jackson Park, Schine, Griffith, Goldman and Paramount 
cases fresh in mind, the Court will be in no mood for trifling. 

"The major companies would be well advised now to turn 
their thoughts to plans for complying with the law instead 
of devising means for further evading it. Their present 
predicament calls for wise counsel and industrial states- 
manship, not for the dubious expedients of political fixers 
and loophole artists." 

If we are to judge the major companies by their past per- 
formances, Mr. Myers' sage advice will fall on deaf ears. 
But they will do well to ponder his remarks, for the Supreme 
Court has spoken, putting an end to the unfair control they 
have exercised over the industry for many years. Instead of 
continuing to fight a battle that is already lost to them, it 
will be better for them to exert their efforts towards the 
production of better pictures and towards gaining the good 
will of their customers — the exhibitors and the public. 



JAY EMANUEL IS RIGHT! 

Commenting on the public relations campaign of the 
Theatre Owners of America and of the Motion Picture 
Association of America, Jay Emanuel, publisher of The 
Exhibitor, wrote as follows on the subject in his April 14 
issue ; 

"Frankly, there is little chance of any enthusiasm being 
generated in the trade for any Greater Movie Season idea 
unless it is done through the most logical medium available, 
the trade press. 

"It is no secret that for the past two years or more, adver- 
tising budgets spent in trade papers by many of the dis- 
tributors have been on the down grade, some to the vanishing 
point, with the obvious result that the salesmen who tried 
to generate interest in a part of the product went out into the 
field without being fortified by the most potent weapon of 
all, interest created by guod trade-paper advertising. . . ." 

This is not the first time that Mr. Emanuel has taken the 
distributors to task for their skimpy trade paper advertising 
budgets. 

Although at first glance Mr. Emanuel's admonition seems 
selfish, since trade paper advertising appropriations will 
benefit his publication, down deep it is not, for the follow- 
ing reasons: One thing that the exhibitor does is to read his 
trade papers with the idea of finding in them, not only news 
of forthcoming pictures, but also ideas that will enable him 
to attract the greatest possible attendance for the pictures 
he is to play either immediately or in the future. But, when 
he picks up the trade papers and sees how slim they are, 
he loses courage and thinks that the pictures are not worth 
advertising. Consequently, he approaches his exploitation 
chores in a dejected mood. 

What chance has a salesman to instill enthusiasm into an 
exhibitor whom he finds in such a mood? On the other hand, 
if the distributors advertise their products in the trade papers 
with blaring trumpets, the exhibitor becomes excited and it is 
easy then for the salesman to induce him to join in on an 
exploitation campaign that promises to bring more people 
into his theatre. 

Economy on trade paper advertising is, indeed, poor 
economy — it is a discourager that affects both the salesman 
and the exhibitor. 



78 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 15, 1948 



"Four Faces West" with Joel McCrea, 
Frances Dee and Charles Bickford 

(United Artists, no release date set; time, 88 min.) 

Excellent! To call it a Western would be misleading, 
for it is a story of high spiritual quality, set against a 
western background. Joel McCrea, always a fine performer, 
has never appeared to better advantage. The exceptionally 
interesting script, written by Teddi Sherman, with her 
youthful enthusiasm and imagination, and by Graham Baker, 
with his tried and true construction technique, has given 
director Alfred E. Green and producer Harry Sherman an 
opportunity to turn out a highly finished product, the sort 
that grips one's interest from start to finish. At no time do the 
actors shout, and there is no unnecessary talk. It is a story 
of great appeal that grows on one as the action unfolds. 
The scenes where McCrea. a hunted man, is shown sacrificing 
his personal freedom as he desperately tries to save the life 
of every member of a poor, isolated Mexican family stricken 
with diphtheria will hit deep in every one's heart. Touching 
also are the scenes that show Joseph Calleia's loyalty to 
McCrea and his efforts to help him. There are some good 
comedy touches throughout, and many thrills as a result 
of the rugged action. Charles Bickford, as an understanding 
U.S. Marshal, is first rate, and Frances Dee, as a nurse 
who casts her lot with McCrea, is just right. Russell Harlan's 
camera work is superb — some of the outdoor scenes will 
awe one with their beauty. 

Needing money to ease his father's financial difficulties, 
McCrea robs a banker in Santa Maria, N. M., of $2,000 
while the townspeople hail the arrival of Charles Bickford, 
a fearless U.S. Marshal, who had come there to set up his 
headquarters. McCrea manages to put many miles between 
himself and the town before the robbery is discovered and 
Bickford starts out after him. Abandoning his horse, he 
catches a train heading south and is helped aboard by 
Joseph Calleia. a prosperous Mexican. On the train he meets 
Frances, who treats a snake bite he had received while 
hiding his saddle in the bnish. Frances, on the way to a 
hospital in Alamagordo, becomes infatuated with McCrea. 
Meanwhile the authorities along the railroad hne had been 
warned to look for him. He has some close shaves hiding his 
identity and evading capture, but Calleia and Frances guess 
that the authorities were after him. He accompanies Frances 
to Alamagordo, where Calleia helps him to hide out. But 
when Bickford arrives in town searching for him, he sets out 
for the desert, hoping to escape over the border. Bickford 
doggedly pursues him. Barely keeping ahead of Bickford, 
McCrea comes upon a sick Mexican family dying of diptheria. 
Torn between human feelings and his own safety, McCrea 
decides to remain and nurse them. He prevents their deaths 
by applying ingenious home remedies, but realizing that 
a doctor is needed he sends up a smoke signal to attract 
Bickford's attention. Bickford hurries to the ranch, then 
dispatches a deputy to summon medical aid. The deputy 
returns with a doctor, who is accompanied by Calleia and 
Frances. Admiring McCrea's self-sacrifice, and taking into 
consideration the fact that he had returned a part of the 
stolen money, Bickford persuades him to give himself up on 
the promise that he will receive a light sentence. He accepts 
Bickford's counsel and bids Frances goodbye. She prom- 
ises to wait for him. 

The story is based on the novel "Paso Por Aqui," by 
Eugene Manlove Rhodes. 

Good for every member of the family. 



"Sword of the Avenger" with Sigrid Gurie 
and Ramon Del Gado 

(Eagie-Lion, June 2; time, 72 min.) 
Photographed in Sepiatone and based on a "Count of 
Monte Cristo " theme, this shapes up as a routine program 
adventure melodrama that may get by with the undiscrim- 
inating action fans. The story takes place in the Philippines 
in the early 1800's, when the Spaniards dominated the 
islands, and it revolves around the false imprisonment of a 
young Filipino for a political crime. Its "cloak and dagger" 
tale is packed with artless melodramatics, and its exaggera- 
tions of villainy and heroism will no doubt provoke many 



unintended laughs. The players are guilty of overacting, but 
one can hardly blame them because of the absurdities the 
screen play puts them through. The fact that the players 
mean little at the box-office is another hability: — 

Because of the hatred and jealousy of a fellow sailor 
(Tim Huntley), Ramon Del Gado, a young Filipino patriot, 
becomes involved in a chain of events that leads to the 
breaking up of his planned marriage to Sigrid Gurie, and 
to his false imprisonment in Fort Santiago for a year. Del 
Gado's fellow-patriots plan an uprising, but they are be- 
trayed by Huntley and are forced to flee to the hills, taking 
with them Sigrid, who becomes their leader. The authorities 
reward Huntley by appointing him head jailer in Fort 
Santiago. There, Huntley destroys Del Gado's records and 
keeps him under constant torture. After six years, Del Gado, 
with the help of two other prisoners (Ralph Morgan and 
Trevor Bardette), tunnels his way into a corridor. The three 
stage a spectacular escape, but only Del Gado gets away, 
taking with him a map of a treasure cave, which Morgan 
had used as a hideout. He joins a crew of Chinese smugglers 
and, with the aid of their captain (Leonard Strong), locates 
the treasure. Now fabulously wealthy, Del Gado, disguises 
himself as a Spanish nobleman and returns to Manila to 
avenge himself on those who had imprisoned and tortured 
him. His enemies, seeking his favor, fail to recognize him, and 
he soons wins their confidence and learns their secrets. In a 
series of swift-moving events, Del Gado brings them to 
justice, wins amnesty for the patriots, and is reunited with 
Sigrid. 

Sidney Salkow produced and directed it from an original 
screen play by Julius Evans. The cast includes Lee Baker and 
Cy Kendall. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Fighting Father Dunne" with Pat O'Brien 
and Darryl Hickman 

(RKO. no release date set; time. 93 min.) 
A fine drama, with strong emotional appeal. The story is 
in many respects similiar to "Boys Town," and its inspira- 
tional value is just as great, for it centers around a kindly 
priest who, in the face of many hardships, establishes a haven 
for homeless and underprivileged newsboys. Pat O'Brien, as 
Father Dunne, is excellent: his courage and determination, 
and his sympathetic understanding of the urchins he tries to 
help, endear him to the audience. There is considerable com- 
edy mixed with the pathos, provoked by the manner in which 
O'Brien persuades different persons to come to the aid of his 
project, and by the blustering antics of Charles Kempner, 
his brother-in-law, a gruff but kindly Irishman. The action 
takes place in St. Louis in 1906: — 

Distressed at the conditions under which scores of the 
city's newsboys lived, O'Brien determines to establish a 
home for them. With only his persuasive ways and his sub- 
lime faith as captial, he takes over a ramshackle building and, 
with the help of several boys, fits it up for occupancy. He 
assumes responsibility for several boys who are caught steal- 
ing a pony and cart, and he not only persuades the wealthy 
owner, Arthur Shields, not to file a complaint but makes a 
staunch friend of him. O'Brien's "family" grows steadily, 
but with the help of Una O'Connor, a kindly neighbor, and 
the generosity of local merchants, he is able to take care of 
them. A problem arises when Darryl Hickman, who had left 
home to escape his ruthless father (Joe Sawyer), leads the 
other boys in a fight against rival news gangs who were keep- 
ing them off choice corners. With Shield's help, O'Brien 
stops the "war" when one of his boys is injured seriously. 
Darryl, despondent, returns to his father, who introduces 
him to a hfe of crime. Caught in a robbery, Darryl, hysteri- 
cal with fright, shoots and kills a policeman and is sentenced 
to hang. O'Brien works desperately to have the sentence 
commuted but to no avail. Depressed at his failure, he con- 
siders giving up his work, but he receives new inspiration in 
the plea of a homeless urchin who seeks him out for aid. 

Phil L. Ryan produced it and Ted Tetzlaff directed it 
from a screen play by Martin Rackin and Frank Davis, based 
on a story by William Rankin. The cast includes Harry 
Shannon, Myrna Dell, Ruth Donnelly and others. 
Good family fare. 



May 15, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



79 



"So This Is New York" with Henry Morgan, 
Rudy Vallee and Virginia Grey 

(United Artists, no release date set; time 79 min.) 
A light, breezy satirical comedy, the kind that should 
send the customers home satisfied and smiling. The story's 
locale IS New York City in the early 1920's, and it revolves 
around the misadventures of a thrifty mid-westerner, his 
wife, and his sister-in-law, who are fleeced of their small 
fortune when they go to the big city to find a husband for 
the sister-in-law. There is no depth to the plot, but it keeps 
one laughing all the way through because of the very 
funny gags and of the hilarious situations in which the 
unsophisticated trio become involved. Henry Morgan, the 
radio comedian, makes an auspicious screen debut in this pic- 
ture: he handles his acting chores like a veteran, and his 
droll humor is very effective. Rudy Vallee, Hugh Herbert, 
Bill Goodwin, Leo Gorcey, and Jerome Cowan, as potenaial 
husbands for Dona Drake, add much to the comedy. The 
direction is very good, and the production values excellent: — 
Contented with his job as a cigar salesman in South Bend, 
Morgan's troubles begin when his wife, Virginia Grey, and 
her sister. Dona Drake, each inherit $30,000 from a late 
uncle. Virginia decides that South Bend does not offer 
much in the way of a prospective husband for Dona and, 
despite Morgan's protests, all three head for New York to 
find Dona a suitable mate. En route, they meet Jerome 
Cowan, a fast-talking New Yorker, whom Virginia looks 
upon as a good matrimonial prospect for Dona. But the idea 
blows up in a battle royal when Cowan tries to force his 
attentions on Virginia. They move into a swank apartment 
house, where Virginia meets Hugh Herbert, a wealthy world 
traveler, and immediately proceeds to promote a romance 
between him and Dona. But this romance, too, blows up 
when Dona and Herbert, enjoying a cozy tete-a-tete, are 
interrupted by the sudden appearance of his irate wife. The 
romantic void is soon filled by Rudy Vallee, a Texas rancher 
and owner of a string of horses, who initiates the trio into 
betting on the races. The romance looks good until Vallee's 
jockey, Leo Gorcey, begins wooing Dona. The rivalry be- 
tween Vallee and Gorcey for her love leads to each double- 
crossing the other on a fixed race, with the result that the 
girls, having bet heavily on Vallee's "hot tip," lose the 
major part of their fortune, while Vallee and Gorcey make 
themselves scarce. Moving to a cheaper hotel, the trio meet 
Bill Goodwin, a small-time comedian with delusions of 
grandeur, whom Virginia quickly designates as Dona's new 
Prince Charming. Over Morgan's objections. Goodwin 
induces the girls to invest the balance of their money in a 
dramatic play starring himself and featuring Dona. The play 
flops on opening night and the trio find themselves broke 
and stranded. By a happy coincidence, Morgan meets his 
old boss, who offers him his job back. It all ends with 
Morgan back home in South Bend, happy in the thought 
that there is no money for any of them to worry about. 

Stanley Kramer produced it and Richard O. Fleischer 
directed it from a screen play by Carl Foreman and Herbert 
Baker, based on Ring Lardner's novel, "The Big Town." 
Unobjectionable morally. 



believes that his son suffered from hallucinations, the result 
of reading too many mystery tales. Aided by their girl- 
friends, June Preisser and Noel Neil, Mills and Stewart 
locate the body in the school storeroom. Unable to get Mac- 
Bride's ear, the youngsters start an investigation of their 
own and discover that the dead student had been a jewel 
thief. Additional clues lead them to Bobby Sherwood, a 
bandleader, on whom they pin the crime after proving that 
he had acted as a "fence" for the dead student and had mur- 
dered him to get him out of the way. 

Will Jason produced and directed it from a screen play by 
Hal Collins, based on a story by Mr. Collins and Max Wil- 
son. The cast includes Bobby Sherwood's Orchestra and 
others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Campus Sleuth" with Freddie Stewart 
and June Preisser 

(Monogram, April 18; time, 57 min.) 
A mixture of music, murder-mystery, and comedy, this 
latest entrj' in the "Teenager" series just about makes the 
grade as a program feature. Both the story and the treatment 
are trite but, by virtue of some good comedy antics by 
Warren Mills and by Donald MacBride, quite a few laughs 
are squeezed out. Musically, it is fair, but the tunes are not 
of the sort that will remain in one's memory. Freddie Stew- 
art's voice, however, is pleasant to listen to. 

In the development of the story. Mills, while attending a 
college dance, discovers the dead body of a fellow student 
on the campus. He rushes to inform his friend, Stewart, and 
his father, police inspector Donald MacBride, but by the 
time they return to the campus the body is hidden by the 
school caretaker, an ex-convict, who feared chat he might be 
charged with the crime. MacBride, not finding the corpse, 



"The Iron Curtain" with Dana Andrews, 
Gene Tierney and June Havoc 

(20tli Century-fox, May; time, 89 mm.) 
Employing a semi-documentary technique, 20th Century- 
Fox has fashioned a powerful anti-Communist espionage 
melodrama, based on the personal story of Igor Gouzenko, 
a former'code clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa, who 
gave the Canadian Government information that led to 
the sensational spy arrests and trials in Canada in 1946. 
The tremendous amount of publicity this picture is receiv- 
ing as a result of the efi^orts of Communist front organiza- 
tions to stop its exhibition is enough to insure its box-office 
success. Aside from this publicity, however, the fact remains 
that it is a dynamic picture of its kind. The excellent direc- 
tion, the artistic acting, and the factual Ottawa backgrounds, 
gives the action a realism that makes one feel as if he is pres- 
ent at the original happenings. The story is as timely as 
today's newspaper in its expose of Soviet espionage activi- 
ties. Its strong denunciation of the Communist ideology is 
put over, not through preachment, but through the de- 
piction of the mental suffering undergone by the clerk, 
superbly portrayed by Dana Andrews, who. impressed by 
the democracy and freedom enjoyed by his Canadian 
neighbors, comes to the realization that life for himself, his 
wife, and his baby, is unbearable under Russia's cynically 
brutal rule. It is a highly suspenseful tale, based on facts, 
and 20th Century-Fox deserves great credit, not only for 
having had the courage to put the story on the screen, but 
also for having presented it in a way that minces no words 
and condemns the Communist ideology in no uncertain terms. 
Briefly, the action shows how Andrews, arriving in 
Ottawa to take up his duties as a code clerk, is put through 
a rigid test to prove his loyalty and his ability to conceal 
information. He is put to work filing confidential documents 
and sending top secret information to Russia, gathered by 
a highly developed spy organization that included, besides 
Russians, numerous Canadian nationals. Meanwhile his 
wife. Gene Tierney, arrives in Canada, and they are soon 
blessed with a baby. Cautioned by Andrews not to fratern- 
ize with her neighbors, with whose freedom she had become 
impressed, Gene argues with him over the necessary secrecy 
and his fear of reprisals. The logic of her arguments impresses 
him, and he soon becomes disillusioned with the aims of 
his government, particularly when he realizes how the future 
of his son will be affected. He determines it to be his duty 
to warn the Canadian Government. He steals a batch of 
incriminating documents and, accompanied by his wife 
and baby, goes to the Ministry of Justice. A high official 
refuses to see him. Desperate, he goes to a newspaper office, 
where he is dismissed as a crackpot because of his fantastic 
claims. Meanwhile the Russians had discovered the theft 
and had organized a hunt for him. They trap him after a 
series of exciting events but, despite their threats of death 
to himself and his family, he refuses to rehnquish the docu- 
ments. The timely arrival of the police, summoned by Gene, 
saves Andrews and results in a round up of the spies. For his 
integrity and honesty, Andrews and his family are granted 
honorary citizenship by the Canadian Government and 
put under the constant protection of the police. 

Sol C. Siegel produced it and William A. Wellman 
directed it from a screen play by Milton Krims. 
Suitable foi all. 



80 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 15, 1948 



"Return of the Badmen" with Randolph 

Scott, Robert Ryan, Anne Jeffreys 

and George "Gabby" Hayes 

(RKO, no release date set; time. 90 tnin.) 

The avid action fans will no doubt find this "super- 
western" to their liking, for it has an adequate share of fist 
fights, holdups, gunplay, and mounted pursuits. But, other 
than to the action addicts, the picture's appeal is doubtful, 
despite its better cast and bigger budget, for its slambang 
ingredients are tied to a commonplace story that is cut so 
close to a familiar pattern that one guesses in advance just 
how the plot will progress. Consequently, one loses interest 
in the outcome. The characterizations, from the hero to the 
villains, are standard, and the performances adequately 
meet the demands of the different roles. All in all, however, 
there is nothing about the picture that is much more interest- 
ing than the usual cowboy and bad man western: — 

With the opening up of the Oklahoma territory in 1889, 
the citizens of Braxton prepare to leave their homes and 
businesses to join in the exodus to establish new homesteads. 
Among them are Randolph Scott, a rancher, and George 
"Gabby" Hayes, president of the local bank, whose daughter, 
Jacqueline White, is engaged to Scott. A group of outlaws, 
led by Robert Ryan and Anne Jeffreys, take advantage of the 
confusion to raid the bank. Anne, carrying the loot, is 
wounded and captured by Scott, who tries to reform her. As 
he leads her back to town, Ryan recaptures her. but his 
brutality so enrages her that she recovers the money at 
gunpoint and surrenders it and herself to the authorities. 
The land rush takes place as scheduled, and Scott stakes out 
a claim for Hayes in the new town of Guthrie, planning to 
marry Jacqueline and to take her to California. His plans, 
however, are interrupted when he is persuaded to become 
U.S. Marshal to combat the outlaws who were terrorizing 
the whole region. Meanwhile Anne is paroled in Scott's cus- 
tody and works for him as a telegraph operator, much to the 
jealousy of Jacqueline, who realized that the former bandit 
queen, too, is in love with him. Scott eventually manages to 
capture the outlaws after a shooting foray, but Ryan escapes. 
The outlaw attempts to compel Anne to help free the cap- 
tives, killing her when she refuses. Scott sets out on his trail 
and, in a hand-to-hand combat, kills him. With the outlaw 
menace wiped out, Scott marries Jacqueline and prepares to 
go to California, but Hayes changes his plans by making 
him take over the bank so that he could go to Cahfornia 
himself. 

Nat Holt produced it and Ray Enright directed it from a 
story by Jack Natteford and Luci Ward, who collaborated 
on the screen play with Charles O'Neal. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Dear Murderer" with Eric Portman 
and Greta Gynt 

(Univ.-Int'i, May; time, 90 min.) 
Although the pace is slow and it offers little in the way 
of exciting action, this English-made murder melodrama 
is sufficiently intriguing to please the followers of this type 
of entertainment. Revolving around the commission of a 
"perfect crime" by a wronged husband, the somewhat sor- 
did tale is packed with plot twists that are logical, and 
manages, in a quiet sort of way, to generate considerable 
suspense. There is no mystery to the proceedings, since 
the audience know from the start just how the murder was 
committed. One's interest, therefore, lies in the manner in 
which the police piece the clues together for the solution of 
the crime, as well as in the attempt of the erring wife to 
make the "perfect crime" backfire on h«r husband. The 
performances are uniformly good, but since the players are 
little known in this country, and since the picture lacks 
exciting action, it will best serve as a supporting feature on 
a double-bill: — 

Discovering that his wife, Greta Gynt, had been carry- 
ing on an affair with Dennis Price, Eric Portman visits Price 
and induces him to write a letter to Greta putting an end 
to their relations. Portman dictates the letter and words 
it in a way that would lead one to believe that Price con- 



templated suicide. He then murders Price by placing his 
head in a gas oven. Later that night, when Portman learns 
that Greta had taken up with a new lover. Maxwell Reed, 
he readjusts the evidence at the murder scene to make it 
appear as if Reed had committed the crime. Detective 
Jack Warner starts an investigation and, guided by the 
clues left by Portman, arrests Reed. When Greta openly 
shows her concern for Reed, Portman, in a defiant mood, 
taunts her about how he had committed the crime, know- 
ing that she dare not expose him lest she expose herself. 
She leaves him. He becomes conscience-stricken over Reed's 
impending fate and resorts to taking sleeping pills in order 
to get some rest. Greta, pretending to love him, returns 
home and induces Portman to help Reed by informing the 
police that he had deliberately implicated Reed after finding 
that Price had committed suicide. The police, however, refuse 
to believe the story. Distraught, Greta feeds Portman an 
overdose of sleeping pills and engineers him into exposing 
himself as the murderer. She then rushes to the jail to see 
Reed, only to learn that he had given her up for an old 
sweetheart. She returns to her apartment to find Portman 
dead and the police waiting for her. 

Betty E. Box produced it and Arthur Crabtree directed 
It from a screen play by Muriel and Sydney Box and Peter 
Rogers, based on the play by St. John Leigh Clowes. 

Adult fare. 



"The Brothers" with Patricia Roc, 
Will Fyffe and Maxwell Reed 

{Vniv.-lnt'l, no rel. date set; time. 90 min.) 
Despite its faults, there is much about this British-made 
melodrama to satisfy discriminating picture-goers who 
patronize "art" houses. Pictorially, it is a production of 
absorbing visual grandeur, for the story has as its locale 
the picturesque Island of Syke, off the coast of Scotland. 
The picture's faults lie m the choppy editing of the stark 
tale, which is a mixture of feuding between Scottish clans, 
and of hatred between brothers, caused by jealousy and lust. 
It is by no means a pleasant entertainment, but its depiction 
of the island's inhabitants and their quaint primitive customs 
is fascinating. At times the action reaches savage heights, 
such as in the sequence where the island's whiskey smug- 
glers put an informer to death by binding him hand and 
foot, tying a fish to his head, then leaving him to float in 
the bay so that sea gulls may swoop down on him and peck 
him to death. The direction and the performances are 
very good, but it is in the incidental episodes rather than 
in the overall story that the picture makes its mark. 

The action, which takes place in 1900, centers around 
Patricia Roc, an orphan girl, who comes to the island to 
work as a servant in the home of Finlay Currie, a stern 
Scotsman who, together with his sons (Duncan Macrae and 
Maxwell Reed), was engaged in whiskey smuggling. 
Macrae, the elder son falls in love with Patricia, but she has 
eyes only for Reed, the younger son, who ignores her. Hurt 
by his indifference, Patricia accepts the attentions of An- 
drew Crawford, a member of a rival clan. Reed thrashes 
Crawford when he catches him molesting Patricia and, as 
a result, the rival clans, in keeping with an island custom, 
meet in a test of family strength by rowing on opposite sides 
of a boat until all but one drops from exhaustion. Curriers 
clan wins, but the old man overtaxes his strength and dies, 
first informing Macrae of his wish that Reed marry Patricia. 
Macrae, however, tells Patricia that his father wished her to 
marry him. but she refuses to believe him. In the course of 
events, Macrae marries another woman but continues his 
pursuit of Patricia. Finally, after an unsuccessful attempt 
to seduce her, Macrae convinces Reed that she was a bad 
influence on their lives and talks the young man into a plan 
to kill her. In a somewhat confusing ending, it is shown 
that Reed, realizing his love for Patricia, takes her to a place 
of safety. Her disappearance brings about a police investi- 
gation, which in turn uncovers certain illegal activities 
that result in the jailing of the elder brother. 

Sydney Box produced it and David MacDonald directed 
it from a screen play by Muriel and Sydney Box, based on 
the novel by L. A. G. Strong. Adult fare. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION TWO 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



Vol. XXX 



SATURDAY, MAY 8, 1948 



76A 



THE SUPREME COURT SPEAKS — Continued 
Bjr Abram F. Myers 



The Independent Partners 

In decreeing the termination of the joint relationships 
between the major companies and the independents the 
lower court lumped all these things together and made no 
special findings as to individual cases. Since vertical inte- 
grations are not unlawful per se, this was regarded as error. 
Each relationship must stand or fall according to its indi- 
vidual facts. We may eliminate from our present considera- 
tion such of these jointly-owned theatres as may be involved 
in first-run or territorial monopolies, since they are clearly 
subject to divestiture. The problem boils down to those 
joint relationships which are not subject to dissolution be- 
cause not included in any monopoly. 

"We have gone into the record far enough," said the 
Court, "to be confident that at least some of these acquisi- 
tions by the (defendants) were the products of the unlawful 
practices which the defendants have inflicted on the in- 
dustry. To the extent that these acquisitions were the fruits 
of monopolistic practices or restraints of trade, they should 
be divested." "Moreover," the court proceeded, "even if 
lawfully acquired, they may have been utilized as part of the 
conspiracy to ehminate or suppress competition in further- 
ance of the ends of the conspiracy. In that event, divestiture 
likewise would be justified." 

In all such cases the Court says flatly that "no permission 
to buy out the other owner should be given a defendant" — 
thus ehminating one of the weakest features of the lower 
court's decree. 

But the strongest provision of the Supreme Court's ruling 
is to the effect that "if the joint ownership is an alliance 
with one who is or would be a (theatre) operator but for 
the joint ownership, divorce should be decreed even though 
the affihation was innocently acquired." "For," said the 
Court, "that joint ownership would afford opportunity to 
perpetuate the effects of the restraints of trade which the 
exhibitor-defendants have inflicted on the industry." 

Now this can only mean that in all cases of joint owner- 
ship where the independent partner is a theatre operator, or 
but for the affihation would be a theatre operator, there must 
be divorcement regardless of any other factors. 

I need not stress the effect of this on the great Paramount 
Circuit where many of the theatres — perhaps most — are ac- 
tually operated by the independent partners. As I read this 
part of the opinion, I can only conclude that Paramount's 
theatre empire is doomed — and the same goes for a large 
part of the Fox theatre holdings. And in these cases, most of 
them at least, the defendants suppUed the basis for the neces- 
sary findings to insure divorcement by the testimony of their 
own circuit heads. By emphasizing the decentralization of 
control, defendants put their heads in a noose. 

What, then, are the theatres which the defendants con- 
ceivably may retain? They are described by the Court in a 
single sentence: "Some apparently involve no more than 
innocent investments by those who are not actual or potential 
operators." "If in such cases," the Court concluded, "the 
acquisition was not improperly used in furtherance of the 
conspiracy, its retention by the defendants would be justi- 
fied in the absence of a finding that no monopoly resulted." 
And in such instances the Court held that permission might 
be given the defendants to acquire the independent's interest 
"on a showing by them and a finding by the Court that no 
monopoly resulted." 

Because of the failure of the District Court to discriminate 
among the affiliated theatres in its findings — to screen the 



innocent investments out of the unlawful acquisitions and 
other unlawful holdings — the Supreme Court found it neces- 
sary to eliminate the decree provision barring the five major 
companies from further theatre expansion. That was done 
merely because that provision was closely related to the 
monopoly question which the lower court had so badly 
bungled and it was felt that that court "should be allowed 
to make an entirely fresh start." To make this plain the 
Supreme Court added: "We in no way intimate, however, 
that the District Court erred in prohibiting further expan- 
sion by the five majors." 

It will be recalled that in the lower court and again in the 
Supreme Court the Department of Justice contended that, 
if total divestiture was denied, the licensing of films among 
and between the five theatre-owning defendants should be 
barred. The Supreme Court felt that, as a permanent re- 
quirement, this was but another way of forcing divestiture. 
But it left to the discretion of the District Court the question 
whether, in the absence of competitive bidding, a ban on 
cross-licensing "would serve as a short-range remedy in cer- 
tain situations to dissipate the effects of the conspiracy." 

How Long Will It Take? 

The decisions insure ultimate victory in the long struggle 
for free and open competition and fair trade practices in the 
motion picture industry — but enjoyment of the fruits of 
victory is again postponed. 

The Supreme Court has decreed that the backbone of the 
motion picture trust shall be broken and it has given general 
directions to the District Court as to how that shall be 
accomplished. 

It only remains for the Attorney General vigorously to 
follow through on the advantage he has gained in order to 
secure the entry of final decrees in all three cases which not 
only will enjoin the defendants from unlawful conduct in 
the future but will wrest from them the properties, influence 
and power which they have unlawfully acquired. 

We can only hope that the action of the Supreme Court 
in remanding these cases to the District Courts with direc- 
tions to explore new fields, to correct and enlarge their 
findings and to formulate and enter effective decrees will not 
result in undue loss of time. The defendants, according to 
trade paper intimations, already are planning to resume their 
pettifogging and dilatory tactics. One unnamed spokesman 
is reported as saying that the case is right back where 
it was 10 years ago; that it must now be tried all over again; 
that the facts must now be canvassed theatre-by-theatre, that 
much testimony will be taken and much time consumed. 

This would be a most disappointing outcome and not only 
would it postpone effective rehef for several more years but 
it would make a travesty of the law. That considerable delay 
is entailed by the procedure is manifest. At most it should 
not take more than six months — although insistence by the 
judges on their long summer vacations may upset this calcu- 
lation. The handwriting is now on the wall and its message 
is inescapable. The major companies now know that the jig 
is up; that sooner or later they must submit to the mandates 
of the law. They can no longer pursue their merry monopo- 
listic way. 

The sooner they become reconciled to this, the better. 
If they persist in their stalHng tactics, they will soon find that 
they have exhausted the patience of the courts. They should 
not overlook the fact that in the Paramount Case the Court 
twice referred to their "marked proclivity for unlawful 
(Continued on next page) 



76B 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 8, 1948 



conduct." They will do well to recall that their unlawful 
practices have been before the Supreme Court in many cases 
and that they have not been successful in a single one of 
them. With the facts of the Interstate, Crescent, Jackson 
Park, Schine, Griffith, Goldman and Paramount cases fresh 
in mind, the Court will be in no mood for trifling. 

The major companies would be well advised now to turn 
their thoughts to plans for complying with the law instead 
of devising means for further evading it. Their present 
predicament calls for wise counsel and industrial statesman- 
ship, not for the dubious expedients of political fixers and 
loophole artists. 

Findings on Monopolistic Practices Upheld 
With the foregoing specially noted exceptions, a minor 
provision with respect to franchises and the provision in 
reference to competitive bidding, the findings and decree of 
the lower court in the Paramount Case were affirmed. 

I will not repeat these provisions in each instance, for to 
do so would unduly extend this paper. All of the provisions 
thus upheld were clearly proper and, for the most part, had 
been expressly approved by Allied States Association. 

(a) Price-fixing. The findings and decree of the District 
Court in reference to the fixing of minimum admission prices 
in film license agreements were fully sustained. There can be 
no further fixing of minimum admissions. There is no excep- 
tion as to road shows or other special forms of release. 

(b) Clearances and runs. Here again the Supreme Court 
sustained, in their entirety, the findings and decree provi- 
sions of the lower court. The defendants made a strong 
attack on the provision which casts on them the burden of 
showing that a challenged clearance is reasonable. But their 
pleas were rejected, the Court saying that "Those who have 
shown such a marked proclivity for unlawful conduct are in 
no position to complain that they carry the burden of show- 
ing that their future clearances come within the law." 

(c) Formula deals, master agreements and franchises. 
The findings concerning and injunctions against formula 
deals and master contracts were also upheld in the following 
sentence: "The findings of the District Court in these re- 
spects are supported by facts, its conclusion that (such deals 
and contracts) constitute restraint of trade are valid, and the 
rcUef is proper." 

(d) Franchises. Franchises were banned by the lower 
court simply because they covered more than a single sea- 
son's product and hence did not conform to the competitive 
bidding system. With that system eliminated there was no 
real objection to them "when extended to any theatre or 
circuit, no matter how small." Therefore, the ban on fran- 
chises was removed, although the court expressed doubt as to 
their propriety "if used between the exhibitor defendants." 

(e) Bloc\-boo\ing and blind-selling. Much of what the 
District Court had to say about block -booking was tied in 
with its views on competitive bidding. The Supreme Court 
having eliminated that provision, and having retained the 
District Court's separate provisions against block-booking 
and blind-selhng, a highly satisfactory result has been 
achieved. There is no Umitation on the number of films that 
an exhibitor may license at one time. But the right to license 
one feature may not be conditioned upon the licensee's tak- 
ing one or more other features. And to the extent that li- 
censed films have not been trade-shown, and the exhibitor 
buys them in a group, he is entitled to reject 20%, this right 
to be exercised in the order of release and within 10 days 
after opportunity has been afforded to inspect the feature. 

(f) Discrimination. The District Court cited a number 
of instances in which the defendants had discriminated 
against small independent exhibitors and in favor of large 
affiliated circuits through various kinds of contract provi- 
sions. But that court assumed that these would all be cured 
by the competitive bidding system and it provided no injunc- 
tion against such discrimination. With competitive bidding 
out, these findings were left dangling in air, and the Supreme 
Court directed that an injunction issue against such dis- 
criminatory practices. 



As this came from the Bench some of us thought the way 
was opened for a general anti-discrimination order. But 
upon studying the opinion I have concluded that the provi- 
sion will be confined to the enumerated instances of discrim- 
ination, which do not include discrimination as to prices. 
Competitive Bidding 

The competitive bidding system was the most controversial 
feature of the District Court's decree. Regardless of its 
merit, or lack of merit, I was convinced that it was a legal 
monstrosity and could not pass muster in the Supreme Court. 

The organized exhibitors were united in their opposition 
and by their combined arguments they tore the whole fan- 
tastic scheme into tatters. Most of these arguments appear in 
paraphrase in the Court's opinion. They occupy a consider- 
able part of the opinion, they make good reading but they 
transcend the space limitations of this paper. 

Those exhibitor organizations which sought to intervene 
as parties to the case sought to use competitive bidding as 
their springboard, but with the elimination of that feature 
their last feeble argument collapsed and their petitions were 
denied. 

Arbitration 

The Supreme Court upheld the District Court's ruling 
that it had no power to continue the arbitration system since 
the Government no longer consented to the arrangement. 
"We agree . . . that the District Court has no power to force 
or require parties to submit arbitration in lieu of the remedies 
afforded by Congress for enforcing the anti-trust laws." 

"But," the Court held, "the District Court has the power 
to authorize the maintenance of such a system by those 
parties who consent and to provide the rules and procedure 
under which it is to operate." And the Court added that, of 
course, "the use of the system would not ... be mandatory"; 
that " it would be merely an auxiliary enforcement proced- 
ure, barring no one from the use of other remedies the law 
affords for violations either of the Sherman Act or of the 
decree of the Court." 

We suspect that such a voluntary system would not have 
great appeal to the defendants, since the old consent decree 
system which they so dearly loved did not provide an addi- 
tional or auxiliary remedy for independent exhibitors but was 
an escape from the penalties for contempt and a highly desir- 
able refuge from private actions under the Sherman Act. 
Summary 

The destruction of monopoly power in the motion picture 
industry has been the goal of Allied States Association ever 
since it became convinced that fair trade practices and equal 
opportunity for the independent exhibitors could not be 
secured by the orderly processes of negotiation and agree- 
ment. 

That that goal has been attained — or at least is in sight — 
cannot be doubted by any open-minded reader of the opin- 
ions handed down by the Supreme Court on Monday. 

In the annual reports for the last few years I have empha- 
sized the thought that tomorrow belongs to the independent 
exhibitors. I was never more certain of that than I am today. 

When the proceedings ordered by the Supreme Court 
have been carried out the percentage of affiliated theatres 
will be reduced to insignificance and any that remain will 
have to operate on their own merits and without the prefer- 
ences and discriminations they have enjoyed in the past. 

The way will be open for new producers and new distribu- 
tors to enter the business with assurance of fair access to all 
the screens, including the first-runs. 

When the decrees are worked out and become effective 
artificial product shortages will end, competition will force 
fair dealing by all distributors, and film rentals will reflect 
the real value of the product and not the rapacity of those 
accustomed to dealing in a controlled market. 

The task of the independent exhibitors and of the public 
groups interested in the proper conduct of the industry will 
be to see that the gains made are not frittered away; that 
the opinions are carried into full force and effect; and that 
the industry does not again backslide into monopoly. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 

Entered «• ••oo»d-ola»i matter Januarj' i, 1921, at the post otlloe at New York, New York, under the act of March S, 18T9. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MAY 22, 1948 No. 21 



ALLIED'S JUSTIFIED CONDEMNATION 
OF COERCIVE ADVERTISING 

Recently Paramount resorted in a few situations to the 
practice of mailing heralds and posting twenty-four sheets 
to advertise its pictures to residents in towns where it had 
not made a deal with the local exhibitor. 

One of the towns in which it resorted to this practice 
was Faribault, Minnesota, and Bill Glaser, the local exhibitor, 
with whom Paramount was unable to come to terms, ap- 
pealed for help to his organization, Northwest Alhed, of 
which Bennie Berger is president. Berger, in an effort to 
stop the practice on the ground that it was unfair, not only 
protested to Paramount, but also brought it to the attention 
of National AlUed. 

National Allied condemned the practice as coercive ad- 
vertising to force exhibitors to play pictures on terms that 
were unacceptable to them. 

At first glance, Paramount's tactics appeared to this paper 
to be, not a coercion but only an effort to advertise its 
pictures in the same manner that it would insert an advertise- 
ment in a national magazine to boost its product. 

Paramount's position would have been unassailable if it 
had followed a similar practice in towns where its product 
had been sold. But in no case had it done this. Consequently, 
this paper has come to the conclusion that Paramount's 
act is nothing short of coercion. 

This is not the first time that Paramount has resorted to 
such a practice. If old subscribers to Harrison's Reports 
will search their files they will find an account of this practice 
as early as 1920. The first town in which this method was 
adopted was Mattoon, Illinois, where Paramount distributed 
handbills reading something like this: "Mattoon is a good 
town; but — why the but? It has its good schools, its civic 
centers, its railroads, its fine parks (etc.), but it has no 
Paramount Pictures . . ." 

The present method is not as vicious: nevertheless, the 
spirit behind it is. 

Harrison's Reports hopes that Charlie Reagan will 
put an end to this practice. His complaint may be that he 
has no other way by which he could induce an exhibitor to 
buy Paramount pictures. But he must remember that a small- 
town exhibitor has only a given number of play-dates avail- 
able — not enough to take care of the products of all distribu- 
tors. He must leave some of them out. If such an exhibitor 
books Paramount pictures to the exclusion of the pictures of 
another major distributor, then that distributor, too, would 
have the right to resort to the Paramount practice. 

If the Paramount branch office in Minneapolis cannot 
induce the Faribault exhibitor to book its pictures, then 
there is something wrong somewhere, and it is up to Charlie 
Reagan to find out why. Certainly, no exhibitor will refuse 
to buy pictures that will make him money, if he can obtain 
them at terms that will leave him a profit. 



in behalf of all independent exhibitors during the two 
years of service he just completed as president of National 
Allied. 

Jack Kirsch is indeed deserving of this tribute, for under 
his aggressive but fair leadership National Allied's growth 
and its forceful influence in the industry were nothing short 
of phenomenal. Harrison's Reports is happy to join with 
the MPTO of Western Pennsylvania in hailing Jack for a 
job well done. 



A WELL-DESERVED TRIBUTE 

Morris M. Finkel. president of the Allied Motion Picture 
Theatre Owners of Western Pennsylvania, has forwarded 
tu this office a copy of a resolution that was passed unani- 
mously by his membership at a recent meeting expressing 
their gratitude and appreciation to Jack Kirsch for his efforts 



ABOUT "THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS" 

In a recent bulletin of the Allied Theatre Owners of Iowa 
and Nebraska, Mr. Charles Niles, chairman of the organiza- 
tion's Caravan Committee, quoted from a letter sent to him 
by a Nebraska member, relative to "The Miracle of the 
Bells." 

This member stated that he had seen the picture after 
reading the bad notice it had received from the 'M.ew Tor\ 
Daily l^ews, and that he is in complete disagreement with 
the opinion of that paper's reviewer. "I am not working 
for the exchange by a hell of a ways," said this member, 
"but when they build a picture like 'Miracle of the Bells,' 
and then some dummy in New York calls it mushy senti- 
mentality and the Caravan prints it, I think, and I may be 
wrong, that there are a lot of little fellows that haven't 
seen the picture (who) will get an idea that it's no good 
and I think it is truly a great picture. I'd like to have one 
like it each week for 52 weeks that will get as much praise 
from the folks who pay to go to my theatre. I'm speaking 
nationally and if I'm wrong I'll apologize. Let me know 
what you thought of the picture." 

Mr. Niles admitted in his bulletin that information he had 
received about the picture from the Des Moines area backed 
up the Nebraska member's opinion. 

The following is part of what the review in Harrison's 
Reports said (page 39, this year's volume) : 

"Excellent mass entertainment. ... A powerful human 
interest drama, of a quality rarely achieved in motion pic- 
ture production . . . From the opening to the closing scenes, 
one's attention is gripped so strongly that the more than 
two hours running time pass by unnoticed." 

Those who undertake to advise exhibitors through organi- 
zation bulletins about the quality of pictures should be 
careful to impart to them correct information. Taking the 
word of any reviewer's opinion is wrong, unless that re- 
viewer's opinions had been followed for a long time and 
proved accurate. Insofar as the New York City newspaper 
critics are concerned, their opinions, particularly with regard 
to a picture such as "The Miracle of the Bells," do not as 
a general rule reflect the opinions of the rank-and-file movie- 
goers. What is enfotionally stirring to the average picture- 
goer frequently fails to move the big-city critics because of 
their "arty" tastes. Consequently, one who undertakes to ad- 
vise exhibitors about a picture's commercial possibilities is 
rarely on solid ground if he bases his opinion on what is 
said of the picture by these critics. 

Reviewing pictures from the exhibitor's point of view is 
a profession that requires, not only accurate judgment, but 
also experience as well as training. A wrong opinion on a 
picture does harm, not only to the producer, but also to 
the exhibitor, whi i may refrain from either buying the picture 
or putting behind it all his efforts. 



82 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 22, 1948 



"Melody Time" 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 75 min.) 
This latest Walt Disney feature draws comparison with 
his "Make Mine Music," both from the standpoint of con- 
struction and of entertainment value. The business done by 
that picture should serve as a pretty accurate guide in judg- 
ing the box-office possibilities of this one. Like "Make Mine 
Music," this novelty feature is comprised of a series of un- 
related short subjects of varying character and length, each 
of which has something that is bound to please the varied 
tastes of picture-goers of all ages. Several are more entertain- 
taining than others, but all have been executed with an 
imagery, artistry, and dexterity that is nothing short of 
magnificent. 

The first subject, "Little Toot," is an amusing fable about 
the adventures of a baby tugboat in New York Harbor, 
featuring the voices of the Andrews Sisters, who sing the 
song of the same title as the story unfolds. 

The next subject, "Johnny Appleseed," is an entertaining 
folk tale relating the legend of how a young farmer left his 
apple orchard in the East to plant the appleseed throughout 
the unsettled West. Featured in this subject is the voice of 
Dennis Day, who speaks in different brogues for the various 
characters and sings several songs. 

The third subject, "Bumble Boogie," featuring the music 
of Freddie Martin's Orchestra, is a highly imaginative fan- 
tasy of a bee's nightmare, showing the bee zooming about in 
frenzied flight as a piano keyboard and musical notes assume 
all sorts of wierd shapes in an effort to trap it. 

"Once Upon a Wintertime," sung by Frances Langford, 
makes up the next subject, which is an amusing tale about a 
sleighing and skating outing of a young couple in the early 
1800's. 

The fifth subject, "Trees," is based on Joyce Kilmer's 
famous poem, and features the music and singing of Fred 
Waring and his Pennsylvanians. The animated pictorial 
beauty of this subject, is breathtaking. 

Subject six, "Blame It On the Samba," combines live 
action and animation, featuring Ethel Smith at the organ, 
the singing of the Dinning Sisters, and the wild but hilarious 
antics of Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and the Aracuan Bird 
of Brazil as they dance to the Latin tune. 

The last subject, "Pecos Bill," is another combination of 
live action and animation, in which Roy Rogers and the Sons 
of the Pioners relate to little Bobby Driscoll and Luana 
Patten the sage of "Pecos Bill," the "toughest critter west of 
the Alamo." This subject is extremely well done and should 
provoke many laughs. 



"Best Man Wins" with Edgar Buchanan 
and Anna Lee 

(Columbia, May 6; time, 75 min.) 
A slow-moving but fairly interesting program comedy- 
drama, best suited for theatres that cater to the family trade. 
Drawing its story idea from Mark Twain's "The Celebrated 
Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," the action revolves 
around small-town characters and deals with the regenera- 
tion of a middle-aged gambler who changes his ways to win 
back the affections of his former wife, whom he had deserted. 
The picture's leisurely pace matches its gentle humor, and 
there is considerable human interest throughout. Much of it 
is hokum, but it is not too hard to take. The direction is 
expert and the performances uniformly good. The action 
takes place in 1853: — 

Returning to his home in Missouri after an absence of 
ten years, Edgar Buchanan finds that his wife, Anna Lee, 
had divorced him, and that she was preparing to marry 
Robert Shayne, a stuffed-shirt local judge. Anna is cordial 
to him and permits him to become acquainted with Gary 
Gray, his ten-year-old son, whom he had never seen. He 
gets along famously with the youngster, particularly after 
buying the boy a racing greyhound, which he wanted to 
enter in a forthcoming race at a county fair. The purchase, 
however, cleans him out of all his assets except a pet jumping 
frog and his ability to gamble. Unable to see Shayne as his 



son's step-father, and still in love with Anna himself, Bu- 
chanan decides to reform in an effort to win back her love. 
But on the day of the race, Buchanan, by betting on his 
jumping frog, is able to scrape up enough money to place a 
last bet, not on his son's dog, but on a prize racer entered 
by Shayne, planning to turn the winnings over to Anna. 
Gary's dog, however, wins the race. Anna, deHghted to see 
that Buchanan had not placed a bet on the boy's dog, be- 
lieves that his reformation was complete and agrees to marry 
him. But on the day of the wedding, Shayne, peeved, tries 
to break up the re-marriage by revealing that Buchanak had 
placed a bet on his dog. Buchanan, however, goes to Anna 
before the ceremony and admits that he had pulled the wool 
over her eyes, despite his good intentions. Convinced that 
he really meant to stabilize himself, Anna decides to go 
through with the re-marriage. 

Ted Richmond produced it and John Sturges directed it 
from a screenplay by Edward Huebsch. The cast includes 
Herbert Cavanaugh and others. 

Suitable for the family. 



"Give My Regards to Broadway" with 

Dan Dailey, Charles Winninger 

and Nancy Guild 

(20tfi Centurj'-fox, June; time, 89 min.) 
Photographed in Technicolor, this is a heart-warming 
domestic comedy-drama, the sort that should appeal to all 
lovers of human-interest entertainment. Its story about an old 
trouper's faith in the return of vaudeville, and the training 
he gives to his son and two daughters so that they will be 
ready to join his act, is a well-balanced mixture of pathos, 
laughter, romance and music that retains a homespun flavor 
throughout its teUing. The musical interludes are highly en- 
joyable, not only because of their intimate quality, but also 
because the songs are old time favorites. Every one of the 
characters is lovable — there isn't a villain in the cast. All 
in all, it is a winning movie, the kind that makes one feel 
good, for it is unpretentious, tender and thoroughly whole- 
some : — 

With vaudeville on the way out, Charles Winninger, a 
juggler, is compelled to give up his act and to accept em- 
ployment in a factory in order to support his wife (Fay 
Bainter) and three children (Dan Dailey, Jane Nigh, and 
Barbara Lawrence). The years go by swiftly and Winninger 
becomes assistant foreman at the plant, but he still believes 
that vaudeville will come back and, towards that end, re- 
hearses his children daily in song, dance, and juggling rou- 
tines on a homemade stage in his garage. Winninger is 
keenly disappointed when Jane elopes with Herbert Ander- 
son, but he gets over it and reorganizes the act as a trio. 
When Barbara falls in love with Charles Russell, he tries to 
discourage their matrimonial ideas, but he soon accepts the 
inevitable and consoles himself with the thought of doing a 
"double" with his son. Meanwhile Dailey had been smitten 
with the charms of Nancy Guild, whose father coached the 
baseball team of the company where he (Dailey) was em- 
ployed as a draughtsman. He becomes more interested in 
Nancy and in baseball than in juggling, but does not tell 
his father. Matters reach a showdown when Sig Ruman, an 
old friend, offers Winninger a sixteen-week booking out 
west. Jubilant, he quits his job to resume his stage career, but 
Dailey declines to go along with him, preferring to remain 
with his firm, which had offered him an advancement. De- 
jected at the turn of events, Winninger creates a rift between 
himself and the family and decides to carry on the act as 
a "single." But when he goes down to the station to catch 
his train he has a change of heart and realizes that he would 
rather be at home with his family. The years slip by and. in 
the closing scenes, Winninger is shown surrounded by his 
children and grandchildren, who applaud him as he joins 
Dailey in a song-and-dance routine for their entertainment. 

Walter Morosco produced it and Lloyd Bacon directed it 
from a screenplay by Samuel Hoffenstein and Elizabeth 
Reinhardt, based on a story by John Klenipner. The cast 
includes Charles Ruggles, Howard Freeman and others. 

Excellent for the entire family. 



May 22, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



83 



"I, Jane Doe" with Ruth Hussey, 
Vera Ralston and John Carroll 

(Republic, May 25; time, 85 min.) 

A well-produced but only moderately entertaining court- 
room drama. It has a "soap opera" type of story that will 
probably appeal more to women than to men. The chief 
trouble with the story lies in its presentation, which is done 
through a series of flashbacks that tend to confuse the 
spectator. The result is a spotty entertainment that is often 
dull to watch. Being the story of a woman who had been 
wronged, the script writers have put into it a little of every- 
thing that dramatic invention can offer, but the concoction 
is so artificial and the characterizations so unconvincing that 
its emotional punch is generally feeble. Unsophisticated 
women patrons may find the proceedings interesting, but 
those with more discriminating tastes will probably look upon 
it as a singularly empty drama. 

The story opens with Vera Ralston's arrest for the murder 
of John Carroll, followed by her refusal at the trial to reveal 
cither her identity or her reasons for the crime. Sentenced to 
die, she collapses in court and it is discovered that she is to 
become a mother. Ruth Hussey, Carroll's widow, learns 
that Vera had given birth to a son and visits her to ask per- 
mission to adopt the child. Desirous of living for her child. 
Vera tells Ruth about herself. On the basis of Vera's story, 
Ruth, a lawyer, takes up her defense and obtains a new 
trial. On the witness stand, Vera reveals how she had rescued 
Carroll in France when his plane had been shot down, and 
how she had hid hira from the Nazis. He had married her 
and had returned to his unit after France was liberated, 
promising to come back for her. Desperate after not having 
heard from him for many months, she had come to New 
York on a forged passport. To get rid of her, he had in- 
formed the immigration authorities of her illegal status. She 
had escaped from Ellis Island, where she had been taken for 
deportation, and had killed Carroll after learning that he 
was also married to Ruth. After a stormy trial, punctuated 
by the death of Vera's baby, the jury, heeding Ruth's elo- 
quent plea, brings in a verdict of not guilty, permitting 
Vera to return to France to start life anew with a childhood 
sweetheart. 

John A. Auer produced and directed it from a screen play 
by Lawrence Kimble. The cast includes Gene Lockhart, 
John Howard, Adele Mara and others. 

Adult fare. 



"King of the Gamblers" with Janet Martin 
and William Wright 

(Republic, May 10; time, 60 min.) 
Less talk and more action would have helped this pro- 
gram murder melodrama considerably; nevertheless, it is 
fairly interesting and should get by with undiscriminating 
audiences. Outside of the fact that the villains are connected 
with a sports-fixing racket, the story has little to say on that 
subject and is more or less a conventional tale of frame-up 
and murder, with the victim being an honest young football 
player who is framed for a crooked player's murder. There 
is no mystery attached to the proceedings insofar as the 
spectator is concerned, but the plot ramifications, which have 
a youthful lawyer defending the accused player and crush- 
ing the racket without realizing that his (the lawyer's) foster- 
father was one of the racket's secret heads, is interesting, 
although lacking in excitement and suspense. There is no 
comedy and only a suggestion of romance: — 

To cover up his connection with George Meeker, head of 
a sports-fix racket, Thurston Hall, publisher of a sports 
magazine, carries on a vigorous crusade against racketeering 
in sports. James Cardwell, a pro-football player in league 
with Meeker, fails in an attempt to blackmail the gambler 
and approaches Hall with an offer to sell him the full story 
of the football-fix racket. Hall stalls Cardwell and informs 
Meeker. The ruthless gangster solves the problem by having 
Cardwell killed in a manner that throws the guilt on 
William Henry, an honest teammate, who had quarreled 
with Cardwell over his dishonest tactics. William Wright, 
Hall's foster-son and a college chum of Henry's, believes 



in his innocence; he resigns as assistant district attorney to 
handle Henry's defense. Carrying on his own investigation, 
Wright conies across information that leads him to wit- 
nesses whose testimony could save Henry, but before he can 
act the potential witnesses are murdered by Meeker. Finally, 
through Janet Martin, the murdered man's sister, Wright 
learns that his foster-father had been approached by Card- 
well with an offer to sell the "fix" story. The evidence 
Wright turns up about his complicity in the affair compels 
Hall to go on the witness stand and reveal all. Meeker, sit- 
ting in the courtroom, shoots fiim as he testifies, only to be 
mown down himself by a hail of police bullets. With Henry 
cleared, a romance blossoms between Janet and Wright. 

Stephen Auer produced it and George Blair directed it 
from an original screenplay by Albert DeMond and Brad- 
bury Foote. The cast includes Stephanie Bachelor, Wally 
Vernon, Jonathan Hale and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Raw Deal" with Dennis O'Keefe, 
Claire Trevor and Marsha Hunt 

(£agle-Lion, May 26; time, 79 mm.) 
Fast-paced and packed with action, this gangster-type 
melodrama should go over pretty well with adult audiences, 
in spite of the fact that the plot is not always logical. The 
story itself is a routine yarn about an escaped convict's 
efforts to evade capture and to square matters with a double- 
crossing pal, but Anthony Mann's taut direction has 
squeezed every bit of excitement and suspense out of the 
material at hand. Several of the situations are intensely 
melodramatic and, at times, brutal and violent. It is by no 
means a pleasant entertainment, and a bit too sordid for 
the family trade. Dennis O'Keefe, as the escaped convict, 
handles his tough-guy role in capable fashion, even winning 
a measure of sympathy because of his display of some re- 
deeming traits. Worked into the plot is an interesting love 
triangle involving O'Keefe, Claire Trevor, and Marsha Hunt. 
The production values are fairly good, and the low-key 
photography does much to sustain the picture's sinister 
mood: — 

After spending a year in jail on a robbery charge, O'Keefe, 
aided by Claire, his ever-faithful sweetheart, breaks out of 
prison by means of a plan engineered by Raymond Burr, 
his accomplice in the robbery. Actually, Burr was hoping 
that O'Keefe would be shot down so that he would not have 
to share with him the "take" from the robbery. O'Keefe, 
with Claire at the wheel of the getaway car, manages to make 
his escape good, but is compelled to alter the escape plan 
when bullet holes in the gas tank drain his car of fuel. He 
goes to the apartment of Marsha Hunt, his lawyer's secre- 
tary, to seek her aid. When she threatens to phone the 
police, he takes her car and forces her to accompany him and 
Claire. They manage to get by the police blockade and head 
for Crescent City, where O'Keefe was to meet Burr to collect 
his share. Meanwhile a strong attraction grows up between 
Marsha and O'Keefe, despite her animosity, much to Claire's 
chagrin. Arriving for the rendezvous with Burr, O'Keefe 
finds himself met by John Ireland, Burr's trigger-man. who 
had orders to kill him. O'Keefe knocks the gun out of his 
hand and engages him in a fight to the finish. Marsha, seeing 
Ireland about to smash O'Keefe with a crowbar, retrieves 
the gun and shoots him down. Both realize their love for 
each other after the incident, but O'Keefe, aware that she 
was too fine a girl for him, sends her home. Claire, relieved, 
convinces O'Keefe that it is best to forget about his share 
and to take a boat out of the country. Meanwhile Ireland, 
recovering from his wounds, picks up Marsha and brings her 
to Burr, who decides to use her as a means to entice O'Keefe 
to his lair so that he might dispose of him. Learning of her 
danger, O'Keefe rushes to her defense and, in a crashing 
climax, kills both Ireland and Burr but is mortally wounded 
himself. He dies in Marsha's arms. 

Edward Small produced it and Anthony Mann directed it 
from a screenplay by Leopold Atlas and John C. Higgins, 
suggested by a story by Arnold B. Armstrong and Audrey 
Ashley. 



84 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 22, 1948 



"The Gallant Legion" with William Elliott, 

Adrian Booth, Joseph Schildkraut 

and Bruce Cabot 

(Republic, July 25; time, 88 min.) 
The one thing that may be said of this big-scale Western 
is that it is well-stocked with actionful moments, generating 
sufficient excitement to make it highly satisfactory to the 
devotees of this type of entertainment. Picture-goers who are 
not particularly addicted to Westerns will find that it offers 
little that is unusual either in story or in treatment. But to 
the dyed-in-the-wool cowboy fans the lack of story novelty 
should make little difference, for there is a goodly share of 
chases, shooting, fist-fights, and skullduggery, plus the cus- 
tomary comedy relief of the type supplied by Andy Devine. 
All in all, the picture is a strong bet for theatres that cater 
to action fans, and it should get by as a supporting feature 
in most other situations: — 

When Texas is admitted into the Union and the ill- 
reputed State Police disbanded, Bruce Cabot, a ruthless 
landowner, secretly leads a vicious element in a fight to estab- 
lish West Texas as a separate state. Senator Joseph Schild- 
kraut, Cabot's undercover mouthpiece, demands abolish- 
ment of the Texas Rangers in a veiled move to make Cabot's 
task easier, but the State Senate votes to retain the Rangers 
for a trial period of six months. Cabot embarks on a program 
of brute force and chicanery to discredit the Rangers by 
showing them as unable to cope with the crime wave. Adrian 
Booth, a newspaper woman, who is Schildkraut's niece and 
Cabot's fiancee, is assigned by her paper to cover the fight 
between the Rangers and the lawless element. Meanwhile 
William Elliott, a Civil War veteran, returns to Texas to 
settle down on his ranch but changes his mind when his 
younger brother, one of Cabot's renegades, is shot by a 
Ranger during a bank holdup. Suspecting that Cabot was 
behind the lawlessness, Elliott joins the Rangers in an effort 
to prove his guilt. Cabot tries to discredit him by claiming 
that he had joined to avenge himself on the Ranger who had 
killed his brother, but Catpain Jack Holt expresses his faith 
in Elliott. Simultaneously, Adrian, whose news dispatches, 
influenced by her uncle, had been uncomplimentary to the 
Rangers, is invited by Holt to live at the camp and witness 
the Rangers' activities. In the course of events, Adrian 
catches her uncle altering her news dispatches to smear the 
Rangers; she threatens to reveal his perfidy. Cabot, fearing 
that Schildkraut will talk and ruin his plan to arm the 
Comanche Indians against the Rangers, murders him. This 
killing sets off a series of events involving the massacre of 
several Rangers, culminating in a showdown battle between 
Holt's Rangers and Cabot's renegades. During the battle. 
Holt's son (James Brown) is shot in the back by Cabot, and 
Elliott is suspected of killing him to avenge his brother's 
death. But he is exonerated when his courage and bravery 
win the fight for the Rangers and bring about Cabot's death. 
Joe Kane produced and directed it from a screen play by 
Gerald Adams, based on a story by John K. Butler and 
Gerald Geraghty. The cast includes Adele Mara, Grant 
Withers and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Port Said" with Gloria Henry 
and William Bishop 

(Columbia. April 15; time, 69 min.) 
A mediocre, low-budget murder-mystery melodrama; it 
has little to recommend it, even for the lower half of a 
double-bill, for it has neither excitement nor suspense. Not 
only is the story involved, unbelievable, and confused, but 
to make matters worse talk has been substituted for action, 
with the result that it barely holds one's interest. The players 
struggle to make something of their individual roles, but 
there is little they can do to lift the inept screen play from 
its depths of boredom :- — 

Arriving in Port Said for a vacation, William Bishop 
learns that his best friend, a theatre manager, had been 
murdered mysteriously. In attempting to unravel the case, 
he learns from Edgar Barrier, a magician, and Gloria Henry, 



his daughter, that his friend had probably been murdered 
by Richard Hale, a Nazi collaborationist, whose daughter 
(also played by Gloria Henry) was Gloria's first cousin. He 
explains that, because of the striking resemblance between 
the two girls. Hale feared that he and his daughter would 
be unmasked if the public saw their act and noticed the 
resemblance. They further explain that his friend had been 
killed to prevent him from booking their act. Bishop falls 
in love with Gloria and soon becomes involved in a series of 
events in which several unsuccessful attempts are made on 
his life by Ian MacDonald, Hale's sinister henchman. With 
Bishop hot on his trail, Hale devises a scheme whereby his 
daughter is substituted for Gloria in Barrier's fencing act (an 
act in which Barrier and Gloria pretend to kill each other 
with trick swords), in order to kill both Gloria and Barrier. 
Gloria is drugged and replaced in the act by her cousin, but 
before the vicious girl can kill the unsuspecting Barrier, 
Bishop, having learned of the plot, arrives with the police, 
saves Gloria and Barrier, and captures the criminals. 

Wallace MacDonald produced it and Reginald LeBorg 
directed it from a screen play by Brenda Weisberg, based on 
a story by Louis Pollock. The cast includes Steven Geray 
and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Wallflower" with Joyce Reynolds, 

Robert Hutton, Janis Paige 

and Edward Arnold 

(Warricr Bros.. ]une 12; time, 77 min.) 
A lightweight but fairly amusing romantic comedy, re- 
volving around adolescent doings. Although it does not rise 
above the level of program fare, it is strong enough to serve 
as the top half of a mid-week double-bill. Laid in a typical 
small town, its story about two attractive step-sisters, one 
flirtatious and the other a shrinking violet, follows a well- 
worn pattern in that the subdued sister, tired of being a 
"wallflower," assumes the kittenish characteristics of her 
uninhibited sister and soon wins the admiring glances of their 
male friends, particularly of the boy she loved. It offers little 
that hasn't been done many times, but it is pleasant enough. 
The comedy is of the sort that provokes chuckles instead of 
belly laughs : — 

Returning home after a year in college, Joyce Reynolds 
and Janis Paige, step-sisters, miss their plane at the airport, 
Don McGuire, attracted by Janis' obvious charms flies 
them home in his own plane. At home, their parents, Edward 
Arnold and Barbara Brown, have their hands full answering 
telephone calls and receiving flowers for Janis. V>'hen Robert 
Hutton, a young family friend, comes to greet the girls, 
he sees Joyce first and invites her to accompany him to a 
forthcoming country club dance. But he forgets about Joyce 
when he sees Janis and invites her to the dance instead. 
Joyce, resigned to playing second-fiddle to Janis, decides to 
remain at home on the night of the dance, despite the 
family's insistence on finding an escort for her. McGuire 
telephones just as the family leaves for the dance, and Joyce, 
copying her sister's ways, charms him into escorting her to 
the dance. She dresses herself in alluring fashion and, at the 
club, wins the admiring glances of Janis' many boy-friends 
who vie for her attentions. Meanwhile Hutton gets drunk at 
the bar because Janis had turned down his marriage proposal. 
Entranced by the "new" Joyce, he asks her to marry him. 
She decides to sober him up before considering his proposal 
and takes him to a nearby lake for a swim. Their clothes 
are stolen from the locker by some boys and, in the resulting 
confusion, both are picked up in abbreviated beach robes by 
a policeman and kept in jail overnight. The newspapers 
publish the story, and the youngsters' families, putting a 
wrong interpretation on the incident, insist that they elope 
at once, Joyce, believing that Hutton was being forced into 
the marriage, runs away. Hutton overtakes her and con- 
vinces her of his love. 

Alex Gottlieb produced it and Frederick de Cordova 
directed it from a screen play by Phoebe and Henry Ephron, 
based on the stage play by Reginald Denham and Mary Orr. 
The cast includes Jerome Cowan and others. 
Suitable for the family. 



Entered aa second-class matter January 4, 1D21, at tho post ofnce at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

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35c a Copy Columns, If It is to Uencfit the E.xhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, MAY 29, 1948 No. 22 



SPONSORED SCREEN ADVERTISING 
CONDEMNED 

The move that Eric Johnston took at a recent 
MPAA meeting to ban sponsored advertising reels 
from the screens of the theatres that belong to his asso' 
ciation cannot be praised too highly. 

This writer has had much experience in such mat' 
ters: In 1931, Paramount, followed by Warner 
Brothers, decided to make a business out of installing 
a sponsored screen advertising department in their 
theatres. Having realized how injurious such a prac' 
tice, if established permanently, would be to the en' 
tire business, I set out to combat it by soliciting the 
aid of more than two thousand newspaper publishers 
and editors throughout the nation. 

The newspapers joined the campaign on the ground 
that advertising belonged to the newspapers and not 
to picture theatres, the function of which is to furnish 
entertainment. To combat the practice, the news- 
papers, through their editorial columns, informed 
the public of the evil to protect them from being 
"gouged" by theatres that charged an admission price 
for entertainment and compelled their patrons to sit 
through several reels of sponsored advertising. More- 
over, they withheld from the offending theatres the 
free publicity normally given to them in the amuse- 
ment pages. The newspapers turned their guns on the 
entire motion picture industry so mercilessly that, 
within three months after the campaign was started, 
both Warner Brothers and Paramount had to abandon 
their activities in the advertising field. 

The unfairness of sponsored screen advertising lies 
in the fact that, whereas a newspaper reader may 
skip the advertising pages, he cannot help watching 
the advertisements on the screen. And that is really 
an imposition, when one considers that the picture- 
patron paid an admission to be entertained. 

The theatre screen is not the place to advertise dif- 
ferent products, in spite of the fact that some exhibi- 
tors can realize considerable income from such a 
source. In the long run, what an exhibitor gains in 
actual cash he more than loses in patron resentment, 
which ultimately results in decreased theatre at- 
tendance. 

Let us keep the screens free from advertising. 
Legally, they belong to the exhibitor, but morally, 
they belong to the public. 



A RESPITE FOR MOVING PICTURES 

Commenting on radio's adventure serials for chil- 
dren, under the heading, "Kids' Serials Too Grim 
. . . Death in Child's World," Paul Denis, the famous 
radio columnist of the 7<lew Tor\ Post, said partly the 
following in a recent column : 

"Maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought kids had 
a great sense of humor. Yet broadcasters do not offer 
comedy programs tailored for kids of 6 to 12. Instead, 



radio's adventure serials — like Capt. Midnight, Tom 
Mix, Dick Tracy, Terry and the Pirates, Superman — 
are these, loud, grim. 

"There's hardly a laugh for the kids on WOR or 
WJZ from 5 to 6 p.m. 

"Surely, there must be a better way to entertain 
kids than to keep them on edge about international 
spies, bandits, atomic disasters, plane crashes, train 
wrecks. There should be some relief from ear-splitting 
sounds of whirring motors, zooming planes, howling 
headhunters, trucks crashing over the mountainside, 
screaming men being tortured by crooks. 

"There should be at least a couple of kid adventure 
serials in which gayety is the mood, adventures are 
plausible, and kids in the script are normal and 
happy . . ." 

In these days, when radio as well as newspaper col- 
umnists, crackpots as well as others, take joy in trying 
to fin their columns with outbursts against motion 
pictures, it is indeed refreshing to read one columnist 
who has found fault with some other medium of 
entertainment. 

Mr. Denis is right about the harmful effect current 
radio serials have on children. As those of you who are 
parents know, children often refuse to go to bed until 
they have heard their favorite serial. But some of the 
stuff that comes over the air is so frightening that it 
is enough to give children nightmares. As a matter 
of fact, the harm that is done by one nerve-wracking 
radio serial cannot be done by dozens of a similar type 
of pictures, because radio is of much greater access to 
a child than is a motion picture. 

Even though Mr. Denis' criticism is directed against 
radio entertainment, the motion picture industry 
could very well profit by accepting his advice and 
producing a greater number of comedy pictures. Life 
itself is too grim to be made grimmer by a medium 
that should put people in a happy frame of mind. 



WILL ELIMINATION OF THE 20% TAX 
HURT OR BENEFIT THE EXHIBITORS? 

The late Al Steffes once told me that he feared the 
elimination of the 20% Federal Tax on admissions lest 
the small communities take its elimination as their 
cue to impose local taxes on theatres. 

In a recent organization bulletin, Leo F. Wollcott, 
chairman of the board of Allied Theatre Owners of 
Iowa and Nebraska, points out that theatre taxes are 
being set up by small communities throughout the 
countrj^ and, like Steffes, he states that "maybe the 
Federal Tax better be left on if by so doing we will 
be afforded some protection from local taxes." 

Before any of the exhibitor organizations begin a 
concerted campaign to rid the industry of the Federal 
Tax, they would do well to give some deep thought as 
to whether or not its elimination will bring on a wave 
of local taxes and, consequently, greater headaches. 



86 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 29, 1948 



"Easter Parade" with Judy Garland, 
Fred Astaire and Peter Lawford 

(MGM, July 8; time, 102 min.) 

A highly satisfactory Technicolor musical. Its blend 
of comedy, romance, song, and dance, backed up by 
an Irving Berlin score that includes no lesss than 
seventeen of his songs, seven of which are new, makes 
for a show that is generally pleasant and musically 
exciting. The story itself is light, but this is not im- 
portant since it is so completely overshadowed by the 
tuneful music and by tiie plentiful and extremely 
lavish production numbers, featuring the superb 
dancing of Fred Astaire and Ann Miller, and the 
listenable singing of Judy Garland, who proves to be 
pretty expert in the dance department herself. Every 
one of the production numbers is brilliant, but the 
outstanding one is where Astaire and Miss Garland, 
dressed as tramps, sing and dance to the song, "A 
Couple of Swells." The film reaches its highest point 
of comedy with this novelty number. The story takes 
place in New York in 1912, and the strikingly-colorful 
sets and costumes are enhanced considerably by the 
excellent photography: — • 

In love with Ann Miller, his dancing partner, Fred 
Astaire breaks with her when she runs out on her con- 
tract with him to star in a Broadway show. Bitter, 
Astaire informs his friend, Peter Lawford, a wealthy 
collegiate, that he can make a glamorous star to out- 
shine Ann of any chorus girl he chooses and, to prove 
his statement, he selects Judy Garland, a chorus girl 
in a cheap cafe. He drives her unmercifully to satisfy 
his boast, but fails to notice her growing affection for 
him because of the torch he still carried for Ann. 
Meanwhile Lawford falls in love with Judy. Under 
Astaire's expert handling, Judy soon becomes a pol- 
ished entertainer and, after a highly successful tour, 
they are starred in a Broadway revue. They score a 
huge success on opening night, after which Astaire 
takes Judy to a night club where Ann entertained. 
There, Ann persuades Astaire to join her on the floor 
in one of their old numbers. Judy, who had hoped that 
Astaire had forgotten about Ann, leaves in a huff. 
Realizing that he loved Judy and that he had hurt 
her, Astaire rushes to her hotel, but she refuses to 
talk to him. On the following day, Easter Sunday, 
Lawford, who had given up hope of winning Judy 
for himself, steps into the breach by telling her that 
Astaire planned to train a new partner. This fabrica- 
tion causes her to rush to Astaire for a reconciliation, 
and it all ends with their joining the Easter Parade 
on the march up Fifth Avenue. 

Arthur Freed produced it and Charles Walters 
directed it from a screen play by Sidney Sheldon, 
Frances Goodrich, and Albert Hackett. The cast in- 
cludes Jules Munshin, Clinton Sundberg and others. 

Morally suitable for all. 



"The Big Punch" with Wayne Morris 
and Lois Maxw^ell 

(Warner Bros., June 26; time, 80 min.) 
Not a bad melodrama, but it does not rise above 
the level of program fare. Its story about a young 
minister who brings about the reformation of a 
crooked pugilist, whom he helps clear of a trumped-up 
murder charge, is not as logical as it might be, but it 
has enough human interest and melodramatic action 
to hold one's attention fairly well. There is suspense 
in some of the situations, and the pugilist, portrayed 
by Gordon MacRae, a newcomer who does very well 



in his screen debut, arouses the sympathetic interest of 
the spectator because of his predicament and of his 
sincere desire to lead an honest hfe. As the young 
minister, Wayne Morris makes the characterization 
creditable. Worked into the plot is a nuld romantic 
triangle involving Wayne, MacRae, and Lois Max- 
well: — 

When Wayne Morris, an athlete and divinity stU' 
dent appears in the office of Anthony Warde, a 
crooked fight manager, to deny reports that he will give 
up the ministry for the boxing ring, his sincerity and 
honesty make a deep impression on Gordon MacRae, 
a pugilist, who deliberately lost fights so that Warde 
could win by betting on his opponent. He decides to 
reform and double-crosses Warde by knocking out 
his next opponent. Knowing that Warde would seek 
revenge, MacRae leaves town. But Warde takes ad- 
vantage of his departure by murdering a "nosey" 
detective under circumstances that point the finger of 
guilt at MacRae. Learning that he was wanted for 
murder, MacRae heads for a small town where Morris 
had just arrived as the new minister. Informing him 
that he was in trouble with Warde but withholding 
information of the murder change, MacRae asks 
and receives refuge from Morris in the parish house. 
Morris obtains a job for him at the local bank 
through the efforts of Lois Maxwell, a disillusioned 
girl in whom he (Morris) had taken an interest. 
Mary Stuart, MacRae's former New York girl 
friend, learns of his whereabouts and, as her price 
for silence, demands that he join her and several 
other accomplices in a plot to rob the bank. MacRae 
decides to leave town and confesses his reasons to 
Morris. The minister persuades him not to run away 
and, employing an ingenious scheme, in which he uses 
Lois as bait, he captures the blackmailers and compels 
one of them to admit that Warde had committed 
the murder. Cleared, MacRae leaves town, deter- 
mined to start a new way in life. 

Saul Elkins produced it and Sherry Shourds di- 
rected it from a screen play by Bernard Girard, based 
on a story by George Carleton Brown. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Vicious Circle" with Conrad Nagel 

(United Artists, no release date set; time, 77 min.) 
Those who do not mind the complete lack of action 
in a motion picture should find this courtroom drama 
highly interesting. Produced on a modest budget and 
based on a racial intolerance theme, it grips one's in- 
terest from start to finish, in spite of the fact that 
practically the entire action is confined to a court- 
room setting. The story, which is supposedly based on 
events that actually happened in Hungary in the year 
1882, revolves around the trial of five Jewish farmers, 
victims of a Jew-hating aristocratic landowner, who, 
to drive them from the community, frames them for 
the murder of a young servant girl. The dramatic 
excitement flows from the conflicting testimony 
that is offered by different witnesses, and from 
their cross-examination by the defense counsel, who 
brilliantly tears down, not only the perjured testimony 
of the state's witnesses, but also the arguments of the 
corrupt prosecuting attorneys who, in league with 
the landowner, were using the trial as a springboard 
to further their political ambitions. In the end, the 
defense attorney wins an acquittal for the defendants 
by proving that the dead girl had committed suicide, 
and his expose of the prosecution's case as a complete 
and dishonest fabrication results in the court holding 



May 29, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



87 



the prosecuting attorneys for investigation themselves. 

Through deft handling, producer-director W. Lcc 
Wilder has given the picture a sense of movement, in 
spite of the fact that the action is confined to the 
courtroom. Moreover, he has brought out in an in- 
tensely moving way the persecution suffered by min- 
orities who become the victims of bigots. As the 
defense attorney, Conrad Nagel delivers an outstand- 
ing performance, as does Fritz; Kortner, as one of the 
defendants, who makes the spectator feel his grief 
when his young son, badgered and bribed by the 
prosecuting attorneys, testifies falsely against him. 
Reinhold Schun^el, as the aristocratic landowner, 
makes a sinister, scowling villain. 

Guy Endore and Heinz Herald wrote the screen 
play from the play, "The Burning Bush," by Geza 
Herczcg and Mr. Herald. The cast includes Lyle Tal- 
bot, Philip Van Zandt, Frank Ferguson and others. 

Adult entertainment. 



"13 Lead Soldiers" vrith Tom Conway 

(20t/i Century-Fox, April; time, 67 min.) 

This "Bulldog Drummond" melodrama should pass 
muster as a supporting feature in secondary theatres. 
Revolving around the search for an ancient treasure, 
the story is an incredible mixture of murder, mayhem, 
and intrigue, peopled with unbelievable characters 
and handicapped by inept comedy, but the accompany- 
ing melodramatics are such as to help it get by with 
the action-minded fans who do not mind illogical plots. 
Tom Conway, as "Drummond," plays the private 
detective role with his usual suavity. The others in 
the cast are reasonably proficient, although their 
names mean nothing at the box-office : — 

When John Goldsworthy is murdered and robbed 
of two nth Century lead soldiers, Conway, is en- 
gaged by William Stelhng, boy-friend of the dead 
man's daughter, Helen Westcott, to safeguard two 
similar lead soldiers for him. Conway lets it be known 
that he had the soldiers in his possession, and he is 
rewarded by a visit from Maria Palmer, who repre- 
sents herself as a newspaper woman sent to interview 
him. He accepts her invitation to dinner at her apart- 
ment, during which his flat is robbed of the soldiers 
by Harry Cording, whom Conway traces to the Soho 
district only to find him murdered. He revisits Maria, 
finds the missing manuscript, and discovers that it and 
the thirteen lead soldiers are the key to a treasure 
hidden by an Anglo-Saxon king. His investigation 
leads him to an antique shop, which turns out to be 
owned by Maria's father, who needed the four miss- 
ing soldiers to complete the puzzle of the treasure's 
location. Maria admits that Cording, hired by her 
father, had killed Goldsworthy, but that some un- 
known person had killed Cording. After a series of 
complicated events, during which Maria's father, too, 
is murdered, Conway comes upon StelHng, Helen's 
boy-friend, arranging all thirteen soldiers in key spots 
on a Norman fireplace in the antique shop. This 
causes the fireplace to swing back and reveal the treas- 
ure room. Unmasked as the murderer, Stelling tries 
to escape, only to he crushed to death when the fire- 
place swings back into position. 

Bernard Small produced it and Frank McDonald 
directed it from a screen play by Irving Elman, 
adapted from a story by "Sapper." The cast includes 
John Newland, Terry Killburn and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Time of Your Life" with 

James Cagney, William Bendix, 

Wayne Morris and Jeanne Cagney 

(United Artists, no reiecae date set; time, 109 min.) 
The Cagneys (James and William) will no doubt 
receive much critical acclaim for their production of 
William Saroyan's prize-winning play. And they will 
have earned it, for it is a most unusual picture and 
certainly an artistic success. What it will do at the 
lx)x-ofIice is, however, a big question. Cultured pic- 
ture-goers and others who look for something different 
in screen entertainment should find the film highly 
entertaining, but the rank-and-file, accustomed to 
movies with definite plot outlines, may find it hard to 
take. In small towns, many movie-goers may wonder 
what it is all about, for, to quote the foreword, "There 
is no plot in the ordinary sense, in this story; rather, 
it is a comedy of characters, moods, tempo and arrest- 
ing incidents ... a commentary on Life in our Time." 
Except for several fleeting scenes, all the action 
takes place in a San Francisco waterfront saloon, 
where numerous characters wander in and out of the 
place, and where most anything can happen and does. 
These picturesque characters include William Bendix, 
as the good-natured saloon-keeper, who wants no 
trouble with anybody and believes in .letting his cus- 
tomers do as they please; James Cagney, as a sort of 
mystic philosopher of unlimited means, who spends 
most of his time in the saloon, and whose keen under- 
standing of human nature is exercised in a way that 
baffles those who know him; Jeanne Cagney, as a 
woman of easy virtue, a former farm girl with shat- 
tered illusions; Wayne Morris, as a hulking, mentally 
confused young man who looks to Cagney for guid- 
ance, and who falls in love with Jeanne; Richard 
Erdman, as a determined young man who plays a 
pinball machine all day in the hope of winning the 
jackpot; Paul Draper, as a busboy who breaks into a 
dance at the slightest provocation; Jimmy Lydon, as 
a love-sick youngster who cannot get his sweetheart 
on the phone; Tom Powers, as a sneaking stool-pigeon, 
who frequents waterfront bars and practices extortion 
and petty blackmail on tavern owners; James Barton, 
as a pseudo- Indian fighter, who regales every one with 
his tall tales; Broderick Crawford, as an unhappy 
policeman; Pedro de Cordoba, as a lonely, silent Arab; 
and Ward Bond, as a talkative longshoreman — all 
these, and numerous others, make up as odd and color- 
ful an assortment of characters as has ever been seen 
in a picture. There is little depth to any of the char- 
acterizations, and the course each follows is more or 
less aimless, but all are extremely fascinating. For all 
its aimlessness, however, it grips one's interest 
throughout, for one never knows what might happen 
next. Some of the incidents have a deep human qual- 
ity, while others make one roar with laughter. At 
times, however, the dialogue leaves one bewildered. 
In spite of the fact that the action takes place on one 
set, the picture has considerable movement. The direc- 
tion is expert and every one of the performances ex- 
cellent. As it has already been said, it is an odd picture 
and its performance at the box-office is difficult to 
predict. Exhibitors will do well to check the picture in 
its prior-runs, for, although one is inclined to feel wary 
about its reception by the rank-and-file, their accep- 
tance of it might be better than expected. 

William Cagney produced it and H. C. Potter di- 
rected it from a screen play by Nathaniel Curtis. The 
cast includes Howard Freeman, John Miller, Renie 
Riano and many others. Adult fare. 



88 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



May 29, 1948 



"Escape" with Rex Harrison 
and Peggy Cummins 

(20th Century-Fox, June; time, 78 min.) 
Based on John Galsworthy's famous play of the same 
name, this shapes up as a fairly interesting British-made 
melodrama which, despite its star values, does not rise above 
the level of program fare. Its story of the flight of an escaped 
convict and of his efforts to elude capture by the police is of 
the sort that should have a special appeal for cultured movie- 
goers, for it is more or less a philosophical study of society 
in that it deals with the different ways people react to the 
convict, a former gentleman, whose incarceration was the 
result of an accidental killing. It has enough suspense and 
excitement, however, to give fair satisfaction also to the 
rank-and-file. Rex Harrison does good work as the convict, 
but Peggy Cummins, as the girl who aids him and falls in 
love with him, is no more than adequate. As a matter of 
fact, their romance, which seems to be dragged in by the 
ear, is unbehevable: — 

While strolling through Hyde Park after a day at the 
races, Harrison, an ex-squadron leader, is accosted by a 
young woman who asks him for a Hght. A detective attempts 
to arrest her for soliciting, and Harrison, gallantly coming 
to her aid, protests on the ground that she had done nothing 
wrong. The detective starts an argument with him and, in 
the ensuing scuffle, accidentally strikes his head against a 
bench and dies. Harrison remains at the scene and submits 
to arrest. He is tried and sentenced to three years' in 
Dartmoor for manslaughter. Smarting under the injustice of 
the sentence, Harrison escapes during a dense fog. Word of 
his escape is spread and a reward offered for his capture. 
Peggy Cummins, a young society girl, sees him hiding under 
a hedge while on a fox hunt but does not disclose her dis- 
covery. Later, she finds him in her bedroom gulping down 
her breakfast tea. Convinced that his sentence was unjust, 
she gives him clothes and helps him to elude Inspector Wil- 
liam Hartnell, who was hot on his trail. He has several 
other narrow escapes, each time aided by Peggy, who by 
this time had fallen in love with him. Exhausted, he finally 
seeks sanctuary in a village church to which he is traced 
by his pursuers. The priest gives him shelter and tries to 
reconcile him to his inevitable capture. Hartnell, refusing 
to invade the sanctity of the church, asks the priest point 
blank if he had seen Harrison. Feeling that the priest would 
have hed rather than give him away, Harrison surrenders 
himself, strengthened by Peggy's assurance that she will 
wait for him. 

Wilham Perlberg produced it and Joseph L. Mankiewicz 
directed it from a screen play by Philip Dunne. The support- 
ing cast is all-British. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Big Town Scandal" with Philip Reed, 
Hillary Brooke and Stanley Clements 

(Paramount, ]une 30; time, 62 min.) 
This latest in the Pine-Thomas "Big Town" series is a 
run-of-the-mill program melodrama, based on a juvenile 
delinquency theme. The obvious story is cut from a familiar 
pattern and offers little that is novel, but it should get by 
with undiscriminating audiences, for it has some human 
interest and considerable melodramatic action revolving 
around gangster activities. While Philip Reed and Hillary 
Brooke again play their roles of managing editor and re- 
porter, respectively, of a local newspaper, the action revolves 
principally around five boys paroled in their custody, and 
particularly around Stanley Clements, as one of the boys 
who mends his ways too late. There is very little comedy 
relief, and the skimpy production values reflect the fact that 
the picture was produced on a very limited budget: — 

Caught robbing a sporting goods store, five boys (Stanley 
Clements, Darryl Hickman, Carl Switzer, Rudy Wissler, 
and Roland du Free) face prison terms. Hillary intercedes 
with the judge in their behalf and induces him to parole the 
boys in the care of her newspaper, which promises to re- 
habilitate them. Reed sets up a recreation center for the 
boys and keeps them on the straight and narrow path. 
Clements, however, strays from the fold when he becomes 



involved with racketeers who give him a "cut" for arranging 
to cache stolen furs in the basement of the recreation center. 
The other boys eventually find the "hot" furs and decide to 
return them lest they be blamed for the theft. They are 
seen by the police who believe that a robbery was being 
committed. The boys scatter but one of them is shot dead. 
Clements, heartbroken, decides to confess, but the racketeers 
force him to keep his mouth shut. Moreover, as the star of 
the boys" championship basketball team, Clements is forced 
by the racketeers to throw games on which they had bet 
heavily. On the night of the team's biggest game, the 
racketeers warn Clements that he must lose the game and 
that they had their guns trained on him to make sure that 
he does not fail them. In the final minute of play, with 
victory depending on him, Clements, thoroughly ashamed, 
defies the gangsters and scores the winning goal. Angered, 
the gangsters shoot him down only to be nabbed by the 
pohce. Clements recovers, clears the other boys of suspicion 
in connection with the stolen furs, and bravely goes to prison 
to pay his debt to society. 

William Thomas directed it and co-produced it with 
Wilham Pine from an original screen play by Milton Raison. 
The cast includes Vince Barnett and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"So Evil My Love" with Ray Milland 
and Ann Todd 

(Paramount. Aug. 6; time, 109 min.) 

Produced in England by Hal Wallis, this lurid Victorian 
murder drama holds one's interest pretty well, but there are 
times when the picture drags because of the wordy script. 
As entertainment, it is depressingly unpleasant, for it deals 
with the downfall of a respected woman who knowingly re- 
sorts to deceit, blackmail, and murder because of her love 
for an unscrupulous cad. It is filled with ugly situations 
throughout, and there is not one character in the picture for 
whom one feels any sympathy. An attempt is made to build 
sympathy for the heroine, but it is diificult for the spectator 
to feel any compassion for her, for she is shown throwing 
herself at the "hero" and doing his bidding, even though 
she knew that he was a man without principles. Good pro- 
duction values, skillful direction, and artistic acting help 
matters a bit, but the picture will appeal mainly to a par- 
ticular class of movie-goers — those who seek "spice" in 
pictures : — 

Returning from Jamaica in the year 1886, Ann Todd, a 
missionary's widow, meets Ray Milland, an unscrupulous 
artist wanted by the police, who talks her into giving him 
a room at her lodging house. She falls madly in love with 
him and, when he decides to leave because of his lack of 
funds, she borrows money from Geraldine Fitzgerald, an old 
school chum, to keep him near her. Geraldine, addicted to 
drink and unhappily married to Raymond Huntley, a noble- 
man, had admitted her love for another man in letters to 
Ann. Milland gains possession of the letters and induces 
Ann to enter into a plot to blackmail Huntley. Ann manages 
to establish herself in Huntley's household as a companion 
to Geraldine, whom she tricks into writing more love letters, 
which she keeps after promising to mail them. In due course, 
Huntley becomes aware of the blackmail plot and engages 
Leo G. Carroll, a private detective, to investigate. Carroll 
turns in a report about Milland's shady background. When 
Ann confronts him with the letters and demands payment 
for them, Huntley shows her the report on Milland and 
threatens to turn him over to the police. She struggles with 
him over the report, during which he suffers a heart attack. 
To silence him for all time, Ann puts poison in his medicine, 
which Geraldine unwittingly gives to him. Geraldine is 
charged with murder and sentenced to die. Meanwhile Ann 
makes plans to leave the country with Milland but at the 
last moment learns that he had been carrying on with 
another woman while pretending to be in love with her. 
She arranges a rendezvous with him, stabs him to death, then 
gives herself up to the pohce, saving Geraldine. 

Hal Walhs produced it and Lewis Allen directed it from 
a screen play by Leonard Spigelglass and Ronald Millar, 
based on the novel by Joseph Shearing. 

Adult entertainment. 



Knterad aaaecond-class mattar Jtuiuary i, 1911, at the post ofBca at New York, Nesv York, under the act of March t, 1819, 

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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JUNE 5, 1948 No. 23 



A NEW AND IMPORTANT PROBLEM 

According to a report in the June 2 issue of weekly 
Variety, William Boyd, the producer and star of the 
current series of "Hopalong Cassidy" westerns, which 
are being released through United Artists, is now 
shooting his pictures in a dual manner — that is, one 
version for exhibition in regular motion picture the' 
atres, and the other version for television. 

The report states that Boyd's screen writers now 
write the scripts with a television twist to give the pic- 
tures a serial-like ending ever>' twelve and one-half 
minutes, and that, during the production, the cast and 
crew take time out from regular shooting for theatres 
to shoot the television version. In this way Boyd gets 
two pictures, one of which is suitable for television 
as a serial over a week or two-week period. No doubt 
the stories, except for some minor changes, are similar. 

Shooting his pictures simultaneously for both the- 
atres and television is certainly an economical move 
on the part of Bill Boyd, and he no doubt vnW find a 
ready market in television, which is badly in need of 
suitable film fare to hold its audience. The films now 
being shown on television are, for the most part, 
pictures that are from eight to fifteen years old, and 
few of them are of a quaHty that will hold the atten- 
tion of the viewers, who at this time are numbered 
in the millions. 

The fact that Boyd is producing what is more or less 
the same story for competitive mediums of entertain- 
ment does, however, pose a serious problem for the 
exhibitors who book his pictures. With television sta- 
tions opening up all over the country as fast as con- 
struction can be completed, and with that medium 
making definite inroads on theatre attendance in cities 
where television receiving sets are being installed in 
homes and taverns in ever-increasing numbers, the 
possibihty that Boyd's pictures may be seen on tele- 
vision either before or shortly after they are shown in 
the theatres definitely tends to decrease the value of 
these pictures to the exhibitors. 

United Artists, in licensing a particular "Hopalong 
Cassidy" to an exhibitor, could, of course, guarantee 
in the contract that the picture will not be shown on 
television for a specified period of time following the 
showing of the picture in the exhibitor's theatre. But 
since ours is a business of legal loopholes it might be 
well to look into how much protection an exhibitor 
will get out of such a contract clause in the case of a 
picture that has been produced in two versions. This 
contract clause will, of course, give the exhibitor a 
measure of protection, but only insofar as the version 
shown in his theatre is concerned. What about the 
television version? Will the distributor have control 



over that version? And if he does not have such con' 
trol, will he be in a position to guarantee to the 
exhibitor that the television version will not be shown 
for a definite period of time following the showing 
of the theatre version? 

The releasing agreements between Bill Boyd and 
United Artists, and between any number of other 
producers and releasmg organizations, may or may 
not answer the above questions. Perhaps the distribu- 
tors, in negotiating new releasing agreements, are now 
includmg also the television rights to the pictures 
they will distribute, but some of the agreements ne- 
gotiated with the producers in the past and still in 
force may not include such rights. In such cases, the 
exhibitors may be up against it if the producers follow 
Bill Boyd's policy of producing two versions of a 
picture simultaneously and then refuse to grant the 
television rights to the distributor of the theatre 
version. 

No matter who controls the television rights, how- 
ever, the fact remains that, with the television audi- 
ence growing greater and greater every day, no 
exhibitor can afford to book a picture unless he re- 
ceives some guarantee that that picture, even if it be 
the television version, will not be telecast within a 
specific area for a specified time following its showing 
in the theatre. 

Not being a law^'er, this writer cannot say whether 
a contract clause restricting the telecast of a motion 
picture will raise any legal problems. The point to 
consider is that television is slowly but surely becom- 
ing a formidable competitor to the motion picture 
theatre, and unless the exhibitor receives some assur- 
ance that the pictures he books will not be televised 
either before or shortly after he shows them, they will 
be of httle value to him. 

While on the subject of telecast motion pictures, a 
few words about some of the better old pictures being 
televised unll not be amiss in view of the fact that 
many exhibitors find reissues a better source of in- 
come than some of the new product that is being of- 
fered to them today. 

In recent weeks, this writer has seen on television 
such pictures as "39 Steps," "Stage Door Canteen," 
"Cheers for Miss Bishop," "Hangmen Also Die," and 
"It Happened Tomorrow." Each of these old pictures 
would make good reissues, but their value to an ex- 
hibitor is now nulUfied, at least in the areas in which 
they have been televised. 

Alexander Korda, as many of you no doubt know 
by this time, has sold the television rights to twenty- 
four of his old pictures to WPIX, New York's newest 
(Continued on last page) 



90 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 5, 1948 



"The Gay Intruders" with John Emery 
and Tamara Geva 

(20th Century-Fox, no release date set; time, 68 min.) 

A fine domestic program comedy, with the action pretty 
fast all the way through. It is a finished production — direc- 
tion, acting, sets, and photography are of a high standard. 
There are numerous laugh-provoking situations throughout, 
and almost each one of them offers an unexpected surprise. 
For instance, the situation where two psychiatrists, unknown 
to each other, meet in the quarreling couple's house and 
suspect one another of being one of the persons they had 
come to observe, is novel and causes much laughter, particu- 
larly when each tries on the other all the stock in trade of 
the psychiatrist. Another situation that is highly amusing is 
where the two psychiatrists begin a quarrel of their own 
and are calmed down by the couple they were trying to 
help. The dialogue is sparkling, and there is not a single 
"ham" in the cast — every one does fine work: — 

No sooner does the curtain fall on a stage success than 
the two principals, husband and wife (John Emery and 
Tamara Geva) begin quarreling. The quarrel reaches such 
a height that each decides to act in a separate play until 
Roy Roberts, their manager, reminds them that their con- 
tract required that they act together. Warning them that 
they had better get along as nicely off-stage as on-stage, 
Roberts suggests that they see a psychiatrist. Both rebel at 
the suggestion but each visits a psychiatrist secretly. Emery 
visits Lief Erickson, and they agree that Erickson should 
pretend to be Emery's college pal so that he could spend a 
few days at Emery's home to observe Tamara. Meanwhile 
Tamara makes a similar arrangement with Virginia Gregg, 
who agrees to pose as her sorority sister. When they first 
meet, "Virginia and Erickson mistake each other as one of 
the quarrehng couple, but they eventually discover their 
mistake and agree to hide their identities so that they may 
do their best to bring tranquility to the household. The 
temporary calm, however, is shattered when Tamara sus- 
pects Virginia of developing a non-professional interest in 
her husband, and when Emery accuses Erickson of showing 
too intimate an interest in Tamara. The nerves of the staid 
psychiatrists give way and, strangely enough, Emery and 
Tamara are called upon to calm their rufSed tempers. All 
this results in the restoration of peace and love between 
Emery and Tamara until Roberts arrives all excited over a 
new play for them. But when he explains that it is about a 
temperamental wife with a vile temper, and a husband who 
lies and cheats, they reject the play, for, in their new-found 
love, they could not think of doing such "cheap, unbeHevable 
drivel." In the argument that ensues, the fact that Virginia 
and Erickson are psychiatrists is brought to light. Emery and 
Tamara begin to denounce each other and, to make the 
picture complete, the psychiatrists start a quarrel. Tamara 
picks up the new script in a fit of temperament and delivers 
her lines with blazing fury. Emery, in turn, reads back his 
lines with equal fury. But at the end of the script, which 
called for a violent embrace, they find themselves kissing 
each other and meaning it. 

Frank N. Seltzer produced it and Ray McCarey directed 
it from a screen play by Francis Swann, who wrote the 
original story in collaboration with Mr. McCarey. 

Suitable for the entire family. 



"Jinx Money" with the Bowery Boys 

(Monogram, June 27; time, 68 min.) 

A fair program comedy-melodrama. The novelty of the 
story this time consists of the trials and tribulations under- 
gone by Leo Gorcey and his gang when they find fifty thou- 
sand dollars laying in the street. One's interest is held pretty 
well all the way through. Some of the comedy is contributed 
by Donald MacBride, as a quick-tempered police inspector, 
who is made to appear moronic. A humorous tone prevails 
throughout, due to William Beaudine's subtle direction. 
The photography is dear: — 



After winning fifty thousand dollars in a poker game, 
Benny Baker, a tough character, is followed into an alley 
by Lucien Littlefield, who knifes him in the back and kills 
him. Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall find the money in the 
gutter. Gabriel Dell, a newspaper reporter, pubUcizes the 
find, and the boys are soon visited by Ralph Dunn, a gang- 
ster, who comes to Bernard Gorcey's soda shop to take the 
money away from them. But before he can do so the unseen 
Littlefield poisons him by dropping a tablet into his soft 
drink. MacBride questions the boys but learns nothing that 
would lead him to the murderer. Several other gangsters 
attempt to recover the money, and several more murders 
are committed. John Eldredge, another gangster, uses Betty 
Caldwell to lure Gorcey to her apartment in a scheme to get 
the money, but in a series of odd events Eldredge is killed 
by Sheldon Leonard, who in turn is murdered by Littlefield. 
Finally, Littlefield himself is caught when he unsuccessfully 
tries to steal the money, and he reveals himself as the mysteri- 
ous murderer, explaining that he had been mistreated by the 
murdered men. Since no claimant had appeared for the 
money, the police permit Gorcey and his gang to keep it, 
but by this time Gorcey had donated most of it to charitable 
organizations, and the balance is picked up by a tax collector 
who takes it away from them for taxes. 

Jan Grippo produced it and William Beaudine directed it 
from a screen play by Edmond Seward, Tim Ryan, and 
Gerald Schnitzer, based on a story suggested by Jerome 
T. Gollard. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Stage Struck" with Conrad Nagel, 
Kane Richmond and Audrey Long 

(Monogram, June 13; time, 71 min.) 

A pretty interesting program picture. It is a murder- 
melodrama, in which detectives, helped by the Bureau of 
Missing Persons, try to solve the murder of a young girl, 
whose body had been found in an alleyway. The scenes that 
show Conrad Nagel interrogating the parents of the dead 
girl are fairly pathetic. Mr. Nagel does fine work as the 
poHce lieutenant, and Ralph Byrd, as a police sergeant, 
contributes some comedy with his naiveness. Incidentally, 
the picture should impress deeply young girls who may be 
thinking of leaving home to seek their future in big cities. 
The photography is sharp and the settings fairly rich: — 

John Gallaudet, owner of the Blue Jay night-club, quarrels 
with Wanda McKay, a stage-struck girl from a small town, 
who is killed when a gun is discharged accidentally. Gal- 
laudet operated also a theatrical agency, and girl appHcants 
worked as hostesses in his night-club to pay their tuition 
fees. Kane Richmond, a racketeer who had witnessed 
Wanda's death, blackmails Gallaudet and compels him to 
accept him as a partner. When Wanda's body is found, 
Nagel and Byrd are assigned to the case. They learn of her 
identity and, through her parents, obtain enough informa- 
tion to set them on the murderer's trail. Impatient at the 
slowness of the police, Audrey Long, Wanda's sister, leaves 
her home-town and goes to the city. There she succeeds in 
interesting Richmond, makes a deal to be taught acting, and 
agrees to work as a hostess in the Blue Jay to pay her tuition 
fee. Nagel sees her in the club and advises her to go home, 
but she refuses to heed his advice. Eventually her identity 
becomes known to Gallaudet and Richmond, and the two 
plan to take her for a "ride." But she is saved by the timely 
interference of Anthony Warde, a police officer posing as 
a Mexican night-club owner, who together with Nagel and 
other police arrest both Richmond and Gallaudet. By means 
of a recording Warde had made on Gallaudet's recording 
machine, evidence for their conviction is furnished. 

Jeffrey Bernerd produced it and WiUiam Nigh directed 
it from a screen play by George Wallace Sayre and Agnes 
Christine Johnston, based on Mr. Sayre's original story. 
The cast includes Pamela Blake, Charles Trowbridge, Nana 
Bryant, Selmer Jackson and others. 

No sex angles are stressed. 



June 5, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



91 



"Secret Service Investigator" 
with Lynne Roberts and Lloyd Bridges 

(Republic. May 31; time, 60 min.) 
Although it is lacking in name value, this is a brisk 
program melodrama that should easily satisfy the demands 
of the non-discriminating action fans. Its story about a job- 
less veteran who innocently becomes involved with a gang 
of ruthless counterfeiters is on the whole implausible, but it 
unfolds at a rapid pace and with considerable excitement 
and suspense. Moreover, it has enough unusual twists to grip 
one's attention from start to finish. The direction is expert 
and the acting competent. There is some mild love interest, 
but it does not get in the way of the story: — 

After placing a "job-wanted" ad in a San Francisco news- 
paper office, where he meets Lynne Roberts, a pretty clerk, 
Lloyd Bridges is contacted by Trevor Bardette, who repre- 
sents himself as a secret service inspector and gives him a 
job to impersonate a captured ex-convict (also played by 
Bridges), whom he resembled. Bardette explains that the 
ex-convict, during his years in jail, had made a perfect plate 
for counterfeiting currency, and that George Zucco, head of 
an Eastern counterfeiting gang, had offered to buy it. His 
job was to impersonate the ex-convict and dehver the plate 
to Zucco. Bardette and his men would take care of the rest. 
En route to New York, Bridges is recognized as an imposter 
by the ex-convict's wife, June Storey, and by her crooked 
brother, John Kellogg, who knock him unconscious and 
disappear with the plate. He returns to San Francisco, where 
he is promptly arrested by the police for the murder of the 
ex-convict, whose body had been found in the room where he 
had met Bardette. Bridges comes to the realization that 
Bardette, too, was a crook, and his fantastic story is beheved 
by Douglas Evans, a real secret service inspector, who offers 
him a special appointment in the service to help catch all 
the crooks. Pretending that he was not "wise" to the fact 
that Bardette was a crook. Bridges communicates with him 
for further instructions. Bardette orders him to bring in 
Zucco dead or alive. Meanwhile Zucco, having discovered 
that the plate brought to him by June and her brother was 
a fake, accompanies them to San Francisco to recover the 
perfect plate, which Bardette had in his possession. Between 
Zucco's and Bardette's machinations, Bridges soon finds 
himself involved in a series of events in which his life is 
constantly in danger, but in the end he succeeds in rounding 
up all the counterfeiters with the aid of the inspector and 
his agents. 

Sidney Picker produced it and R. G. Springsteen directed 
it from an original screen play by John K. Butler. The cast 
includes Milton Parsons, Roy Barcroft, Jack Overman and 
others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



in each of the boys' homes. Ted accidentally spilU the 
samples from the test tubes and, in panic, refills them with 
water taken from a dirty duck pond. He says nothing of 
the substitution when Mona finds that the water is highly 
contaminated. When the news gets out, the townspeople 
become enraged over the mayor's seeming neglect of the 
water supply, and he faces defeat at the polls. But the mayor 
discovers the truth about the samples and, after proving that 
the water supply system was pure, condemns both Litel and 
and Mona publicly. Ted, who had denied knowledge of the 
laboratory mixup, runs away from home, but when his dog 
is bitten by a rattlesnake he returns home for medical aid. 
There, he makes a clean breast of the laboratory incident 
and, in a public acknowledgment of his deed, clears his 
father and Mona. His confession, however, comes too late 
to save Litel from defeat at the polls, but Litel is nevertheless 
happy to have taught his son the value of truth. 

Wallace MacDonald produced it and Lew Landers di- 
rected it from a screen play by Brenda Weisberg, who wrote 
the story in collaboration with William B. Sackheim. 

Suitable for the entire family. 



"My Dog Rusty" with Ted Donaldson 

(Columbia, April 8; time, 67 min.) 

An unpretentious but fairly heart-warming human-inter- 
est story, suitable for theatres that cater to the family trade. 
Set in a typical small town, its homespun story about a 
growing boy and his problems offers little that is new, but 
it is competently directed and acted, and puts over its 
message for the need of parental understanding in a con- 
structive way. As the youngster who is devoted to his father 
but resorts to Ues to escape punishment, Ted Donaldson is 
appealing and convincing. As a matter of fact, all the prin- 
cipal characters are likeable and sympathetic. Worked into 
the story are some nice touches of humor : — 

John Litel, campaigning for mayor of Lawtonville against 
the incumbent, Lewis R. Russell, has trouble with his son, 
Ted Donaldson, who persists in telling Hes. Trouble brews 
when Ted, assisting the town's new doctor, Mona Barrie, 
slips his father's campaign handbills into the envelopes con- 
taining the doctor's announcement cards. The mayor accuses 
Mona of complicity in the affair. When several of the town's 
youngsters fall ill, Mona, fearing that the water supply may 
be contaminated, has samples taken from the water faucets 



"Up in Central Park" with Deanna Durbin, 
Dick Haymes and Vincent Price 

(Univ.'lnt'l, no release date set; time, 87 min.) 

Just moderately entertaining; its value to an exhibitor 
will depend heavily on just how much Deanna Durbin means 
at his box-office. Based on the Broadway musical show of 
the same name, which was no more than a fair success at 
best, this screen version suffers by comparison because it 
concentrates more on the story than on the music, thus losing 
what was most charming about the stage production. The 
story in the stage production was nothing to cheer about, 
and on the screen it remains just as static. Miss Durbin sings 
the several songs with her usual effectiveness, although the 
music itself is not particularly compelling. The picture does 
have its good moments, but it has many more that are drag- 
gingly dull. The action takes place in the 1880's: — 

Deanna Durbin and her father (Albert Sharpe), Irish 
immigrants, reach New York just as the city is in the throes 
of a mayoralty election manipulated by Vincent Price (as 
Boss Tweed) . Her father is taken in tow by Tom Powers, one 
of Price's ward heelers, who rushes him to the polls and ar- 
ranges for him to vote twenty-three times. While her father 
celebrates the election victory in Tammany Hall, Deanna, 
convinced that Price is a great man, sneaks into his empty 
office and falls asleep while admiring his portrait. As she 
sleeps unnoticed. Price and his henchmen enter to discuss 
plans for looting the pubHc tiU. Price suddenly discovers 
her presence and, not knowing how much she had heard, he 
appoints her father as Park Commissioner to insure her 
loyalty. Strolling around her home in the park, Deanna 
meets Dick Haymes, a newspaper reporter, when he starts 
a flirtation with her. Haymes, who had been carrying on a 
crusade against Price and Tammany Hall, comes upon 
Deanna's father as he feeds the animals in the zoo, and 
learns from him that Price supplied his personal table from 
the fowl raised there. He writes the story and, as a result, 
Deanna's father is discharged. Furious, Deanna refuses to 
have anything to do with Haymes, and remains friendly with 
Price in the beHef that he was a great man. Price, in turn, 
takes advantage of her naiveness and launches her on a sing- 
ing career. Meanwhile her father, sympathetic to Haymes" 
views, soon becomes convinced that the poHtical corruption 
practiced by Price was no good for the people. Together 
with Haymes, he tricks Hobart Cavanaugh, Price's drunken 
puppet-mayor, into revealing the party's innermost secrets. 
The resultant publicity brings an end to Price's rule. Deanna, 
having seen the light, reunites with Haymes. 

Karl Tunberg wrote the screen play and produced it, and 
William Seiter directed it. Thurston Hall, Howard Freeman 
and Moroni Olsen are included in the supporting cast. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



92 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 5, 1948 



television station, which in turn is leasing the rights to 
sixteen other stations throughout the country. A 
number of these same Korda films are being reissued 
by Film Classics, which, according to reports, has 
invested over $100,000 in new Technicolor prints for 
Korda's "Drums" and "Four Feathers." Variety states 
that a Film Classics' spokesman maintains that these 
reissues will not be shown on television until played 
off by the theatres, but he conceded that his company 
did not own the television rights to any of the Korda 
pictures. What guarantee, then, can Film Classics give 
to the exhibitors that these two pictures, if booked, 
will not be shown on television for a specific time? 

In the case of old pictures, their indiscriminate sale 
to television stations serve to undermine the business 
of the theatre owners who, in the final analysis, make 
it possible for the producers to remain in business. 
Many exhibitors are so agitated by the television 
competition the offending producers are building up 
that, in retaliation, they are thinking of boycotting 
their new pictures. And who can blame them? 

In the case of new pictures, such as the "Hopalong 
Cassidys" that are now being produced in two ver- 
sions, there exists a potential problem that should be 
given deep study by the different exhibitor organiza- 
tions so that all exhibitors may know how to obtain 
a maximum of protection before closing a deal. 



throughout the country to lend their theatres and 
their screens for the showing of the film during non- 
operating hours. 

This paper urges every exhibitor to give Mr. 
Skouras his fullest cooperation in this worthy move- 
ment, so that every community will be made fully 
conscious of the importance of the problems and wel- 
fare of its youngsters, and of the need to establish a 
sound program of home training, educational meth- 
ods, and recreational facilities. 



THE TOA'S YOUTH MONTH FILM 

Prints of "Report for Action," a training film 
financed by the Theatre Owners of America as the 
first step in its campaign against juvenile delinquency, 
are now being distributed in the nation's 3 1 exchange 
centers by 20th Century-Fox. 

Made by the "This is America" unit of RKO- 
Pathe, the 17-minute documentary subject is not de- 
signed for public showings but is intended to serve as 
an animated guide for civic and welfare workers in 
more than 1500 communities, which will set up local 
conferences to carry out the suggestions of the Na- 
tional Conference on Prevention and Control of 
Juvenile Delinquency, a group composed of nearly 
one thousand educators and welfare workers, who 
convened in Washington at the invitation of Attorney 
General Tom C. Clark to study causes and cures for 
juvenile delinquency. 

Concise in form, the film opens with an alarming 
statement that every four minutes of the day or night 
somewhere in America a boy or girl is arrested for 
a crime serious enough to warrant finger-printing. 

After brief flashes of youngsters in trouble, the 
film swings to Attorney General Clark and shows the 
structure and workings of the National Conference. 
Then follows a graphic pattern to be followed in each 
community, with practical suggestions as to how to 
set up a steering committee, organize panels on each 
known cause of delinquency, alert the community 
through publicity, and coordinate all actions so that 
the community will be presented with a sustained 
program. 

In making the film available to any group at the 
request of local mayors and other civic leaders, 
Charles P. Skouras, National Chairman of the TOA's 
Youth Month Committee, is asking exhibitors 



INVASION 



The St. Louis territory, long the stronghold of Fred 
Wehrenberg, president of the local MPTO and chair- 
man of the TOA's board of directors, is being invaded 
by National Allied. 

Andy Dietz, former executive secretary and field 
representative of the MPTO in St. Louis, has been 
designated by the Allied leaders to spearhead the 
drive, and he has already set up an initial organiza- 
tion meeting to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in that 
city on June 8. 

The independent exhibitors in the St. Louis terri- 
tory have long had a need for an exhibitor organiza- 
tion that is able to take an unequivocal stand on issues 
that have a direct bearing on the interest of an inde- 
pendent theatre owner. They will find such a truly 
independent organization in Mid-Central Allied The- 
atre Owners, which is the proposed name of this new 
link in Allied's ever-growing chain of regionals. 

The June 8 meeting will feature talks by several of 
the top Allied leaders. The St. Louis independents 
who attend this meeting will find it a revelation, for 
no other exhibitor organization can match the service 
and benefits that are available to Allied members. 



BRITISH CRITICS HURL EPITHETS 
AT THEIR OWN 

This paper is sorry to observe that our British 
friends, the picture-makers, have adopted the worst 
style of the worst period of American film-making. 
We refer to the picture "No Orchids for Miss Bland- 
ish," which deals with American gangster life. 

According to the May 24 issue of Life, the picture 
has been criticized by the London critics as severely 
as any American picture has ever been criticized. 
"A piece of nauseating muck," said one critic. Others 
said: "As fragrant as a cesspool"; "Has the morals of 
an alley cat and all the sweetness of a sewer"; "Thor- 
oughly un-British." 

Harrison's Reports is glad of one thing — the 
British critics for once took their eye off American 
pictures to focus it at home. 



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Look over your files, and if you find any copies 
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A copy of Harrison's Reports is mailed to every 
subscriber weekly, but occasionally one is lost in the 
mails, or is taken by someone connected with the 
theatre and not delivered to the ofiice afterwards. In 
any case, Harrison's Reports is always ready to 
supply the missing copies. 



Entered aa aeoond-olaas matter January ■). 1921, at the post offlca at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 1948 No. 24 



THE BOX-OFFICE SLUMP 

The one thing that is of immediate concern to 
every one in the industry is the steady decUne in bo.X' 
office receipts. Business is slow and, according to 
most estimates, it has fallen an average of 25 % below 
the level of business one year ago. 

A number of distributor heads, as well as several 
trade paper editors, have commented on this busi' 
ness slump and, after citing such causes as the high 
cost of hvLng, which leaves very little in the family 
budget for entertainment; high admission prices; 
competition from television; the fact that this is a 
political year; and numerous other familiar reasons 
that one may connect with a slump, they invariably 
fall back on the old cliche about the need for more 
and better showmanship on the part of the exhibitors 
in the exploitation of pictures. 

This cry for better showmanship has been raised 
every time the ticket sales start to drop, but the only 
trouble with it is the indisputable fact that year in 
and year out, particularly in the past few years, the 
producer-distributors have failed to deHver to the 
exhibitor enough good pictures over which he can 
honestly become enthused, so that he will have the 
incentive to put behind them his very best merchan- 
dising efforts. 

Those who consistently raise the cry for better 
showmanship will do well to consider the following 
salient remarks made by Hedda Hopper, the famous 
Hollywood columnist, who had this to say in one of 
her recent nationally syndicated columns: 

"Eric Johnston spoke scornfully on the misinfor- 
mation about the industry floating around Holly- 
wood. He's so right, but what is being done about it? 
Every picture — whether good, bad, or stinky — is 
labeled 'colossal' or 'stupendous.' The public, expect- 
ing to see the kind of picture advertised, is disap- 
pointed. We must try to persuade those who have 
stopped seeing movies to form the habit again by 
telling the truth about our product and rating a pic- 
ture honestly, as fair, good, or perhaps, great. Few 
are colossal, you know." 

Miss Hopper's advice to the industry is sound and 
constructive. The vigorous exploitation of mediocre 
pictures, whether done by the producer or the ex- 
hibitor, is harmful, for the movie-goers are led to 
believe that a great entertainment is in store for 
them, and their disappointment results in the build- 
ing up of a resentment that has a damaging effect on 
the entire industry. As a matter of fact, the practice 
of attracting the public to the theatres by means of 
high-powered, carnival-like exploitation campaigns 
that fail to deliver what they promise has been re- 
sorted to so often that most movie-goers have lost 



faith in picture advertisements and do not believe 
them even when they tell the truth. 

The sooner we learn to use moderation in our 
claims about picture entertainment, the sooner we 
will regain the public's confidence. 

As to those who continually chide tlie exhibitors 
about lack of showmanship every tmie the pictures 
start to flop at the box-office, this paper will say to 
them what it said to a major company advertising- 
pubhcity director several years ago — that such criti- 
cism is as logical as it would be if the exhibitors were 
accused of having failed to prescribe the right kind 
of medicine for themselves when they become sick; 
or of having failed to perform an operation on an in- 
fected part of their bodies so as to effect a cure. 

If the box-office slump was affecting some theatres 
in certain communities where other theatres were 
prosperous, the claim of lack of showmanship on the 
part of the affected theatres might be valid. But when 
the slump hits all theatres in all communities, in- 
cluding key-run theatres that employ high-salaried 
advertising and publicity men who know how to 
arouse the greatest public interest in a picture, it be- 
comes obvious that the exhibitors are not being sup- 
phed with enough good pictures to attract the cus- 
tomers steadily. And the proof of it is that the out- 
standing productions continue to do good business. 

There is some justification to the claim that the 
high cost of living has cut into the entertainment 
dollar, but when one considers that the record of 
employment in this country is at its greatest peak, and 
that personal income, according to the Department of 
Commerce, is continuing at a record rate of $210,- 
000,000,000 annually, it would seem that there are 
still enough entertainment dollars available for the 
industry to make a better showing at the box-office. 
The trick, of course, is to attract these dollars, and 
you may be sure that it cannot be done through 
showmanship alone. You need good pictures, too. 



MID-CENTRAL ALLIED FORMED 

National AUied's newest unit, to be known as the 
Mid-Central Allied Independent Theatre Owners, 
was launched this week at a meeting held in St. Louis, 
with more than forty independent exhibitors from St. 
Louis, Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois in at- 
tendance. 

Andy Dietz, general manager of Cooperative Thea- 
tres and former executive secretary of the MPTO of 
St. Louis, who presided over the session, was elected 
chairman of an organization committee, which will 
draw up a tentative constitution and by-laws, and 
perfect plans for the recruiting of additional mem- 
{Continued on last page) 



94 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 12, 1948 



"Coroner Creek" with Randolph Scott, 
Marguerite Chapman and George Macready 

(Columbia, no release date set; time. 89 min.) 

A rousing Western melodrama, with good Cinecolor 
photography, punctuated hy all the thrills and suspense one 
expects to find in a picture of this type. The action, however, 
is so unnecessarily brutal in some situations that it cannot 
be recommended for children or for squeamish adults. For 
instance, in one of the several furious fist-fights the vjlain 
is shown deliberately crushing the right hand of the uncon- 
scious hero by stomping on it with his heel, only to receive 
the same treatment in' return when the hero recovers. An- 
other brutal sequence is where the villain expresses his dis- 
pleasure with one of his henchmen by slashing his face with 
a spur. Aside from its display of cruelty, the picture is su- 
perior to most Westerns, for it has an interesting story and 
good acting by all concerned. 

The action revolves around Randolph Scott, who sets out 
to avenge the death of his fiancee at the hands of a white 
renegade, who had led a band of Indians in the holdup of a 
stage coach. Having received a description of the renegade 
from an Apache Indian, Scott, after weeks of futile search- 
ing, reaches Coroner Creek, where he recognizes George 
Macready as the man for whom he had been searching. 
Macready, under the guise of a respectable citizen, headed 
the lawless element in town and forced defenseless ranchers 
to give up their property to him. Keeping his mission a 
secret, Scott accepts a job as foreman on a ranch owned by 
Sally Eilers, a widow, who was defying Macready in an 
effort to retain her property. Macready's henchmen warn 
Scott to get out of the territory, but he refuses to yield. 
Their machinations result in many gun and fist battles, ulti- 
mately leading to a showdown battle between Scott and 
Macready in which Scott, after reveaHng the purpose of his 
presence in town, disposes of Macready, thus avenging his 
fiancee's death. 

Scott delivers a fine performance as the determined, fear- 
less hero, and Macready is properly menacing as the villain. 
Other effective characterizations are contributed by Mar- 
guerite Chapman, as a local girl who falls in love with Scott; 
Barbara Reed, as Macready's unhappy wife; Edgar Bu- 
chanan, as her father and sheriff, who turns honest; Forrest 
Tucker, as Macready's chief lieutenant; and Wallace Ford, 
as a ranch character who sides with Scott. WilHam Bishop, 
Joy Sawyer, and Douglas Fowley are among the others in 
the cast. 

Harry Joe Brown produced it and Ray Enright directed 
it from a screen play by Kenneth Gamet, based on the novel 
by Luke Short. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Bad Sister" with Margaret Lockwood, 
Joan Greenwood and Ian Hunter 

(Univ.-lnt'l., no release date set; time, 90 min.) 
Produced in Britain under the title, "The White Unicorn," 
this is a "soap-opera" type of tear-jerker that may suit the 
tastes of undiscriminating picture-goers, particularly the 
ladies among them, despite its lack of originaUty and its 
heavy-handed direction. Others will probably look upon its 
hokum-laden plot as a tiresomely naive and saccharine film 
drama. Actually, the picture offers two tear-jerking stories 
in that two women, one a prison warden and the other an 
inmate, trade stories about their pasts. The incidents they 
relate unfold by the flashback method. The going is melan- 
choly all the way through, but at the finish there is a happy 
though contrived ending. The acting is fairly competent, 
but no one in the cast covers himself with glory: — 

Remanded to a home for delinquent girls, eighteen-year- 
old Joan Greenwood defies authority and comes in conflict 
with Margaret Lockwood, the warden. Margaret offers to 
help Joan if she would tell her of her past, but the young 
girl refuses, stating that she could not understand the mean- 
ing of unhappiness. To put Joan at ease, Margaret relates 
her own story. She had married Ian Hunter, a wealthy at- 
torney, who had provided her with every luxury, but the 
marriage had been an unhappy one because of his unro- 



mantic nature. With the birth of her daughter, she had hoped 
for a fuller family life, but Hunter had insisted that the child 
be taken care of by an efficient nurse. After a quarrel with 
Hunter over the child, she had fallen in love with Dennis 
Price. She had divorced Hunter and had married Price, only 
to lose him when he had drowned during their honeymoon 
trip. She then took up her duties as warden to devote herself 
to helping others. Encouraged by Margaret's frankness, Joan 
reveals how she had run away from her home in the slums 
because of a brutal father. She had obtained employment 
as a shop girl, and had been befriended by a young philan- 
derer, who had seduced her. Stranded with a child and un- 
able to support it, she had decided to end their lives with 
gas but had been caught. Impressed by her story, Margaret 
determines to help her regain her freedom and her baby. 
Joan's case comes before Hunter, now a judge, and Mar- 
garet makes an impassioned plea in her behalf. Hunter, 
moved by the plea of motherhood, not only returns the baby 
to Joan, but arranges also for his own daughter to be re- 
united with Margaret, whom he asks to remarry him. 

Harold Huth produced it and Bernard Knowles directed 
it from a screen play by Robert Westerby, based on the novel 
by Flora Sandstrom. 

Adult fare. 



"Lulu Belle" with Dorothy Lamour 
and George Montgomery 

(Columbia, no release date set; time, 87 min.) 
Mediocre! The story is cheap, sordid, and uninteresting, 
the direction very ordinary, and the acting of a quality one 
finds in a high school play. Not one of the characters does 
anything sympathetic. The heroine is a tart, one who for- 
sakes her husband when he is unable to afford her mode of 
hving, and who takes up with several other men, leaving 
each one whenever a better opportunity presents itself. Even 
her husband fails to win any sympathy, for his actions are 
those of a weakling. As for the other characters, each dis- 
plays despicable traits. Worked into the story is a murder, 
which gives the proceedings a mystery twist, but either as a 
mystery, or as a drama, it all adds up to no more than a lot 
of contrived waste motion: — 

Dorothy Lamour, a sultry singer in a cheap Natchez cafe, 
wins the love of George Montgomery, a rising lawyer, when 
she starts a flirtation with him. Forsaking his respectable 
fiancee and his law practice, Montgomery marries Dorothy 
and takes her to New Orleans, where he soon goes broke 
supporting her in lavish style. With Montgomery unable to 
find a job that would pay him enough to keep her in style, 
Dorothy takes up with Albert Dekker, a big-time gambler, 
who gives her a singing job in his exclusive cafe. Meanwhile 
Montgomery takes to drink, and Dorothy, to make him go 
back to Natchez, pretends to be interested in Greg McLure, 
a champion prizefighter. Montgomery starts a brawl with 
McLure and, after being beaten to a pulp, stabs a fork into 
McLure's eye. McLure is ruined as a fighter, and Mont- 
gomery is sentenced to five years in jail. Shortly thereafter, 
Dorothy leaves Dekker to take up with Otto Kruger, an 
elderly millionaire, who makes her the singing sensation of 
Broadway. Kruger divorces his wife in order to marry 
Dorothy, but she rejects the idea when she learns that Mont- 
gomery, released from jail, was in New York. He refuses 
to have anything to do with her when she visits him, but he 
soon succumbs to her charm and agrees to start life anew 
with her. As Kruger remonstrates with her in her dressing 
room, both are shot down by a mysterious assailant. Kruger 
dies, and suspicion centers on Montgomery, as well as on 
Dekker and McLure, who, too, were in New York. But 
through clever police v;ork Kruger's ex-wife is revealed as 
the killer; she had meant to kill Dorothy. Released by the 
pohce, Montgomery heads for Natchez alone, convinced 
that life with Dorothy can bring him nothing but unhappi- 
ness. 

Benedict Bogeaus produced it and Leslie Fenton directed 
it from a screen play by Everett Freeman, based in a rather 
remote way on the play by Charles MacArthur and Edward 
Sheldon. The cast includes Glenda Farrell and others. 
Strictly adult fare. 



June 12, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



95 



"Mine Own Executioner" with 
Burgess Meredith 

(20th Ceiitiirv-Fux. July; time, 103 min.) 
This British-made psychological melodrama is an adult 
story with a sex flavor, revolving around the efforts of a 
psychiatrist to cure the homicidal tendencies of a deranged 
war veteran. It suffers from an uneven script and from a 
somewhat leisurely pace, nevertheless it shapes up as a fairly 
good entertainment for select patronage but perhaps no more 
than fair for the rank and hie. There is one spectacularly 
thrilling sequence towards the finish, where the patient, after 
killing his wife, takes refuge on the parapet of a high build- 
ing while the psychiatrist risks his life climbing a twenty- 
story fire ladder in an unsuccessful effort to stop him from 
jumping. As the psychiatrist who seeks to aid others but 
seems in need of treatment himself. Burgess Meredith is 
very effective. But since he is the only one in the cast who 
to known to American audiences, the picture may have tough 
sledding at the box-office; — 

As a lay-psychiatrist, Meredith's valuable work in a 
London clinic wins for him the esteem of his fully-qualified 
colleagues. But he exhausts himself so completely on his 
patients that it affects his own nerves and he finds himself 
losing patience with Dulcie Gray, his devoted wife. For re- 
laxation, he carries on an affair with Christine Norden, a 
family friend and wife of another man. One day he is 
visited by Barbara White, who pleads with him to treat her 
husband, Kieron Moore, a former flAF flyer, whose mind 
had become unbalanced because of his grim war experiences. 
Meredith gains the young man's confidence and discovers 
that he is possessed of homicidal tendencies, which he de- 
termines to cure. At a critical moment in the treatment, 
Meredith is distracted by his infatuation for Christine and, 
while he is with her, Moore suffers a brainstorm and murders 
his wife, Barbara, after which he dies in a leap from a tall 
building. At the Coroner's inquest, Meredith determines to 
accept whatever blame is attached to the double tragedy, but 
testimony offered by a qualified colleague supports his 
method of treatment and absolves him of blame. Although 
exonerated, Meredith decides to abandon his practice, but 
he is moved by the loyalty and devotion of his wife to carry 
on his valuable work. 

Anthony Kimmins directed it and produced it in collabo- 
ration with Jack Kitchin from a screen play and novel by 
Nigel Balchin. 

Adult fare. 



soon realizes that he will never get out of the barn and away 
from the horse with whom he shared the barn unless he 
agreed to Miss Main's demands. As the days go by, he 
becomes friendly with the horse, and on the eve of the race 
he attends a village dance in celebration of his impending 
victory, on which the townspeople had bet their savings. 
While O'Connor is at the dance, Kohler slips into the barn 
with a drug intended for him, but the horse eats it instead. 
O'Connor, finding the horse prostrate, summons a doctor 
who, in league with the rival village, warns O'Connor that 
he must keep walking the horse lest it die. In the morning. 
Miss Main finds O'Connor completely exhausted with the 
race scheduled to begin in an hour. She and Kilbride have a 
difficult time keeping him awake, but through devious means 
O'Connor finally manages to outrun Kohler. The towns- 
people reward him by electing him as mayor to replace Miss 
Main. 

Leonard Goldstein produced it and George Sherman di- 
rected it from a screen play by D. D. Beauchamp, based on 
his Collier's Magazine story. The cast includes Harry Shan- 
non, Penny Edwards and others. 

Suitable for the family. 



"Feudin', Fussin* and A-Fightin' " with 

Donald O'Connor, Marjorie Main 

and Percy Kilbride 

{UnivAnt'l, no release date set; time, 78 min.) 
Fair. Donald O'Connor, a talented young man who knows 
his way around a mediocre script, bolsters considerably the 
entertainment values of this slapstick rustic comedy, but even 
his valiant efforts are not enough to lift it above the level 
of program fare. The story, which takes place in a Western 
town in the old days, and which revolves around a traveling 
salesman who is held captive by the townspeople and com- 
pelled to run in an annual foot-race against a rival town, 
has its amusing twists and some of the slapstick touches 
should provoke hearty laughter, but there are numerous 
spots where one finds it difficult to suppress a yawn. Some 
judicious cutting might help matters. Worked into the pro- 
ceedings are several songs and two outstanding dance rou- 
tines, which O'Connor executes with remarkable agility: — 
As the day for the annual foot-race with the nearby vil- 
lage of Big Bend draws near, the entire population of 
Rimrock is depressed because of their inability to find some- 
one who could beat Big Bend's Fred Kohler, Jr. Marjorie 
Main, the mayor, Percy Kilbride, a local business man, and 
Joe Besser, the sheriff, give up hope until they see O'Connor, 
a hair tonic salesman, dash after a stage coach he had 
missed. They follow m pursuit, drag O'Connor off the 
coach, and arrest him on a trumped-up charge. They lock 
him in a barn under guard and tell him why they are hold- 
ing him prisoner. At first O'Connor refuses to run, but he 



"Romance on the High Seas" w^ith 

Jack Carson, Doris Day, Janis Paige 

and Don Defore 

(Warner Bros., ]uly 3; time, 99 min.) 
A very good Technicolor musical. The farcical story, 
which deals with marital jealousy and impersonations, is 
light and fluffy, but deft handling and zestful performances 
have made it highly entertaining. It is gay and breezy 
throughout, provokes many laughs, has witty dialogue, lav- 
ish production values, excellent photography, tuneful music, 
and amusing but charming romantic interest. The surprise 
of the picture is Doris Day, a newcomer, around whom 
most of the action revolves. She has a pleasing screen per- 
sonality, acts well, and puts over the picture's popular type 
songs (several of which are already favorites) in a manner 
that makes listening to her pleasurable. The comedy antics 
of Jack Carson, Oscar Levant, and S. Z. Sakall add much 
to the entertainment values. All in all, it is the sort of pic- 
ture that should go over very well with all types of audi- 
ences: — 

Peeved because her husband (Don DeFore) frequently 
postponed their vacation trips for business reasons, Janis 
Paige decides to go on a South American cruise by herself. 
But when she learns that he had just hired a beautiful secre- 
tary (Leslie Brooks), she suspects him of philandering and 
arranges for Doris Day, a cabaret singer, to take the cruise 
under her name while she remained behind to spy on De- 
Fore. Meanwhile DeFore becomes suspicious of Janis' desire 
to travel alone and engages Jack Carson, a private detective, 
to shadow her during the trip. Carson, beheving that Doris 
is DeFore's wife, strikes up an acquaintance with her and, 
before long, each falls in love with the other but is unable 
to do anything about it in order to keep their identities 
secret. Matters become complicated when Doris is followed 
to South America by Oscar Levant, a piano player who 
adored her. Unable to contain himself any longer, Carson 
telephones DeFore in New York and admits to him that he 
had fallen in love with his "wife." DeFore charters a plane 
for Rio. Janis, too, is compelled to take a plane lest he dis- 
cover her deception. Arriving at the hotel ahead of Janis, 
DeFore becomes flabbergasted when he discovers first Doris 
then Levant in the room supposedly occupied by his wife. A 
quick switch upon Janis' arrival complicates matters even 
more when Carson becomes confused and DeFore accuses 
Janis of having had an affair with him. The tangle is eventu- 
ally straightened out and, at the finish, happiness reigns for 
all but Levant, who loses Doris to Carson. 

Ales. Gottlieb produced it and Michael Curtiz directed it 
from a screen play by JuUus J. and PhiHp G. Epstein, based 
on a story by S. Pondal Rios and Carlos A. Olivari. The 
cast includes Fortunio Bonanova, Eric Blore, Franklyn 
Pangborn, Sir Lancelot, the Page Cavanaugh Trio and 
others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



96 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 12, 1948 



bers. A general meeting will be held in July, at which 
time officers and a board of directors will be elected. 

Principal speakers at the meeting were Col. H. A. 
Cole, head of Allied's Texas unit, and Trueman Rem- 
busch, head of the Indiana unit. 

Harrison's Reports offers to Mid-Central Allied 
congratulations and best wishes for its success. And 
it urges the independent exhibitors of the St. Louis 
area to give Mr. Dietz and his committee their fullest 
cooperation in carrying on his work, which will be, 
after all, for their benefit. 



$39,215.68. It would make you a co-insurer in the 
amount of $10,784.32, this amount being what you 
would pay because under present conditions of re- 
placement cost your building was under-valuated. 

"Better get together with an appraiser and your 
insurance agent and check up on your fire insurance 
policies." 



A REMINDER ABOUT FIRE INSURANCE 
POLICIES THAT ARE NOT WRITTEN 
AT TODAY'S REPLACEMENT COSTS 

A little more than two years ago, Pete Wood, sec- 
retary of the Independent Theatre Owners of Ohio, 
offered some sound advice to his members in an or- 
ganizational bulletin, relative to fire insurance policies 
on theatre properties that had been written at low 
replacement values. At that time, in 1946, Pete 
pointed out that construction costs, as compared with 
1936, had risen fifty per cent, and he urged his mem- 
bers to review their policies and, if necessary, rewrite 
them so that the replacement costs of their buildings 
would not be under-valuated. 

Since Pete handed out this advice two years ago, 
the cost of construction has risen so rapidly that it is 
safe to assume that a building constructed in 1936 
would now cost at least twice as much to replace. 

Except for his estimated rise in building costs, Pete's 
advice to the exhibitors is just as applicable today as 
it was two years ago, and it is herewith published 
again as a reminder to those of you who may still be 
carrying fire insurance policies that do not offer pro- 
tection in accordance with present conditions : 

"It has recently been called to our attention that 
many fire insurance policies are in effect today on 
theatre properties which were written at low replace- 
ment values. If your insurance falls into this cate- 
gory it will be worth your effort to give some time to 
the study of the situation. 

"Let's assume that a theatre property in 1936 cost 
$100,000 — today that same building would cost 
nearer $150,000. Figuring normal depreciation on 
today's cost, you would have a valuation of $127,500 
in your present building. In contracting for insurance 
you agree, in most instances, to the co-insurance 
clause, which means that you agree to carry fire in- 
surance up to 80% of the value of the building. For 
instance, if your policy has been written for the same 
amount for the past ten years and the cost of your 
building was $100,000, you probably carry $80,000 
worth of fire insurance, which was 80% of the value 
of the building ten years ago. 

"However, if you were faced with a fire loss today, 
let's see what you would collect on this $80,000 policy. 
The value of your building today is $127,500 — you 
agree to carry 80% of the value of the building or 
$102,000 worth of insurance. If you carry only 
$80,000 worth of insurance, based upon your 1936 
valuation of $100,000 — you have not lived up to your 
contractual obligation with the insurance company. 
On a $50,000 loss you would be able to collect only 
40/5 1st ($80,000 over $102,000) of the loss, or 



"Sixteen Fathoms Deep" with Lon Chaney, 
Lloyd Bridges and Arthur Lake 

(Monogram, July 25; time, 78 min.) 

The direction of "Sixteen Fathoms Deep," photo- 
graphed by the Ansco color process, is so amateurish 
that it reminds one of the happy old days of 1915. 
With the exception of Lloyd Bridges, who looks 
wholesome and acts well, the players are "hams." 
And it seems as if Lon Chaney, Jr. is the "hammiest" 
of them all. The script is amateurish and the motiva- 
tions mostly faulty. In some of the scenes the char- 
acters seem "wooden." But with all its faults, it 
seems as if the picture will go over fairly well in 
small towns, by reason of the fact that the melodra- 
matic action is fast and furious, and the color, al- 
though not very good yet, adds considerable glamour 
to the picture. There are a few situations that exert 
an appeal to the emotions of sympathy and pathos. 
Arthur Lake furnishes the comedy relief: — 

Eric Feldary, a Greek sponge fisherman at Tarpon 
Springs, Florida, is in love with Tanis Chandler, 
cashier of Lon Chaney, a sharp money lender, who 
loaned people money to buy boats, which he took 
away from them when they failed to meet the pay- 
ments. Seeking to improve his lot, Feldary decides to 
borrow money from Chaney to buy a boat of his own. 
Tanis warns him against Chaney 's practices, but to 
no avail. Feldary buys the Kaliope, formerly owned 
by John Qualen, whom Chaney had dispossessed for 
non-payment. But he engages Qualen and his young 
son, Dickie Moore, as well as Lloyd Bridges, an ex- 
Navy diver, as his crew. Arthur Lake, a magazine 
photographer in search of authentic pictures, is signed 
on as cook. Also among the crew is Ian MacDonald, 
put there by Chaney to tamper with the machinery 
so that Feldary may not bring in enough sponges to 
meet his payments. MacDonald's machinations en- 
danger the lives of the crew, eventually resulting in 
death of Dickie, who had gone to his father's aid when 
his airhose became fouled in the propeller. Stricken 
by remorse, MacDonald confesses, revealing the fact 
that Chaney had paid him to sabotage the boat. Aware 
that he had been found out, Chaney sends his hench- 
men in a fast boat to intercept the Kaliope and de- 
stroy it, but Feldary 's crew routs them, throwing 
them overboard. Lake is sent to Tarpon Springs in the 
fast boat to continue the sponge auction until the 
Kaliope arrives with its catch. Upon reaching Tarpon 
Springs, Feldary 's crew confronts Chaney, who de- 
nies any guilt. But the men, in no mood to accept his 
assurances, start a savage fight, during which Chaney 
is killed when he falls on an anchor prong. His 
troubles over, Feldary plans to marry Tanis. 

Irving Allen directed it and produced it in collabo- 
ration with James S. Burkett, from a screen play by 
Max Trell, based on the American Magazine story by 
Eustace L. Adams. It was produced once before by 
Monogram in 1934. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



Entered as second-class matter Januarj- 4, 1921, at the post offlco at New York, New York, under the act of March 8, 1879. 

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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 1948 ~ No. 25 




SUPREME COURT'S DECISION 
POPULAR AND MEANINGFUL 

Ever since the Supreme Court handed down its decision 
last month on the Paramount, Schine, and GrifEth Cases, 
there have been some in the industry who see in the inevi- 
table changes that will result a rather gloomy future for the 
exhibitors. The arguments set forth by these industryites are, 
as a general rule, based on the fact that many of the rights 
that some exhibitors enjoy toda,y because of their "old 
customer" status will disappear as a result of the Court's 
restrictions. 

That the Court's rulings will present some exhibitors with 
new problems and may compel them to alter their operations 
no one can deny, but what these gloom-spreaders neglect to 
point out is that the decision establishes the one thing for 
which the independent exhibitors have been battling for 
years — the right to existence without restraint of any kind. 
The benefits the exhibitors will gain from the elimination of 
the unfair practices under which they have labored for years 
outweighs by far whatever rights they might lose as "old 
customers." 

The statement issued last weekend by Mr. Abram F. 
Myers, general counsel of Allied States Association, serves 
as an eifective reply to those who see nothing but chaos in 
exhibition's future. His remarks, under the heading, "A 
Popular Decision," are not only reassuring but also ex- 
tremely illuminating and worth bringing to the attention of 
every exhibitor. 

The following is Mr. Myers' statement: 

"Since the decision was handed down in the motion pic- 
ture cases on May 3 we have attended four regional con- 
ventions and a national board meeting. In addition, we have 
talked to numerous other exhibitors and leaders and have 
conducted a vast correspondence. 

"In all this one fact stands out: The independent exhibi- 
tors are well pleased with the Supreme Court's decisions. 
They feel that at least a code of conduct has been prescribed 
for the producer-distributors which will end the most serious 
abuses. Also that a body of law has been built up which will 
enable the independents to protect themselves if there is a 
recurrence of oppressive tactics. In this great chorus of 
approval, we have yet to hear a dissenting voice. 

"THE LAW REALLY MEANS SOMETHING 
"Great credit is due to Attorney General Clark and his 
staff. In recent years cases involving new and important ap- 
plications of the Sherman Act have been selected with 
discrimination and pressed with vigor and skill. As a result, 
after almost 50 years, the true scope and meaning of that 
statute has been developed and revealed. We think this is 
all to the good; if it is bad. Congress can repeal the law. 
We will lay odds that Congress will never do so. 

"We have been privileged to discuss the decisions some- 
what generally with a few men in other branches of the 
industry. With only one or two exceptions, they privately 
admit that the decisions will be good for the entire industry. 
Those engaged in a highly profitable routine do not relish 
being jarred out of it. Consequently there is some mum- 
bling and grumbling. Mostly among second and third flight 
executives. But the industry has remained static for too 
long a time and it is due for a good shaking up. From now 
on there will be some hard thinking by those whose mental 
processes had virtually atrophied. 

"When the first shock has v;orn off, there should be a 
great resurgence of enthusiasm, energy and resourcefulness 
throughout the industry. The reappearance of competition 
will put every man on his toes. In a few years it will be a 
■ healthier, happier, more vital industry. And while the re- 
wards will be more evenly distributed, the industry as a 



whole will be on a more profitable basis, with all its now 
bound-up energies released. 

"THE PUBLIC ALSO GAINS 

"Not only have the independent exhibitors been quick 
to register their approval, but leaders of many of the public 
groups which supported the Neely Bill and otherwise sig' 
nified their interest in the industry also have registered 
their satisfaction. They see in the provisions regarding 
block-booking and blind-selling the substantial attainment 
of their long-sought objectives. 

"In addition, they see pubhc gains in the ban on fixed 
admission prices and on unreasonable clearances. Also the 
more discerning see more and better pictures following the 
opening of the screens to products of new producers and 
new distributors as the result of theatre divorcement. 

"Some of those groups cast their lot with Allied when 
they found that the information supplied by the representa- 
tives of other branches of the industry was not always reli- 
able. That is why Allied is now so pleased that the struggle 
has terminated to their satisfaction — that there were public 
as well as exhibitor gains. The voluntary expression of one 
civic leader that 'Allied never misled me as to its interest 
or as to the facts' is a highly cherished memento of the 
campaign. 

"NOW TO BANISH FEAR 

"To some exhibitors who have been pushed around for 
so many years it was difficult to believe that what Allied 
leaders told them about the decisions was really so. Of 
course, they had been exposed to propaganda disseminated 
by some film representatives and circuit heads to the effect 
that the decisions 'did not mean a thing'; that 'things will 
go on just as before'; that 'there is not $50.00 of value to the 
exhibitors in the decisions.' A few still exhibited fear lest 
they be punished by the exchanges and circuit heads if they 
assert their rights under the law as declared by the courts. 

"Those exhibitors are reminded of the stirring words of 
F.D.R.'s first Inaugural: 'The only thing we have to fear 
is fear itself.' 

"Independent exhibitors in the future must be bold in 
their thinking and bold in the assertion of their rights. 
Fear of retaliation must be banished. The courts have been 
so clogged with motion picture cases in recent years that 
they will be intolerant of any further efforts by the distribu- 
tors or by the circuits to continue their monopoUstic prac- 
tices or to retahate against exhibitors who assert their legal 
rights. Exhibitors must be made to realize this. 

"This condition also places a responsibility upon the 
exhibitors. There is danger that some of these, fired by 
enthusiasm and the rankhng of old abuses, may go too far 
in the assertion of their rights. Bad cases make bad law 
and a few improvident and badly prepared actions may 
cause us to lose some of the ground we have gained and 
thus deprive deserving exhibitors of the relief to which 
they are justly entitled. Let us be bold but let us not lose 
our heads. 

"THE INDUSTRY NOW IS GROWN UP 
"The motion picture industry has reached man's estate 
and it is time to put away childish things. The law has 
been declared by the highest court and all should accept 
these rulings and abide by them. The rumors that the 
defendants in the proceedings on mandate will seek all 
manner of delay, that they will resist every inch of the way, 
that when final decrees are entered there will be further ap- 
peals to the Supreme Court, should be disturbing to all who 
have the welfare of the industry at heart, including the 
shareholders in the major companies. 

"It should be abundantly clear that by such recalcitrant 
methods they can gain nothing in the end — they can only 
increase their grief. 

(Continued on last page) 



98 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 19, 1948 



"A Foreign Affair" with Jean Arthur, 
Marlene Dietrich and John Lund 

(Paramount, August 20; time, 116 tnin.) 

A very good sophisticated romantic comedy; word-of- 
mouth advertising should make it an outstanding box-office 
attraction. Revolving around the misadventures, romantic 
and otherwise, of a trim but conscientious Congresswoman 
who goes to post-war Berhn to investigate the morale of 
American occupation troops, the story is cleverly satirical, 
the dialogue extremely witty, and the situations uproariously 
funny. As the Congresswoman, Jean Arthur, who has been 
absent from the screen for much too long a time, is de- 
lightful. The plight she gets herself into when, to get 
first-hand information on fraternization, she poses as a 
fraulein and permits two boisterous GI's to date her and 
take her to a cafe that was out of bounds will provoke howls 
of laughter. Highly amusing also are the comedy incidents 
revolving around her investigation of Marlene Dietrich, a 
cafe singer and former mistress of a hunted Nazi big-wig. 
What makes this phase of the story comical is the fact that 
Jean enlists the aid of John Lund, an army captain, to help 
her with the investigation without knowing that he and 
Marlene were carrying on a secret love affair. How Lund 
deliberately makes love to Jean to divert her attention from 
Marlene only to really fall in love with her makes up the 
rest of the story, which includes also some clever complica- 
tions that arise when Jean learns of the affair from Marlene 
herself, and when Lund is ordered by his superior officer to 
continue the affair as a means of trapping Marlene's former 
boy-friend. 

Much of the film's himior lies also in the sly digs taken at 
Congressional Committee investigations, and at Congress- 
men who take their probes and themselves too seriously. 
A top characterization, loaded with wry humor, is turned in 
by Millard Mitchell, as an army colonel who understands 
the frailties of a soldier and who subtley attempts to steer 
the investigating committee away from things that should 
not be seen. As the sultry siren, Marlene Dietrich is cast in 
a role that is well suited to her talents. Actual shots of 
war-torn Berlin make up much of the background footage, 
which has been worked into the story in a very clever way, 
giving the proceedings an authentic flavor. 

Charles Brackett produced it and Billy Wilder directed it 
from their own screen play written in collaboration with 
Richard L. Breen, based on an original story by David Shaw. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Mickey" with Lois Butler, 
Bill Goodwin and Irene Hervey 

(Eagle-Lion, June 23; time, 87 tnin.) 
Although familiar in theme and development, "Mickey," 
photographed in Cinecolor, is a pleasing entertainment, the 
sort that should go over nicely with the family trade. Center- 
ing around a "teen-aged girl's transition from a tomboy to 
young womanhood, the film introduces sixteen-year-old Lois 
Butler, a newcomer, who does very well in her first assign- 
ment. She is pretty and charming, has a good sense of 
timing for comedy, and sings dehghtfully in a soprano voice 
that is well suited to the semi-classical songs in the picture. 
The action gives rise to several hearty laughs, but for the 
most part the humor is of the chucklesome sort, provoked 
by the predicaments Lois gets herself into because of her 
unladylike way of doing things, and by the reaction that 
sets in when the love-bug bites her for the first time. Her 
promotion of a romance between her widowed father and 
an attractive fashion editor is another source of amuse- 
ment : — 

A tomboy of the first order, Lois is frequently a source 
of embarrassment to her father. Bill Goodwin, a physician 
whose fondest hope was that the town's committeemen 
would appoint him as head of the new hospital under con- 
struction. Rose Hobart, a comely widow, sets her cap for 
Goodwin, but Lois, who disliked her strongly, tries to pro- 
mote a romance between her father and Irene Hervey, an 
aunt of one of her girl-friends. As a key player on the 
neighborhood baseball team, Lois gets into a scrap with 
Skippy Homeier, the team's captain, after which she sud- 
denly realizes her love for him. She tries to get him to take 



her to a school dance, but he turns her down. Irene, taking 
notice of Lois' dejection, dresses her in one of her styHsh 
gowns and arranges with John Sutton, a visiting New York 
friend, to take her to a local soda parlor where every one 
met after the dance. Lois creates a sensation, and all the 
fellows, including Skippy, suddenly become aware of her 
attractiveness. On the following night, Irene, wearing the 
same dress she had loaned Lois, leaves a cafe with Sutton 
and is seen by Miss Hobart, who mistakes her for Lois. She 
reports the incident to Goodwin and expresses the beUef 
that the couple had gone to Giraffe Hill, a necking spot. 
Unaware that Lois had taken a job for the night as a baby- 
sitter, Goodwin gives chase. By the time he catches up with 
Sutton and Irene and realizes Miss Hobart's mistake, the 
town gossips, sparked by Miss Hobart's loose tongue, so 
distort the incident that Goodwin's chances for the hospital 
appointment fade away. Aware that her father would not 
dignify the rumors with an explanation, Lois appears at a 
town meeting in the school auditorium, where she unmasks 
Miss Hobart as a vicious gossip and wins the appointment 
for her father. Goodwin, by this time, realizes his love 
for Irene. 

Aubrey Schenck produced it and Ralph Murphy directed 
it from a screen play by Muriel Roy Bolton and Agnes 
Christine Johnston, based on the novel, "Clementine," by 
Peggy Goodin. The cast includes Hattie McDaniel and 
others. Suitable for the entire family. 



"Michael O'Halloran" with Scotty Beckett 
and Allene Roberts 

(Monogram, August 8; time, 79 min.) 

An excellent small-budget production that will undoubt- 
edly prove to be a "sleeper," not only because of the gulps 
it will bring to the throats of those who see it, but also 
because of the winsome personality of Allene Roberts, the 
manhness of youthful Scotty Beckett, and the comedy skill 
and sincerity of tough-looking young Tommy Cook. Miss 
Roberts seems to be a find, and with more parts such as 
that given to her in this human interest story there is no 
reason why she should not attain fame with a few more 
pictures. There are situations where she wrings the heart 
of every one. The production is worthy of an exhibitor's best 
exploitation efforts. The photography is sharp and clear. 

When her mother (Isabel Jewell), a "boozehound," is 
struck by a car and taken to a hospital, Allene Roberts, a 
crippled girl confined to a chair, is befriended by newsboy 
Tommy Cook, who takes her to the one-room slum apart- 
men of Scotty Beckett, an orphaned newsboy. Tommy felt 
that, unless Scotty took her in, Allene would be taken away 
by a welfare society. Scotty at first objects, but he is unable 
to resist her pathetic countenance. With the aid of Charles 
Arnt, a kindly druggist, Scotty arranges to take Allene to 
Roy Gordon, a famous orthopedist, to learn whether there 
is any hope of making her walk. Meanwhile Allene's mother 
is released from the hospital. She starts a search for Allene 
and, when she discovers her with Scotty, threatens to appeal 
to the police unless Scotty returned the girl to her. Tommy, 
borrowing Arnt's old automobile, helps Scotty spirit Allene 
away to the country, where Gordon examines her and finds 
that there is nothing organically wrong with her, that her 
affliction was due to a mental condition brought on by her 
mother's behavior, and that she could walk then and there 
if she just wanted to. En route home, Scotty and Allene 
find the poKce searching for them on her mother's com- 
plaint, but they manage to elude them. The police, how- 
ever, eventually find them and both are taken before a 
juvenile judge (Jonathan Hale). Charged with stealing the 
girl from her home, things look bad for Scotty, but Allene, 
forgetting her condition, rises, approaches the judge, and 
makes an impassioned plea in Scotty's behalf. All are amazed 
at her ability to walk, and the judge, impressed dismisses 
the charges against Scotty. Allene's mother, happy to see 
her daughter walk, vows never to touch another drink. 

Erna Lazurus' screen play has been founded on Gene 
Stratton-Porter's novel of the same name. John Rawhns 
directed it effectively, and Julian Lesser and Frank Melford 
produced it. 

Suitable for every member of the family. 



June 19, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



99 



"Man-Eater of Kumaon" with Sabu, 
Wendell Corey and Joanne Page 

(Univ.-lntl, no release date set: time, 79 mirt.) 
A fairly interesting jungle melodrama, one that offers 
better than average box-ollicc possibilities because it lends 
itself to exploitation. Although the action moves along at 
a moderate pace, there is considerable suspense and excite- 
ment in the story, which revolves around an American 
hunter in the Kumaon territory of Northern India who 
resolves to kill a man-eating tiger that had become a menace 
to the natives in the community. What gives the story an 
unusual twist is that the tiger, wounded by the hunter, 
stalks him at every turn in an effort to destroy him. Worked 
into the plot are some nice human interest touches involv- 
ing the security of a homeless little boy, whose parents had 
been ravaged by the tiger, and the happiness of a young 
native couple, whose hopes for a child of their own are 
shattered as a result of injuries suffered by the woman when 
she is attacked by the tiger. The photography is very good, 
and there are a number of unusually fine shots showing the 
tiger in action : — 

While hunting tigers in Northern India, Wendell Corey, 
a disillusioned doctor, wounds a huge tiger, shooting off part 
of his paw. The tiger escapes and, unable to forage food by 
usual means due to his injury, turns man-eater. Disinterested 
in the activities of the man-eater, Corey heads for the coast. 
En route he comes upon a homeless youngster (James Moss) 
whose parents had been killed by the tiger. He takes the 
child to a nearby village and leaves him with the natives. 
Just as he leaves, the tiger attacks Joanne Page, wife of 
Sabu, an expectant mother. Corey, summoned back, pulls 
her through her injuries but is unable to save the unborn 
child. Told that she cannot have another child, Joanne, in 
accordance with the traditions of the village, resigns herself 
to leaving Sabu so that he might take another wife capable 
of giving him a son. Joanne's tragedy, and the tiger's murder 
of a village farmer, bring Corey to the realization that it was 
his responsibility to kill the man-eater. Tracking down the 
tiger becomes an obsession with him, but the animal man- 
ages to elude him. Finally Joanne, feeling that life without 
Sabu was not worth living, decides to set herself up as 
human bait to catch the tiger. Corey, learning of her move, 
rushes to the outskirts of the village to stop her and 
reaches her just as the tiger attacks. Corey's well-aimed 
shot saves Joanne, but the tiger, before dying, manages to 
mangle him to death. Grateful to Joanne, the villagers 
prevail upon her to remain with Sabu, and permit them to 
consider the homeless youngster found by Corey as their son. 
Monty Shaff produced it in association with Frank P. 
Rosenberg, and Byron Haskin directed it from a screen 
play by Jeanne Bartlett and Lewis Meltzer, based on J im 
Corbett's book. The cast includes Morris Carnovsky and 
others. Adult fare. 



"The End of the River" with Sabu 

(Univ.-Int'l — Prestige, no rel. date set; time, 80 min.) 
The chief point of interest in this British-made produc- 
tion lies in the impressively photographed Brazilian back- 
grounds, but it is not enough to compensate for the story, 
which is a dreary, long drawn-out tale about the trials and 
tribulations of a primitive Arekuna Indian in his contact 
with civilization. The plot, which unfolds by the flashback 
method, is complicated and confusing. Moreover, the direc- 
tion is heavy-handed, and the acting ordinary. Sabu, who 
plays the part of the Indian, is the only one in the cast 
known in this country. All in all it shapes up as a film 
that will be difficult to sell to American audiences. 

The story begins in a Brazilian courtroom, where Sabu 
is on trial for the murder of a stevedore. Through the testi- 
mony of numerous witnesses it is shown that, as a child, 
Sabu had fled from his native village, cast out by his tribe 
for failing to avenge the death of his relatives at the hands 
of a rival tribe. He had been found and befriended by a gold 
prospector, who had turned him over to a bullying trader. 
Because the boy had refused to reveal the whereabouts of 
the prospector's gold, and because he had unwittingly re- 
vealed the trader's infidelity with another woman to his 
wife, he had been sent to a balata-tappers' jungle camp, 



from which few lived to return. There he had met Bibi 
Ferreira, an Indian girl. Both had managed to escape from 
the camp nad had obtained employment on a river steamer. 
The ship's captain had arranged their marriage and had 
managed their financial affairs to secure their future. Sabu, 
misunderstanding the captain's good intentions, had quit his 
job after unwittingly joining a fascist organization that op- 
erated under the disguise of a seaman's trade union. His 
troubles began again when he had been arrested after 
innocently participating in a subversive movement. After 
his release from jail, he had obtained work loading a ship, 
but he had been attacked by other stevedores who refused 
to work with former members of the subversive brotherhood. 
He had killed one of them in self defense. The story revolves 
back to the courtroom, where the judge acquits Sabu of the 
killing, enabling him to start life anew with Bibi. 

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger produced it and 
Derek Twist directed it from a screen play by Wolfgang 
Wilhelm, based on the novel by Desmond Holdridge. 

Adult fare. 



"A Date with Judy" with Jane Powell, 
EJizabeth Taylor and Wallace Beery 

(MGM, July 29; time, U2 min.) 
Fine entertainment for all types of audiences. Photo- 
graphed in Technicolor and produced on a lavish scale, it 
is an effective and wholesome blend of youthful romance, 
music, and comedy. The story is h'ghtweight, but it is easy 
to take, for it is endowed with touches that give it warmth 
and heart, and has an abundance of good, clean laughs. 
Both Jane Powell and Elizabeth Taylor have grown into 
charming and beautiful young misses, and each turns in an 
effective performance. Jane's singing, of course, is highly 
pleasurable. Wallace Beery offers an amusing characteriza' 
tion as Jane's father, whose secret but perfectly innocent 
meetings with Carmen Miranda, who was teaching him how 
to dance the rhumba, lead Jane to believe that he was 
sowing his wild oats. Miss Miranda, incidentally, puts over 
two specialty songs in her inimitable style to the accompani- 
ment of Xavier Cugat's music. Scotty Beckett is fine as 
Jane's love-struck boy-friend, and George Cleveland delight- 
ful as her grandfather, getting plenty of laughs. Robert 
Stack, for whom Jane deserts Scotty only to lose him to 
Elizabeth, is a handsome chap who will draw many a sigh 
from the young girls in the audience: — 

Through the domineering influence of Elizabeth, spoiled 
daughter of the town's wealthiest citizen (Leon Ames), 
Jane is led to believe that Scotty, Elizabeth's younger 
brother, took her love for granted. To get back at him she 
manages to attend the school prom with Stack, a college 
man who had taken a job for the summer as a soda clerk in 
his uncle's drug store. EUzabeth finds herself attracted to 
Stack, but he judges her to be spoiled and tells her as much. 
She nevertheless sets her cap for him, and he, recognizing 
her many fine quahties, falls in love with her. Jane, unaware 
of the romance, finds Stack irresistible and dismisses all 
thoughts of Scotty, who pursues her in vain. Meanwhile 
Beery, as a surprise for his wife (Selena Royle) on their 
forthcoming wedding anniversary, secretly engages Carmen 
to teach him the rhumba. Jane, seeing him with Carmen, 
misinterprets his actions. Although peeved at her father, 
she says nothing and takes steps to make her bewildered 
mother look more attractive to him. In the meantime Eliza- 
beth's father learns of her love for Stack and sends his butler 
to learn something about the young man's background. 
The butler's clumsy questions infuriate Stack, who rushes 
to Ames' office, gives him a piece of his mind, and ad- 
monishes him for being too busy to pay attention to his 
children. At the anniversary celebration in the night club, 
Jane learns the truth about her father's association with 
Carmen, and about Elizabeth's love for Stack, whom Ames 
now looked upon with approval. She resolves her own 
romantic problem by deciding that Scotty had first place 
in her heart. 

Dorothy Cooper and Dorothy Kingsley wrote the screen 
play, based on the characters created by Aleen Leslie. Joe 
Pasternak produced it, and Richard Thorpe directed it. 

Suitable lor the entire family. 



100 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 19, 1948 



"If the Supreme Court on the first appeal was moved to 
remark twice on their 'marked prochvity to unlawful con- 
duct,' what will it say the next time when it is confronted 
by a recorded showing that the defendants have resorted 
to every device to delay and evade the Court's mandate? 

"Equally disturbing to all should be the rumors that de- 
fendants will stall the proceedings in the District Court until 
after the national election in the hope that there will be a 
new administration — particularly a new Attorney General 
— who will take a more tolerant view of Sherman Act vio- 
lations and perhaps concede away all the ground that the 
present Attorney General has gained in law enforcement. 

"This cynical attitude is a reflection upon the integrity of 
the American form of Government; it puts Supreme Court 
decisions upon a barter or sale basis; it should be resented 
by the Republican organization, as it will certainly be re- 
pudiated by any Attorney General who may succeed the 
present incumbent. 

"But if the rumor persists — and it has already appeared 
in print — it may evoke some open letters to candidates, 
demanding that they declare themselves on the issue. We 
are prepared to predict that no candidate for the presidency, 
the vice-presidency, the House, or the Senate will ever 
admit that he favors conceding away the relief which the 
Supreme Court has ordered in the public interest in a 
Sherman Act case. 

"If any of the defendants are responsible for the circula- 
tion of this rumor, they had better take it out of circulation 
in a hurry. No major company executive, if he is in his 
right mind, will want that issue to figure in the ensuing 
campaign." 

Elsewhere in his statement Mr. Myers referred to the 
Department of Justice's application this week to the District 
Court for the entry of an interlocutory decree on mandate. 
"The purpose of such an order.," stated Mr. Myers, "would 
be (1) to make immediately effective those provisions which 
were settled by the Supreme Court and as to which there is 
no further reason for controversy, such as fixed admission 
prices, block-booking and blind-selling, master contracts and 
formula deals, circuit discrimination, theatre pools and 
joint theatre holdings between defendants, unreasonable 
clearance, etc.; (2) to fix a time for the submission by the 
parties of plans to giving effect to the Supreme Court's 
views regarding divestiture; and (3) — we hope — to provide 
a ban on theatre acquisitions pending the working out and 
entry of a final decree. 

"While there is room for a difference of opinion as to 
the time for filing divestiture plans, there should be no 
opposition to the other provisions of the Government's pro- 
posed order. Any opposition to making immediately effec- 
tive those provisions which the Supreme Court has expressly 
approved would be sheer caviling. There ought to be no 
insistence on a long delay in filing the divorcement plans 
since the defendants have already been upon notice for a 
year and a half that some measure of divestiture would be 
prescribed (that is, since the entry of the District Court's 
decree). And if the defendants resist a ban on further 
theatre acquisitions pending the entry of a final decree, they 
will thereby serve notice that they have not abandoned 
their dream of a complete monopoly of exhibition; that 
they will twist and squirm, evade and avoid, in their de- 
termination to flout the law." 

(Editor's Tsjote: At a hearing held on Tuesday of this 
wee\ before Judges Augustus 7\J. Hand and Henry W. 
Goddard in the T^ew Yor\ District Court, the Government's 
application was denied "without prejudice" on the ground 
that the Court had no jurisdiction in the matter pending the 
appointment of a third judge to fill the vacancy created by 
the death of Judge John Bright, the third member of the 
Statutory Court that handed down the decree at the end of 
1946. Meantuhile Judge Hand restored the case to the 
docket and set hearings for October 13, by u'hich time steps 
will have been ta\en to fill the vacancy on the bench.) 

"The Cobra Strikes" with Sheila Ryan 
and Richard Fraser 

(Eagle-Lion. April 24; time. 61 min.) 
This murder-mystery melodrama is only mild program 
fare. The plot is weak and trite, the dialogue stilted, and the 
action draggy. Several murders take place, and practically 
every character in the cast appears as a likely suspect, but 
since the situations are too contrived, and since it lacks the 
excitement and suspense one generally associates with pic- 
tures of this kind, it fails to grip one's interest. Although 
the individual players are competent, they cannot do much 
with the parts given them : — 



When scientist Herbert Heyes lets it be known that 
he intends to announce a startling invention of his, an 
unsuccessful attempt is made on his life by a mysterious 
assailant, who steals the invention. A bullet lodged in the 
scientist's brain leaves him in a continuous coma. Sheila 
Ryan, his daughter, and Richard Fraser, a reporter, join the 
police in an effort to run down the assailant, but they dis- 
cover him to be an elusive and ruthless man, who follows 
up the attempted murder with three successful ones, com- 
mitted right under their noses. The victims, all members of 
an importing concern, are found poisoned, but the police 
are unable to fathom the manner in which the poison was 
administered. A clue furnished by Sheilas father during one 
of his brief periods of consciousness enables Fraser to deduce 
that the scientist's twin brother (also played by Herbert 
Heyes) was the murderer. Fraser and the police apprehend 
him just as he is about to make Sheila his fourth victim. 
The murder weapon proves to be the scientist's invention, 
a "hypo-gun," which injected its fluid through the skin 
without causing any pain or leaving any telltale marks. The 
twin brother had shot the scientist to obtain the weapon for 
use on his victims, who possessed some valuable rubies 
they had obtained in India. 

David I. Stephenson produced it and Charles F. Reisner 
directed it from a story and screen play by Eugene Conrad. 
The cast includes Leslie Brooks, Richard Loo, Philip Ahn 
and others. 

Adult fare. 



"Beyond Glory" with Alan Ladd 
and Donna Reed 

(Paramount, Sept. 3; time, 82 min.) 
Just fair. The box-office returns will depend heavily on 
Alan Ladd's popularity, but even his most ardent fans will 
probably find that the film leaves much to be desired. Revolv- 
ing around a West Point cadet who suffers from a guilt 
complex in the behef that he was responsible for the death 
of his commanding officer during the war, the story, which 
unfolds in a drawn-out series of flashbacks, is a rambling 
yarn that is motivated by so thin a premise that at the 
finish It leaves one with the feeling of much ado about 
nothing. Alan Ladd, whose part this time calls for less 
physical activity than most roles he usually portrays, is 
competent enough, but the mental anguish he suffers leaves 
one emotionally unmoved, for throughout most of the action 
the spectator is not aware of the cause of his brooding. The 
best thing that may be said of the film is that it is interesting 
in its depiction of the high standards West Point sets for 
its cadets, and of the rigors of plebe hfe at the Academy, but 
all this has been done many times. 

The story opens with Ladd, a cadet captain about to be 
graduated, being called before a Congressional Board of 
Investigation as a witness in a hearing involving the re- 
instatement of Conrad Janis, a former cadet, who had been 
dismissed from the Academy for conduct unbecoming a 
gentleman, based on Ladd's testimony. To discredit Ladd's 
testimony, George Coulouris, Janis' lawyer, seeks to prove 
that he is a coward and thus unworthy of attendance at 
the Academy. He questions Ladd and, through flashbacks, 
details of his background are revealed. After being drafted, 
Ladd had worked his way up to second lieutenant and had 
become fast friends with Tom Neal, his commanding officer. 
Neal had been killed during a skirmish with an enemy 
tank, and Ladd, who had delayed a plan of attack, held 
himself responsible for his death. Upon his return to the 
United States he had visited Neal's widow. Donna Reed, to 
confess his responsibihty, but her kind understanding had 
eased his guilt complex and the two had fallen in love. It 
was through her encouragement that he had enrolled at 
West Point to carve a new career for himself. Rather than 
bring Donna's name into the hearing, Ladd refuses to an- 
swer some of Coulouris' questions and decides to resign. 
Donna, however, comes to his defense, and with her help, 
as well as the testimony of a fellow cadet and former war 
buddy, who discloses that Ladd, unknown to himself, had 
been knocked unconscious at the time he was supposed to 
attack the tank, Ladd is vindicated of the death of his 
captain and cleared of the charges brought against him. 
Robert Fellows produced it and John Farrow directed it 
from an original screen play by Jonathan Latimer, Charles 
Marquis Warren, and WiUiam Wister Haines. The cast 
includes George Macready, Henry Travers, Harold Ver- 
milyea and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



Entered as eecond-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 1948 No. 26 



A COURAGEOUS BLAST AT THE INEPT 
HANDLING OF PUBLIC RELATIONS 

In an electrifying speech that raised many an eyebrow, 
reddened the ears of numerous executives, and won him 
thunderous applause. Max E. Youngstcin, Eagle-Lion's alert 
head of publicity, advertising and exploitation, labeled the 
motion picture industry's public relations as "one of the 
worst butchered jobs in liislory." 

Mr. Youngstein's hard-hitting remarks were made last 
week in New York at a luncheon marking his inauguration 
as president of the Associated Motion Picture Advertisers, 
whose membership is made up of men and women connected 
■with advertising, publicity, and exploitation, many of 
whom are employed by the producer-distributors. 

In appealing for a more vital industry public relations 
job, Mr. Youngstein had this to say, in part: 

"We are a great and important industry. Yet I do not 
beheve that there is a single person in this room who will 
disagree with my opinion that the public relations job for 
the motion picture industry has been one of the worst 
butchered jobs in history. 

"I believe that one of the main reasons for the complete 
failure of the public relations campaign for our industry 
has been due to the fact that the industry has not utilized 
properly the brains and talents of the men and women who, 
on a day-to-day working basis, really make the public rela- 
tions of our industry. Let us not kid ourselves. Proper public 
relations for the motion picture industry has not been 
established, and will not, in my opinion, ever be established 
by eight executives sitting in a room and exchanging bro- 
mides. Nobody will be satisfied with the results except 
possibly the executives involved and I seriously doubt that 
they are satisfied. The exhibitor organizations have come 
out wit'h various plans for public relations. The Johnston 
office has submitted other plans. I believe that there is great 
room in this endeavor for each and every member of our 
craft, and that it is vital that each and every member of our 
craft participate through AMP A, unless they are willing 
to accept the fact that our industry must remain a whipping- 
boy for every punk in and out of the Government who sees 
fit to use the motion picture industry for his own purposes. 
I, for one, am sick and tired of seeing attributed to our 
industry alone, the failings of all mankind and of every 
other industry. I am sick and tired of having our industry 
duck and run, and crawl into the woodwork every time one 
of those punks takes a pot shot at us. 

"We spend our working and thinking days in direct 
communication with every branch of information. 

"We must impress on all of these outlets on a day to day 
basis that they are our partners, that our welfare is their 
welfare, and that it is as important to let people know about 
the good that our industry does as it is to inform them about 
the shenanigans and the foibles of some of its dimwits, 
and we do have some dimwits. 

"I am ready to pledge the manpower of this organization 
to full cooperation with the Johnston office and to any and 
all exhibitor groups provided that their plans make sense 
and coincide with the thinking of our membership. If it does 
not coincide with our thinking, we will go off on our own 
and we will not do it on the basis of a week a year job, or 
two weeks a year job, but on the basis of a day to day job 
all year round. 



"Nothing will do our industry as much good as a picture 
properly produced, properly sold, and properly advertised 
and pubh'cized to the pubhc, and that is a job that cannot 
be accomplished by talking. It has to be done by the working 
men and women in our craft working through AMPA." 

Max Youngstein is right! The industry's public relations 
policies have long been a sorry mess and it is high time that 
something was done about it. Up to now there has been more 
talk than action on the different public relations programs, 
and wherever there has been some action the results have 
been negligible, chiefly because the programs, though lofty 
in purpose, were weakened by industry politics. 

Take, for example, the pubhc relations program started 
several months ago by the advertising-pubHcity committee 
of the Johnston office to offset the public's unfavorable atti- 
tude towards Hollywood and its product. This program 
called for an extensive exploitation campaign using all 
media of advertising and publicity to acquaint the public 
with the fact more good pictures were in store for them 
than ever before in the history of the film industry. Plans 
were formulated for the production of a special all-industry 
ballyhoo trailer to be made available to the theatres; for big 
radio network shows, as well as transcriptions and original 
recordings for small radio stations; and for the issuance of 
a list of worthwhile forthcoming pictures of exceptional 
quality. No individual company was to receive credit, the 
idea behind the campaign being that credit for good pictures 
should redound to the benefit of the industry as a whole. 
But what happened? 

Institutional advertising in either newspapers or magazines 
has not yet appeared, nor has any been heard on the radio. 
The big radio network shows are still a pipe dream. The all- 
industry ballyhoo trailer to plug forthcoming pictures of 
exceptional quality without identifying the companies that 
produced them was abandoned because the committee could 
not overcome the problem of how to choose the pictures to 
be included without incurring the wrath of some studios, 
whose "flops," if included, would weaken the whole pro- 
motion. 

The only thing that was carried out was the issuance by 
the committee of a list of thirty-four pictures, which it 
recommended as "box-office product of exceptional quality," 
without mentioning the names of either the producing or 
distributing companies. But even this list was a farce, for, 
though it did include some very fine productions, it in- 
cluded also some of the worst "turkeys" released by the 
industry this year. And it could not be otherwise, for the 
selection of pictures was made, not on merit alone, but on 
the basis of giving each company as equal a break as possible 
in the number of pictures chosen. How, then, in the face of 
such industry politics, can we hope to formulate a public 
relations program that will not be selfishly administered? 

It is true that Max Youngstein, in blasting the poor pubhc 
relations job done thus far, did not offer a definite program 
of his own, but it is enough that he recognizes that proper 
pubhc relations have not been estabhshed and is willing 
and ready to do something about it by pledging the man- 
power of his organization to full cooperation with any 
industry group that will come forth with a sensible plan 
and, failing that, to work out and carry through his own 
organization's plan. In view of the fact that the members of 
AMPA are the working press agents of the industry, the 
(Continued on last, page) 



102 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 26, 1948 



"Canon City" with Scott Brady 

(Eagle-Lion, June 30; time, 82 min.) 

Crammed to the hilt with melodramatic thrills, this prison- 
break melodrama ranks with the best of its genre. Its 
exploitation possibilities are practically unlimited, for the 
story is based on the actual jailbreak by twelve desperate 
convicts who smashed their way out of the Colorado State 
Penitentiary on December 30, 1947, all of whom were 
either recaptured or slain. The action is extremely realistic, 
for most of the story has been filmed at the penitentiary it- 
self, and the documentary technique has been employed by 
the producer to good effect. One is kept tense and taut from 
the opening to the closing scenes, for the story goes into 
minute detail of the careful planning that preceded the 
break, of its successful execution, and of the dramatic inci- 
dents revolving around the manhunt as the frenzied convicts 
terrorize innocent families in the immediate neighborhood 
in their futile efforts to remain free. At times, the action is 
quite violent. Every one in the cast is very good, particu- 
larly Scott Brady, a capable newcomer, as one of the con- 
victs, who becomes involved in the break against his will. 
Although he eventually joins the plot, he manages to win 
one's sympathy because of his display of human kindness 
in his concern over the welfare of innocent bystanders. 
Warden Roy Best, other prison officials, and many of the 
actual convicts take part in the story. The extensive ex- 
ploitation campaign that Eagle-Lion is putting behind this 
picture should result in outstanding business. 

Briefly, the story shows how a group of convicts, led by 
Jeff Corey, plan the prison break after having managed to 
manufacture crude but workable guns. Brady, who had de- 
clined to enter the plot, is deliberately involved by one of 
the convicts, who hides the gun in the projection room 
where Brady worked. Brady decides to join the escape at- 
tempt when he learns that, at the very least, he must serve 
another ten years of his life sentence before he could hope 
for a pardon. In a cleverly executed plan, aided by con- 
cealed hack-saw blades, the convicts overpower four guards, 
break out of prison, and separate into smaller groups. 
Within three days, however. Warden Best manages to 
recapture them all, either dead or alive. Corey, the vicious 
ringleader, is captured with the aid of a brave elderly 
woman (Mabel Paige), who subdues him with a hammer 
blow, while Brady gives up without a struggle to protect 
from possible harm a seven-year-old girl and her father, 
who sought to help him in return for his humane considera- 
tion for a sick child in their family. One highly exciting 
sequence is where one of the convicts, trapped on the Royal 
Gorge Bridge, plunges to his death one thousand feet to 
the bottom of the Gorge. 

Robert T. Kane produced it, and Wilbur Crane wrote and 
directed the screen play. The cast includes Stanley Clements, 
Ralph Byrd and many others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Race Street" with George Raft, 
William Bendix and Marilyn Maxwell 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 79 min.) 
A routine but interesting underworld melodrama. The 
marquee value of the player's names should result in better- 
than-average business. Revolving around a square book- 
maker, who resists a "protection" racket and sets out to 
avenge the murder of a bookie friend, the story outline is 
conventional and offers few surprises; nevertheless, it holds 
one's interest well, for the direction is smooth and the per- 
formances effective. George Raft, as the bookmaker, is cast 
in a role that suits his talents well, and William Bendix, 
as his detective friend, who tries to steer him away from 
trouble so that the racketeers might be apprehended by legal 
means, turns in a warmly human performance. Marilyn 
Maxwell, as Raft's double-crossing sweetheart, has a stand- 
ard part. Worked into the proceedings to good effect are 
two song numbers that are capably delivered by Gale Rob- 
bins and Cully Richards. Production values are good, and 
the actual San Francisco backgrounds help to keep the 
action reahstic: — 

Having acquired wealth aa a bookmaker, Raft plans to 



retire and marry Marilyn, whom he knew to be the widow 
of a war hero. Bendix, who admired Raft personally but 
disapproved of his profession, warns him that a gang of 
Eastern racketeers planned to muscle in on the local bookies 
with a "protection" racket. Raft ignores the threat until 
Henry Morgan, a close pal, is murdered by the racketeers for 
resisting them. Despite Marilyn's pleas and Bendix's grim 
advice to let the police handle the affair. Raft determines 
to avenge Morgan's death personally. The racketeers beat 
him up severely as a warning to lay off, but this only makes 
Raft more determined to learn the identity of their secret 
leader. Unable to stop Raft from handling matters in his 
own way. Bendix does some investigating and finally proves 
to him that Marilyn was a double-crosser, and that she was 
actually the wife of Frank Faylen, the secret leader of the 
gang. Hurt and disillusioned. Raft lays a trap for the gang, 
but they pull a switch on him and trap him in his apartment. 
Bendix, anticipating a showdown, had come there, too. In 
the savage battle that ensues. Raft is fatally wounded trying 
to protect Bendix, but before he dies he has the satisfaction 
of seeing Bendix subdue the crooks, and of knowing that 
they will pay the penalty for Morgan's murder. 

Nat Holt produced it and Edwin L. Marin directed it 
from a screen play by Martin Rackin, suggested by a story 
by Maurice Da%'is. The cast includes Freddy Steele, Russell 
Hicks and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Mystery in Mexico" with William 

Lundigan, Jacqueline White 

and Ricardo Cortez 

(RKO, no release dat set; time. 66 min.) 

Like many other low-budget program mysteries, this one 
is not too credible but it manages to whip up enough excite- 
ment to satisfy as a supporting feature in double-bilHng 
situations. Set in Mexico City, which gives the story an in- 
teresting locale, it revolves around an insurance agent's 
search for stolen jewels, and around his romantic pursuit of 
a young lady, whom he mistakenly believes to be one of the 
crooks. There is the usual quota of villains and murders 
which, combined with the light treatment given the ro- 
mantic angle, help to hold one's interest to a fair degree. 
The direction and acting are competent: — 

When Walter Reed, an insurance investigator, disappears 
in Mexico City while searching for a stolen diamond pend- 
ant, his company sends another investigator; Wflliam 
Lundigan, to find out what happened to him. En route, 
Lundigan learns that one of the passengers, Jacqueline 
White, was Reed's sister. He strikes up an acquaintance 
with her but conceals his identity because of a belief that 
Reed may have stolen the pendant and that Jacqueline may 
be in league with him. Upon their arrival, both become in- 
volved wtih mysterious assailants, who attack Lundigan and 
flee. Later that night both attend a night-club owned by 
Ricardo Cortez, an American adventurer, who gives Jac- 
queline a job after hearing her sing. This infuriates Ricardo's 
girl-friend (Jacquehne Dalya), with whom Lundigan starts 
a flirtation, thus infuriating Jacqueline. Meanwhile Lundi- 
gan learns that Reed had been employed in the night-club 
before his disappearance. Shortly thereafter his informant 
is murdered. In the course of events, Lundigan admits his 
identity to Jacqueline and, with the aid of a little Mexican 
boy, they eventually locate Reed at a ranch, badly wounded 
but still alive. Reed explains that he had retrieved the 
pendant from (Cortez, but, before he can tell Lundigan 
where the jewelry is hidden, Cortez appears and, at gun- 
point, demands it. The arrival of the Mexican pohce, whom 
Lundigan had notified of his movements, saves them from a 
sure death. With the crooks jailed, Lundigan proposes mar- 
riage to Jacqueline but she is reluctant to accept it. She soon 
changes her mind, however, when Lundigan informs her of 
his intention to remain in Mexico to investigate a case for 
Cortez's former girl-friend. 

Sid Rogell produced it and Robert Wise directed it from 
a screen play by Lawrence Kimble, based on a story by 
Muriel Roy Bolton. The supporting cast is made up of 
Mexican players. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



June 26, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



103 



"The Street with No Name" with 

Mark Stevens, Richard Widmark 

and Lloyd Nolan 

(20th Century-Fox. July: time. 91 mm.) 

20th Century-Fox has come through with another engross- 
ing documentary-type production, this time a gangster story, 
which moves across the screen with a melodramatic impact 
that is highly effective. Basically, it is a conventional story 
about how the FBI tracks down and breaks up a ruthless 
gang of young thugs, but what sets it apart from most gang- 
ster films is the fascinating factual-like treatment, which 
gives the explosive action a realism that is at once exciting, 
intense, and filled with suspense. 

Briefly, the story opens with a series of killings and 
robberies that are traced by the FBI to a gang of young 
thugs who operated in a mid-Wcstern city. To learn the 
identity of the gangsters, the Bureau assigns two of its 
agents to the city, the older one to pose as a vagrant, and 
the younger one to pose as a youthful neer-do-well with a 
criminal record, which the Bureau arranges to supply for 
him. By frequenting pool rooms, saloons, gambling joints, 
and other nefarious hangouts, the young agent soon comes 
to the attention of the gang leader who. after framing him 
on a robbery charge and learning of his criminal record, 
quashes the robbery charge with the aid of a crooked police 
inspector and invites the agent to join the gang. From then 
on the agent goes about the business of gathering incrim- 
inating evidence against the gang while seemingly being one 
of them. He is eventually found out, however, and the gang 
leader, without revealing his discovery, lays out an ingenious 
scheme whereby the crooked police inspector could shoot 
down the agent as a suspect during a staged robbery. But 
his plan is thwarted by the quick thinking of the agent who, 
aided by a force of other agents summoned to the scene, kills 
the gang leader and his henchmen in a highly exciting finale. 

Mark Stevens, as the youthful agent, gives a convincing 
two-fisted performance, and Richard Widmark, whose work 
as the gangster in "Kiss of Death" brought him stardom, 
does another outstanding job as the vicious gang leader, 
whose brutality knows no bounds. Other outstanding con- 
tributions are made by Lloyd Nolan, as an FBI inspector; 
John Mclntire, as the vagrant-agent; and Barbara Lawrence, 
as Widmark's abused wife. Worked into the footage in a 
highly interesting way is a pictorial record of the ingenious 
methods employed by the FBI to combat crime, and of the 
intensive training undergone by FBI agents to fit them for 
their hazardous work. 

Samuel G. Engel produced it and William Keighley di- 
rected it from an original screen play by Harry Kleiner. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"The Twisted Road" with Cathy O'Donnell, 
Farley Granger and Howard Da Silva 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 95 min.) 
This screen adaptation of Edward Anderson's novel, 
"Thieves Like Us," has been turned into a picture of con- 
siderable substance. It is a fine drama, at once tender and 
touching in its depiction of the mutual sympathy that draws 
an escaped young convict and a forlorn girl into marriage, 
and ruthless in its depiction of how the young man is com- 
pelled to continue a hfe of crime by two "Hfers" who had 
helped him escape. It is a film of power and artistry, di- 
rected with feeling, and its dramatic impact is in no small 
measure due to the moving performances of Cathy O'Don- 
nell and Farley Granger, as the hapless young couple, very 
much in love, who strive against an inevitable fate. There 
is nothing glamorous about the picture, and there is no 
comedy to reHeve the tragic tone that prevails throughout, 
but it is an impressive film, fascinating in its unfoldment 
and emotionally stirring in its appeal. Howard Da SUva and 
Jay C. Flippen, as the escaped "lifers," give vigorous por- 
trayals. While it is a picture that will be appreciated by 
class patrons, it should go over also with the rank and file. 
for the story has elements that arq understood by the great 
mass of people: — 

Having made their escape from a prison farm. Granger, 
Da Silva, and Flippen, hide out in a ramshackle gas station 
operated by Da Silva's worthless brother. Will Wright, and 
by the latter's neglected daughter, Cathy. Granger, barely 
out of his teens, had been sentenced to life for an accidental 
kiUing. While the older pair lay plans for a series of bank 
robberies. Granger and Cathy become interested in one 



another. Flippen, whose brother was still in jail, promises 
the latter's wife, Helen Craig, that the first money stolen 
by the trio would be used to free her husband. The trio 
stage a successful robbery, but in a subsequent auto accident 
Granger is injured, and Da Silva, to help him get away, kills 
a policeman. With the law at their heels, the three separate 
lor a while. Cathy and Granger decide to get married and 
start a new hfe elsewhere. They go to Hve at an out-of-the- 
way tourist camp until the "heat" dies down. Da Silva, 
however, finds them and, together with Flippen, compels 
Granger to join them on another robbery, despite his pro- 
tests. The plan, however, goes wrong; Flippen is killed, and 
Da Silva, after a quarrel with Granger, is shot down robbing 
a hquor store. With the police hot on his trail, and with 
Cathy expecting a baby. Granger flees with her to New 
Orleans, where he seeks refuge with Helen, planning to 
leave Cathy with her so that he might hide out by himself 
and rejoin her later. But Helen, embittered over Flippen's 
failure to effect her husband's release, makes a deal with 
the authorities to free him if she will lead them to Granger. 
That night, as Granger steals into the house to bid Cathy 
farewell; he notices the police ambush and reaches for his 
gun; a fusillade of bullets puts him to death. 

John Houseman produced it and Nicholas Ray directed 
it from a screen play by Charles Schnee. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Tap Roots" with Susan Hayward, 
Van Heflin and Boris Karloff 

(Univ.-lnt'l, no release date set; time, 109 min.) 

"Tap Roots" is a big-scale production in Technicolor, 
similar in many respects to "Gone With the Wind," but, 
while it does not match that picture either in scope or in 
entertainment values, it is, nevertheless a massive and 
expensive production, more fascinating than engrossing, and 
should prove to be an outstanding box-office attraction. 
Like GWTW, the story's locale is the South at the time of 
the Civil War, and again like GWTW, the two leading 
characters are headstrong, somewhat selfish, and even un- 
scrupulous, but fascinatingly so. 

Based on a novel by James Street, the story tells of the 
insurrection of an influential Mississippi family living in 
the Lebanon Valley, whose hatred for slavery causes them 
to declare themselves against the State when Mississippi 
secedes from the Union, and to rally freedom-loving South- 
erners to defend the valley against the Confederate Army. 
Worked into the plot is a strong romantic conflict and tri- 
angle involving Susan Hayward, the family's eldest daughter, 
a flirtatious sort; Van Hefiin, a cru'sading newspaper pub- 
lisher, who joins the insurrectionists, not because he believed 
in their cause, but because of his desire for Susan; and 
Whitfield Connor, a stuffy Confederate Army officer, who 
woos Susan and wins her love but eventually runs off with 
her younger sister, Julie London, after which he leads the 
Confederate forces m a devastating attack which, though it 
costs him his life, brings the insurrection to an end. 

All the excitement and thrills are contained in the second 
half, where the battle takes place. It is as furious and gory 
a fight as has ever been screened. Yet for all its excitement, 
its opulence, and the massiveness of its sets, the picture fails, 
curiously enough, to stir one's emotions deeply, a condition 
that can no doubt be traced to the fact that not too much 
sympathy is built up for any of the characters. Miss Hay- 
ward's suffering of a paralytic stroke that leaves her unable 
to walk, her eventual recovery, and the sacrifices she makes 
in giving herself to Connor (although he was married to her 
sister) in an effort to delay his attack, are some of the 
situations that have the stuff of strong drama, but they have 
been presented in so mechanical a way that one views them 
with passiveness. Moreover, the ending is weak and incon- 
clusive in that the insurrectionists, including Miss Ha^'ward 
and Hefiin, having gone down in defeat, are shown planning 
to rebuild the valley, with neither punishment nor a pardon 
being meted out to any of them for their revolt against the 
authorities. A rather odd characterization is that of a Choc- 
taw Indian portrayed by Boris Karloff, who, as a close family 
friend, helps lead the revolt: the fact that he speaks perfect 
English makes the characterization unbelievable. 

It is a Walter Wanger production, produced and directed 
by George Marshall from a screen play by Alan LeMay. 
The cast includes Ward Bond, Richard Long, Arthur 
Shields, Russell Simpson and others. 

Adult entertainment. 



104 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



June 26, 1948 



specialists who are in daily contact with newspaper and 
magazine writers, as well as radio commentators, proper 
utilization of their brains and talents, as suggested by 
Youngstein, may well be the answer to the success of a new 
public relations program. 

In his smashing criticism of the industry's public relations, 
Youngstein has undoubtedly stepped on many tender toes, 
but his criticism was honest and forthright, and certainly 
the sort the industry is badly in need of, particularly when 
it comes from a man who is undeniably qualified in such 
matters. Those who have not succeeded in putting over a 
program of their own, but who are genuinely interested in 
the welfare of the industry as a whole, should give to 
Youngstein and his fine organization their fullest coopera- 
tion towards the formulation of a sound, practical program 
to create good will for the industry. 



A WAY TO KEEP GROSS RECEIPTS 
CONFIDENTIAL 

Willis Vance, a Cincinnati exhibitor and member of the 
ticket committee of National Allied, has developed "Cryp- 
tix," a new method of numbering tickets, which will provide 
each exhibitor with his own ticket numbering system and 
will protect theatre operators from having their grosses ex- 
posed to unauthorized persons. 

Mr. Vance's method substitutes alphabetical characters 
for conventional figures on tickets, and the alphabetical 
characters are converted back to conventional numbers 
through use of a specially made converter, small enough for 
the exhibitor to carry in his pocket. Since there are 9,999 
variations of "Cryptix" numbering, the method allows each 
theatre to have its own ticket numbering system. In other 
words, theatres operating side by side could both use the 
"Cryptix" system and it would still be impossible for one 
exhibitor to check the grosses of his neighbor. Only author- 
ized theatre personnel. Government agents, and checkers 
will be enabled to check the theatre gross. 

Tickets numbered under the "Cryptix" system are being 
printed by the Globe Ticket Company. 

As explained by Mr. Vance, the "Cryptix" system will 
make it impossible for any one to buy a ticket when the 
theatre opens in the morning, buy another just before the 
box-office closes, check the figures and then ascertain the 
gross for the day. 

In announcing this new method of numbering tickets, 
Mr. Vance revealed that the Federal Bureau of Internal 
Revenue has forbidden its use even though each individual 
numbering system given to an exhibitor is standardized and 
keyed to a master converter, which is registered at all local 
district Internal Revenue offices, and which is available to 
deputy tax collectors for their use. Mr. Vance disclosed that 
he has been endeavoring to receive authorization for "Cryp- 
tix" from the Internal Revenue Department for several years 
but that he has been turned down repeatedly because of a 
"technical interpretation of obsolete regulations." He be- 
lieves, however, that the Government's ban is unjustified, 
and has continued to use the system in his own theatres to 
compel the Government to make a test case out of his 
situation. He is now seeking the support and backing of 
exhibitors throughout the country in the belief that Cryptix, 
if approved, will give the theatre owner relief from the 
abuses of having his most valuable trade secret exploited. 

Those of you .who desire additional information about 
this new ticket numbering method may address your in- 
quiries to Cryptix, Carew Tower Lower Arcade, Cincinnati 
2, Ohio. 



"The Winner's Circle" 

(20th Century-Fox, August; time. 7? jjiin.) 
Fairly good. It is the story, or rather the "autobiography," 
of a horse, because the action is supposedly told by the 
horse himself, through off-screen narration. The horse seem- 
ingly suffers from an inferiority complex, for he loses race 
after race, and is sold by one owner to another, until 
finally the daughter of the original owner buys him and, 



with Johnny Longden as the jockey, wins a race and thus 
enables the horse to enter the winner's circle. 

In a way it is a documentary film, for throughout the 
story are interspersed scenes of how thoroughbreds are 
raised for racing, and of old scenes showing famous race 
horses, through stock shots, running races. 

Although this type of picture presentation places a handi- 
cap upon the producer and the director in that everything 
has to be managed for the horse, the picture has turned out 
to be fairly interesting and should appeal mildly to many 
persons who are not racing enthusiasts, but strongly to those 
who are lovers of horses and of horse-racing. Some of the 
races, stock as well as photographed for the purpose of this 
picture, are highly exciting. 

The story begins with the development and training of 
the horse-hero, a thoroughbred colt, from the time he is 
foaled, through many losing races, until finally he wins an 
important race and is admitted to the winner's circle. 

The stock shots used show Man O' War, Phar Lap, Gal- 
lant Fox, Whirlaway, War Admiral, Alsab, Assault and 
Seabiscuit. 

The picture has been produced by Richard K. Polimer and 
directed by Fehx Feist from an original screenplay by 
Howard J. Green. In the cast are Johnny Longden, the 
famous jockey, Morgan Farley, Bob Howard, the famous 
horseman, William Gould, John Berardino, Russ Conway, 
and Jean Willes, as the heroine. 

Suitable for everybody. 



"The Counterfeiters" with John Sutton, 
Doris Merrick and Hugh Beaumont 

(20th Century-Fox. June; time, 74 min.) 

A good program picture for double-billing. It is evident 
that Edward Small, having produced the successful "T- 
Men." tried to duplicate it, but, even though "The Counter- 
feiters" is a good picture, it does not compare with 
"T-Men" in suspense and thrills. There are several mildly 
thrilling situations, caused by the fact that the sympathetic 
characters are constantly in grave danger. One cannot help 
divining that Doris Merrick is not a crook even though she 
is a member of the counterfeiters' gang. Hugh Beaumont is 
believable as a formidable crook, and John Sutton, as an 
English detective, does well in his part. Lon Chaney, as a 
slow-witted fellow who does not know his own strength, is 
capable. George Hanlon contributes the comedy relief: — • 

Headed for the United States in an effort to apprehend 
counterfeiters of five pound English notes and twenty dollar 
United States bills, Sutton, a Scotland Yard ace, poses as 
an English confidence man and trails Beaumont, a suave but 
tough American gangster, returning from Europe, where 
he had a connecting link with foreign counterfeiters. At the 
airport in Los Angeles, Beaumont is met by Doris and 
Chaney. Sutton accompanies them into Los Angeles, but 
en route, Beaumont, suspicious of him, beats him up un- 
mercifully. Doris' intervention saves his life. Taken to a 
hospital, Sutton meets there Douglas Blakely, a U. S. Secret 
Service agent, with whom he joins forces. Both fail in an 
attempt to trap the counterfeiters at a race track. Sutton 
traces Doris to her apartment and, by installing a recording 
machine in the next apartment, overhears her pull a triple- 
cross on Chaney and Beaumont in an effort to get possession 
of the engravings. From then on Sutton and Blakely become 
involved in a series of melodramatic doings and numerous 
double-crosses as they, in league with Doris, vie with Chaney 
and Beaumont for possession of the plates. In the end, the 
crooks are rounded up aboard Beaumont's yacht, and it 
comes to light that Doris had joined them to get hold of 
the plates and destroy them so that there might be no evi- 
dence against her father, who had made them but had since 
reformed. With Doris and her father promised leniency, 
Sutton, by this time in love with her, plans to marry her. 

Maurice H. Conn wrote the original story and produced 
it for Edward Small's Reliance Pictures. Peter Stewart 
directed it from a screen play by Fred Myton and Barbara 
Worth. The cast includes Herbert Rawlinson, Pierre Watkin 
and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 
Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 8, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS Published Weekly by 

United States $15.00 (Formerly Sixth Avcnuo) Harrison's Reports, Inc.. 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 „ v 1, 9n 1M V Publisher 

Canada 16.50 new I orlc zu, n. I. P. S. HARRISON. Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Great Britain 15.75 Devoted ChleSy to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1. 1919 

Australia, New Zealand, 

India, Europe, Asia .... 17.50 j^^ Editorial Policy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

35c a Copy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JULY 3, 1948 No. 27 



NCA-20th FOX CONCILIATION PLAN A 

GOOD BEGINNING FOR BETTER 
EXHIBITOR-DISTRIBUTOR RELATIONS 

In a joint statement issued last weekend, Benjamin 
Berger, president of North Central Allied Independ- 
ent Theatre Owners, and Andy Smith, Jr., general 
sales manager of 20th Century-Fox, announced the 
formulation, on a trial basis, of a new system of con- 
cihation for mediating exhibitor-distributor disputes 
in the Minneapolis territory. 

The plan was established as a result of correspond- 
ence between Berger and Smith, who, having read in 
the trade papers that Berger was encouraging law- 
suits on a wholesale basis for the theatres in his area, 
suggested that a conference take place between them 
before any lawsuits are filed so that an opportunity 
may be had to work out grievances by discussion 
rather than by litigation. 

Under the plan, NCA has created a special Griev- 
ance Committee of three independent exhibitors to 
hear all complaints that any exhibitor in the Minne- 
apolis area may have in his relations with 20th Cen- 
tury-Fox. Only such complaints as the Committee 
wiU consider justifiable in whole or in part will then 
be referred to properly designated 20th Century-Fox 
officials for consideration. Complaints or grievances 
of a purely private or personal nature will not be 
heard by the Committee, nor will it attempt in any 
manner to negotiate contracts for any exhibitor. 

The underlying principles agreed upon by both 
sides is that all disputes shall be presented and con- 
sidered in a spirit of fairness and open-mindedness, 
and that every effort would be made by both sides to 
dispose of them amicably, fairly, and promptly. 

According to the announcement, there is nothing 
coercive in the plan, it is non-partisan in its applica- 
tion, and no exhibitor is required to forego his legal 
rights. 

The plan is to be given a trial immediately and, if 
found practical and proved successful, will be estab- 
lished on a permanent basis, in the hope that it will 
serve as a model for either a national or territorial 
system of conciliation to mediate the differences that 
arise between exhibitors and distributors. 

At a time when the iadustry is spending a good 
deal of its time and money in the courts, it is indeed 
encouraging to see a group of exhibitors get together 
with a distributor to set up machinery for the settle- 
ment of their differences in amicable fashion instead 
of at swordspoint. 

Harrison's Reports hopes that the Minneapohs 
CondHation Plan will be a great success. And there 
is no reason why it shouldn't, for when intelhgent 



men meet face to face across a conference table in a 
sincere desire to compose their differences, a spirit of 
good fellowship is bound to prevail, and in such an 
atmosphere one is more sympathetic to the other fel- 
low's problems. 

Adjusting grievances through mediation is the best 
way to resolve exhibitor-distributor disputes, for such 
settlements are brought about at a savings of many 
thousands of dollars that would otherwise be spent 
in legal wrangling, let alone the loss of much valuable 
time. 

Bennie Berger and Andy Smith are to be congratu- 
lated for the great forward step they have taken in 
an effort to improve intra-industry relations. 



MORE ABOUT THE TELECASTING 
OF MOTION PICTURES 

Our editorial under the heading "A New and 
Important Problem," which was pubhshed in the 
June 5 issue, has brought forth a number of requests 
from subscribers for a listing of the twenty-four pic- 
tures that were sold by Alexander Korda to WFIX, 
the 7<[ew Yor\ Daily T^ews television station, which 
is leasing the television rights to these pictures to other 
television stations throughout the country. 

These subscribers feel that, because the theatrical 
distribution rights to these same pictures are owned 
by Film Classics, which deals mainly in reissues, a 
hsting of their titles will help them to guard against 
the booking of a reissue that either has been telecast 
or may be telecast before they have had a chance to 
show it in their theatres. 

Since our June 5 editorial appeared, WPIX has 
acquired the television rights to thirty-eight more pic- 
tures, most of which were originally released by 
United Artists. The deal, which was concluded with 
Regal Television, a subsidiary of Favorite Films, 
which deals in the theatrical distribution of reissues, 
covers the television rights for the New York area 
only. The same pictures will undoubtedly be offered 
by Regal to other television stations throughout the 
country. 

To help the exhibitors guard against the booking of 
reissues that either have been seen or will shortly be 
seen on television, Harrison's Reports herewith 
publishes a complete listing of both the Korda and 
Regal films that have been acquired by WPIX, and 
will undoubtedly be shown by other television sta- 
tions. 

The following is a listing of the Korda pictures: 

"Henry VIII," with Charles Laughton, Merle Ober- 

on and Robert Donat; "The Scarlet Pimpernel," with 

Leshe Howard, Merle Oberon and Raymond Massey; 

(Continued on last page) 



_-J 



106 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 3, 1948 



'Hamlet" with Laurence Olivier 



(Univ.-Int'l, no release date set; time, 150 min.) 

Laurencie Olivier, who did such a magnificent job 
as the producer, director, and star of "Henry V,' 
repeats his success in the same capacities in this highly 
artistic production of William Shakespeare's classic 
tragedy. But like "Henr>' V," it is a picture that will 
appeal to the very few — the students and lovers of 
Shakespeare's works, who, familiar v/ith the play, will 
hang on to every word spoken and be thrilled by the 
magnificent language. It is definitely not a picture for 
the rank and file, for, unless one is familiar with the 
story and mentally equipped to understand and ap- 
preciate the Shakespearian dialogue, it will have no 
meaning for him and cause him to become fidgity. 
If given the same careful handling that has been 
accorded to "Henry V," the picture should do ex- 
ceptionally well in art houses and in special engage- 
ments. 

Except for some minor character deletions and 
other shght alterations, which may or may not give 
rise to considerable controversy among the lovers of 
Shakespeare's works, the film is more or less a straight 
transposition of the play, revolving around the mental 
anguish of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, who broods 
over the death of his father and suspects foul play 
because of his mother's quick marriage to Claudius, 
his uncle; the determination of Hamlet to avenge his 
father's death when he learns that Claudius had 
murdered him; the methods he employs to establish 
Claudius' guilt; his accidental killing of the father of 
Ophelia, the girl he loved, whose sorrow makes her a 
pitiful figure and eventually leads to her death by 
drowning; and his duel with Ophelia's brother, ar- 
ranged by the treacherous Claudius, whose plan to 
kill Hamlet through poison backfires, bringing about, 
not only Hamlet's tragic death, but also the death of 
himself, the Queen, and Ophelia's brother. 

Laurence Olivier 's interpretation of Hamlet is a 
magnificent piece of acting, brilliantly conceived, and 
he is given excellent support by a fine cast, which 
includes Basil Sydney, as Claudius, the King; Eileen 
Herlie, as Hamlet's mother, the Queen; Jean Sim- 
mons, as the tragic Ophelia; and Felix Aylmer, as 
Polonius, her father. Others in the huge cast who lend 
distinguished support include Norman Wooland, 
Terrence Morgan, Stanley Holloway, John Lurie, 
and Anthony Quale. 

Technically, the film is a masterpiece; the staging 
is highly effective, the background music inspired, 
and the camera work and hghting unusually skillful. 

"Northwest Stempede" with Joan Leslie, 
James Craig and Jack Oakie 

(Eaglc'Lion, July 28; time, 75 min.) 
A fairly good outdoor melodrama, photographed in 
Cinecolor against a breathtakingly beautiful back- 
ground of the Canadian Rockies. The story itself is 
rather commonplace, but it holds one's interest fairly 
well, for the pace is fast, and comedy and romance 
have been interwoven in the plot without retarding 
the action. Worked into the proceedings to very good 
effect are authentic scenes of the colorful and exciting 
Calgary Stampede, the famed rodeo spectacle. The 
scenes showing the rounding-up of wild horses are 
thrilling. James Craig, as a rodeo star, and Joan Leslie, 
as a cow-girl and foreman of his ranch, do well with 
their parts, giving the stor>' a humorous touch by 
their constant matching of wits and skills. Jack Oakie, 
as Craig's cheerful pal, provokes many laughs : — 
Notified that his father had died and that the 



ranch left to him was in need of a guiding hand, 
Craig, accompanied by Oakie, visits the property with 
the idea of selling it. There he finds that the foreman 
is Joan, whom his father had hired in the manpower 
shortage during the war years. As a prank, he and 
Oakie pretend to be strangers looking for jobs. Joan, 
fully aware of their identities, hires them and puts 
them to work at menial jobs. When a wild stallion 
raids the ranch and makes off with a herd of mares, 
Craig sets out after the animal and succeeds in cap- 
turing it. But when Joan learns that he planned to 
sell the ranch, and that he was not interested in any 
effort to make it a paying proposition, she turns the 
animal loose. Angered, Craig discharges her, but she 
retains the job by slapping a lien on the ranch for 
back wages. Craig enters the Calgary rodeo in the 
hope of winning enough money to satisfy her claim. 
Joan, too, becomes a contestant and manages to beat 
him in a number of the events, but he eventually wins 
enough money to pay her off. Before he can do so, 
however, she spends the money, under her authority 
as his foreman, for the purchase of some new horses, 
thus leaving him without funds to pay her. Peeved, 
Craig sets out once again to capture the wild stallion, 
and Joan, by this time in love with him, tags along. 
Through clever strategy, she not only entices the wild 
stallion to the ranch but also makes Craig realize his 
love for her. 

Albert S. Rogell produced and directed it from a 
story and screen play by Art Arthur and Lillie Hay- 
"Wild Horse Roundup," by Jean Muir. The cast 
ward, suggested by the Saturday Evening Post article, 
includes Chill Wills, the dog Flame, and others. 

Suitable for the entire family. 



"The Black Arrow^" with Louis Hayward 
and Janet Blair 

(Columbia, no release date set; time, 76 min.) 
Better than average program fare. It is an action- 
filled, swashbuckling costume melodrama, set in Fif- 
teenth Century England and based on the story by 
Robert Louis Stevenson. While it is not a picture 
for the ultra-discriminating, it should go over very 
nicely with the adventure-loving fans, for the action 
is fast and rough, and it has more than a fair share of 
swordfighting and hand-to-hand combats between op- 
posing forces. Moreover, the plot contains enough in- 
trigue to hold one's attention well. The most interest- 
ing and exciting part of the picture takes place 
towards the finish, where the hero and villain, astride 
horses and dressed in armor, meet in a duel to the 
death in which each employs such weapons as a lance, 
battleaxe, sword, dagger, and a mace with a spiked 
metal head. It is one of the most unusual and thrilling 
duels ever filmed: — 

Returning home from England's War of the Roses, 
Louis Hayward finds his uncle, George Macready, in 
charge of the family estate, and is told that his father, 
a nobleman, had been murdered by Paul Cavanaugh, 
a neighboring nobleman, who had been executed for 
the crime. He learns also that Cavanaugh's daughter, 
Janet Blair, had been made a ward of the Crown and 
had been placed under Macready 's guardianship. 
Macready dispatches Hayward to a nearby convent 
to fetch Janet and bring her to the castle. On the way 
back, one of Hayward's soldiers is killed by a black 
arrow shot from ambush, to which was attached a 
note accusing Macready of slaying his own brother 
and of placing the blame on Cavanaugh. Several other 
incidents heighten Hayward's suspicions about Mac- 
ready, and he becomes convinced of his guilt when 
Janet confesses that her father was still alive, hidden 



July 3, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



107 



in the forest with faithful followers and waiting for 
an opportunity to avenge himself. In attempting to 
establish Macrcady's guilt, Hayward arouses his en- 
mity and is compelled to flee the castle. He joins Cav- 
anaugh and his outlaws, and returns to the castle in 
disguise to rescue Janet and prevent her marriage to 
Macready, who had forced her to agree to the wed- 
ding against her will. Hayward and his men are cap- 
tured as they break up the wedding ceremony. He 
thereupon accuses Macready publicly of murdering 
his father, and calls upon Lowell Gilmore, the King's 
emissary, to grant him his knightly right of vindica- 
tion through trial by combat. A duel is agreed upon 
and, in a furious fight, Hayward kills Macready, Vv-in- 
ning Janet for himself and clearing her father's honor. 

It is an Edward Small production, produced by 
Grant Whytock and directed by Gordon Douglas 
from a screen play by Richard Schayer, David P. 
Sheppard, and Thomas Seller. The cast includes Ed- 
gar Buchanan, Rhys Williams and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 




Q "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" 

{Vmv.'lnt'l, July: time, 82 min.) 
A pretty good slapstick comedy. The idea of Abbott 
and Costello being stalked by such worthies as 
Frankenstein's Monster (Glenn Strange), Dracula 
(Bela Lugosi), and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney), 
is a funny one and certainly lends itself to exploita- 
tion. The story is, of course, nonsensical, but the eerie 
doings, set against such backgrounds as a House of 
Horrors, a fog-bound castle, a laboratory, sliding 
doors, and hidden passageways, make for a mixture 
of chills, thrills and chuckles that should easily satisfy 
most audiences. The one criticism that can be made 
is that some of the comedy situations are too long 
drawn out. On the whole, however, the picture is a 
decided improvement over most of the recent com- 
edies in which Abbott and Costello have appeared : — 
Employed as railroad baggage clerks in a Florida 
town, Abbott and Costello receive a frantic telephone 
call from Lon Chaney, in London, demanding that 
they do not deliver to a local House of Horrors two 
crates containing the remains of Dracula and Frank- 
enstein's Monster. Frank Ferguson, owner of the 
Horror House, compels the boys to deliver the crates 
and to unpack them to make sure that the contents 
are undamaged. In the course of events, Dracula 
comes to Hfe, revives the Monster, and takes him to 
a nearby castle on a remote island, where they are 
awaited by Lenore Aubert, a scientist, who planned to 
substitute a more pliable brain in the Monster than 
the one originally provided him by his creator. Lenore, 
keeping her identity secret, had been courting Cos- 
tello with the idea of using his brain. Meanwhile 
Chaney arrives on the scene, determined to rid the 
world of Dracula and the Monster, but each time he 
gets set to act the full moon changes him into a Wolf 
Man. Jane Randolph, an insurance agent assigned 
to locate the missing contents of the crates, pays court 
to Costello in the hope that he will lead her to her 
objective. In one of his saner moments, Chaney warns 
the boys that Dracula and the Monster are in Lenore's 
castle. The boys institute a search for the creatures 
and soon find themselves involved in a series of hair- 
raising incidents, which culminate with Costello 
strapped to an operating table in preparation for the 
brain operation. Abbott and Chaney come to his 
rescue. A melee develops, during which Lenore gets 
thrown out of a window; Dracula and Chaney fall 
to their death after each turns into a vampire bat 



and Wolf Man, respectively; and the Monster meets 
a fiery death in a blaze ignited by the boys. 

Robert Arthur produced it and Charles T. Barton 
directed it from an original screen play by Robert 
Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo, and John Grant. 

Since the comedy angle is stressed, the picture is 
not too horrific for children. 



"Deep Waters" with Dana Andrews, 
Jean Peters and Dean Stockwell 

(20th Century-Fox, August; time, 85 min.) 

An appealing homespun social drama. Photo- 
graphed in sepia-tone and set against the picturesque 
background of a lobster-fishing community in Maine, 
its simple, dramatic story about a wayward orphan 
boy whose love for the sea leads him into serious 
trouble is loaded with human interest and has been 
directed with sympathy and understanding. The sin- 
cerity of the acting makes the characterizations true 
to life. Young Dean Stockwell walks away with the 
acting honors in a highly sensitive portrayal as the 
orphan, but excellent work is turned in also by Dana 
Andrews, as a young fisherman Vv'ho tries to under- 
stand the boy's nature and rehabilitate him, and by 
Anne Revere, as a hard-bitten but kindly woman 
who takes the boy under her wing. Jean Peters, as a 
welfare worker whose fear of the sea clouds her 
judgment in the handling of the boy, is natural and 
pleasing. The action is at times a bit sombre in tone, 
but it is frequently hghtened by comedy relief fur- 
nished by Cesar Romero, as a fisherman who longs 
to be a farmer. A storm sequence at sea, in which 
Andrews and Romero rescue the youngster from 
drowning, is highly exciting: — 

Dean, a twelve-year-old ward of the State, who 
had run away from three homes, is taken by Jean to 
the home of Miss Revere, who agress to take him on 
probation. The youngster makes friends with An- 
drews, who, understanding the boy's love for the 
sea, hires him to work on his boat on Saturdays in an 
effort to rehabilitate him. The joy Dean feels after a 
day at sea with Andrews soon turns to dejection when 
Jean, whose fear of the sea had caused her to break 
her engagement to Andrews, forbids the lad to go to 
sea again on the ground that it was too dangerous. 
The dejected youngster decides to run away to Bos- 
ton. He steals a camera and sells it to a pawn shop to 
obtain enough funds for the fare. But a mistaken be- 
lief that the robbery had been discovered causes him 
to become panic stricken; he steals a motorboat and 
heads out to sea in the midst of a storm. He is spotted 
by Andrews and Romero, who set off in pursuit and 
rescue him when his boat capsizes. Heeding Andrews 
advice, Jean agrees to permit Dean to work on the 
boat so as to keep him happy. But by this time the 
robbery is discovered and traced to Dean. The lad 
confesses and is taken to a reform school. Realizing 
that the boy had had a rough time in life, and believ- 
ing that there is much good in him, Andrews enlists 
the aid of a local politician to secure his release, and 
ofi^ers to adopt him. At a hearing before a judge, 
Jean and Miss Revere agree with Andrews that he 
should be permitted to adopt the boy, with Jean ex- 
plaining that she had made a mistake in trying to 
condition the lad for an inland occupation when his 
love for the sea was so strong. The judge grants the 
petition, and Andrews and Jean reconcile. 

Samuel G. Engel produced it and Henr)-- King di- 
rected it from a screen play by Richard Murphy, 
based on the novel "Spoonhandle," by Ruth Moore. 

Excellent for the entire family. 



108 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 3, 1948 



"Sanders of the River," with Paul Robeson and LesHe 
Banks; "The Ghost Goes West," with Robert Donat 
and Jean Parker; "Men Are Not Gods," with Miriam 
Hopkins, Rex Harrison and Gertrude Lawrence; 
"The Man Who Could Work Miracles," with Ro- 
land Young; "The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel," 
with Barry K. Barnes and James Mason; "Catherine 
the Great," with Elisabeth Bergner and Douglas Fair- 
banks, Jr.; "Murder on Diamond Row," with Ann 
Todd and Edmund Lowe; "Things to Come," with 
Raymond Massey and Cedric Hardwicke; "The Pri- 
vate Life of Don Juan," with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. 
and Merle Oberon; "The Thief of Bagdad," with 
Sabu; "Rembrandt," with Charles Laughton and 
Valerie Hobson; "The Divorce of Lady X," with 
Merle Oberon, Laurence Olivier and Ralph Richard- 
son; "U-Boat 29," with Conrad Veidt and Valerie 
Hobson; "The Challenge," with Robert Douglas; 
"That Hamilton Woman," with Vivien Leigh and 
Laurence Olivier; "Drums," with Sabu and Raymond 
Massey; "Over the Moon," with Merle Oberon and 
Rex Harrison; "Lydia," with Merle Oberon and 
Joseph Gotten; "Jungle Book," with Sabu; "Four 
Feathers," with Ralph Richardson and June Duprez; 
and "Elephant Boy," with Sabu. 

Following is a list of the thirty-eight pictures ac- 
quired by WPIX from Regal: "The Housekeeper's 
Daughter," with Joan Bennett and Adolphe Menjou; 
"Of Mice and Men," with Burgess Meredith and 
Lon Chaney; "One MiUion B.C.," with Carole Lan- 
dis and Victor Mature; "Road Show," with Carole 
Landis and Adolphe Menjou; "Merrily We Live," 
with Constance Bennett and Brian Aherne; "Kelly 
the Second," with Patsy Kelly and Charlie Chase; 
"Captain Caution," with Victor Mature and Leo 
Carillo; "Captain Fury," with Brian Aherne and 
Victor McLaglen; "There Goes My Heart," with 
Fredric March, Virginia Bruce and Patsy Kelly; 
"Broadway Limited," with Victor McLaglen, Mar- 
jorie Woodworth, and Dennis O'Keefe. 

Also eleven Laurel 6? Hardy pictures, including, 
"A Chump at Oxford," "Saps at Sea," "Pardon Us," 
"Bohemian Girl," "Way Out West," "Sons of the 
Desert," "Pack Up Your Troubles," "Block Heads," 
"Swiss Miss," "Our Relations," and "Zenobia." 

Also seventeen Hal Roach "streamliner" comedies, 
including "Tanks a Million," "Niagara Falls," "Miss 
Polly," "Hay Foot," "Dudes Are Pretty People," 
"About Face," "Calaboose," "Fall In," "Prairie 
Chickens," "Yanks Ahoy," "All-American Co-ed," 
"Gaiety" (shown in theatres as "Fiesta"), "Flying 
with Music," "Two Muggs from Brooklyn" (shown 
in theatres as "The McGuerins from Brooklyn"), 
"The Furious Phoney" (shown in theatres as "The 
Devil with Hitler"), and "Double-Crossed Fool" 
(shown in theatres as "That Nat2;i Nuisance") . 

Many of you will recognize in the above listings 
pictures that are currently making the rounds as re- 
issues. In areas where there are no television broad- 
casts, the exhibitor need not, of course, concern him- 
self for the present about competition from that me- 
dium, although it may creep up on him sooner than 
he expects. But in the key areas, where television sta- 
tions are either in operation or about to start opera- 
tions, the matter of motion picture telecasts has be- 
come a definite competitive problem, and the business- 
wise exhibitor will take every precaution to assure 
himself that the reissues he books will not be telecast 



until after a reasonable period of time has elapsed 
from the date of his own exhibitions. 

In cases where the distributor of a reissue in theat- 
rical situations has control also of the television rights, 
it should be a comparatively simple matter for him 
to warrant in the license agreement that the picture 
has not been shown on television in the exhibitor's 
territory and will not be shown for a specific period 
of time. But in cases where the distributor has no con- 
trol over the television rights, the exhibitor takes a 
definite risk in booking his reissues, for you may be 
sure that those who do control the television rights are 
not the least bit concerned about the welfare of the 
exhibitor. Consequently, the exhibitor who books such 
reissues may very well find himself in the embarrass- 
ing position of offering to his patrons a picture that 
they had seen on television only a few nights pre- 
viously, or perhaps offering it to them on the same 
night when it can be seen as a telecast at no charge. 

There is still another precaution that must be taken 
in regard to the booking of reissues, and that is to 
make sure that such pictures have not been shown to 
television audiences under a different title. 

In checking with WPIX the list of pictures sold to 
it by Regal, the writer discovered that four of the 
Hal Roach "streamliners," titled "Gaiety," "Two 
Muggs from Brooklyn," "The Furious Phoney," and 
"Double-Crossed Fool," were originally distributed 
by United Artists under the titles "Fiesta," "The Mc- 
Guerins of Brooklyn," "The Devil with Hitler," and 
"That Natzi Nuisance," respectively. According to a 
spokesman at WPIX, the station's agreement with 
Regal called for the use of the new titles in the tele- 
casts. 

Just imagine the resentment an unwitting exhibitor 
would invite from his patrons if he should book, say, 
"Fiesta," only to discover that many of them had seen 
it on television as "Gaiety"! 

The television audience is becoming so vast, and the 
competition between stations for their attention so 
keen, that each is trying to outdo the other in the way 
of up-to-date entertainment. Consequently, it will 
not be surprising if an exhibitor will soon find himself 
needing some form of protection against the possibil- 
ity of new pictures being telecast before he has had a 
chance to show them after signing a license agree- 
ment. Such a statement may sound far-fetched, but 
the fact remains that, in these days of rapid television 
expansion, some distributors are still concluding re- 
leasing agreements with producers for new pictures 
without obtaining from them control over the tele- 
vision rights. The picture salesman, of course, will 
assure the exhibitor that pictures he buys will not be 
telecast until long after they have made their rounds 
in the theatres, but these assurances will mean nothing 
unless they are written into the contract. And such 
assurances cannot be put into the contract so long as 
the distributor has no control over the television 
rights. 

There seems to be no end to the precautions an ex- 
hibitor will have to take in order to protect himself 
against unfair competition that might be offered by 
motion picture telecasts. It is an intricate and impor- 
tant problem, one that requires close study by the 
legal minds of the different exhibitor organizations 
who should see to it that the distributors include in 
their future licensing agreements provisions designed 
to protect the exhibitor to the fullest extent in regard 
to the telecasting of the pictures he licenses. 



flntered aa second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post ofllcc at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS Published Weekly by 

United States ?15.00 (Formerly Sixth Avenue) Harrison's Reports, Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 „ V I- on M Y Publisher 

Canada 16.50 "^^ ' °"^ ^"' "• " • p. S. HARRISON, Editor 

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35c a Copy Columns, If It Is to Beneflt the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JULY 10, 1948 No. 28 



BLOWING HOT AND COLD 

On June 21, Mr. Edward T. Cheyfitz, assistant to 
Mr. Eric Johnston, president of the Motion Picture 
Association of America, spoke at a luncheon meeting 
of the Hollywood American Federation of Labor's 
Film Council and, on behalf of Mr. Johnston, branded 
as ridiculous the rumors that the American producers 
are embarking on an extensive film production pro- 
gram abroad. 

According to a publicity release issued by the John- 
ston ofiice in Hollywood, Mr. Cheyfitz had this to 
say, in part : 

"Mr. Johnston has made it clear that reports of 
production in other countries are vicious nonsense, 
out of all proportion to reality. 

"Lack of studio space in England makes it im- 
possible for American companies to plan to make 
more than 12 pictures there in a year; if they turned 
out 15, it would be a production miracle. And facili- 
ties are not available to make more than half a dozen 
in other countries outside America." 

In other words, Mr. Johnston's representative told 
the AFL Film Council that there are no facilities to 
make more than a few pictures abroad, but the way 
the statement is worded one could take it as meaning 
that, if England had greater facilities, the American 
producers would have made a greater number of pic- 
tures there. 

The message that Mr. Johnston should have con- 
veyed to the Council through his representative 
should have been the following : 

"Gentlemen, your unions have made it impossible 
for us to produce pictures profitably here. The juris- 
dictional strike of the carpenters is still on, and the 
cost today of erecting sets, as compared with the cost 
of a few years ago, has more than doubled. The slow- 
down on the job of the members affihated with your 
unions is still going on, and the ridiculous jurisdic- 
tional rules that require the producers to employ the 
members of a specialised craft, such as a stunt man to 
push over a bookcase, have added to the cost of pro- 
duction tremendously, for we are compelled to pay a 
full day's wages to men who often put in no more 
than ten minutes work a day, if that much." 

Had Mr. Johnston conveyed such a message, he 
would have said something that might have impressed 
the Film Council, for he would have told them noth- 
ing but the facts, and would have avoided the neces- 
sity of contradicting himself by implication. 

Nothing can be gained by appeasement. Blunt talk 
might shock the union people and compel them to 
come out of their trance. 



THE NEW CONCILIATION FLAN 
DESERVES A FAIR TRIAL 

Taking exception to a trade paper story that Allied 
Independent Theatre Owners of Eastern Pennsyl- 
vania, as one of AUied's Eastern units, had approved 
and would support the conciliation plan established 
recently by North Central Allied and 20th Century- 
Fox, Sidney E. Samuelson, general manager of Penn- 
sylvania Alhed, has issued the following statement: 

"In order to keep the record straight, this is an offi- 
cial announcement that this organization has not, and 
probably will not approve the so-called conciliation 
plan. Independent exhibitors in this territory have 
many deep-seated and legitimate grievances which 
cannot be righted except by substantial concessions 
from the distributors and the affiliated chain theatres. 
Wherever and whenever a member of this association 
with legitimate grievances desires the support of this 
organization in litigation or in negotiation with other 
elements of this industry he will get such support to 
the fullest extent. 

"Starting with the Minneapohs Convention of 
1921, and ending with UMPI in 1942, the history of 
all conciliation, mediation and conference efforts be- 
tween the independent exhibitors and the distribu- 
tors have been a never-ending record of repeated fail- 
ures to secure any measure of relief for the independ- 
ent exhibitors. 

"There is no evidence now present in the film rent- 
als being demanded by the distributors, or in their 
efforts to circumvent the decision of the United States 
Supreme Court, to create the preliminary confidence 
absolutely necessary for the success of any concilia- 
tion plan. Additional reasons for our objections to the 
so-called conciliation plan will be submitted at the 
next meeting of the National Board of Directors." 

Sidney Samuelson can hardly be blamed for his 
cool attitude towards the NCA — 20th Century-Fox 
mediation plan, for through the many years that he 
has been active as a leader in exhibitor affairs he has 
seen numerous conciliation movements end in com- 
plete failure for reasons that no doubt give him the 
right to look upon this latest movement with a cynical 
eye. He is right when he says that substantial conces- 
sions are required from the distributors and the affili- 
ated theatre chains in order to adjust satisfactorily the 
legitimate grievances of the exhibitors. And in the 
past such concessions were not substantial enough to 
afford the exhibitors proper relief. 

But any movement that tends to improve exhibitor- 
distributor relations, despite the failure of prior move- 
(Continued on last page) 



no 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 10, 1948 



"Train to Alcatraz" with Donald Barry 

(RepubUc, June 28, time, 58 miii.) 

An ordinary program melodrama, strictly for those who 
like plenty of shooting and killings regardless of the fact 
that the story is implausible and almost juvenile in concept. 
Revolving around the attempted escape of a group of con- 
victs en route to Alcatraz, most of the action takes place on 
a train. How they manage to gain the upper hand on their 
guards is so far-fetched that most patrons will laugh at the 
action rather than be thrilled by it. The most inane part 
of the story has to do with the affectionate interest Janet 
Martin, a passenger, shows in one of the convicts, a perfect 
stranger to her; there is no apparent valid reason for her 
interest in him, and her anxiety over his welfare borders on 
the ludicrous. Although the picture runs slightly less than 
an hour, it took considerable padding to give it that length. 

En route to Alcatraz in a prison car that had been at- 
tached to a regular transcontinental passenger train, a group 
of convicts have but one thought — escape! Milburn Stone, 
one of the convicts, ralhes the others under his leadership 
with an escape plan that "can't miss," but William Phipps, 
the youngest of the prisoners, warns the others against tieing 
up with Stone, revealing that he had been sentenced to life 
imprisonment because Stone and his girl-friend, June Storey, 
had framed him for the murder of a T-Man, while the 
actual killer, a pal of Stone's, went free. Taking Phipps" 
advice, the others align themselves with Don Barry, a 
vicious killer, who had several escapes to his credit. Follow- 
ing a pre-arranged plan, they manage to overpower the 
guards and obtain weapons. U. S. Marshal Ralph Dunn and 
two deputies prevent the convicts from breaking out of 
the car and shoot down Stone when he ignores their warn- 
ing. Barry, desperate, issues an ultimatum to Dunn threat- 
ening to shoot down the overpowered guards unless the 
convicts are set free, Dunn refuses to listen, and Barry 
shoots down the guards in cold blood. Meanwhile June, a 
passenger on the train, forces the conductor at gunpoint to 
stop the train. Led by Barry, the convicts pile out of the 
car, but Dunn, prepared for them, shoots them all down. 
Meanwhile Phipps, unable to leave the prison car because 
of wounds received in the shooting, learns that he had been 
cleared of the crime he did not commit and is set free. 

Lou Brock produced it and Philip Ford directed it from 
an original screen play by Gerald Geraghty. 

Adult fare. 



"The Walls of Jericho" with Cornel Wilde, 
Linda Darnell and Anne Baxter 

(20th Centiir;>'-Fox. Augiwt; time, 106 min.) 
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, "The 
Walls of Jericho" is a rather slow-moving drama of politics 
and love, with Kansas in the year 1908 as the locale. The 
story has some highly dramatic moments and the perform- 
ances of the entire cast are good, but on the whole the 
picture is no more than fairly interesting. Its chief trouble 
hes in the weak script, which fails to define clearly the 
different characterizations, and which leaves too much to 
the spectator's imagination. As a matter of fact it is mainly 
because of the good acting that one's attention is held. A 
highly emotional scene is where Anne Baxter, the heroine- 
lawyer, makes a fervent courtroom plea to save the life of a 
'teen-aged girl accused of murder, whose trial had been used 
by a vicious woman to smear the reputations of Miss Baxter 
and of Cornel Wilde, the hero-lawyer, as part of a scheme 
to ruin his chances for election to the Senate. The potent 
cast names, the fame of the novel, and the fact that it may 
be classified as a "woman's" picture are angles that can be 
exploited, but it will need a strong selling campsiign to put 
it over: — 

Wilde, a politically-minded County Attorney, makes the 
best of his unfortunate marriage to Ann Dvorak, an un- 
reasonable woman addicted to drink. When his best friend. 
Kirk Douglas, pubhsher of a local paper, marries Linda 
Darnell, a beautiful, smartly-dressed woman, Wilde finds 
himself the object of her attentions and becomes perturbed 
by her overtures. Angered when he politely rebuffs her ad- 
vances, Linda talks her husband into running for Congress 



in opposition to Wilde, whom she brings under attack with 
a vice-crusade sponsored by Douglas' paper. Meanwhile 
Wilde renews acquaintances with Anne Baxter, daughter of 
a deceased lawyer-friend, who had returned to town after 
becoming a lawyer herself. They see each other often and 
soon fall deeply in love. Wilde withdraws from the Con- 
gressional race lest a victory take him to Washington away 
from Anne. But Anne, realizing the hopelessness of their love, 
leaves Jericho to practice in Kansas City. Following Douglas' 
election as Congressman, Linda sees to it that he becomes 
a candidate for the Senate. Wilde, determined to come to 
grips with Linda, announces his candidacy for the same 
office. Shortly thereafter Colleen Townsend, a mutual 
teen-aged friend of Anne's and Wilde's, is accosted by 
Barton MacLane, a drunken town bully, who attempts to 
attack her. To defend herself. Colleen hits him with a 
shovel, kilhng him. She seeks refuge with Anne in Kansas 
City, but both Anne and Wilde induce her to return to 
Jericho to stand trial, promising to defend her. Linda, be- 
lieving that Colleen's conviction would hurt Wilde's chances 
of election, secretly builds up a case against the girl and, 
to make matters even more difficult for Wilde, talks his 
drunken wife into suing him for a divorce, naming Anne as 
correspondent. The news of the divorce action is broken 
in the midst of the trial to discredit both Wilde and Anne. 
Wilde asks for a recess and returns home to question his 
wife. He finds her in a drunken stupor, and she shoots him 
down as he remonstrates with her. With Wilde fighting for 
hfe in the hospital, Anne proceeds with the case and, by 
placing Linda on the stand, exposes her calumnies, winning 
Colleen's freedom and clearing the reputation of Wilde 
and herself. Douglas, sickened by the revelation of his wife's 
intrigue, breaks with her. It all ends with Anne in Wilde's 
arms, with the audience left to assume that a divorce from 
his wife will clear the way for their marriage. 

Lamar Trotti wrote the screen play and produced it from 
the novel by Paul Wellman. John M. Stahl directed it. 

Adult fare. 



"Thunderhoof" with Preston Foster, 
Mary Stuart and William Bishop 

(Columbia, July 8; time, 77 min.) 
"Thunderhoof" is a low-budget but better-than-average 
program Western, with a theme that is somewhat similar 
to "Treasure of the Sierra Madres." It is not a pleasant 
story, but the characterizations are interesting though ruth- 
less, and the acting very good. The story, which centers 
around the hunt and capture of a wild stallion by a middle- 
aged cowboy and his younger partner, and around the efforts 
of the younger man to win the love of his friend's wife, is 
a mixture of human conflicts in which the weaknesses in all 
three characters are brought to the fore. The action is con- 
siderably exciting throughout and should easily satisfy those 
who love their melodramas rough and tough. The outdoor 
sepia photography is excellent: — 

Preston Foster, his wife, Mary Stuart, and his protege, 
William Bishop, search the Mexican wilderness for a wild 
stallion known as Thunderhoof. Foster wanted the fabulous 
stallion to breed thoroughbreds on a horse farm he intended 
to establish in Texas. Infatuated with Mary, Bishop, who 
owed his life to Foster for having saved him from a quick- 
sand death years previously, wants to quit the search, but 
Foster uses force to keep him in line. They eventually cap- 
ture the stallion, but in the process Foster breaks his leg. 
Bishop resets the leg and, despite his protests, Foster insists 
that they continue on to Texas. Bishop goes along because 
of his love for Mary, who returns his affection guiltily be- 
cause of Foster's ornery attitude towards both of them. They 
eventually reach a deserted ranch house, where they stop 
long enough for Foster to regain his strength. When he dis- 
covers that the ranch's well was drying up, Foster decides 
that they must move on, at the same time warning Mary 
not to touch any water from a contaminated water hole 
nearby. Bishop, unaware that the water was contaminated, 
fills his canteen with it. A few nights later, thieves steal their 
food and two saddle horses, leaving only Mary's horse and 
Thunderhoof. Mary is sent ahead while Foster and Bishop 
break in Thunderhoof as a saddle horse. Crazed by typhoid 



July 10, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



111 



as a result of drinking the contaminated water. Bishop 
accuses Foster of planning to run off with Thunderhoof, 
leaving him to die in the desert. He yanks Foster off the 
horse, which runs into the desert, and in the ensuing fight 
knocks him unconscious and rolls him down a ravine, leav- 
ing him there to die. Plodding along on foot. Bishop over- 
takes Mary and informs her that Foster had double-crossed 
thera by running off with Thunderhoof. In his delirium, 
however, he reveals the truth and she begins to loathe him. 
He dies as he tries to snatch her last remaining water. 
Meanwhile Thunderhoof returns to Foster who, still alive, 
manages to mount the horse and rides frantically in pursuit 
of Mary. He finds his repentant wife lying on the sand, her 
water gone. He revives her, and they head for Texas to- 
gether. 

Ted Richmond produced it and Phil Karlson directed 
it from an original screen play by Hal Smith. 

Adult entertainment. 



skated right through the window of his home to keep him 

company. 

Nunnally Johnson produced it and wrote the screen play 
from the novel, "Peabody's Mermaid," by Guy and Con- 
stance Jones. Irving Pichcl directed it. The cast includes 
Clinton Sandburg and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



k 



"Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid" with 
William Powell and Ann Blyth 

(Uniu.-Int'l, no release date set; time, 89 min.) 
Good light entertainment. It is a farce-comedy, founded 
on fantasy, centering around a married businessman who, 
upon reaching the age of fifty, which he calls "the old age of 
youth and the youth of old age," becomes enamored of a mer- 
maid whom he catches by the tail while fishing in the Carib- 
bean. The whole idea of the story is whimsical and fanciful, 
but it is original and clever and is filled with comedy inci- 
dents that range from the subtly sophisticated to the satirical 
and slapstick, keeping one chuckling throughout. William 
Powell is at his best as the suave but harassed middle-aged 
hero with a desire to hang on to his declining youth, and 
Ann Blyth, who does not utter a word of dialogue as the 
mermaid, portrays the role in charmipg fashion, expertly 
conveying her emotions through facial expressions and body 
movements that leave no doubt as to what is passing through 
her mind. The production values are very good, the musical 
effects unusual, and the underwater scenes enchanting. Al- 
though it is sophisticated in treatment, there is nothing 
objectionable about the situations: — 

The story, told in flashback, begins with Powell being 
literally dragged to a psychiatrist (Art Smith) by his wife, 
Irene Hervey, because of his claim that he had caught a 
mermaid during their vacation. Powell relates to Smith that 
he and his wife had taken an expensive villa on St. Hilda's 
Island, and that he had heard strange singing coming from 
a reef about a mile off shore. While fishing near the reef, 
he had caught the mermaid by the tail and had taken her to 
the villa, where he had placed her in the bathtub. He had 
become slightly intoxicated in celebration of his find, and 
his wife, noticing only the mermaid's tail protruding from 
the tub, had ordered him to get "that fish" out of the house, 
despite his efforts to explain that it was a real mermaid. He 
had transferred the mermaid to the villa's pond, and had 
gone on a shopping tour to buy her a bathing suit. Andrea 
King, a champion swimmer, whom Powell had met at a 
beach party, had bumped into him at the shop and had 
accepted his story about the mermaid with tongue in cheek. 
Invited to dinner at his home, Andrea had decided to see 
the creature for herself. She had stripped off her gown and 
had dived into the pool, but the mermaid, jealous of the 
attentions she had been paying Powell, had bitten Andrea 
and had stolen her clothes, placing them in a compromising 
position when found by Powell's wife. His efforts to explain 
about the mermaid had only served to complicate matters, 
and his wife had left him. Meanwhile word of his claimed 
phenomenon had spread throughout the island, causing 
many people to question his sanity. And to add to his 
troubles, the police had suspected foul play because of the 
disappearance of his wife. When the police had closed in 
on the villa, Powell, by this time infatuated with the mer- 
maid, had escaped with her to a deep cavern in the rocks. 
He had tried to join the mermaid in her underwater hide- 
away, and had been rescued from drowning by the police. 
When Powell finishes his story, the psychiatrist, having just 
passed the age of fifty himself, tells him not to worry and 
relates a similar experience about a cute ice-skater who had 



"Key Largo" with Humphrey Bogart, 
Edward G. Robinson, Lauren Bacall, 
Claire Trevor and Lionel Barrymore 

(Warner Bros., July 31; time, 101 mm.) 

A top-notch gangster melodrama, adapted from Maxwell 
Anderson's play of the same name. Revolving around a 
group of ruthless gangsters who take possession of a small 
Florida hotel and intimidate the elderly, invalided owner 
and his widowed daughter-in-law, only to be brought to 
justice by a disillusioned war veteran whose inherent sense 
of decency revolts against their sadistically cruel tactics, the 
story is a grim, bitter tale of conflicting emotions and clash- 
ing of wills. But it has a tense and taut script, superb direc- 
tion, and excellent acting by a group of players who are 
exactly right for their roles. Compared with most gangster 
pictures, this one has relatively little melodramatic action, 
yet it has an absorbingly sustained mood of menace and 
suspense from start to finish. Edward G. Robinson, as the 
sadistic gangster chief; Humphrey Bogart, as the veteran; 
Lionel Barrymore, as the invalided but courageous hotel 
keeper; Lauren Bacall, as his widowed daughter-in-law; and 
Claire Trevor, as Robinson's blousy, hard-drinking girl- 
friend, are convincing in the principal roles, but it is Miss 
Trevor, as the fading blonde who realizes that Robinson is 
about to discard her, who walks away with the acting honors 
in what is undoubtedly the best work of her career. The 
photography is superior, and the background music highly 
effective. The mounting tension created by the menacing 
gangsters is heightened by the terrifying sweep and fury of 
a Florida hurricane, which has been caught by the camera 
in expert fashion, 

Bogart, an ex-army major, arrives in Key Largo, to pay his 
respects to Barrymore and Lauren, whose husband, his 
buddy, had been killed in the war. He finds that the hotel 
operated by Barrymore had been taken over by a group of 
four gangsters headed by Robinson, a notorious racketeer 
who had been deported from the United States but had 
returned to sell a suitcase full of counterfeit money to Marc 
Lawrence, a gangster pal, who was to meet Kim that night 
at the hotel. Robinson's well laid plans are upset by the 
news that a hurricane would strike the coast that night, 
and by the appearance of a deputy sheriff searching for 
two escaped Indians. The deputy is knocked unconscious 
when he recognises Robinson, and Bogart, Barrymore and 
Lauren are kept prisoners by the armed men. The howling 
of the hurricane strikes fear in Robinson's heart, and he 
becomes jumpy and abusive. He makes improper advances 
to Lauren, and taunts Bogart for not coming to her aid. 
Bogart, disillusioned with the post-war world, refuses the 
challenge, stating that one gangster more or less was not 
worth dying for. As the hurricane reaches its full fury, 
Robinson's nerves reach the breaking point; he kills the 
deputy, abuses Claire, his girl-friend, and attacks Bogart 
for helping her. When the storm passes its peak, Lawrence 
arrives and concludes the deal for the counterfeit money. 
To make a getaway, Robinson forces Bogart to pilot a boat 
that will take him and his henchmen back to Cuba. Claire, 
left behind, manages to steal Robinson's gun and slips it to 
Bogart. Once at sea, Bogart realizes his obligation to destroy 
these ruthless men. He forces one gangster overboard, 
shoots down two of the others, and in a final showdown 
pumps Robinson full of lead. He brings the boat, with its 
cargo of death, back to Key Largo, where Barrymore and 
Lauren invite him to make the hotel his permanent home. 

Jerry Wald produced it and John Huston directed it from 
a screen play written by himself and Richard Brooks. The 
cast includes Thomas Gomez, Harry Lewis, John Rodney, 
Dan Seymour, Monte Blue and others. 

Adult entertainment. 



112 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 10, 1948 



ments, is worthy of a trial, and until it has been tried 
and found wanting it is only fair that it should not be 
condemned. 

The sponsors of the NCA — 20th Century-Fox me- 
diation plan have announced that it will be put into 
effect on a trial basis, and only if it is found practical 
and proved successful will it be established on a per- 
manent basis. 

Grievances of a purely private or personal nature 
will not be considered by the Grievance Committee 
set up under the plan, nor will it consider the subject 
of film rentals a matter of discussion. Otherwise, there 
is no limit to the subjects that an exhibitor can bring 
before the Committee as a grievance. 

The underlying principle of the plan is to dispose 
of grievances by mediation rather than litigation, and 
to that end both sides have pledged themselves to a 
consideration of the disputes in a spirit of fairness 
and open-mindedness so that they may be settled 
amicably, fairly, and promptly. 

No exhibitor is compelled to avail himself of the 
plan, and an exhibitor does not have to be a member 
of Allied in order to bring a grievance before the 
board. And, most important of all, an exhibitor who 
brings a dispute before the board does not forego any 
of his legal rights. 

On the face of it, the plan seems very fair. How it 
will work out in practice, and whether or not the 
settlements will be substantial enough to warrant con- 
tinuance of the plan remains to be seen. Meanwhile, 
it should be looked upon as a sincere forward step to 
improve intra-industry relations, and should be given 
every chance to prove itself. 

Those who are prone to criticise the plan before it 
is put in operation should remember that nothing 
ventured is nothing gained. 



COMBATTING UNFAIR NON- 
THEATRICAL COMPETITION 

Several weeks ago, Mr. Charles Niles, Chairman 
of the Allied Caravan Committee of Iowa and Ne- 
braska, informed the Omaha branch of the Treasury 
Department that a school in Whitman, Nebraska, has 
gone into the 16 mm. show business, taking up a col- 
lection at the performances instead of charging an 
admission price. Mr. Niles, who stated that this is 
"wicked competition for the legitimate theatres," is 
absolutely right, for it is obvious that the practice of 
taking up a collection instead of charging an admis- 
sion fee is nothing more than an attempt to circum- 
vent Treasury Department regulations on admission 
taxes. 

The Collector of Internal Revenue at Omaha re- 
plied to Mr. Niles, ift part, as follows : 

"Kindly be assured that the matter of admission 
tax liability involved in the 'free-shows' at Whitman, 
Nebraska, will be thoroughly investigated by a Dep- 
uty Collector of Internal Revenue." 

The practice of non-theatrical institutions giving 
admissionless picture exhibitions and then making a 
collection has been prevalent too long. Schools, 
churches, and all other institutions that are supported 
by the public are, as a general rule, exempt from all 
forms of taxation and, under the law, they cannot be- 
come business institutions. But when these institutions 
use a "collection" system at a picture exhibition, they 
are in fact giving a public performance for profit and, 



consequently, become business places. And the unfair 
thing about it is that they become direct competitors 
of the ligitimate theatres that pay the taxes that help 
to support them. 

In the great majority of cases, the local exhibitor 
finds it unwise to protest against this practice, with 
the result that his business suffers. In this instance, 
however, the complaint has been entered by the ex- 
hibitor organization, thus the local exhibitor has 
avoided embarrassment. But insofar as the Treasury 
Department is concerned, the law is the law and all 
who violate it, through subterfuge or otherwise, must 
stop the violation. 

All other exhibitor organizations could help their 
members by taking the action that Mr. Niles has 
taken. 



"Corridor of Mirrors" with an English cast 

{Univ.'Int'l, no release date set; time, 96 min.) 
This picture is different from the usual run of pic- 
tures and, for "A" audiences, it is a first-class attrac- 
tion, for it holds one's attention tense throughout. It 
is a somber subject in theme and in atmosphere, and 
the low-key photography fits the subject's somber- 
ness. The sets are fabulously costly, the most costly of 
all being the Venetian party sequence. The costumes 
are lavish. Miss Edana Romney, the leading lady, is 
beautiful, and her acting matches her beauty. Eric 
Portman, as the hero-lover, does good work. The dia- 
logue is difiicult to understand most of the time, not 
only because of the proverbial accent, but also because 
of the poor recording. The worst feature of all, how- 
ever, is the panoramic method of the "shooting" of 
the scenes — the camera follows the actors. When the 
background is far away, it is tolerable, but when the 
background is close behind the actor it is intolerable. 
The story deals with Edana Romney, the heroine, a 
night club entertainer, who is charmed by Portman, 
a man who, afraid of the future, lives in the past, be- 
lieving that he had been reincarnated. When he meets 
Miss Romney he is so fascinated with her beauty that 
he imagines her to be his faithless girl-friend back in 
the 1 5th Century. But to her he is irresistible and she 
visits him often. His housekeeper warns her that he is 
unreliable — that he is a collector of women, and that 
she (the housekeeper) , was one of them until he dis- 
carded her for younger conquests. Another woman, 
who, too, had been discarded, enters Portman 's house. 
When she is found strangled, Portman is arrested for 
the crime. He goes on trial but refuses to defend him- 
self, asserting that he was guilty. He is executed. Sev- 
eral years later it comes to light that the murder had 
been committed by the housekeeper. Miss Romney, 
by this time married and the mother of three children, 
receives a message to go to a London museum, where 
she meets a former servant of Portman's and learns 
from him who the real murderer was. The woman 
was insane. Miss Romney returns home to a loving 
husband and children. 

The screen play was written by Rudolph Cartier, 
the producer, and Miss Romney, from a novel by 
Criss Massey. Terrence Young directed it. 

Although the sex situations have been handled in 
good taste, it is not a picture for children. 

Note: With strong and sensational exploitation, 
an exhibitor might book the picture on slow days with 
good results. 



Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, undnr the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS PubUshed Weekly by 

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Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.50 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

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Australia, New Zealand, 

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35c a Copy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Kxhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JULY 17, 1948 No. 29 



FIELD SALES FORCES NEED 
AN EDUCATION AT LAW 

Writing in the July 2 bulletin of the Allied Cara- 
van of Iowa 6? Nebraska, Mr. Charles Niles, chair- 
man of the organi:;ation's Caravan Committee, said 
the following about some salesmen's violating the 
U. S. Supreme Court's decision: 

"WE FIND : — in talking to some seventy-five ex- 
hibitors that the sales forces of the film companies are 
woefully ignorant of the recent Supreme Court deci- 
sion. Cases as follows: 

"CASE No. 1 : — A Fox salesman refused to sell 
eight pictures unless the exhibitor bought GENTLE- 
MEN'S AGREEMENT &? CAPTAIN FROM 
CASTILE. The member told the salesman he didn't 
want the two pictures but would buy the balance. 
THE SALESMAN SAID HE COULDN'T BUY 
ANY IF HE DIDN'T TAKE THEM ALL. 

"CASE No. 2:— R.K.O. refused to confirm and 
approve BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES because the 
exhibitor had not and would not buy the two previous 
Goldwyn pictures MITTY & BISHOP'S WIFE. 

"CASE No. 3 : — A Warner Brothers salesman re- 
fused to eliminate two pictures on a deal and told the 
exhibitor that hereafter if they wanted a deal they 
could come to him. 

"CASE No. 4: — ^A Paramount salesman refused 
to eliminate a picture on a deal and said his office 
would not stand for it. 

"All of these cases are flagrant violations of the 
Decree, that plainly states that the sale of any picture 
shall not be contingent on the sale of another. We 
advise the sales forces hereafter stop these unlawful 
selHng tactics. ..." 

"A copy of this letter is being mailed to all the 
branches at both Des Moines and Omaha, their home 
offices at New York, and to the Hon. Tom Clark, 
Attorney General of the United States." 

Throughout the years that I have been publishing 
Harrison's Reports, the stumbling block to reforms 
in the industry have been the sales forces in the field. 
Distributor representatives in New York would agree 
with exhibitor representatives upon certain reforms; 
the Distributor home offices would issue instructions 
to their sales forces in the field to carry them out, but 
in every instance these forces violated them. 

In the cases reported by Mr. Niles, however, the 
matter differs entirely. The ban of the practice of con- 
ditioning the sale of one picture upon an agreement 
that another be bought is, not an understanding be- 
tween distributor and exhibitor representatives, but a 
U. S. Supreme Court decision, a violation of which 
may have serious consequences upon the guilty sales- 
men. If an exhibitor should have either written or 
witness evidence of such violations and should report 



the matter to the U. S. District Attorney of his terri- 
tory with a request that he cause indictments to be 
issued against the offender, the offender, if proved 
guilty, may be sent to the penitentiary, not only for 
contempt of the U. S. Supreme Court, but also for 
flouting the anti-trust laws, under which every viola- 
tion is a "misdemeanor," punishable by a "fine not 
exceeding $5,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 
one year, or by both said punishments, at the discre- 
tion of the Court." 

It is the duty of the Home Office general managers 
to renew their instructions to their field forces, cau- 
tioning them about the necessity of adhering to court 
rulings, and about the consequences of defying them. 



J. ARTHUR RANK'S SELFISHNESS 

To compel the British exhibitors to give forty-five 

percent of their playing time to British-produced pic- 
tures, J. Arthur Rank employed patriotism to gain his 
objective — restriction by law. He naturally feels that 
there is no reason why the British theatres should not 
show a larger number of British pictures. 

His real object, however, seems to be to sell a 
greater number of J. Arthur Rank pictures in order 
that his production activities turn into a paying enter- 
prise. 

The material issue, however, is not whether his 
object is to sell a greater number of his own pictures 
or to really give a chance to all British product to be 
shown in greater numbers on British screens, but 
whether, in pursuing such a poHcy, he benefits the 
British exhibitors or harms them. 

If Mr. Rank were able to produce as many good 
pictures as the American producers, to whom the 
British exhibitors look for sufficient box-office product 
in order to remain in business, the matter would differ, 
but he is not able to do so. Even if we were to forget 
about quality and confine ourselves to quantity the 
records shows that, during the past four years, Mr. 
Rank and all the other British producers combined 
have not suppUed the British exhibitors with enough 
films to meet even the old quota, which for 1947 was 
fixed at 17]/2 per cent, and for 1946 was set at 15 
per cent. 

Because of the lack of suitable British product, 
more than 1300 British exhibitors were unable to 
meet the lower quota last year. How, then, can they 
be expected to fill the higher quota, which becomes 
effective October 1 , when Mr. Rank and all the other 
British producers have neither the "know-how" nor 
the facihties to produce the approximately 160 fea- 
tures per year that will be required to enable the Brit- 
ish exhibitors to hve up to the quota? That the new 
quota is impractical and impossible of fulfillment is 
(Continued on last page) 



114 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 17. 1948 



"Red River" with John Wayne, 

Montgomery Clift, Walter Brennan 

and Joanne Dru 

(United Artists, August 27; time, 126 min.) 
Excellent! It is a big-scale Western, an epic of such 
sweep and magnitude that it deserves to take its place 
as one of the finest pictures of its type ever to come 
out of Hollywood. Its more than two-hours running 
time seems much less to the spectator, for it is a tense, 
gripping, suspense- laden melodrama, a superb job of 
movie-making in every detail — production, direction, 
writing, and acting. Under the masterful handling of 
producer-director Howard Hawks, the story, which 
deals with the first cattle drive over the Chisholm 
trail, from Texas to Abilene, Kansas, builds to a 
pinnacle of excitement and tension in a way that 
thrills the spectator throughout and holds him fasci- 
nated. The picture has everything one could wish for 
in a rousing Western — Indian raids, furious hand-to- 
hand brawls, thrilling horseback riding, an awesome 
cattle stampede, and gunplay that will keep one on 
the edge of his seat. Hawks has succeeded in making 
the characters live; every one in the cast acts as if the 
story were a real-life occurrence. John Wayne comes 
through with the top performance of his career in a 
magnificent portrayal as a hot-tempered, strong-willed 
cattle empire builder, whose slave-driving tactics turn 
his men against him. Montgomery Clift, as Wayne's 
hardened but sympathetic protege, who rebels against 
his heartlessness, is exactly right, underplaying the 
role with a finesse that establishes him as a star of the 
first order. Clift is a handsome fellow, with a person- 
ality that is sure to make a hit with the ladies. The 
fight between Clift and Wayne at the finish is as 
vicious and thrilling a brawl as any yet seen on the 
screen. An outstanding characterization is contributed 
by John Ireland as one of Wayne's tough, sure-shot 
lieutenants, and effective performances are turned in 
by Joanne Dru and Coleen Gray as the women in the 
life of Wayne and Chft. Others in the excellent sup- 
porting cast include the late Harry Carey, as a cattle 
dealer; Walter Brennan, as Wayne's inseparable 
partner; and Harry Carey, Jr., Noah Beery, Jr., and 
Paul Fix, as cowboys who sign on for the drive. The 
magnificent scenery, enhanced by the expert photog- 
raphy, is highly impressive. The picture's blend of ex- 
citing action, human interest, comedy, and some ro- 
mance will have a strong appeal for the masess, and 
the word-of-mouth advertising it is sure to receive 
will undoubtedly make it one of the really top box- 
office attractions of the year : — 

The story opens fourteen years before the Civil 
War and shows how Wayne, a man in his early thir- 
ties, parts from his sweetheart (Coleen Gray) and 
leaves a wagon train, accompanied by Brennan, to 
seek good grazing land to raise cattle. That night 
Indians attack the wagon train and kill his sweetheart. 
On the following morning, Wayne comes upon a 13- 
year-old youngster, the only survivor of the massacre, 
and adopts him. In the fourteen years that follow, 
Wayne, despite hostile Indians and land-hung^JVIex- 
icans, builds a great cattle empire in Texas.Jne be- 
comes desperate for a new market for his cat?le and 
decides to drive a tremendous herd to Missouri. With 
the orphan boy, now a young man (Montgomery 
Clift) as his chief aide, Wayne pushes his cattle and 
men ruthlessly as they struggle through stampedes, 
storms, and swollen rivers. His heartless savagery, 
however, backed by his ability to use a gun, makes the 
men restless. When word comes that outlaws were 



attacking cattle drives headed for Missouri, the men 
insist that they drive for a new railroad reported in 
Abilene. Wayne, lacking proof of the railroad's ex- 
istence, keeps heading for MissounJ Several of the 
men desert, only to be recaptured by Wayne. When 
he decides to hang them, Clift, realizing that he was 
wrong, takes command at gunpoint and, with the 
men backing him up, heads the herd for Abilene. 
Wayne, left behind, vows to follow and kill Clift. 
En route, Clift and his men fight off an Indian attack 
on a wagon train, during which he meets and falls in 
love with Joanne Dru. Clift eventually reaches Abi- 
lene and success. Meanwhile Wayne, who had been 
trailing him, arrives for a showdown. Unable to pro- 
voke his foster-son into drawing a gun against him, 
Wayne engages the youngster in a knock-down, drag- 
out fight, which is put to a halt by Joanne who grabs 
a gun and threatens to shoot both of them. The humor 
of the situation hits both men and they laughingly 
reconcile their differences. 

Borden Chase wrote the original story, "The Chis- 
holm Trail," and collaborated on the screen play with 
Charles Schnee. 

Unobjectionable morally. 

"Texas, Brooklyn and Heaven" with 

Guy Madison, Diana Lynn 

and James Dunn 

{United Artists, ]uly 16; time, 76 min.) 
In spite of the fact that it has a rambling story, this 
romantic comedy shapes up as a congenial entertain- 
ment, easy going and amusing. Revolving around the 
adventures of a young newspaperman who leaves 
Texas to try his hand as a playwright in New York, 
the story concerns itself mainly with his pursuit of a 
Texas girl who had accompanied him East, and with 
their "wacky" experiences as they become acquainted 
with odd characters. The comedy incidents are plenti- 
ful, the most hilarious one taking place in a Brooklyn 
"riding academy," a queer-looking place with me- 
chanical gadgets, such as horses, an elephant, a camel, 
and even a mock schooner, all set against moving back- 
grounds, which was patronized by people who liked 
to dream of adventure. The chaos that takes place 
when the gadgets get out of control should cause up- 
roarious laughter. All in all it is an unpretentious but 
pleasant comedy, which to many will come as a wel- 
come relief from gangster and murder pictures : — 

Having inherited $2,000 and two guns from his de- 
ceased grandfather, Guy Madison quits his Dallas 
newspaper job and heads for New York. En route, he 
meets Diana Lynn, a hitch-hiker, who joins him on 
the trip and mistakes him for an escaped bank robber 
when she sees the guns. By the time they reach New 
York, Madison finds himself deeply in love, despite 
Diana's warning not to fall in love with her. They 
separate, Madison going to work in a cheap hotel 
room, and Diana finding quarters in the stable-loft of 
a Brooklyn mansion with Florence Bates, a pickpocket, 
whom she had saved from the law by claiming that she 
was her mother. The mansion was owned by three 
dour spinsters (Irene Ryan, Margaret Hamilton, and 
Moyna Magill) , whom Miss Bates unsuccessfully tries 
to cheat in games of chance. In the course of events, 
Madison's finished play is rejected by the producers, 
and he causes Diana to lose her job in a Coney Island 
girlie show when he precipitates a riot. Dejected, he 
goes to a bar to drown his sorrows. James Dunn, the 
bartender, comforts him and takes him to Michael 
Chekhov's "riding academy" to cheer him up. Madi- 
son, by offering to pay Diana's salary, induces Chek- 



July 17, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



115 



hov to give her a job. Diana loves the work and, when 
ChekJiov is forced to sell because of poor business, 
Madison uses the remainder of his inheritance to buy 
the place and keep her happy. The academy, however, 
remains a financial flop. But on Christmas Eve, when 
one of the steady patrons shows up with twenty-five 
members of his lodge, each dressed as a Santa Claus, 
who cavort on die mechanical animals, Dunn notifies 
the newspapers and the resultant publicity makes the 
academy a valuable property. Madison and Diana sell 
the place to the three spinsters, and return to a Texas 
ranch happily married. 

Robert S. Golden produced it and William Castle 
directed it from a screen play by Lewis Meltzer, based 
on the Saturday Evening Post storj' by Barry Bene- 
field. The cast includes Lionel Stander, Clem Bevans, 
William Frawley, Roscoe Karns and others. 

Suitable for the entire family. 



"That Lady in Ermine" with Betty Grable 
and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. 

■ (20tfj Century-Fox, August; time, 89 min.) 
With Betty Grable and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in 
the leading roles, this lush Technicolor production has 
potent marquee value, but as entertainment it is only 
passable. It is a farcical romantic comedy, set in an 
Italian castle in the year 1861, and it revolves around 
the efi^orts of a pretty married noblewoman to save the 
castle and her honor when it is taken over by a regi- 
ment of Hungarian Hussars under the command of 
Fairbanks. About one-half of the action is fantasy, 
centering around the noblewoman's ancestral grand- 
mother (also played by Miss Grable), who was faced 
with a similar problem 300 years previously. The pic- 
ture has its moments of charm and here and there some 
delightful bits of comedy, but on the whole it misses 
fire, for it is handicapped by a story that is weak and 
confusing. The picture is the one on which the late 
Ernst Lubitsch was working as producer-director at 
the time of his death. It has been completed by Otto 
Preminger who, at his own request, receives no screen 
credit. The story, with some variations, was produced 
once before by First National in 1930, under the title, 
"The Bride of the Regiment": — 

Betty's husband, Cesar Romero, leaves her on their 
wedding night to do battle against the invading Hun- 
garian Hussars. That midnight, Betty's ancestors come 
to life from their portaits and her ancestral grand- 
mother, noticing the approach of Fairbank's regiment, 
recalls that 300 years previously she had been faced 
vidth a similar crisis when the castle had been invaded 
by a Duke (also Fairbanks) . Her husband (Reginald 
Gardiner) had failed in his plea to the Duke to spare 
the castle and its people, following which she had 
visited the Duke's tent, had obtained her subjects' 
freedom, and had stabbed the Duke to death. 
Throughout the years her husband had plagued her 
with his suspicions about what had happened in the 
tent, and she determines that Betty shall not suffer a 
similar fate. Arriving at the castle, Fairbanks soon 
learns that Betty's marriage had not been consum- 
mated, and he falls in love with her. Fairbanks catches 
Romero when he sneaks back to the castle disguised as 
a gypsy, and offers to spare his life if Betty will have 
dinner with him. At the appointed hour, Fairbanks, 
having filled himself with wine, falls into a stupor and, 
in a dream, has his romantic interlude with the grand- 
mother. He releases Romero on the following morning 
in the belief that his desire had been fulfilled, but he 
soon learns that it had been a dream and leaves the 
castle dejected. Romero returns to Betty, but his sus- 



picions as to the reason for his release result in a 
quarrel that ends in the break-up of their marriage. 
Betty, by this time attracted to Fairbanks, joins him 
for the happy ending. 

Samuel Raphaelson wrote the screen play. The 
cast includes Walter Abel, Harry Davenport, and 
others. 

Adult fare. 



"Night Has a Thousand Eyes" with 

Edward G. Robinson, Gail Russell 

and Jonh Lund 

(Paramount, October 22; time, 80 min.) 

This thriller is a strange but tense dramatic enter' 
tainment, expertly handled and suspenseful through- 
out. Centering around a vaudeville mental wizard 
who finds himself gifted with the ability to accurately 
predict events, mostly tragic, the fanciful but well- 
written story grips one's attention from start to finish 
as he endeavors to save a young girl from a violent 
death he had foreseen. The suspense reaches intens^^^ 
heights in the second half, where the vaudevillian, 
wrongly suspected by the police of having designs on 
the girl's life, is kept away from her despite his pleas 
that he be permitted to guide her away from the 
events that spelled her doom. Edward G. Robinson is 
convincing and sympathetic as the mentalist, and he is 
given excellent support by the entire cast. It is not a 
cheerful picture, but it has considerable merit for 
those who like something different in their screen 
fare : — ■ 

Robinson, while doing a mind-reading act with Vir- 
ginia Bruce and Jerome Cowan, perceives forthcoming 
tragic events that come true. His inability to prevent 
their occurrence disturbs him, and for that reason he 
breaks up the act when he foresees Virginia's death in 
childbirth following her marriage to Cowan. He re- 
tires from the stage and, years later, hears on the radio 
that Cowan, now a wealthy industrialist, was attempt- 
ing to set a new coast-to-coast speed record in his pri- 
vate plane. He receives a premonition of Cowan's im- 
pending death and, in an effort to save him, visits 
Cowan's daughter, Gail Russell, and pleads with her 
to stop the flight. John Lund, Gail's fiance, thinks 
Robinson a crackpot, but Gail agrees to communicate 
with her father. She is unable to reach him and, 
shortly thereafter, word comes of his death in a crash. 
Heartbroken over the tragedy, Robinson becomes even 
more dejected when he foresees Gail's death in a 
mortal accident. Gail agrees to let him help her avoid 
the accident, but Lund, suspicious, goes to the author- 
ities. The police, having learned that Cowan's plane 
had been tampered with, deduce that Robinson may 
have been involved in his murder and that he planned 
to dispose of Gail for reasons unknown to them; they 
hold him in custody. As the hour of Gail's impending 
death draws near, Robinson, by predicting the suicide 
of a convict before it happens, convinces the police of 
his super-normal powers and they rush him to Gail's 
home. There, ia spite of the fact that she was guarded 
closely by the police, he comes upon her just as one of 
her father's associates prepares to kill her to cover up 
a crooked stock deal. Robinson rushes to her defense 
and saves her, but the bewildered police, misunder- 
standing his motive, shoot him down. In his pocket 
they find a note predicting his own death that night. 

Endre Bohem produced it and John Farrow directed 
it from a screen play by Barre Lyndon and Jonathan 
Latimer, based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich. 
The cast includes William Demarest and others. 

Adult fare. 



116 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 17, 1948 



evidenced by the fact that, at this writing, nearly 3000 
British theatres, representing more than 85 per cent 
of all British theatres outside of the country's three 
large circuits, have applied to the Labor Government 
for exemption from the quota under an escape clause 
of the 1948 Fihns Act. 

Even if the British producers were somehow able to 
supply the exhibitors with enough product to fill the 
quota, how many of the pictures would be commer' 
cially suitable? If we are to judge from the past per- 
formances of British pictures in British theatres, the 
percentage of box-office pictures would indeed be 
small. 

No matter how one looks at the new quota, it is 
obvious that it is impractical and unworkable, and 
that it is designed, not only to put the "squeeze" on 
the British exhibitors, but also to restrict the showing 
of American films on British screens. But the fact re- 
mains that any restrictions placed on American pic- 
tures does not harm the American producers as much 
as it does harm the British exhibitors. 

Like the American exhibitors, the British exhibitors 
know that a theatre thrives on quality product with 
box-office appeal. And unless Mr. Rank can fill their 
playdates with meritorious pictures that will appeal 
to the many instead of the few, the British exhibitor 
will find his profits'vanishing, for, in spite of the fact 
that patriotism among the British is high and com- 
mendable, those among them who will go to a theatre 
to see a motion picture expect to be entertained. Thus 
far, the percentage of quahty box-office pictures sup- 
plied by Mr. Rank has been very low. Just imagine 
how much lower it will go when, in an effort to supply 
enough films to meet the quota, he sacrifices quality 
for quantity! 

The British exhibitors are not only opposed to the 
excessive quota but also to the monopolistic practices 
Mr. Rank is employing to force his pictures on them. 
If he were able to satisfy them in quality and quan- 
tity, no law would be required to place his pictures on 
their screens. 

Mr. Rank's monopoUstic efi^orts have one other 
object — to compel the British exhibitors to agree to 
percentage terms that he could not otherwise impose 
under free trade. There can be no other conclusion, 
for, to quote Samuel Goldwyn, who directed his re- 
marks at all British producers in a statement made 
last week, the quota is an indication that the British 
producers "do not have sufficient confidence in the 
ability of British pictures to hold their own in open 
competition with American films on their home 
grounds." 

With Britain in economic difficulties, you may be 
sure that no British exhibitor would prefer American 
pictures to British if the British pictures could bring 
him the same returns as are brought to him by the 
American pictures. Mr. Rank knows this, but he 
knows also that his product does not compare with 
the American pictures, and for that reason he is 
wielding a legal club to beat the British exhibitors into 
submitting to his demands. 

Mr. Rank is taking advantage of Britain's present 
economic difficulties to press his point; he is aware 
that the U. S. Government, because of such difficul- 
ties, will not press the British Government for better 
treatment of American pictures. But whether or not 
his monopolistic efforts will eventually prevail in the 
face of the British exhibitors' stiff opposition remains 



to be seen. This paper thinks that it will not, for, like 
all people who find themselves oppressed, the British 
exhibitors, when denied the right to Uve in a peaceful 
business world in which they can conduct their busi- 
nesses as free men and not as serfs, will rise in arms 
to regain their freedom. At such a time, Mr. Rank 
might find himself in a debacle, the like of which he 
has never dreamed of. 



NO AMERICAN FILMS FOR COUNTRIES 
BEHIND THE "IRON CURTAIN" 

A recent dispatch from Yugoslavia to The Film 
Daily stated that studios were built in that country 
for the production of motion pictures with the idea of 
eliminating the importation of American pictures 
from Hollywood. 

This brings to mind the hopeful feeling prevailing 
among the members of the producers' export corpora- 
tion that American films would continue to flow to 
countries behind the Iron Curtain. 

The one object of the Communists is to keep Amer- 
ican films off the screens of all the countries controlled 
by them for the reason that our pictures portray the 
American people Uving in comfort, in fine homes, and 
in complete freedom, under conditions that cannot 
help but make the people of their countries dissatis- 
fied with their lot. 

Imagine, for instance, the feeling in a Communist- 
dominated country of a man who has never eaten a 
luscious turkey dinner seeing on the screen a picture 
of an American family seated by a dinner table and 
enjoying such a dinner with all the trimmings. Natu- 
rally, he would ask himself: "Why can't I have a 
home like the Americans have and live among the 
plenty that they enjoy?" The idea of such a thought 
passing through that man's mind would not, of 
course, appeal to the Communist leaders, who keep 
telling their people that they are faring better, and 
that they have more freedom than the Americans. 

The American producers had better forget the 
Communist-controlled countries as a source of in- 
come, for sooner or later the Iron Curtain will de- 
scend on American pictures there, perhaps for a very 
long time. 

As a matter of fact, the whole foreign situation, 
particularly the situation in Great Britain, has 
reached such a state of uncertainty because of the 
dollar shortage in each country that it will probably 
pay the producers to "trim their sails" so that they 
may depend on no other country but the United 
States. 

There are enough theatres in this country to give 
the American producers a good profit, provided they 
better the quality of their pictures so as to bring about 
increased attendance. They can do this by selecting 
human interest stories, the sort that have a "heart" 
and a "soul" and bring lumps to the throat of the 
picture-goer. 

If the producers would stop putting into produc- 
tion stories that are half-baked, knowing full well 
that, at best, the picture will emerge as just another 
meaningless entertainment, the sort that they would 
not see themselves if they had to pay an admission 
price, the casual movie-goer of today would become 
a steady patron. And enough steady patrons in this 
country will more than offset the decreased foreign 
revenue. 



Entered a* second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the poBt offlos at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS Published Weekly by 

United States $15.00 (Formerly SUth Avenue) Harrison' s Reports. Inc.. 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 ^ ^ , 90 N Y i-uDiisner 

Canada 16.50 new lorK zu, n. i . P. S. HARRISON, Editor 

Mexico, Cuba, Spain 16.B0 A Motion Picture Reviewing Service 

Great Britain 15.75 Devoted Chiefly to the Interests of the Exhibitors Established July 1, 1919 

Australia, New Zealand, 

India, Europe, Asia .... 17.50 j^^ Editorial PoUcy: No Problem Too Big for Its Editorial Circle 7-4622 

3dc a Copy Columns, If It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JULY 24, 1948 No. 30 



A TREMENDOUS VICTORY FOR EXHIBITION 



Monopoly, as it affects the independent exhibitors, was 
struck another severe blow this week in a sweeping decision 
handed down in New York by U. S. District Court Judge 
Vincent L. Leibell against the American Society of Authors, 
Composers and Publishers in the anti-trust suit brought 
against the Society by 164 New York exhibitors, all mem- 
bcrs of the Independent Theatre Owners of America. 

Judge Leibell, who found that "almost every part of 
ASCAP"s structure, almost all of ASCAP's activities in 
licensing motion picture theatres, involve a violation of the 
anti-trust laws," declared that the plaintiffs are entitled to 
the following injunctive relief, which will be included in an 
injunction to be signed by him later: 

"(a) Directing ASCAP to divest itself with all reasonable 
speed of all rights of public performance for profit through 
the exhibition of motion picture films, or musical composi- 
tions which have been synchronized with motion picture 
films, and to assign said performance rights to the owners of 
the copyright of said musical compositions; 

"(b) Restraining ASCAP from obtaining the rights of 
public performance of any musical composition synchro- 
nized with motion picture films when such musical composi- 
tion is performed puUicly for profit in conjunction with the 
exhibition of such motion picture films; 

"(c) Restraining ASCAP"s members from refusing to 
grant to motion picture producers the right to publicly per- 
form for profit through the exhibition of motion picture film, 
all musical compositions which they allow motion picture 
producers to synchronize with motion picture film; 

"(d) Restraining ASCAP's members from licensing, ex- 
cept to motion picture producers, the right of public per- 
formance for profit through the exhibition of motion picture 
films, of musical compositions synchronized with motion 
picture films; 

"(e) Restraining ASCAP and its members from conspir- 
ing with motion picture producers for the purpose of includ- 
ing a clause in contracts issued by producers to exhibitors 
directly or indirectly to obtain a license from ASCAP as a 
condition to the exhibition of the licensed pictures." 

Plainly speaking, the Court has directed (a) that ASCAP 
give up its control of public performance rights of all music 
recorded on film, and that it return such rights to its individ- 
ual members; (b) that ASCAP refrain from obtaining such 
rights in the future; (c) that ASCAP's individual members, 
in granting motion picture producers the recording rights to 
their musical compositions, include also the performance 
rights; (d) that ASCAP's individual members refrain from 
exacting license fees from exhibitors for the performance 
rights to music recorded on film; and (e) that ASCAP and 
its members refrain from conspiring with the producers to 
include in film licenses a clause requiring the exhibitors to 
obtain a license from ASCAP in order to exhibit the film. 

The injunctive relief granted goes to the very core of 
ASCAP's monopoly and, if upheld by the U. S. Supreme 
Court, to which an appeal will undoubtedly be taken, will 
serve for all time to curb ASCAP from wielding against the 
exhibitors a monopolistic power that has compelled every 
motion picture theatre in the United States to pay tribute to 
it or go out of business. 



As to the plaintiffs claim for treble damages, this was 
ruled out by the Court on the basis that the "plaintiffs have 
not shown any injury from defendants' violations of the 
anti-trust laws and that, even if we presume injury, plaintiffs 
have not proved anything from which the court could ap- 
proximate the damages." 

The 29-page opinion handed down by Judge Leibell is 
filled with potent language that defines the bounds of pro- 
tection offered to ASCAP's members by the Copyright laws, 
beyond which they may enter only at the peril of violating 
the anti-trust laws. Extracts from the opinion will be found 
elsewhere on these pages. 

In the September 6, 1947 issue of this paper, in an edi- 
torial entitled, "Solidarity Needed in the Fight Against 
ASCAP," the following was said; 

"The monopolistic action of the American Society of 
Composers, Authors and Publishers in cancelhng existing 
license agreements with theatres for the rights to perform the 
music recorded on film, and in imposing a new schedule of 
rates that will arbitrarily boost the seat tax anywhere from 
100% to 500%, and even more, has so aroused the exhib- 
itors that the Society may soon find itself in the position of 
having thrown a boomerang that will leave its intended vic- 
tims unharmed but return to mow down its thrower." 

ASCAP's tactics have certainly boomeranged, for, as a 
result of its efforts to arbitrarily impose unconscionable in- 
creases in the music tax, it prodded the ITOA members into 
pressing for an immediate trial of their long-pending anti- 
trust suit, which was filed originally in 1942, resulting in a 
decision that is, to say the very least, devastating. 

Judge Leibell makes this significant statement in his 
opinion: 

"After reviewing the record, considering the arguments 
of counsel and the cases cited in their briefs, I have con- 
cluded that ASCAP has violated the anti-trust laws, but that 
plaintiffs have failed to prove that they have been injured 
thereby and have sustained damages. Plaintiffs have shown, 
however, that the power which ASCAP attempted to use in 
August 1947 in a way that would have increased, many 
times, the license fees charged exhibitors for the right to per- 
form publicly for profit musical compositions synchronized 
on films, is a constant threat which may cause loss or damage 
to the plaintiffs and plaintiffs are entitled to an injunction. 

Although the ITOA has not been alone in the fight to 
curb ASCAP's monopolistic powers, the organization de- 
serves the thanks of every independent exhibitor for sticking 
to its guns in its legal battle with the Society. And Mr. 
Milton C. Weisman, of Weisman, Celler, Quinn, Allan 6j' 
Spett, attorneys for the plaintiffs, is entitled to much credit 
for his capable handling of the case. 

As a result of this sweeping victory, many exhibitors are 
no doubt eager for information as to whether or not the 
decision invalidates their existing contracts with ASCAP 
and terminates the Society's right to collect hcense fees from 
them in the immediate future. The decision has just been 
handed down and, at the time of this writing, copies of the 
decision had not reached the legal minds of the different 
exhibitor organizations for study. Their obser\'ations will 
be reported in this paper for the guidance of its subscribers. 



118 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 24, 1948 



"The Velvet Touch" with Rosalind Russell, 

Claire Trevor, Sydney Greenstreet 

and Leon Ames 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 97 min.) 

Lavishly produced and well acted, "The Velvet Touch" 
is a fairly good dramatic entertainment. It is strictly adult 
fare, however, and at that more suitable for sophisticated 
audiences. The story, which casts Rosalind Russell as a 
famous stage star who murders her producer-lover in a fit 
of anger, and who struggles with her troubled conscience 
when another woman is blamed for the crime, is a mixture 
of drama and melodrama, with glib dialogue and some 
touches of comedy, in which Miss Russell is given ample 
opportunity to display the range of her acting ability. But 
for all her fine histrionics, the story is synthetic, lacking 
human interest and revolving around characters who are 
not sympathetic. The characterizations are, however, fas- 
cinating, even if the story has no warmth. Those who like 
their murder yarns filled with action will probably find this 
one too slow and talky: — 

Having fallen deeply in love with Leo Genn, an architect, 
Rosalind seeks to break her relationship with Leon Ames, 
her producer, under whose guidance she had won lasting 
fame. She urges Claire Trevor, Ames' former girl-friend, to 
try to win him back. After the final performance of his 
current play, Ames, determined not to lose Rosalind to 
Genn, tries to break up the romance by threatening to 
reveal that she had been his mistress for years. In a wild 
rage, Rosalind strikes him with a small statuette, killing 
him. She returns backstage unnoticed by the other members 
of the company and, shortly thereafter, Claire goes to Ames' 
office, finds the body, and collapses. Police Captain Sydney 
Greenstreet takes charge of the investigation, and Claire, 
prostrated in the hospital with shock, emerges as the chief 
suspect. Aware that there is no e\'idence of her guilt, Rosa- 
lind remains silent. She visits Claire at the hospital, where 
the embittered girl, confident that she (Rosalind) had 
murdered Ames, taunts her as a coward afraid to face the 
consequence of her act. Rosalind goes to Greenstreet to 
confess, but changes her mind when he informs her that 
Claire had committed suicide. On the opening night of 
Rosalind's new play, Genn asks her to marry him and lets 
it slip that he suspected her of killing Ames but did not 
blame her. Distraught in the realization that she could never 
be happy with Genn, Rosalind decides to clear her con- 
science. She gives an inspired performance and, as the last 
act begins, she sends a note to Greenstreet, sitting in the 
audience, admitting her crime. Greenstreet permits her to 
finish the play and score- her greatest acting triumph before 
taking her into custody. 

Frederick Brisson produced it and John Gage directed 
it from a screen play by Leo Rosten, based on a story by 
William Mercer and Annabel Ross. The cast includes Frank 
McHugh, Dan Tobin and others. 

Adult fare. 



"The Babe Ruth Story" with William 
Bendix, Claire Trevor and Charles Bickford 

(Allied Artists, no release date set; time, 106 min.) 

Chalk "The Babe Ruth Story" on your calendar as a 
highly successful picture, from the box-office as well as from 
the entertainment point of view. Once William Bendix, as 
Babe Ruth, becomes grown, the picture becomes real, for he 
handles his part with skill and restraint. The only shock one 
feels is to see Bendix, a grown man, still at St. Mary's, but 
once that is hurdled the spectator forgets it and enters into 
the spirit of the story. There are several situations with deep 
human appeal. As a matter of fact, few people will come out 
of the theatre with dry eyes. One of the most sincere emo- 
tional scenes is where a group of young boys, baseball fans, 
serenade Babe as he lies in bed in a New York hospital. 
Another effective scene is where Babe calls on a dying boy in 
a town in Indiana and brings to the youngster a desire to 



live. There are other such situations throughout. Charles 
Bickford is excellent as Brother Matthais, and Claire Trevor, 
as Babe's wife, handles the sympathetic role effectively. The 
direction, photography, and atmosphere are of a high 
standard: — 

Through the efforts of Brother Matthias, a Catholic 
priest. Babe Ruth, the young son of a saloon keeper, is taken 
to St. Mary's industrial school. Despite Babe's mischievous 
ways. Brother Matthias continues to have faith m him. Be- 
cause Babe had shown an aptitude for baseball. Brother 
Matthias helps him to enter organized baseball as a pitcher 
for the Baltimore Orioles. He establishes a fine record and 
is bought by the Boston Red Sox, for whom he proves un- 
beatable until the opposing teams study his style and use 
counter moves. Babe's pitching fails until a girl in a restau- 
rant, a baseball fan, convinces him that he was telegraphing 
his pitches. Her advice starts Babe on his way up again, and 
he eventually becomes baseball's greatest left-hand pitcher 
and home-run king. Babe seeks out the girl, Claire Hodgson 
(Miss Trevor), who had given him the advice and falls in 
love with her. Sold to the New York Yankees, Ruth has 
many feuds with the manager of the team. Miller Huggins 
(Fred Lightner). Yet under Huggins' guidance he becomes 
baseball's greatest attraction, increasing his home runs until 
he attains, in 1927, a total of 60 for the season. But that 
same year Huggins, whom Babe had learned to love and 
respect, dies, leaving Babe heartbroken. Claire eventually 
accepts Babe's proposal of marriage, and seven years later, 
after twenty-one years as a major league player, he goes to 
the Boston Braves. Older and slower, he is razzed by the 
fans until he, in desperation, hits three home runs in a game 
against Pittsburgh, after which he quits in the realization 
that the years were creeping up on him. The owners, how- 
ever, announce that they had fired him. Babe becomes seri- 
ously ill and is taken to the hospital. The doctors give up 
hope of saving his life and tell Babe that the only chance 
for him is to consent to the use of a new medicine, tried 
successfully on animals but never on human beings. FeeUng 
that the serum, if successful, would save other human Hves, 
the Babe consents to his becoming a guinea pig. The new 
serum saves his life and brings joy to his millions of fans 
throughout the nation, who had been praying for his re- 
covery. 

The screen play by Bob Considine and George Callahan, 
has been based on the book by Bob Considine himself. Roy 
Del Ruth produced and directed it. The cast includes Sam 
Levene, William Frawley, Gertrude Neissen, Ralph Dunn, 
Paul Cavanaugh, Matt Briggs and many others. 

It is a picture that is good for every member of the family, 
baseball fan and not. 



"Lady at Midnight" with Richard Denning 
and Frances Rafferty 

(£agIe-L;on, Aug. 15; time, 61 min.) 

A very ordinary program murder melodrama; it barely 
makes the grade as a supporting feature. There is nothing 
novel in the treatment, and the story is particularly trite. 
Moreover, it has been directed poorly, and several of the 
performances are amateurish. Like most mysteries, the 
murderer's identity is not disclosed until the finish, but even 
that is not enough to hold one's interest, for one guesses 
who he is long before the final reel. The fact that no one in 
the cast means anything at the box-office does not help 
matters : — 

The rather involved story opens with the mysterious 
murder of a young heiress, whose body is found near the 
home of Frances Rafferty and Richard Denning. On the 
following day, Frances and Denning learn that their legal 
right to their adopted seven-year-old daughter, Lora Lee, 
was being questioned by someone on the grounds that 
Frances was not of legal age at the time of the adoption. In 
the course of events it comes out that the complaint was 
filed by the murdered heiress, who was Tina's mother. 
Denning engages Ralph Dunn, a private detective, to help 



July 24, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



119 



him establish proof of Frances age, and to locate Claudia 
Drake, a night-club entertainer, whom Denning had been 
led to believe was Tina's mother. Meanwhile Frances finds 
proof of her legal age and delivers it to her attorney, Harlan 
Warde, from whom it is stolen. While Dunn flies East to get 
conclusive proof of Frances' age, and to bring back Claudia, 
Denning is subjected to a brutal beating by three thugs who 
warn him to stay out of the murder case. After numerous 
other happeings, during which Claudia, too, is murdered 
before she can testify, Denning finds reason to suspect that 
the killings may have been committed by Jack Searlc, the 
murdered heiress' brother, as part of a plan to gain custody 
of little Lora and thus control the fortune left to her by the 
heiress. The real culprit, however, proves to be Warde, 
Denning's own lawyer, who had used Searle as his tool. 
In a final showdown, Warde kills Searle and prepares to do 
away with Denning, but the timely arrival of the police saves 
the situation. 

John Sutherland produced it and Sherman Scott directed 
it from an original story and screen play by Richard Sale. 
The cast includes Nana Bryant, Ben Welden and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Daredevils of the Clouds" with Robert 
Livingston, Mae Clark and James Cardwell 

(Republic, no release date set; time, 60 min.) 

A passable program action melodrama, suitable as a 
supporting feature for secondary theatres. Its story about 
the efforts of a major airline to squeeze out a small competi- 
tor is basically familiar stuff, and the frail plot ramifications 
will put no strain on the movie-goer's mind, but it should 
get by with undiscriminating audiences, for the action values 
are fairly good and the flying sequences exciting. The film 
hasn't much to offer in the way of name values, but the 
performances are acceptable: — 

To complete a world-wide air system. Pierre Watkin, 
head of a huge airline, tries unsuccessfully to buy out a 
small Alaskan airhne owned and operated by Robert Liv- 
ingston, a former Air Force captain. Watkin engages James 
Cardwell, sees to it that he gets a job with Livingston, and 
instructs him to watch for irregularities that might cause 
Livingston to lose his franchise. Livingston's operations, 
however, prove to be beyond reproach. When Mae Clark, 
a former WASP who had been grounded by the authorities 
because of her involvement in a jewel theft engineered 
without her knowledge by an army colonel, comes to Wat- 
kin and asks for a job, he induces her to seek employment 
with Livingston in the hope that he would permit her to 
fly one of his planes, an act that would cost him his fran- 
chise. Livingston employs her as his office manager. Unable 
to find anything wrong with Livingston's operations, Card- 
well conceives a plan whereby he tricks Mae into keeping 
silent about a cancellation of Livingston's insurance, while 
he (Cardwell), in league with Grant Withers, a crooked 
gold mine operator, takes off with a shipment of gold, 
which he delivers secretly to Withers at an emergency field, 
and after which he falsely reports engine trouble and bails 
out while the plane crashes. Cardwell, however, loses his 
life when the parachute, fouled by Withers, fails to open. 
The loss of the gold, coupled with the fact that it had not 
been covered by insurance, endangers Livingston's franchise. 
He suspects Mae of complicity in the scheme to ruin him, 
but she soon convinces him of her innocence and joins 
him in a plan to trap Withers, whom Livingston had reason 
to suspect. By pretending that she was against Livingston, 
Mae wins Withers' confidence, thus helping Livingston to 
carry out a plan by which he traps the crook, recovers the 
gold, and saves the franchise. 

Stephen Auer produced it and George Blair directed it 
from a screen play by Norman S. Hall, based on a story 
by Ronald Davidson. The cast includes Edward Gargan, 
Ray Teal and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



EXTRACTS FROM THE ASCAP OPINION 

(Continued jrom bac\ page) 
"That ASCAP was moderate in its demands in 1934 and 
considerate in the prices it fixed after negotiation with the 
exhibitors, does not detract from the fact that as a monopoly 
ASCAP had the power to increase these prices to an un- 
reasonable figure by demanding higher licence fees, to the 
financial gain of its members. ASCAP showed to what ex- 
tent that power could be exercised when in August 1947 it 
attempted to increase the license fees as much as 200% to 
iyOO%. This price fixing power coupled with the combina- 
tion of the members' copyrights constitutes an unlawful 
restraint of trade. 

"Where the power to fix prices is created by agreement 
among those who control a substantial part of an industry 
and who should do business on a competitive basis in a free 
market, the reasonableness of the prices or the good inten- 
tions of the combining units would not absolve them from 
the charge that they have violated the anti-trust laws. 
United States v. Trenton Potteries Co.. Ill U.S. 392. In 
the Trenton Potteries case the court said 'The power to fix 
prices, whether reasonably exercised or not, involves power 
to control the market and to fix arbitrary and unreasonable 
prices. * * * Agreements which create such potential power 
may well be held to be in themselves unreasonable or un- 
lawful restraints, without the necessity of minute inquiry 
whether a particular price is reasonable or unreasonable as 
fixed.' The above was quoted in the opinion of Mr. Justice 
Douglas in U.S. v. Socony'V acv.um Oil Co.. 310 U.S. 150 
at p. 213. See also Ethyl Gasoline Corp. v. U.S.. 309 U.S. 
436." 

Under the heading, "Injunctive Relief," Judge Leibell 
had this to say: 

"The conduct of ASCAP in notifying the theatre ex- 
hibitors in August 1947 that the rates for the ASCAP li- 
cense would be increased to such an extent that some the- 
atres would be required to pay 15 times as much as the 
license fee under which they had been operating since 1934, 
is an indication of the power that ASCAP has unlawfully 
acquired by its own arrangements with its members and by 
their arrangements with the motion picture producers. The 
threatened use of that power to demand unfair and exhor- 
bitant license fees furnishes sufficient grounds for the exer- 
cise by the Court of its ordinary equitable powers to prevent 
any threatened injury to plaintiffs. The Clayton Act (U.S.C. 
Sec. 26) 'does not go farther than to give an injunction to 
private persons against threatened loss' (Mr. Justice Holmes 
in Fieitman v. Welsbach Co., 240 U.S. 27 at p. 29). To 
avail himself of Sec. 26 a plaintiff must show threatened 
injury for which he is without adequate remedy and for 
which a court of equity is able to provide a remedy. (Dis- 
senting opinion of Chief Justice Stone in Georgia v. Penn- 
sylvania R. Co., 324 U.S. 439 at p. 475). The Clayton Act 
'gives to private parties a right to relief by injunction in any 
court of the United States against threatened loss or damage 
by violation of anti-trust laws, under the conditions and 
principles regulating the granting of such reUef by courts of 
equity.' Duplex Co. v. Deering, 254 U.S. 443 at pp. 464-5. 
It has been held that prior to the passage of the Clayton Act 
in 1914, "a private party could not maintain a suit for in- 
junction' under the Sherman Act. Duplex v. Deering, 254 
U.S. 443, 465. 

"In the case at bar ASCAP and various groups or or- 
ganizations of exhibitors in February, 1948 arrived at a 
new set of rates which represented an average increase of 
257o to 307c over the 1934 rates. The August 1947 de- 
mands were abandoned by ASCAP. Plaintiffs have been 
offered the same type of contract (a long term contract) 
that other exhibitors accepted in February 1948. Does this 
remove the need for injunctive rehef? I have concluded that 
it does not. Plaintiffs are entitled to have this court exercise 
its equitable powers to prevent a recurrence of what hap- 
pened in August 1947 and to have their rights adjudicated 
and protected by a decree of the court, because the unlawful 
arrangements between ASCAP and its members, and 
between the members and the motion picture producers, is 
a continuing one and is a clear violation of the anti-trust 
laws." 



120 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 24, 1948 



EXTRACTS FROM THE ASCAP OPINION 

After reviewing the origin and activities of ASCAP, as 
well as its organizational set-up, Judge Vincent L. Leibell 
points out the foLlowing in his opinion: 

"The motion picture producer, when he obtains from an 
ASCAP member the right to record his musical composition 
on the film, barg£iins for that right only and does not obtain 
the right to perform pubhcly for profit the composition thus 
recorded. The producer may pay as little as a few hundred 
dollars or, in rare cases, as much as $25,000 for the right to 
record the musical composition — the right to synchronize it 
with the picture on the film. When the producer acquires 
that right from one who is not a member of ASCAP he in- 
sists upon buying also the right to perform the musical com- 
position publicly for profit. The exhibitors complain that the 
producer should follow the same course when he acquires the 
film recording rights from a member of ASCAP. If he did 
so, then the exhibitors would not need any license from 
ASCAP. 

"The producer does not acquire the performing rights 
from ASCAP members, because they are prohibited by their 
arrangement with ASCAP from licensing the performing 
rights to motion picture producers. The major producers 
also have a financial interest in the hcense fees ASCAP col- 
lects, because those producers own music publishing corpora- 
tions which are publisher members of ASCAP, and thus they 
share in one half of ASCAP's net receipts which are allotted 
to the publisher members." 

The following is the complete text of the opinion under 
the heading, "ASCAP's Violation of the Anti-trust Laws" : 

"Almost every part of the ASCAP structure, almost all 
of ASCAP's activities in licensing motion picture theatres, 
involve a violation of the anti-trust laws. Although each 
member of ASCAP is granted by the copyright law a monop- 
oly in the copyrighted work, it is unlawful for the owners of 
a number of copyrighted works to combine their copyrights 
by any agreement or arrangement, even if it is for the pur- 
pose of thereby better preserving their property rights. 
Straus V. Amer. Publishers Assoc, 231 U.S. 222. Ring v. 
Spina, 148 F. 2d 647, Watson v. Buc\. 313 U.S. 387 at p. 
404, Interstate Circuit Inc. v. U.S.. 306 U.S. 208. The result 
of such a combination 'is to add to the monopoly of the 
copyright in violation of the principle of the patent cases 
involving tying clauses' (U.S. v. Paramour\t Pictures, de- 
cided by the United States Supreme Court May 3, 1948.) 

"That ASCAP is a monopoly, within the language of 
Sec. 2 of the anti-trust laws, was clearly established at the 
trial. In United States v. Aluminum Co. of America, 148 F. 
2d 416 at p. 424 the court expressed the view that a ninety 
per cent share of the market was enough to constitute a 
monopoly although it was 'doubtful whether sixty or sixty- 
four per cent would be enough; and certainly thirty-three 
per cent is not". In the same case Judge Learned Hand held 
that 'In order to fall within Sec. 2 (of the Sherman anti-trust 
act) the monopohst must have both the power to monopolize 
and the intent to monopolize. * * * Alcoa meant to keep and 
it did keep that complete and exclusive hold upon the ingot 
market with which it started. That was to "monopolize" 
that market, however, innocently it otherwise proceeded.' 
In the case at bar it was shown that ASCAP in the course of 
34 years has built up a monopoly of the music that is used in 
the production of motion pictures, and in so doing it has 
violated Sec. 2 of the anti-trust laws. 'The authorities sup- 
port the view that the material consideration in determining 
whether a monopoly exists is not that prices are raised and 
that competition actually is excluded but that power exists 
to raise the prices or to exclude competition when it is de- 
sired to do so" American Tobacco Co. v. U. S. 328 U.S. 781 
at p. 811. ASCAP has that power. 

"The combination of the members of ASCAP in trans- 
ferring all their non-dramatic performing rights to ASCAP, 



is a combination in restraint of interstate trade and com- 
merce, which is prohibited by Sec. 1 of the anti-trust laws. 
It restrains competition among the members of ASCAP in 
marketing the performing rights of their copyrighted works. 
And by barring a member from assigning the performing 
rights to the motion picture producer at the same time that 
the recording right is assigned, the channels in which the 
films may be marketed is narrowed to those exhibitors who 
have a hcense from ASCAP covering the performing rights 
of the ASCAP music synchronized on the film. That result 
is accomplished through an unlawful combination with the 
motion picture producers in violation of Sec. 1 of the anti' 
trust laws. The arrangement by which the producers consent 
that there be specifically reserved to ASCAP the right to 
license the performing rights, is supplemented by a provision 
in the contract between the distributor of the motion pictures 
and the exhibitors which limits the pubHc exhibition of the 
film for profit to theatres which have an ASCAP license. 
The producers and ASCAP's members thus combine the 
monopoly of the copyright of the motion picture with the 
monopoly of the copyright of the musical compositions, ' 
which constitutes an unlawful extension of the statutory 
monopoly of each and violates the anti-trtist laws, as a com- 
bination in restraint of trade. 

"The fact that ASCAP is a membership association gives 
it no immunity. 'Arrangements or combinations designed to 
stifle competition cannot be immunized by adopting a mem- 
bership device accomplishing that purpose.' Associated 
Press V. United StaUs, 326 U.S. 1 at p. 19. Nor is ASCAP 
shielded by its purpose to prevent the infringement of the 
copyright of its members. The purpose of the Fashion Guild 
to prevent 'style piracy,' i.e. the copying of 'original crea- 
tions,' did not take it outside the scope of the anti-trust laws. 
Fashion Guild v. Trade Comm'n, 312 U.S. 457. 'The necessi- 
ties or conveniences of a patentee do not justify any use of 
the monopoly of the patent to make another monopoly.' 
Mercoid Corp. v. Mid-Continent Co. 320 U.S. 661 at p. 681. 

"Many of the cases which have held that patent owners 
may not combine their patents so as to extend the monopoly 
of the one patent by the monopoly of the other, state the 
legal principles which prevent two copyright owners from 
doing a similar thing. The leading cases, which hold that 
such a combination of patents constitutes an illegal restraint 
of interstate commerce, are reviewed in a recent decision. 
United States v. Line Material Co.. et a]., 33 U.S. 287. 
There Mr. Justice Reed wrote for the Court as follows, p. 
315:— 

" 'The mere fact that a patentee uses his patent as a whole 
or part consideration in a contract by which he and another 
or other patentees in the same patent field arrange for the 
practice of any patent involved in such a way that royalties 
or other earnings or benefit from the patent or patents are 
shared among the patentees, parties to the agreement, sub- 
jects that contract to the prohibitions of thi Sherman Act 
whenever the selling price, for things produced under a 
patent involved, is fixed by the contract or a license, author- 
ized by the contract." 

"The combination of the authors, composers and pubhsh- 
ers in the ASCAP organization, their obligations to the asso- 
ciation, the rights they conferred on ASCAP and the reser- 
vations they made in their arrangements with the motion 
picture producers, have given ASCAP the power to fix the 
prices at which the performing rights are sold to the exhib- 
itors. The members share in the hcense fees collected through 
the unlawful combination. By pooling their rights and pool- 
ing the license fees derived therefrom, each in some way 
shares in the copyrighted work of the others. This has all the 
evils of 'block booking" which was analyzed and condemned 
in U. S. V. Paramount Pictures, 66 F. Supp. 323 at pp. 348- 
349; and in the opinion of the U. S. Supreme Court May 3, 
1948. 

(Continued on inside page) 



Entered as aecond-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at Now York, New York, under the act of March 8, 1879. 

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Vol. XXX SATURDAY, JULY 31, 1948 No. 31 



ASCAP DECISION 

HIGHLY GRATIFYING TO 

INDEPENDENT EXHIBITORS 

Exhibitors throughout the country are hailing as 
a great victory the decision handed down last week 
by the New York Federal District Court, which ruled 
that ASCAP is a monopoly in restraint of trade and 
prohibited the Society from collecting a music tax 
from theatres for the performance rights to music 
recorded on film. 

Mr. Abram F. Myers, general counsel of National 
Allied, declared in a special bulletin issued last week 
that Judge Vincent L. Leibell's decision "spells the 
end of ASCAP so far as motion pictures are con- 
cerned." The following is Mr. Myers' statement: 

"Under the ruling the copyright owners will be 
compelled to license the public performance rights 
to the motion picture producers and the latter will 
convey these rights to the exhibitors in the film 
contracts. 

"That ASCAP's operations are illegal has been 
clear since the Supreme Court's decisions in the Line 
Material, Gypsum and Paramount Cases. Judge 
Leibell's order gives efi^ect to the substance of the 
Lewis Bill and I have no doubt was influenced by that 
bill. 

"Quite naturally Allied is gratified that its posi- 
tion in reference to ASCAP has received full judicial 
sanction. I am happy to congratulate Messrs. Brandt 
and Weisman on the successful outcome of the lit- 
igation. I hope that Judge Nordbye will follow 
promptly this precedent in deciding the Berger Case. 

"Allied has been fully vindicated in its refusal to 
appease ASCAP by entering into contractual re- 
lations with it. In that way AUied avoided becoming 
a party to an illegal compact. 

"Allied urges exhibitors not to be affected by propa- 
ganda that producers will add to film rentals more than 
the ASCAP charges or will exact a separate public 
performing charge. Exhibitors can bargain for film 
rentals. They cannot bargain with ASCAP. Any 
attempt by the producers to exact a separate charge 
will go the same way as the score charge. 

"This decidedly is a great victory for the independ- 
ent exhibitors." 

Judge Leibell's far-reaching decision was greeted 
with gratification also by the trustees of the Pacific 
Coast Conference of Independent Theatre Owners 
who, through their attorney, Robert W. Graham, 
announced this week that the PCCITO will again 
participate in the case in the event ASCAP appeals 
the decision. Mr. Graham, on behalf of the PCCITO, 
filed an amicus curiae brief with Judge Leibell at the 
conclusion of the New York trial this Spring. 

But the jubilant reaction of Mr. Myers and the 



other Allied leaders, of the PCCITO, of the ITOA 
of New York, and of the great majority of truly 
independent exhibitors throughout the country, is 
not shared in other exhibitor quarters, specifically the 
Theatre Owners of America, which represents most 
of the affiliated theatres. 

Mr. Herman M. Levy, TOA's general counsel, 
had this to say about the decision in a statement last 
week : 

"For those who would negotiate for performing 
rights with individual copyright owners, or with the 
producers of motion pictures as part of the film cost, 
rather than with ASCAP, this decision represents a 
great victory. For the others, this decision means either 
the creation of a new, involved, and most difficult 
system of doing business with individual copyright 
owners, or the compulsory surrender of exhibitors 
to the producers of motion pictures of their privilege of 
negotiating with one central agency concerning the 
amount, which they, as exhibitors, shall pay for per- 
forming rights. 

"If this decision stands as it is, or if it is appealed 
from and is sustained, it does not mean that theatre 
owners are relieved of the statutory obhgation to pay 
performing rights, nor does it mean that the owners of 
copyrighted items will be deprived of payment for 
performing rights. Nothing short of a repeal of that 
portion of the Federal Copyright Law could accom- 
plish that. The Court did not intend to infringe on 
that right." 

Obviously, Mr. Levy does not think much of the 
decision. His line of reasoning has been picked up 
by several of the trade paper editors, and the essence of 
their remarks is that the decision may prove to be an 
empty victory for the exhibitors because, as they 
see it, the aggregate cost to the producers for the acqui- 
sition of performing rights to ASCAP's music may be 
far in excess of the aggregate presently paid to 
ASCAP by the theatres. Consequently, they contend, 
the excess cost will ultimately be paid by the exhibitors 
to the producers in the form of higher film rentals. 

They contend also, as does Mr. Levy, that though 
the Court has restrained ASCAP from collecting a 
music tax from the theatres there is nothing in the de- 
cision that will prevent the individual copyright 
holders from negotiating with the theatres for per- 
forming rights. 

Not being a lawyer, the writer cannot say whether 
or not this contention is correct, but from a layman's 
point of view it is difficult to reconcile such a conten- 
tion with the injunctive relief granted by the Court, 
which restrained "ASCAP's members from hcensing, 
except to motion picture producers, the right to pubic 
performance for profit through the exhibition of mo- 
tion picture films, of musical compositions synchro- 
(Continued on last page) 



122 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 31, 1948 



-f 



- "Sorry, Wrong Number" with Barbara 
Stanwyck nad Burt Lancaster 

(Paramount, September 24; time, 89 min.) 

Based on the well known radio play of the same 
title, this melodrama unfolds with considerable sus- 
pense and terror, yet it is no more than mildly en- 
grossing because of a plot that is frequently confusing 
and quite often obscure. It is one of those pictures 
that must be seen from the beginning lest the con- 
fused story seem even more confusing. It is strictly an 
adult entertainment, and a morbid one at that, for 
there is nothing pleasant about either the characters 
or their actions. The story is comprised of a series of 
episodic flashbacks, and unfolded in a way that is 
designed to give the action mounting suspense and 
terror but, though it succeeds in some measure in 
heightening the melodramatic mood, for the most part 
it serves to make the story too complex to be easily 
understood. Barbara Stanwyck, as a bed-ridden, neu- 
rotic invalid, contributes a vivid portrayal in a diffi- 
cult role. The production values are very good : — 

The story, which covers a span of less than two 
hours, opens with Barbara impatiently trying to reach 
by telephone the office of her husband, Burt Lan- 
caster. Through crossed telephone lines, she over- 
hears two men plotting the murder that night of a 
woman, whose identity she does not learn when the 
connection is broken. She reports the incident to the 
police, who are unable to trace the call. All alone and 
afraid, she becomes emotionally upset and tries des- 
perately to leam her husband's whereabouts through 
a series of telephone calls to different persons. The 
information she receives from them gradually brings 
her to the realization that it was her own murder that 
was planned that night. All this is revealed through a 
series of flashbacks in which it is shown how she had 
met and married Lancaster, who came from the wrong 
side of the tracks, and how her doting millionaire 
father had made him an executive in his drug com- 
pany. Disgusted with the manner in which Barbara 
and her father dominated his life, Lancaster, to free 
himself from their purse-strings, had systematically 
stolen from the company valuable chemicals, which 
he peddled to the underworld. He had become in- 
debted to a gangster for $175,000 and, when given 
the choice to pay up or meet sudden death, had hired 
a killer to murder Barbara so that he could meet the 
payment from her insurance money. At the finish, it 
it shown how Lancaster, learning that he need not 
raise the money, telephones Barbara and urges her to 
leave her bed and escape from the killer who was due 
to arrive at the apartment within minutes. The tele- 
phone connection is broken momentarily, and by the 
time it is re-connected the voice of the killer answers 
and says: "Sorry, wrong number." 

Hal Wallis and Anatole Litvak co-produced it, and 
Mr. Litvak directed it from a screen play by Lucille 
Fletcher, based on her radio play. The cast includes 
Ann Richards, Wendell Corey, and others. 

Strictly aduft fare. 



"Embraceable You" with Dane Clark 
and Geraldine Brooks 

(Warner Bros., August 21; time, 79 min.) 
There is considerable hokum in this rather routine 
romantic melodrama, which does not rise above the 
level of program fare, but its mixture of romance 
and gangster activities should satisfy generally as a 
supporting feature. The chief trouble with the story 
is that it lacks conviction because its development de- 
pends too heavily on coincidence. It manages, never- 



theless, to hold one's interest fairly well, for one is 
sympathetic to the hero and heroine because of the 
hopelessness of their love, brought about by the 
heroine's impending death. It is difficult to sympathize 
with them at first, for both are shown as ne'er-do- 
wells, but one's feeling towards them changes when 
they display decent traits. The popular song, "Em- 
braceable You," is reprised several times in the course 
of the action : — 

Driving a getaway car for gangster Richard Rober, 
who had just murdered a gambler in a New York 
hotel, Dane Clark, a petty thief, runs down Geraldine 
Brooks, a disillusioned stage aspirant who yearned 
for an easy life. Clark stops the car but Rober forces 
him to go on. Conscience-stricken, Clark visits Geral- 
dine at the hospital, where he poses as a friend of her 
family in Milwaukee. He learns that, although Geral- 
dine believes herself recovered, she faced certain 
death as a result of the accident because of a blood 
clot coursing through her veins. Wallace Ford, a 
detective assigned to track down the hit-and-run 
driver, as well as the murderer of the gambler, spots 
Clark in the hospital and suspects him of having a 
connection with both crimes. He threatens to hound 
him unless he takes care of Geraldine and makes her 
happy for the rest of her short life. Clark sells his 
car and pawns his watch to obtain an apartment for 
her. As her condition becomes worse he finds himself 
desperately in need of money and blackmails Rober 
into giving him $1,000. The gangster, aware of 
Clark's danger to him as an informer, sets two thugs 
on his trail. To protect both Geraldine and himself, 
Clark makes a deal with Ford whereby he reveals the 
truth about Rober in exchange for Ford's helping him 
to elude his pursuers. Ford arranges for Clark and 
Geraldine to be taken to a country hideout, where 
both fall in love and decide to marry. On the day of 
the wedding, Rober tracks Clark to the hideout but, 
before he can shoot him, he is shot down himself by 
Ford. The wedding takes place, and Geraldine, by 
this time aware of her impending death, asks Clark 
to pretend that their happiness will last forever. 

Saul Elkins produced it and Felix Jacoves directed 
it from a screen play by Edna Anhalt, based on a 
story by Dietrich V. Hannekin and Aleck Block. The 
cast includes S. Z. Sakall, Lina Romay, Philip Van 
Zandt and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Music Man" with Phil Brito, Freddie 
Stewart and Jimmy Dorsey 

(Monogram, no release date set; time, 66 min.) 
Just fair. The presence in the cast of Jimmy Dorsey 
and his orchestra, and the singing of a few tuneful 
songs, particularly of "Bella, Bella, Marie," may save 
the picture, but the story is trite — two brothers feud 
when there is no earthly reason why they should, ex- 
cept in the author's wrong conception. If instead of 
having the two brothers quarrel all the time the author 
had presented one having fallen in love with a worth- 
less woman to the point where it affected his song- 
writing, while the other brother, heartbroken, tries to 
rescue him from her clutches, he would have had a 
story with deep human interest. As it is, the feud be- 
t\yeen the brothers seems artificial, and one's interest 
lags to the point of boresomeness. Jimmy Dorsey is 
pleasant and his music good : — 

Phil Brito and his brother, Freddie Stewart, are a 
successful song-writing team despite their constant 
bickering. Noel Neill, their secretary, loves Phil, but 
he is unaware of her feelings and falls in love with 
June Preisser when she invites both brothers to sing 



July 31, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



123 



at a benefit sponsored by her parents. Gratia Narciso, 
the boys" mother, unwilling to live with them, lives by 
herself on the East Side. She gives a party to bring 
her sons together but Phil becomes infuriated when 
June leaves the party to give Freddie a lift when his 
car breaks down. The brothers split, and Chick 
Chandler, their publisher, refuses to pubUsh Freddie's 
songs because of their inferiority. Freddie starts his 
own publishing business but fails, refusing to save it 
by accepting a loan from Jimmy Dorsey. Noel en- 
gages the services of Alan Hale, Jr., a milkman, to 
patch up the feud. Alan visits Phil and poses as a 
lyricist in search of a music composer, then follows 
the same procedure with Freddie by posing as a com- 
poser in search of a lyricist. In this way the two 
brothers unknowingly collaborate on a musical com- 
edy, but when they learn of the hoax each threatens 
to resort to an injunction to stop the other from using 
his work. They make up, however, when they learn 
that their mother had invested her life's savings in the 
show. The show goes on as Phil learns of Noel's love 
for him, and Freddie plans to marry June. 

Will Jason produced and directed from an original 
screen play by Sam Mintz. 

No objectionable situations. 



"Adventures of Gallant Bess" with 
Cameron Mitchell and Audrey Long 

(Eagle-Lion, no release date set; time, 71 rnm.) 
A moderately entertaining Western-type program 
melodrama, photographed in Cinecolor; it should 
serve its purpose as a supporting feature in double- 
billing situations. There is not much originality in 
the story, which deals with a cowboy's affection for 
his horse, nor is there anything fresh about the treat- 
ment, but it should get by with undiscriminating au- 
diences, for it has a fair share of excitement, romantic 
interest, and some wonderful stunts by Bess, a su- 
perbly trained horse, around whom the proceedings 
revolve. The performances are adequate, and the 
Cinecolor photography good : — 

Cameron Mitchell, employed by James Millican, 
owner of a touring rodeo show, captures Bess, a beau- 
tiful wild mare. When Millican tries to claim the 
horse, Mitchell quits the rodeo and takes the horse 
with him. He obtains a job as a ranch hand and de- 
votes most of his time training Bess to be a trick 
horse, but he is soon discharged for spending too much 
time with the animal. Mitchell catches up with Milli- 
can's rodeo show and enters his horse in a $250 prize 
contest. He wins the contest, but Millican, vengeful 
because Mitchell had kept Bess, arranges with a 
henchman to soap the horns of a steer Ivlitchell was 
to "bulldog." As a result, Mitchell is thrown hard and 
breaks a leg. While a local doctor and his pretty 
daughter (Audrey Long) care for Mitchell's injuries, 
Millican mistreats Bess and causes the animal to go on 
a rampage, during which he damages $200 worth of 
private property. With Mitchell unable to pay for 
the damage because Millican had left town without 
giving him the prize money, the sheriff is compelled 
to sell the horse at auction. Millican buys the horse 
through one of his henchmen. After a long convales- 
cence, during which he falls in love with Audrey, 
Ivlitchell sets out to locate his horse. He finds the ani- 
mal with Millican's show, mistreated and broken in 
spirit. He thrashes Millican and the horse runs away 
during the fight. In the course of events, Millican 
catches up with the horse, v.'hich turns on him and is 
about to stomp him to death when Mitchell inter- 



venes and saves him. Grateful, Millican gives up his 
bill of sale to Mitchell. 

Jerry Briskin and Matthew Rapf produced it and 
Lew Landers directed it from a screen play by Mr. 
Rapf. The cast includes Fuzzy Knight, John Harmon, 
Ed Gargan and others. Suitable for the entire family. 



"Good Sam" with Gary Cooper 
" and Ann Sheridan 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 112 min.) 

Very good mass entertainment. It is a domestic 
comedy-drama, the sort that captivates an audience 
from start to finish because of its warm, human qual- 
ity, as well as its hilarious comedy. Its story about a 
Good Samaritan who goes out of his way to help 
others but whose charitable impulses often lead him 
into unexpected difBculties is simple, but it is packed 
with homey situations that are at once tender and 
uproariously funny under the adroit handhng of 
producer-director Leo McCarey. The emphasis is on 
the comedy, and if the gales of laughter that greeted 
the proceedings at a New York neighborhood theatre 
preview are any criterion, audiences everywhere 
should find the picture immensely satisfying. Expert 
characterizations are turned in by Gary Cooper, as 
the good-natured family man, and by Ann Sheridan, 
as his understanding wife, whose patience with his 
desire to do a good turn for every one eventually 
comes to an end when it begins to affect their happi- 
ness. Miss Sheridan, incidentally, gives one of the 
best performances of her career in this role. The sup- 
porting cast is very capable, and the production values 
first-rate : — 

Living in a small city with Ann and their two chil- 
dren, Cooper, general manager of a department store, 
concerns himself with the welfare of others to the 
point where it causes Ann considerable consternation 
because his well-meaning actions deprived his own 
family of certain comforts and necessities. Ann's pa- 
tience reaches the breaking point when she arranges 
to buy a house she had set her heart on only to learn 
that Cooper had loaned their "new house fund" to a 
young couple to establish them in business. But this 
crisis is weathered when the young couple repay the 
loan with a bonus to boot. Cooper's crowning mis- 
fortune occurs on the day before Christmas when he 
is tricked by a slick woman who fakes a fainting spell 
and who steals from him, as he comes to her aid, the 
money contributed by the store employees for a 
charity fund. He makes good the loss from his per- 
sonal savings, leaving himself without sufficient funds 
to pay for his new home, which Ann had arranged 
to move into that day. Unsuccessful in his efforts to 
raise money from his many debtors. Cooper reaches 
the depths of despair and goes to a bar to get drunk. 
There he meets a tramp, with whom he exchanges 
clothes, and later marches away with a Salvation 
Army Band. Meanwhile, Cooper's banker decides to 
grant him a loan and calls at his home. Ann learning 
of Cooper's predicament for the first time, becomes 
frantic over his absence, but her uneasiness soon 
comes to an end when she hears the approaching music 
and sees Cooper, gloriously drunk and disheveled, 
being led to the doorstep by the Salvation Army. 
There is a joyful reunion, and it all ends with Cooper 
and his family facing a bright and secure future. 

Ken Englund wrote the screen play from a story 
by Leo McCarey and John Klorer. The cast includes 
Ray Collins, Edmund Lowe, Joan Lorring, Clinton 
Sandburg, Louise Beavers and many others. 

Excellent for the entire family. 



124 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



July 31, 1948 



nized with motion picture films." That is pretty plain 
language. 

But even if we assume that the individual copy' 
right owners will have the right to license theatres on 
a per-piece basis, of what practical value is such a 
right? None whatever, for the time, labor and great 
expense that would be involved in any arrangement 
whereby a performance license will have to be ob' 
tained by the theatres for each piece of music in a film 
is commercially impracticable, not only for the exhib- 
itor, but also for the copyright owners of the music. It 
all adds up to an impossible task, and the only solution 
is the one handed down in the decision, whereby the 
copyright owners must hcense the performing rights 
to the producers, who will convey such rights to the 
exhibitors in the film Hcensing agreements. 

As a matter of fact, it will be to the advantage of 
the producer to insist upon being granted the perform- 
ing rights to all music he records on film — a right 
granted to him by the Court, for in that way the sale 
of his picture will not be limited to the number of 
exhibitors who have come to an agreement with the 
individual copyright owners for the performing rights 
of the music synchronized on the film. For a producer 
to take any other course would be to invite financial 
suicide. 

Harrison's Reports joins Mr. Myers in urging 
the exhibitors not to be affected by propaganda that 
the decision will result in a greater financial burden 
to them. Remember that no matter how much rental 
a producer asks for his picture, even if he includes in 
such a rental a charge for music performing rights, 
you do not have to pay the asking price. You can bar- 
gain with the producer, and if he doesn't make the 
price right you can pass up the picture. With ASCAP 
there was no such choice; you either paid the tax de' 
manded or shut your doors. 

Dire predictions about what may happen as a result 
of this far-reaching decision will no doubt emanate 
from producer-inspired sources for some time to come. 
The wise exhibitor, however, will not be influenced 
by any of these predictors, for no matter what angle 
they dream up they cannot take away from the fact 
that, with the independent exhibitors, the decision is 
a great and popular victory. 



NAME-CALLING 

In her July 19 syndicated column, which appeared 
in the Los Angeles Times, Hedda Hopper wrote the 
following among other items : 

"It will be ironically amusing to watch some of the 
scenes behind the scenes, now that Dore Schary is the 
Big Noise at Metro-Goldwyn-Moscou;. (ItaUcs mine.) 
He testified on the opposite side of the fence in Wash- 
ington from Robert Taylor, James K. McGuinness, 
Louis B. Mayer, Sam Wood, George Murphy and 
other men with whom he will work. 

"A lot of people ask why I oppose Schary. There 
are two simple reasons : One, he expressed pinko sym- 
pathies for years in Hollywood and stated on the 
stand in Washington that he would never fire Eddie 
Dymtryk and Adrian Scott until it was proven their 
work was subversive. But when the pressure of the 
producers was appHed to him he proved himsef lack- 
ing in the courage of his expressed convictions. Amer- 
icans don't admire a man hke that. Two, actually he 
had little if anything whatever to do with 'Crossfire,' 



the picture for which he accepted so many awards. It 
had been prepared many months before he went to 
RKO." 

I do not wish to criticize Miss Hopper for the views 
she holds about Dore Schary, whether they are right 
or wrong — the privilege of a newspaper or of a maga- 
zine writer to express his or her views on current 
topics and on people, so long as no Hbel is comjnitted, 
has been too well established to deserve even discus- 
sion; but when a writer resorts to name-calling just 
because she or he holds contrary views about either a 
person or issues, it is unworthy of such a writer to say 
the least. 

For Hedda Hopper to imply that the engaging of 
Mr. Schary 's services to head production has given 
the venerable Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio a Com- 
munist twist is too ridiculous to even think about, let 
alone beUeve. Does Mss Hopper think that Louis B. 
Mayer, Nicholas Schenck, Charles Moskowitz, Eddie 
Mannix, Ben Thau, WilHam F. Rodgers and all the 
other MGM and Loew's executives would have ap- 
proved the engaging of Mr. Schary "s services if there 
were the slightest possibility that he had a tinge that 
would prove detrimental to the United States? 

I don't know what Miss Hopper's motives were in 
resorting to abuse; but whatever her motives it is my 
opinion that she has not done honor to herself. 



ROADSHOW PRICES COMING BACK 

According to trade paper reports, Samuel Gold- 
wyn is negotiating a deal whereby his organization 
will supervise RKO's distribution of Walter Wang- 
er's "Joan of Arc," starring Ingrid Bergman. 

The reports state that present plans call for the 
picture to be shown on a roadshow basis at advanced 
admission prices. 

With box-office receipts declining steadily — a con- 
dition that can be traced to; not only the steady diet 
of poor product, but also the high cost of living, which 
has cut into the family's entertainment dollar, it takes 
courage in these days to embark on an advanced ad- 
mission price policy, particularly at a time when the 
exhibitors are having enough trouble attracting cus- 
tomers at regular prices. 

Not having seen the picture, this writer is in no 
position to say whether or not it warrants advanced 
admissions, but he will say that, unless the picture is 
exceptional entertainment in every sense of the term, 
the opposition from both the exhibitors and the pubhc 
will be so strong that the advanced admission price 
policy set for it will fall to the ground of its own 
weight. 



ABOUT SIGNING NEW CONTRACTS 
WITH ASCAP 

Those of you who are seeking guidance as to what 
course to follow in future dealings with ASCAP as 
a result of Judge Leibell's decision wil be interested to 
know that several of the Allied units have been ad- 
vised by their leaders not to sign any ASCAP con- 
tracts and not to pay any money to ASCAP pending 
a complete analysis of the decision. 

Most of the Allied leaders are waiting for detailed 
instructions from Mr. Abram F. Myers, their general 
counsel, on how to proceed. 

Whatever course is followed will be reported in 
these columns for the guidance of subscribers. 



Entered as oecond-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 1948 No. 32 



CURRENT OBSERVATIONS ON THE 
BRITISH FILM SITUATION 

In order that the British exhibitors may be enabled to give 
forty-five per cent of their playing time each year to British- 
made pictures, in accordance with the requirements of the 
new British quota, J. Arthur Rank has upped to sixty the 
number of pictures he hopes to deliver to the British exhib- 
itors each year. 

Will it work? — That is, will Mr. Rank be able to deliver 
sixty money-making pictures each year? 

Since he has not yet produced sixty pictures in a twelve- 
month period, we cannot tell from the record whether he can 
or cannot, but if we are to judge by our own experiences in 
the United States, Mr. Rank will not be able to deliver so 
many pictures a year and make them good. The American 
producers have tried it and have not succeeded, until today 
each of our major studios has brought the number of pictures 
annually to fewer than thirty. And let us not forget that the 
American producers have had much more experience than 
Mr. Rank in mass production methods, and are blessed with 
more plentiful talent, both literary and technical, as well as 
studio facihties, than is he. 

That Mr. Rank cannot produce so many pictures a year 
and make them box-office pictures is proved by the fact that 
he has fought for the passage of the forty-five per cent quota 
harder than any other British producer. If he could have 
produced them, he would not have had to fight for the im- 
position of a straightjacket on the British exhibitors. If he 
were able and capable of delivering meritorious pictures in 
sufficient numbers, it would not be necessary for him to 
compel the British exhibitors, by law, to play his pictures; 
they would beat a path to his door to sign film contracts. 
* * * 

British cloth for making clothes for both men and women 
is of the finest quality in the world. There is sold in the 
United States more cloth that comes from Great Britain than 
from all other nations in the world. What would the British 
cloth manufacturers say if the United States Congress would 
pass a law compeUing all tailoring establishments to use 
ninety per cent American cloth and ten per cent British? 
They would no doubt raise a yell that would reach to high 
heaven. They would indignantly call such a law discrimina- 
tory, and would appeal to the British Government and peo- 
ple to put stringent restrictions on American goods. 

Of course, the American picture producers will not, as a 
result of the new British quota, clamp on another boycott 
such as the one that had been lifted when the British Gov- 
ernment and the American producers reached an agreement 
several months ago rescinding the seventy-five per cent "con- 
fiscatory" tax, even though the British Government is show- 
ing bad faith: at a time when the British nation is short of 
dollars and the American nation is rushing to relieve its 
financial stress; at a time when the two nations are taking 
concerted measures to put an end to the grabbing proclivities 
of Communistic Russia, the American producers cannot 
afford to create difficulties for the American Government — 
not even for the British Government. 

But Mr. Rank and the British Government should be told 
that the whole question should be examined, not only from 
the American producers' viewpoint, but also from that of the 



British exhibitors. When the British film market is short of 
money-making British pictures it would be cruel to compel 
the British exhibitors to forego money-making American 
pictures to play British junk. And they should be reminded 
also that the British movie-goers will not rehsh for long the 
idea of paying an admission price to see junk. 
* * « 

The latest development to affect Great Britain's motion 
picture industry is the proposal by Mr. Harold Wilson, presi- 
dent of the British Board of Trade, for the creation of a 
government-controlled Film Finance Corporation that would 
be authorized to lend up to $20,000,000 to small independ- 
ent producers. Slated to be introduced at the fall session of 
Parliament in September, the proposed legislation will pro- 
vide funds for British independent producers in need of 
financial aid, and at the same time will serve to help them 
produce enough pictures to enable the British exhibitors to 
meet the forty-five per cent quota. 

But there are many who see in this latest development a 
step in the direction of nationaUzation of the British film 
industry, such as has been done with the coal and steel in- 
dustries. Mr. Wilson, of course, emphatically denies this. 

The big question in any plan whereby picture production 
is financed with Government funds is whether or not the 
political party in power will attempt to eventually exercise 
control over the character and contents of the films pro- 
duced. Some British exhibitors, according to trade paper re- 
ports, are worried lest an attempt will be made to use gov- 
ernment-financed pictures as a propaganda medium, thus 
hurting the pictures' entertainment values and affecting box- 
office returns. 

In view of the fact that the picture industry is unlike any 
other industry, it is probable that the British film industry, if 
taken over by the Labor Government, will collapse in a very 
short time. 



JACK KIRSCH ADVISES EXHIBITORS 
TO WITHHOLD ASCAP PAYMENTS 

Jack Kirsch, president of Allied Theatres of Illinois and 
former president of National Allied, advised his members 
this week to withhold future payments of fees to ASCAP. 
Mr. Kirsch based his advice upon an opinion submitted to 
his organization by its attorney, Thomas C. McConnell, 
well known for his successful work in the Jackson Park 
Theatre Case. 

"ASCAP license agreements with theatres," said Mr. 
McConnell's opinion, "are illegal and cannot be used by 
ASCAP to collect h'cense fees from theatre owners who have 
signed such agreements. "- 

"It would seem," he continues, "to be clearly indicated 
that Allied members should not make further payments to 
ASCAP because such payments are illegal and do not afford 
any protection under the copyright laws. In other words. 
Allied members receive nothing for their money by continu- 
ing such payments and are now clearly on notice that such 
payments are illegal exactions." 

Mr. McConnell concludes his opinion with the statement 
that "I am of the opinion that Allied members can safely 
refuse to pay any further monies under ASCAP agreements 
and that the Allied organization can safely recommend such 
covarse of action to its members." 



126 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



August 7, 1948 



"Pitfall" with Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott 
■ and Jane Wyatt 

(United Artisti, August 18; time, 85 min.) 
A pretty good adult melodrama, revolving around the 
troubles a dutiful family man gets himself into when he be- 
comes bored with his humdrum life and involves himself 
with another woman. The substance of the story is in no 
sense novel, but good direction and first-rate performances 
make it an engrossing film. The manner in which Dick 
Powell, as the hero, gets himself into his predicament is pre- 
sented in a believable way, and though he strays from the 
arms of his loving wife (unbeknownst to her), one sympa- 
thises with him, for he is plagued by a guilty conscience and 
by a strong desire to protect his family from scandal and 
danger. Although Powell tends to underplay his part too 
much, he makes the characterization effective. Jane Wyatt, 
as his wife, is appealing, and Lizabeth Scott, as the other 
woman, is very good. There is an undercurrent of tension 
throughout the action, and several of the sequences are 
quite exciting. Production quality and photography are of 
a high order : — 

Bored with his humdrum existence both at home and at 
work, Powell, an insurance company claim adjuster, craves 
excitement. Arriving at his office one morning he finds 
Raymond Burr, a private detective hired by his company, 
waiting for him. Burr reports that Lizabeth, girl-friend of 
Byron Barr, a racketeer jailed for embezzlement, had re- 
ceived many gifts that Barr had purchased with embezzled 
funds. Inasmuch as his company was responsible for the loss, 
Powell sets out to retrieve the gifts. Lizabeth willingly sur- 
renders the property, and Powell, fascinated by her charm, 
takes her to dinner. He becomes infatuated with her, and 
Burr, who wanted her for himself, warns him to stay away 
from her. When Powell ignores his threats, the detective 
beats him up. Powell tells his wife that he had been the vic- 
tim of a holdup. He resolves to give up his affair with Liza- 
beth, and she agrees when she learns of his marital status. 
But she appeals to him for help when Burr persists in annoy- 
ing her. Powell gives the detective a sound thrashing. Intent 
on revenge, Burr visits Lizabeth's boy-friend in jail and in- 
forms him of her affair with Powell. Upon his release from 
jail a week later, the racketeer, crazed with drink furnished 
to him by Burr, goes to Powell's home to kill him. Powell is 
compelled to kill him in self-defense, and informs the police 
that he was a prowler. Later, however, he reveals the truth 
to Jane and decides to make a full confession to the police. 
Meanwhile Burr visits Lizabeth, boasts that he had been 
instrumental in ridding her of both men, and suggests that 
she go away with him. She answers by shooting him down. 
On the following morning, Powell makes a full confession, 
and the District Attorney releases him when his story is con- 
firmed by Lizabeth, who had been taken into custody. Jane, 
admitting that she had been thinking about a divorce, takes 
Powell back in the hope that they can make a new life. 

Samuel BischofI produced it and Andre de Toth directed 
it from a screen play by Karl Lamb, based on the novel by 
Jay Dratler. Strictly adult fare. 



"The Spiritualist" with Turhan Bey, 
Lynn Bari and Cathy O'Donnell 

(Eagle-Lion, July 7; time, 78 min.) 
An effective mixture of murder and fake spiritualism, this 
melodrama should go over fairly well with those who do not 
mind somber entertainments. Although the action is leisurely 
and lacking in turbulence it manages to generate consider- 
able suspense because of the eerie doings and backgrounds, 
which make for a number of spine-chilling moments. An in- 
teresting phase of the story is its depiction of the fake meth- 
ods employed by mediums who victimize distressed people 
seeking contact with loved ones. The plot, of course, has its 
far-fetched moments, but it has enough novel twists to hold 
one's atetntion well. The ending, where the two villains 
destroy themselves in a blazing gunfight, is exciting: — 

Although several years had passed since the body of a 
man identified as her husband (Donald Curtis) had been 
found in a burned automobile, Lynn Bari, a wealthy social- 
ite, cannot forget him. Her younger sister, Cathy O'Donnell, 
seeks to free her from her obsession and tries to induce her 



to marry Richard Carlson, but to no avail. In her neurotic 
state of mind, Lynn falls easy prey to Turhan Bey, a fake 
medium who, through information obtained from a confed- 
erate who worked as a maid in Lynn's household, was able 
to astound her with intimate revelations of her own life. 
When Cathy and Carlson learn of Lynn's visits to Bey, they 
decide to intervene; they hire Harry Mendoza, a private de- 
tective, to expose him. Cathy enters a scheme to trap Bey, 
but the spiritualist, forewarned by his confederate, wins her 
over by his personal magnitude and astounding revelations 
about herself. When both Lynn and Cathy come to believe 
in Bey, Carlson and the detective barge into one of his 
seances and demand that he prove himself not to be a fake 
by evoking the apparition of Lynn's dead spouse. Trapped, 
Bey is compelled to agree. He himself is astonished no end 
when the apparition appears and fades away. Later, Curtis, 
very much alive, confronts Bey. He explains that he is "only 
legally dead," and compels the spiritualist to enter into a 
scheme whereby he (Bey) would marry Cathy, help to 
murder Lynn, and thereby gain control of the family for- 
tune. In the events that follow, Curtis' voice, by means of a 
microphone hidden in Lynn's bedroom, drives her to dis- 
traction until the ruse is discovered by Cathy. She investi- 
gates and finds both Bey and Curtis together in the cellar of 
Lynn's home. Curtis decides to kill her to keep her quiet, 
but Bey, by this time genuinely in love with Cathy, comes to 
her defense. Both men kill each other in a shooting duel. 

Ben Stoloff produced it and Bernard Vorhaus directed it 
from a screen play by Muriel Roy Bolton and Ian Hunter, 
based on a story by Crane Wilbur. Adult entertainment. 



"Tw^o Guys from Texas" -with 
Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson 

(Warner Bros., Sept. 4; time, 86 min.) 

This is a lightweight Technicolored romantic comedy with 
musical interludes, the sort that is fairly amusing and easily 
forgotten soon after one leaves the theatre. The story is non- 
sensical and inconsequential, but serves adequately as a 
framework for the moderately diverting gags and comedy 
situations, many of which are of the slapstick variety, and 
for the numerous musical interludes, which are pleasant and 
tuneful though undistinguished. A good part of the comedy 
stems from Jack Carson's fear of animals, and in line with 
Carson's being psychoanalyzed for this phobia the producer 
has worked into the action to pretty good effect a cartoon 
dream sequence that pokes fun at psychiatry. The picture 
has its dull spots, but all in all it should provide plenty of 
chuckles for not-too-discriminating audiences: — 

Stranded in Texas when their old car breaks down, Den- 
nis Morgan and Jack Carson, a song-and-dance team, stum- 
ble upon a dude ranch owned by Dorothy Malone. Through 
the efforts of Penny Edwards, a New York show girl, who 
intercedes in their behalf, the boys are permitted to remain 
at the ranch as entertainers. Meanwhile two shady char- 
acters, Gerald Mohr and John Alvin, guests at the ranch, 
steal and hide the boys' stalled car. Morgan reports the rob- 
bery to Sheriff Forrest Tucker, who resented Morgan because 
of his attentions to Dorothy. Later that night Carson is 
psychoanalyzed by a doctor who discovers that his fear of 
animals was the result of a frustration, caused by the fact 
that Morgan always stole his girls. Advised by the doctor to 
turn the tables on Morgan, Carson makes a play for Dorothy, 
thus angering the Sheriff even more. Matters become hot 
when Mohr and Alvin rob the local bank and escape in the 
boys' car to throw suspicion on them. Morgan and Carson 
are locked up for the crime but manage to escape. They suc- 
ceed in evading capture by disguising themselves in tradi- 
tional Western costumes, but the Sheriff eventually catches 
them. On the way back to jail they spot the two crooks steal- 
ing the prize-money from a rodeo show and help to capture 
them. Released when the thieves confess the earlier robbery, 
Morgan goes back to wooing Dorothy, and Carson turns his 
attentions to Pennv. only to learn that she had become en- 
gaged to the Sheriff. Crushed, Carson beams when an old 
Indian squaw introduces him to her beautiful daughter. 

Alex Gottlieb produced it and David Butler directed it 
from a screen play by I. A. L. Diamond and Allen Boretz, 
suggested by a play by Robert Sloane and Robert Pelletier. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



August 7, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



127 



"Larceny" with Joan CauIBeld, 
John Payne and Dan Duryea 

(Uniuersul, no release date set; time, 89 min.) 
A good adult melodrama. Dealing with the nefarious ac- 
tivities of a group of swindlers, the story is rather unpleas- 
ant, but it is well conceived and has been handled with suffi- 
cient suspense to keep the spectator interested throughout. 
The plot has many intricate twists, but it makes fairly good 
sense. With the exception of the heroine, the principal char- 
acters are unsympathetic, for their actions are distasteful. 
John Payne gives a compelling performance as the deceitful 
hero who takes advantage of a young war widow's grief to 
promote a phoney war memorial. An attempt is made to 
build up some sympathy for him towards the end when his 
love for the widow helps him to see the error of his ways, 
but one cannot feel too kindly towards him because of the 
weakness of his character, as well as his promiscuousness 
with women. Joan Caulfield has a stereotyped part as the 
heroine, but Shelley Winters, as a woman of loose morals, 
scores heavily in the acting department; her encounters with 
Payne are rough and sexy, sparked by dialogue that is 
brittle and witty. Dan Duryea, as a smooth racketeer, is 
properly menacing: — 

Duryea dispatches Payne, his confederate, to a small Cali- 
fornia city to pose as the war buddy of Joan Caulfield's dead 
husband and thus set the stage for the promotion of a 
phoney war memorial. Shelley Winters, Duryea's girl- 
friend, asks Payne to take her along, but he rejects the idea 
and warns her to stay away from him because Duryea sus- 
pected that they were having an affair. In California, Payne 
ingratiates himself with the townspeople, wins Joan's confi- 
dence, and slyly induces her to promote the war memorial in 
the form of a recreation center for youngsters. Meanwhile 
Shelley follows Payne and compels him to visit with her 
under threat of putting him in bad with Duryea. In the 
course of events, Payne falls in love with Joan and tries to 
pull out of the swindle, but Duryea, who had arrived in 
town, threatens to kill him unless he goes through with the 
scheme. Shelley, sensing Payne's love for Joan, summons 
the girl to her motel and, in the presence of Payne, warns 
her to stay away from him. A scuffle takes place, during 
which Joan is knocked unconscious and Shelley is accident- 
ally shot to death as she struggles with Payne. Before Payne 
can escape with the unconscious Joan, Duryea arrives on the 
scene and prepares to kill Payne, but he hesitates when 
Payne tells him that Shelley had been involved with Joan's 
dead husband and that Joan had killed her. Believing the 
lie, Duryea quickly plans to blackmail Joan's wealthy father 
to cover up the killing. Payne arranges for her father to 
come to the motel and through a clever trick also notifies the 
police. The authorities arrive in time to prevent the shake- 
down and save Joan's reputation. Payne, though vindicated 
in Joan's eyes, surrenders to the police along with Duryea. 
Leonard Goldstein produced it and George Sherman di- 
rected it from a screen play by Herbert F. Margolis, Louis 
Morheim, and William Bowers, based on the novel "The 
Velvet Fleece," by Lois Eby and John Fleming. Adult fare. 



2. An Edgar Kennedy comedy dealing with his troubles 
as he and his family build an addition to their home. It is 
familiar stuff but should please those who enjoy slapstick to 
the extreme. 

3. The original Pat Rooney in his familiar "Daughter of 
Rosie O'Grady" tap routine. 

4. Jesse and James, a tap dance team, in an expertly 
executed dance routine. 

y. A "Flicker Flashbacks" presentation showing clips 
from old silent films, including "Two Paths," a 1911 Bio- 
graph drama; "The Fugitive," a William S. Hart Western; 
and Paris fashions from a 1922 issue of Pathe News. 

6. A Leon Errol comedy-farce of domestic troubles. This 
should satisfy his fans. 

7. Lynn, Royce and Vanya in a pretty good comedy 
adagio dance. 

8. Hans Conried and Jack Paar in an amusing French 
comedy song routine. 

9. Miguelito Valdes and Orchestra, and dancers Harold 
and Lola in "Babalu," a unique jungle song and dance rou' 
tine that is very well done. 

George Bilson produced it and Hal Yates directed the 
Leon Errol and Edgar Kennedy sequences. Mr. Yates wrote 
the Edgar Kennedy screen play, and Hal Law the Leon 
Errol screen play. Suitable for the entire family. 



"Variety Time" 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 59 min.) 
This is an hour-long novelty feature patterned after the 
two-a-day vaudeville shows presented on the stage, and as 
such shapes up as a fair program picture. It is a mixture of 
slapstick comedy sketches, dance routines, and song nimi- 
bers, presented in a program of nine acts, which are linked 
together by Jack Paar, the radio comedian, who makes his 
screen debut in this picture as master of ceremonies. Without 
being sensational, Paar manages to get off a number of funny 
quips in his commentary between the acts. Being a variety 
show, it has something that should please the tastes of the 
different movie-goers, but movie-wise patrons will recognize 
most of the acts as being clips taken from pictures released in 
recent years. Even the Edgar Kennedy and Leon Errol com- 
edy shorts have already made the rounds. The different acts 
or sequences are presented in the following order: — 

1. Frankie Carle and his Orchestra playing a "boogie" 
musical number that should please the devotees of this type 
of music, 



"Rachel and the Stranger" with 

Loretta Young, William Holden 

and Robert Mitchum 

(RKO, no release date set; time, 92 min.) 
Good family entertainment. Set in the pioneer days of the 
Ohio territory in the early 1800's, the story, though simple, 
is wholesome, has human appeal, comedy, and pathos, as 
well as good performances and interesting backgrounds. Al- 
though it is not until the closing reels, where an Indian raid 
takes place, that anything exciting happens, the earlier reels 
offer a love triangle which, in its primitive setting, is amus- 
ing yet pathetic. Loretta Young, as a bondwoman who is 
bought and married by William Holden, a settler, for the 
purpose of tending to chores and caring for his motherless 
son, does outstanding work in an unglamorous role, winning 
the spectator's sympathy by her sincere efforts to ingratiate 
herself with them, despite their treatment of her as a servant. 
How Holden is made aware of her charms when Robert 
Mitchum, an Indian scout, showers her with attentions un- 
folds in a manner that is anticipated but nevertheless amus- 
ing. The Indian raid at the finish is a slam-bang affair, vivid 
and exciting: — 

Shortly after the death of his wife, Holden realizes that 
his nine-year-old son (Gary Gray) needs a woman's care. 
He goes to the nearest settlement, where he finds that the 
only woman available is Loretta, a bondwoman. He pur- 
chases her for twenty-two dollars, and marries her so that it 
would be fitting for her to live under the same roof with him 
Back at the cabin, Holden treats her more as a servant than 
as a wife, while his son refuses to accept her as a substitute 
for his mother, despite her quiet efforts to please them both. 
When Mitchum, Holden's close friend, arrives at the cabin 
for a visit, he notices Loretta's unappreciated status and sets 
out to charm her. His campaign awakens Holden's jealousy, 
and the situation is brought to a head when Holden 
bluntly suggests that Mitchum had overstayed his visit. 
Mitchum offers to buy Loretta from him at a profit. This 
precipitates a fight between them that is ended only when 
Loretta, learning the reason for the quarrel, scornfully puts 
them in their place and heads back to the settlement. The 
two men and the boy follow her. Each tries to outwit the 
other to make peace with her until a glow in the night sky 
warns them that Indians were attacking the cabin. While 
young Gary rides off to the settlement for help. Holden, 
Mitchum. and Loretta return to the cabin to battle the In- 
dians. They manage to stave off the assault until the relief 
party comes to their rescue. On the following morning, 
Mitchum decides to resume his roving life when he sees 
Holden and his son realize their love for Loretta. 

Richard H. Berger produced it and Norman Foster di- 
rected it from a screen play by Waldo Salt, based on the 
novel by Howard Fast. Fine for the entire family. 



128 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



August 7, 1948 



"A Southern Yankee" with Red Skelton, 
Brian Donlevy and Arlene Dahl 

(MGM. no release date set; time, 90 min.) 

This comedy of errors should go over pretty well with the 
Red Skelton fans. Built on a mistaken identity theme, the 
story, which takes place during the Civil War, depicts Skel- 
ton as an imaginative, blundering St. Louis hotel bellhop, 
who accidentally catches a famous Confederate spy and as- 
sumes his identity for counter-espionage purposes. There is 
little rhyme or reason to the story, and much of the comedy 
is of the slapstick variety, but it is fast-moving and effective. 
Some of the situations are hilariously funny, such as the one 
where Skelton, caught in a crossfire during a battle between 
the opposing forces, saves himself by marching down the 
center of the battlefield in a quickly improvised uniform and 
flag which, from the left side, showed him as a Union soldier, 
and on the right side as a Confederate soldier, causing both 
sides to cease firing. His romance with Arlene Dahl, a Con- 
federate spy, adds much to the hilarity: — 

When word spreads that the Gray Spider (George Cou- 
louris), a daring Confederate spy, is somewhere in St. Louis, 
Skelton sets out to track him down. His first suspect turns 
out to be the head of the Union Secret Service. Later, while 
delivering a pressed uniform to one of the hotel guests, Skel- 
ton discovers by pure accident that he is the Gray Spider. To 
save himself, the Spider forces Skelton to change uniforms 
with him and prepares to kill him, but he is knocked uncon- 
scious when Skelton, frightened, trips over a chair and kicks 
him. Just then the door opens and Skelton is confronted by 
Arlene Dahl, who mistakes him for the Spider, whom she 
had never met. She takes him to a secret meeting of other 
Southern spies, after which he meets with the Union Secret 
Service to report his experience. Falsifying information ob- 
tained from the Spider, who had been put in prison, the head 
of the Union Secret Service selects Skelton to continue his 
masquerade as the Spider in order to get false information 
into Confederate hands. After a wild experience between 
enemy lines, during which he lands in a Confederate hospi- 
tal, Skelton meets Arlene, who takes him to the mansion of 
Brian Donlevy, where the head of the Confederate Secret 
Service made his headquarters. Donlevy, in love with Arlene 
and jealous over her attentions to Skelton, plots to turn him 
over to Union headquarters as a spy. Donlevy's machinations 
and his own blundering tactics involve Skelton in numerous 
escapades, during which he bluffs his way through every 
crisis until the Spider, having escaped from prison, arrives 
on the scene and exposes him as an imposter. Skelton is about 
to be shot as a spy when word comes that peace had been 
declared. It ends with Arlene capturing Skelton for herself. 

Paul Jones produced it and Edward Sedgwick directed it 
from a screen play by Harry Tugend, based on a story by 
Melvin Frank and Norman Panama. The cast includes Art 
Baker, Minor Watson, John Ireland and others. 

Morally suitable for the entire family. 



"Shed No Tears" with Wallace Ford 
and June Vincent 

(£agIe-Lion, ]uly 2; time, 70 min.) 
This is a very good "B" murder melodrama so far as direc- 
tion, acting and realism are concerned, for one's interest is 
gripped from the beginning and held up to the end. But it is 
a very unpleasant theme, for the chief characters commit a 
crime — they set fire to a hotel to make it appear as if one of 
them had perished in the fire, the purpose being to collect 
insurance money. The direction is skillful, and as a result the 
acting of all the characters makes one feel as if he were wit- 
nessing a real-life occurrence: — 

Wallace Ford and June Vincent, his two-timing wife, de- 
vise a scheme to defraud an insurance company of his life 
insurance. Setting fire to a hotel in which they were regis- 
tered, they leave some of Ford's jewelry in the room and 
then escape. When the fire is put out and the jewelry dis- 
covered, June identifies an unidentifiable corpse as her hus- 
band and eventually collects the insurance money. While 
Ford waits in vain for June to show up with the money, she 
plans to flee with Robert Scott, her lover. Meanwhile Rich- 



ard Hogan, Ford's son by a prior marriage, is not satisfied 
with the circumstances surrounding his father's death; he 
engages the services of private detective Johnstone White, 
unaware that he is a blackmailer. White cleverly traps June 
into the disclosure that Ford was still alive, and becomes con- 
vinced that there was a plot to defraud the insurance com- 
pany. Ford, impatient at June's failure to meet him, returns 
to the city disguised and catches her making love to Scott. 
Without revealing his presence, he follows Scott to his home 
and murders him. Hogan, who had been following his father 
without recognizing him, reports the incident to White. The 
detective traces Ford to his hotel and attempts to blackmail 
him. In the meantime Scott's body is discovered, and the 
police hold June on suspicion of murder. Released on bail, 
she follows White to Ford's hideout and is in turn followed 
by the police. June, overhearing that Ford killed Scott, 
shoots him and then accidentally falls to her death through 
a window. The police arrive in time to take White into cus- 
tody, and to hear Ford's confession and statement that he 
would rather pay the law than be hounded all his life by a 
blackmailer. 

The story has been taken from Don Martin's novel and 
put into screenplay form by Brown Holmes and Virginia 
Cook. Robert Frost produced it and Jean Yarbrough directed 
it. 

Strictly adult fare. 



"The Checkered Coat" with Tom Conway, 
Noreen Nash and Hurd Hatfield 

(20th Century-Fox, July; time, 67 min.) 

A good "B" melodrama with a number of unusual twists. 
Although much of it could be criticized on the license taken 
by the author in the behavior of his characters, one can over- 
look these defects because one is held in tense suspense. Tom 
Conway is a pleasant hero, but he frequently is made to take 
liberties with the credulity of the audience. Hurd Hatfield is 
highly believable as a neurotic and vicious crook. There is 
hardly any comedy relief, the entire action dealing with seri- 
ous melodramatic business. It is a suitable picture for double 
bills, and when coupled with another "B" picture that has 
little name value it could take the top spot: — 

Conway, a psychiatrist, is visited by Hatfield for an ex- 
amination. He informs Conway that Marten Lamont, his 
(Conway's) brother, had recommended him, and that La- 
mont was his partner-in-crime. Conway examines Hatfield 
and finds him suffering from catalepsy, a disease which, when 
it struck, made its victim's muscles rigid and gave him the 
appearance of being dead. When Hatfield refuses to go to a 
hospital, Conway gives him a letter to carry on his person 
instructing the authorities not to handle him as a dead 
person in the event he was found unconscious. Later, Hat- 
field induces Lamont to join him in the robbery of a jewelry 
shop across the hall from Conway's office. Conway, hearing 
pistol shots, takes his gun and rushes into the shop. Hatfield 
knocks him unconscious and, after robbing the shop, both 
crooks take Conway to their car and escape. When the police 
find Conway's gun and fingerprints in the shop they suspect 
him of the crime. They question Noreen Nash, Conway's 
wife, but fail to exact information as to his whereabouts. 
Hatfield abducts Noreen and takes her to his cheap hotel 
room in the slums. Conway escapes from the crooks and sets 
out to rescue his wife. Hatfield murders Lamont and, shortly 
afterwards, is struck by his ailment. The police take his body 
to the morgue. Meanwhile a sneak thief steals Hatfield's 
checkered coat, which contained Conway's letter to the au- 
thorities. Conway apprehends the thief and learns from him 
that Hatfield had been taken to the morgue. He rushes there, 
informs the doctors that Hatfield is not dead, and requests 
them to inform the police. Through information given to 
him by the sneak thief, Conway finds and rescues Noreen. In 
the end, Conway is vindicated and Hatfield is held for rob- 
bery and murder. 

Sam Baerwitz produced it for Balsam productions, and 
Edward L. Cahn directed it from an original screen play by 
John C. Higgins. 

As a crook melodrama, it is hardly suitable for children; 
it is too nerve-wracking. 



entered as aecond-claas matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at Ncrv York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

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A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 1948 No. 33 



DANGEROUS TO ENTER INTO NEW 
CONTRACTS WITH ASCAP 

In a bulletin issued this week to Allied's regional units, 
Abram F. Myers, general counsel and chairman of the board 
of National Allied, not only advises the exhibitors to with- 
hold payments from ASCAP but also cautions them that it 
would be dangerous to enter into further contracts with 
ASCAP in its present status. 

In line with Mr. Myers" advice, each of the Allied regional 
associations has advised its members to stop payments to 
ASCAP. 

The Theatre Owners of America, which seems to be the 
only exhibitor organisation that sees gloom in the ASCAP 
decision, is recommending to its members that they continue 
their ASCAP payments lest they find themselves subject to 
money penalties for violations of the federal copyright law. 
But the advice given by the TOA seems to have fallen on 
deaf ears insofar as the major circuits are concerned, for last 
week all of them decided to discontinue the payments pend' 
ing further study of the decision. In view of the fact that 
most of the affiliated circuits are members of the TOA, their 
action must have been a source of embarrassment to the 
TOA leaders. 

Like aU opinions issued by Mr. Myers on matters that 
affect the welfare of the independent exhibitors, this latest 
opinion cites in clear and comprehensive language his rea- 
sons for believing that future payments to ASCAP should 
be withheld. Moreover, it serves as an effective, let alone 
devastating, reply to those who see nothing but an empty 
victory for the exhibitors in the ASCAP decision, and 
whose tenuous statements belittling the decision serve only 
to magnify the feebleness of their stand. 

In the opinion of Harrison's Reports, every exhibitor, 
whether a member of Allied or of any other exhibitor group, 
should stop payments to ASCAP at once. Lest any of you 
doubt, however, the advisability of pursuing such a course 
because of the statements to the contrary issued by the TOA, 
a reading of Mr. Myers' bulletin, which follows, should 
help to dear up the reasons why the TOA seeks to confuse 
and frighten the exhibitors: 

"IT'S DANGEROUS TO DEAL WITH ASCAP 

"This office was unwilling to express an opinion on so 
important and delicate a question as to whether exhibitors 
should further deal with ASCAP until we could secure and 
study a certified copy of Judge Leibell's ruhng. 

"As soon as that was accomplished we sent the following 
day letter to all members of the board of directors: 

" 'After studying official text Judge Leibell's opinion, 
deem it unwise for exhibitors to enter into contracts with 
ASCAP or to make further payments to ASCAP pending 
further clarification of situation, especially as to appeal. 
Confident exhibitors by refraining from doing business with 
ASCAP in its present status will run no risk. Bulletin citing 
reasons will issue shortly.' 

"According to Judge Leibell, 'almost every part of the 
ASCAP structure, almost all of ASCAP's activities in li- 
censing motion picture theatres, involve a violation of the 
anti-trust laws.' In view of the sweeping denunciations of 
his opinion, and the breadth of the order to be entered, it is 
difficult to see why he said "almost.' Because of the number 
of copyrights combined in the pool (80% of the composi- 
tions in the films), he finds that ASCAP is a monopoly in 
violation of Sec. 2 of the Sherman Act. As if that were not 
enough, be holds that the action of the members in transfer* 



ring the performing rights to ASCAP constitutes a combina- 
tion in restraint of trade in violation of Sec. 1 of the Act. 

"Recognizing that the test of monopoly is the acquisition 
of power to raise prices and exclude competition. Judge 
Leibell concluded that ASCAP has such power. In this 
connection he cited ASCAP's demand in 1947 for increases 
from the theatres ranging from 200% to 1500% over the 
1934 rates; also the deal between ASCAP and TOA (the 
latter not being named) whereby a new set of rates was 
fixed representing an increase of from 25% to 30% over the 
then prevailing rates. Hence the court concluded that the 
plaintiffs were entitled to an injunction to prevent a recur- 
rence of what happened in 1947 "because the unlawful ar- 
rangements between ASCAP and its members, and between 
the members and the motion picture producers, is a continu- 
ing one and is a clear violation of the anti-trust laws." 

"Specifically, the court held that ASCAP's "blanket li- 
censes were a violation of the anti-trust laws and were issued 
pursuant to an illegal combination' and that 'the license 
agreements were unenforcible because of their statutory il- 
legality.' 

'"By bulletin dated July 23 there was transmitted to all 
Allied regional associations Judge Leibell's outline of an 
order to be entered in the case. You will recall that it pro- 
vides for injunctions (a) directing ASCAP to divest itself 
of all rights of public performance so far as motion picture 
are concerned, and (b) restraining ASCAP's members from 
hcensing, except to motion picture producers, the rights of 
public performance of musical compositions synchronijed 
with motion picture films. 

"Read in the light of the official text of the opinion, this 
can only mean that ASCAP, being a monopoly and a com- 
bination in restraint of trade, must cease to grant licenses to 
or to collect royalties from motion picture theatres and that 
ASCAP's members, the actual copyright owners, can only 
license the public performing rights for music recorded on 
films to the producers of those films. Therefore, it would be 
very dangerous for motion picture exhibitors to enter into 
further contracts with or to pay any more royalties to 
ASCAP in its present status. 

"MOTION PICTURE PRODUCERS 
ALSO INVOLVED 

"Judge Leibell's opinion points out that 37% of one-half 
of ASCAP's total revenue goes to certain motion picture 
producers via their music publishing houses. When a pro- 
ducer acquires the right to a tune not controlled by ASCAP 
it acquires the recording and the performing rights, and the 
latter are included in the license of the picture to the exhibi- 
tor. But if the tune is controlled by ASCAP the producer 
obtains from the copyright owner only the recording rights 
and includes in its license to the exhibitor a clause requiring 
the latter to acquire the performing rights from ASCAP. 

"This is the vicious circle created by ASCAP and the 
producers and denounced in the above quoted passage from 
Judge Leibell's opinion. But that is not all of the story. Fre- 
quently the producers will specially employ a composer to 
write a piece for a film and will turn over the copyright 
thereto to its subsidiary publishing house. The latter then 
conveys the public performing rights to ASCAP. In such 
cases the producer collects, via ASCAP, a substantial part 
of the public performance royalties on its own music, re- 
corded on its own film and licensed to the exhibitors for 
exhibition. 

(Continued on I<ut page) 



130 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



August 14, 1948 



MR. EXHIBITOR 



Remember in September 
to Join in Promoting . . . 



WHAT 
TO DO 



1. Order FREE accessories from Na- 
tional Screen— Campaign Book, Lobby 
Hangers, and "A Salute To Youth" 
trailer, featuring Sammy Kaye's or- 
chestra and Youth Month song, "I'm 
the You in the U.S.A." 

2. Decorate marquee and theater. 

3. Run all Youth newsreel shots. 

4. Book all possible Youth short sub- 
jects. See local exchange managers. 

5. Put Youth Month slugs in ads. 

6. Enlist support of newspapers and 
radio stations. 

7. Interest civic and church groups, also 
Rotary, Kiwanis, Cjmmunity Qiest, 
American Legion, VFW, Lions clubs. 
Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camplire 
Girls, and youth serving agencies in 
Youth Month activities. 

8. G)nduct all possible Youth activity 
in and out of theater with at least 
four BIG community events. 

9. Consult your state chairman. Work 
with your fellow Exhibitor in making 
your community YOUTH conscious. 




A Public Service Program Undertaken by Theatres," 
radio, press, and civic organizations at the request of 
Attorney General Tom Clark to combat juvenile 
delinquency! 

YOUTH MONTH COMMITTEE 



CHARLES p. SKOURAS 

National Chainnan 



HARRY LOWENSTEIN 

Vice Chainnan 



SPONSORED BY THEATRE OWNERS OF AMERICA 

TED R. GAMBLE, President 



August 14, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



131 







"Hollow Triumph" with Paul Henreid 
and Joan Bennett 

(Eagle-Lion, 710 release date set; time, 83 min.) 
Good. Those who like their melodramas tough and excit- 
ing should find this one to their tastes. It is not a pleasant 
entertainment, and the story idea is far-fetched, but good 
acting and direction have made it suspenscful and absorbing 
from beginning to end. It revolves around the efforts of an 
ingenious crook to evade death at the hands of a gambling 
mob by assuming the identity of a prominent psychiatrist, 
whom he resembled and whom he murders. How he becomes 
the victim of his own strategy gives the story an interesting 
ironic twist. Paul Henreid, who produced the picture and 
plays a dual role, is highly effective, being properly sinister 
or suave as the occasion demands. Joan Bennett, as the 
psychiatrist's worldy-wise secretary who falls in love with 
the criminal, is convincing. But none of the principal char- 
acters is sympathetic, for their actions are far from edifying. 
The production values are very good: — 

Shortly after his release from prison, Henreid, a former 
medical student who had turned to criminal activities, engi- 
neers the robbery of a gambling house in Miami. The pro- 
prietor learns of his identity and vows to avenge himself. 
Aware that he was marked for death, Henreid goes into 
hiding in New York, where he obtains a job as a clerk in a 
medical supply house. When several people mistake him for 
a successful psychiatrist, whose office was in the immedi- 
ate vicinity, Henreid investigates and finds that the resem- 
blance, except for a scar on the cheek, was truly phenomenal. 
Carefully laying his plans, he cultivates the friendship of 
Joan and, through her, gains access to the doctor's secret 
files and makes a thorough study of his mannerisms and past 
history. He then tells Joan that he is leaving the country 
and bids her goodbye. Henreid grows a mustache like the 
doctor's, cuts a scar into his face, and shortly thereafter 
murders the psychiatrist and assumes his identity. His 
masquerade is undetected for many weeks, but eventually 
Joan becomes aware of his true identity. Deeply in love with 
him, she decides to leave the country rather than turn him 
over to the police. Henreid, having learned that he need 
not fear death because the gambling house proprietor who 
pursued him had been put in jail, decides to join Joan on 
the trip. He rushes to the pier only to find himself cornered 
by two thugs who, believing him to be the psychiatrist, 
accuse him of trying to run out on a huge gambling debt 
incurred by the doctor. He tries to convince them of his true 
identity but to no avail. Desperate, he makes a dash for the 
ship only to be shot down in cold blood. As the ship departs, 
Joan, on board, believes that Henreid had failed to keep 
his promise. 

Steve Sekely directed it from a screen play by Daniel 
Fuchs, based oh a novel by Murray Forbes. Adult fare. 



"The Shanghai Chest" with Roland Winters 

(Monogram, July 11; time, 65 min.) 
A routine entry in the "Charlie Chan" series of program 
murder-mystery melodramas. Like most of the pictures in 
this series, this one, too, has a story that is so confused and 
complicated that it would take a master-mind to figure it 
out — that is, if he had the patience. The story formula is 
the same: A murder is committed, additional murders follow, 
suspicion is directed at a half-dozen characters, and it ends 
with Chan, the Chinese detective, coming up with the 
solution in a lengthy and far-fetched explanation of events 
that the audience did not see. For comedy, there is the 
frightened antics of the detective's colored chauffeur, which 
now seem forced and repetitious since they are similar to 
those in the last six or more pictures in the series: — 

The story opens with the murder of a judge by a masked 
intruder under circumstances that throw suspicion on his 
nephew when it is established that the young man had been 
cut out of the dead man's will. The police invite Charlie 
Chan (Roland Winters) to participate in the case, and an 
examination of the murder weapon discloses the fingerprints 
of a criminal who supposedly had been executed in prison 
six months previously. Chan discovers also that the judge 



had been in possession of new evidence establishing the 
criminal's innocence. In the events that follow, the district 
attorney and two jurors, who had been connected with the 
criminal's ease, are murdered, and the body of the executed 
criminal disappears from his grave. Each of the crimes dis- 
closes evidence of the criminal's fingerprints. Tracking down 
numerous clues, Chan traps the judge's attorney and proves 
that he had committed the crimes to cover up his part in an 
insurance racket. The fingerprints had been duplicated 
through a deceptive ruse. 

James S. Burkett produced it and William Beaudine di- 
rected it from an original story by Sam Newman, who collab- 
orated on the screen play with W. Scott Darhng. The cast 
includes Manton Morcland, Victor Sen Young, Tim Ryan, 
Pierre Watkin, Russell Hicks, Wilhe Best, Milton Parsons 
and others. Unobjectionable morally. 



"Julia Misbehaves" with Greer Garson, 

Walter Pidgeon, Elizabeth Taylor 

and Peter Lawford 

(MGM, October: time. 99 min.) 
A frothy but highly enjoyable comedy, the type of enter- 
tainment that should appeal to the masses, for it is gay and 
romantic. As a matter of fact, the comedy situations are so 
good that one loses sight of the fact that the story is thin. 
Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, who are usually cast in 
sedate roles, are given a change of pace in this story, which 
makes considerable use of their comedy talents, even to the 
point of slapstick, in depicting them as a separated but gay 
married couple, who are unwittingly reunited as a result 
of her hectic maneuvers in inducing their 'teen-aged daughter 
to elope with a man other than the one to whom she was 
engaged. The two stars enter into the spirit of the comedy 
with zest, as do Elizabeth Taylor, as the daughter; Peter 
Lawford, as the young artist with whom she elopes; and 
Cesar Romero, as a jealous acrobat who becomes infatuated 
with Greer — all are of considerable help to the entertaining 
quality of the picture: — 

Attractive but constantly in debt, Greer, an English music 
hall entertainer, charms her friends into paying her debts. 
When she receives an invitation to attend the wedding of 
her daughter, Elizabeth Taylor, whom she had not seen 
since she (Greer) had separated from her society husband, 
Walter Pidgeon, eighteen years previously, Reginald Owen, 
an old friend, agrees to finance her trip to France, where 
Pidgeon and Elizabeth lived with his domineering mother, 
Lucille Watson. Greer's channel crossing is marked by a 
meeting with Mary Boland and her five sons, an acrobatic 
troupe, with whom she becomes friendly after prescribing 
champagne as a seasick remedy for Miss Boland. In Paris, 
she temporarily takes the indisposed Miss Boland's place 
in the act, and her singing and impromptu acrobatics create 
a sensation. After a tearful farewell from Romero, one of the 
troupe, who had mistaken her friendship for love, Greer 
heads for the family chateau. She receives a frosty welcome 
from Pidgeon's mother, but Pidgeon and Elizabeth are de- 
lighted to see her. In need of funds to buy presents for 
Elizabeth, Greer goes to Paris, where she starts a flirtation 
with Nigel Bruce, inveigles him into financing her purchases, 
then disappears while he waits for her. Back at the chateau, 
Greer learns that Elizabeth was not in love with her be- 
trothed but with Peter Lawford. She determines that Eliza- 
beth shall have a happy marriage and, in the process of 
bringing them together, is herself thrown together with 
Pidgeon, who sought to win back her love. The day before 
the wedding, Romero arrives and becomes resentful of Pid- 
geon's attentions to Greer. Matters become even more 
complicated when Bruce, a family friend, arrives. As Greer 
frantically tries to explain her escapade with him, bedlam 
breaks loose when word arrives that Elizabeth and Lawford 
had eloped. Pidgeon and Greer chase after the newlyweds, 
who in turn leave them stranded in a mountain lodge, where 
they become reconciled. 

Everett Riskin produced it and Jack Conway directed it 
from a screen play by William Ludwig, Harry Ruskin, and 
Arthur Wimperis, based on Margery Sharp's novel, "The 
Nutmeg Tree." Unobjectionable morally. 



132 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



August 14, 1948 



"Because they are so deeply implicated in the unlawful 
combination and monopoly, the motion picture producers 
should take immediate steps to remove themselves there- 
from by a voluntary compliance with Judge Leibell's order. 
This can be accomplished by acquiring from the copyright 
owners the public performing rights to all compositions used 
in their films and passing on those rights to the exhibitors in 
their exhibition contracts. 

"In that way they can put an end to a system which they 
must realize is not only unlawful but morally wrong. Under 
that system the producers sell to the exhibitors their films 
which are valuable only for pubhc exhibition, but which 
cannot be so exhibited unless and until the exhibitors secure 
another hcense and pay an additional fee to ASCAP. 

"Incidentally, this involvement of the motion picture 
producers explains the extreme lengths to which spokesmen 
from TOA have gone in appeasing and defending ASCAP. 
Independent exhibitors were aware that the TOA is domin- 
ated by the affiliated chains and hence will not fight the 
producers on any important issue, but they were mystified 
by TOA's vigorous defense of ASCAP. TOA appeased 
ASCAP by making an unlawful deal which permitted the 
latter to increase its rates from 25% to 30%. It appeared at 
Congressional hearings in opposition to the Lewis Bill. Its 
spokesmen have been crying out against Leibell's decision 
and have sought to frighten the exhibitors into continuing 
their payments to ASCAP. 

"Judge Leibell has fully explained the mystery: In all 
the action taken by the independent exhibitors and inde- 
pendent exhibitor organijations against ASCAP, it was the 
producers' ox that was being gored. 

"A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE 
"Judge Leibell adopted the view embodied in the Lewis 
Bill and first advocated by Allied before the House Patents 
Committee 16 years ago. It is summed up in the following 
passage from his opinion; 

" "Unquestionably it would be simpler and a proper ar- 
rangement for the owner of the copyright to deal directly 
with the producer on both the sychronization rights and the 
performing rights, and thus have the motion picture producer 
acquire both rights at the same time, so that he in turn 
could rent the film without requiring the exhibitor to obtain 
the performance rights from ASCAP. But that in some way 
the value of the performing right would be claimed by the 
copyright owner and eventually would be passed on to the 
exhibitor, I have no doubt at all. The ultimate result would 
be that the exhibitor would not be separately charged for 
the performance rights, as he now is through ASCAP, but 
he would be charged for those rights in the total rental he 
would pay for the film.' 

"This passage which appears in the portion of the opinion 
denying damages to the plaintiffs, has been seized upon by 
apologists for ASCAP and the producers to frighten exhibi- 
tors into believing that the new system will cost them more 
than the old. That, as Allied spokesmen told the sub-com- 
mittee handling the Lewis Bill, is a calculated risk. But it is 
a risk which thoughtful exhibitors are willing to assume, be- 
cause they bargain for film rentals and they cannot bargain 
with ASCAP. 

"Moreover, with the producers shorn of most if not all 
their theatres, and the now controlled film market opened 
to new producers and new distributors, the resulting com- 
petition will force the producers to keep their costs and their 
film rentals as low as possible. The producers have been 
badly spoiled by the enjoyment of a controlled market for 
so many years that they are still thinking in terms of 
squeezing the last penny out of the exhibitors. In a competi- 
tive market they will have to revise their thinking. 

"And if they should resort to profiteering by charging 
exorbitant public performance royalties for the music in- 
cluded in their films — especially for their own music- — it will 
soon occur to the Government that it is as necessary to divorce 
them from their music publishing houses as it is to divorce 
them from their theatres. 

"The laws which apply to all other industries have caught 
up with the motion picture producers and the sooner they 
realize it the better for all concerned — especially themselves." 



INCONSISTENT THINKING 

The following letter from Maurice White, of Cincinnati, 
Ohio, is extremely interesting: 

"Dear Pete: 

"I read with a great deal of interest your article 'Box- 
Office Slump' (Ed. >{ote: June 12 issue) — and I should like 
to have you answer only one question for me. 

"If, as the distributors say, present conditions are occa- 
sioned somewhat due to lack of showmanship, why when 
business is what we call good, do the distributors employ a 
great deal of exploitation man power to assist the exhibitor, 
and then just as soon as business seems to start to decline on 
a downward trend, the exploitation men are the first ones 
to be fired? 

"I have not been able to understand this, and I would 
appreciate your enlightening me." 

It is a simple rule of logic that, when business is good 
regardless of the general quality of product, no need for sen- 
sational advertising exists; on the other hand, when business 
'is poor, that is the time to put exploitation men in the field 
to do their stuff in drawing patrons to the theatres. 

Strange to say, however, the industry's distribution brains, 
instead of following this simple rule of logic, do the exact 
opposite — they go to the limit in advertising and exploiting 
their pictures during lush periods, and retrench miserably 
when business starts to drop. 

And invariably they blame the exhibitor for the poor 
box-office results, accusing him of "lacking in showmanship." 

Of course, there is some justification this time for their 
failure to do extensive exploitation, except in a few cases: 
the entertaining quaHty of most pictures is so low that any 
attempt on the part of the distributors to exploit these pic- 
tures for more than they are worth would certainly be mis- 
representing their wares to the public. Consequently, until 
picture quality improves decidedly, the slump will continue. 

That the slump in this business is not natural is evidenced 
by the fact that the good pictures are still drawing patrons 
to the theatres. Can any exhibitor playing "Easter Parade," 
"Fuller Brush Man," "Emperor's Waltz," "Mr. Blanding's 
Builds His Dream House," to mention several of the few 
box-office pictures on the market, compain of slow business? 
And if they should have a greater number of such pictures, 
would there have been a slump? 

Instead of making pictures that either touches one's 
heartstrings or provokes good, clean laughs, most of the 
studios devote their time to making melodramas depicting 
the sordid and seamy side of hfe, with one melodrama differ- 
ing very little from the other. As a result, parents not only 
fear to send their children to the theatres, but they stay 
away themselves. 

The trouble with those in charge of production is that they 
are out of touch with the picture-goers. Their entire time is 
taken up handling studio affairs, which as a general rule 
are geared in a way that places the responsibility on one 
man to pass on innumerable stories each year, in addition to 
deciding many other problems. Such a man has to depend 
heavily on the judgment of those who surround him, but 
most of these people are so set in their ways and so out of 
tune with what the picture-goer wants that their judgment 
results in the studio spending millions of dollars on stories 
that are sure failures from the start. 

The remedy? There is no remedy. Now and then a studio 
will break precedent and bring in new blood, and it gets 
results. Other studios continue in their old ways until the 
time comes when they have to cut down on the cost of 
production in order to operate at a profit, but even this is of 
little help, for as long as the old crew with stagnant story 
ideas remains in the saddle things will get worse and not 
better. 

But there is a limit to the losses any studio can sustain, 
and when bankruptcy stares the studio chiefs in the face, 
it may bring changes that will benefit them as well as the 
exhibitors. 



IN TWO SECTIONS— SECTION ONE 
Entered as second-class matter January 4, 1921, at the post office at New York, New York, under the act of March 3, 1879. 

HARRISON'S Reports 

Yearly Subscription Rates: 1270 AVENUE OF THE AMERICAS PubUshed Weekly by 

United States $15.00 (Formerly Sixth Avenue) Harrlson-s Reports. Inc., 

U. S. Insular Possessions. 16.50 „ V 1, on M V Publisher 

Canada 16.50 INew I orK zu, r«. r . P. S. HARRISON, Editor 

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3oc a Copy Columns, if It is to Benefit the Exhibitor. 

A REVIEWING SERVICE FREE FROM THE INFLUENCE OF FILM ADVERTISING 

Vol. XXX SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 1948 No. 34 



I 



A LESSON ON INSTITUTIONAL 
ADVERTISING 

The August 16 issue of Life magazine publishes 
an advertisement under the heading, "MEAT As a 
Source of Protein, B Vitamins, Iron," giving the 
different kinds of meat that contain them. Excluded 
from the advertisement is the name of any particular 
meat packer. The only name that does appear is 
"American Meat Institute — Headquarters, Chicago 
—Members throughout the U. S." 

The motion picture producers can learn a lesson 
from this advertisement; they could learn that, when 
it comes to the general welfare of an industry, the 
names of its constituents are submerged to that of the 
industry as a whole. It makes no difference who sells 
the meat; the important thing is to impress the pubUc 
with the fact that meat is a source of vitamins, so 
necessary in maintaining health. Similarly it should 
make no difference what producing companies pro' 
duce moving pictures; if they entertain, we should 
let the public know how much relaxation and happi' 
ness they bring to all the people. 

Several months ago, the advertising and pubhcity 
committee of the producers' association (MPA) 
reached a decision to employ institutional advertising 
also in the picture industry. Unfortunately, the 
method adopted was wrong, for each company wanted 
its wares advertised. Consequently, the list of pic' 
tures that would have served to inform the public 
that "great days are ahead for the movie-goers of 
America" were selected on, not merit, but poHtical 
considerations. Some of the pictures selected for the 
campaign did not deserve the emphasis that would 
have been laid on them and, as a result, the institu- 
tional advertising scheme was wrecked before it could 
get rolling. 

Is it possible for the industry to adopt a rational 
system of institutional advertising? 

Harrison's Reports believes that the industry 
can. Judging by the way that Max E. Youngstein, 
head of Eagle-Lion's publicity, advertising and ex- 
ploitation department, handled the subject on the 
occasion of his inauguration as president of Associ- 
ated Motion Picture Advertisers, this paper believes 
that, if Mr. Youngstein undertook to sell the idea to 
the producers for a rational system of institutional 
advertising, he will succeed, for in his inauguration 
speech he minced no words in labelling the industry's 
pubhc relations job as "one of the worst butchered 
jobs in history." 

That Mr. Youngstein was right may be evidenced 
by the fact that a number of the producers' publicity 
chiefs resented his remarks, but made no effort to 
prove him wrong, because he was right. 



The industry does possess the brains and the ability 
to put over a constructive institutional advertising 
campaign. All that is needed is a campaign head with 
enough authority and with enough courage and bold- 
ness to ignore industry pohtics and to reject any 
selfish ideas that would tend to weaken the campaign. 
And Max Youngstein seems to possess these virtues. 

The industry's pubhc relations have never been 
lower than they are at the present time. Something 
must be done about it, and it had better be done soon. 
Harrison's Reports hopes that Mr. Youngstein will 
not rest until a rational institutional campaign has 
been adopted and put through, for it will mean so 
much, not only for the producer and the distributor, 
but also for the exhibitor. 



A PRODUCER'S WISE DECISION 

According to a press release from MGM, Dore 
Schary, before leaving New York for Hollywood to 
take over his new duties as vice-president in charge of 
production, declared that "realism in motion pictures 
can be achieved without resort to sordid topics, such 
as depravity, adultery and obscenity." 

"I believe that, essentially, this is a good world and 
I want to make pictures for men of good will," said 
Schary. "Others can make the so-called 'arty' pictures, 
most of which are based on sordid themes, but I prefer 
to be associated with pictures like 'Joe Smith, Amer- 
ican,' 'Journey for Margaret,' 'Lost Angel,' and 
'Lassie Come Home.' All of these, incidentally, were 
pictures over which I supervised production when I 
was with Metro before, from 1938 to 1943. 

"I think the world has been making some progress 
toward abolishment of arbitrary violence, hate and 
evil. Consequently, I hope to see these things abol- 
ished in pictures. I don't think there is any place for 
sordid and morbid pictures, and I think some of our 
long-hair critics are all wrong when they confuse 
such pictures with art." 

Mr. Schary is to be congratulated for his decision 
to associate himself with pictures that have a "soul," 
the sort that tug at one's heartstrings and offer people 
good, clean laughs. While the box-office slump is owed 
in no small measure to the high cost of living, a major 
contributing factor has been the excessive number of 
pictures based on sordid and morbid themes which, 
instead of cheering people, send them home feeling as 
if they had attended a funeral. 

That the proportion of pictures that are either 
founded on murder, activities of crooks, and the like 
is excessive, is evidenced by the fact that, out of a 
total of 216 pictures reviewed in this paper since the 
beginning of the year, 123 are of this character. 
(Continued on last page) 



134 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



August 21, 1948 



"One Touch of Venus" with Robert Walker, 
Ava Gardner and Dick Haymes 

(Universal-International, August; titne. 81 min.) 

This screen version of the successful Broadway stage 
musical of the same name is only moderately entertaining. 
A sophisticated blend of phantasy, music, and comedy, its 
story about a statue of Venus that comes to life and raises 
havoc for 24 hours with the romantic life of a department 
store window trimmer is occasionally witty and melodious, 
but it is basically slight and for the most part is not genuinely 
funny. The direction is labored, the comedy forced, and the 
players strain for laughs. The whole treatment, as a matter 
of fact, seems to lack imagination. Robert Walker, as the 
confused window trimmer, manages to make something of 
his role, but Ava Gardner, as the living "goddess," is no 
more than an amorous beauty in a characterization that, as 
written, has no depth. Dick Haymes has little to do in a part 
that gives him an opportunity to sing several songs. The 
choicest bits of dialogue fall to Eve Arden, as a worldly- 
wise secretary, whose flippant tongue gives the picture its 
brightest moments : — 

Having acquired the famed Anatolian Venus statue at a 
fabulous price, Tom Conway, wealthy department store 
owner and art collector, summons the press to the unveiling. 
Robert Walker, the store's window trimmer, is assigned to 
prepare the drapes and set the stage for the unveiUng. As he 
starts his work, Venus (Ava Gardner) comes to life and prO' 
ceeds to make amorous advances to him, following him out 
of the gallery when he flees. When Conway draws the 
drapes and finds an empty pedestal, he accuses Walker of 
stealing the statue and engages detectives to arrest him. 
Meanwhile Venus had followed Walker to his apartment, 
where he has a difficult time keeping her out of sight from 
his girl-friend, Olga San Juan, and his roommate, Dick 
Haymes. He finally manages to spirit her back to the store, 
where he installs her in the model home for the night. When 
he returns to the apartment and tells the story to Olga and 
Haymes, they believe him to be suffering from hallucinations. 
On the following morning, Eve Arden, Conway's secretary, 
discovers Venus asleep in the model home. Conway, smitten 
with her beauty but unaware that she was his statue come to 
life, makes a play for her. But when Walker arrives to 
fetch her, she ignores Conway. Incensed, Conway orders 
his detectives to redouble their efforts to put Walker be- 
hind bars. In the meantime Olga and Haymes, in their efforts 
to help the confused Walker, fall in love themselves. Walker 
takes Venus to Central Park, where the detectives catch up 
with him and throw him in jail. Having been responsible 
for bringing Olga and Haymes together, and reahzing that 
Eve had a secret desire to snare Conway for herself, Venus 
decides to straighten out matters in the few hours she could 
still remain ahve. Through a series of maneuvers, she sees to 
it that Conway realizes his love for Eve and tricks him into 
dropping the robbery charges against Walker. Released 
from jail. Walker rushes to the store to meet Venus, but by 
the time he arrives she resumes her sculptured form. Several 
days later, as Walker arranges for a new unveiling and takes 
a longing look at the statue, a new store employee (also Ava 
Gardner), bearing a remarkable resemblance to Venus, asks 
him for directions. Overjoyed, he seizes her arm and walks 
off with her. 

Lester Cowan produced it and William A. Seiter directed 
it from a screen play by Harry Kurnitz and Frank Tashlin. 

Adult entertainment. 



"Isn't It Romantic?" with Veronica Lake, 
Patric Knowles and Roland Culver 

(Paramount, October 8; time, 87 min.) 
There is little to recommend in this botched-up mixture 
of comedy, music, and drama, which rates no better than 
an ordinary program feature classification even though it has 
been padded out to "A" feature length. It has a bright 
moment here and there, but for the most part it drags to the 
point of boresomeness. 



The story, which takes place in a small Indiana town at 
the turn of the century, revolves around an elderly but 
bombastic Southerner who is still fighting the Civil War, and 
around the problems he creates for his family and friends 
when he innocently becomes involved with a big city sharp- 
shooter who draws him into a fake oil deal to swindle the 
townspeople. Properly handled, the story, though common- 
place, could have been amusing, but the interpolation of 
songs, dances, and comedy routines, all of which seem out 
of place and none of which is particularly noteworthy, 
makes the hackeneyed story seem more inconsequential than 
it is. 

Also worked into the proceedings are the romantic prob- 
lems of the old man's three daughters, all played for laughs. 
But the comedy is so forced that it falls fiat. The production 
values are good, but the direction is ordinary and the acting 
no more than adequate. In fairness to the players, however, 
it should be said that they are not to blame, for there isn't 
much that they could do with the inept material. 

It was produced by Daniel Dare and directed by Norman 
S. McLeod from a screen play by Theodore Strauss, Josef 
Mischel and Richard L. Breen, based on a story by Jeanette 
Covert Nolan. The cast includes Mona Freeman, Mary 
Hatcher, Billy De Wolfe, Richard Webb, Larry Olsen, Pearl 
Bailey and others. 

Unobjectionable morally. 



"Blanche Fury" with Valerie Hobson 
and Stewart Granger 

(Eagle-Lion, no release date set; time, 93 min.) 

This British-made costume drama, photographed in Tech- 
nicolor, has been produced on a very lavish scale, but its 
story is too sordid and hackneyed for popular appeal. Set 
in England" in the early 19th Century, its tale of murder, 
passion and greed is totally lacking in human appeal, and 
not one of the principal characters is sympathetic. Moreover, 
the pace is slow and the characterizations are not clearly 
drawn. For instance, the heroine, madly though illicitly in 
love with the hero, turns against him towards the finish, but 
her change of heart is abrupt and the reason not made very 
clear. The mood throughout is morose and gloomy, un- 
relieved by comedy: — 

Penniless but ambitious, Valerie Hobson is rescued from 
a life of servitude when her uncle, Walter Fitzgerald, asks 
her to live at his estate. Fitzgerald's son, Michael Gough, a 
widower, invites Valerie to act as governess to his small 
daughter, Suzanne Gibbs. Shortly after her arrival, Valerie 
learns that Stewart Granger, steward of the estate, was the 
illegitimate son of the estate's original owner, and that her 
uncle had inherited the property through marriage. Granger 
hated Fitzgerald and his son with all the bitterness of a man 
who had been dispossessed, and he was attempting to prove 
that his birth was legitimate and that he was the rightful 
owner of the estate. To secure her position, Valerie enters 
into a loveless marriage with Gough but becomes enamored 
with Granger, with whom she carries on a secret affair. In 
the course of events, her uncle and her husband capture and 
jail two horse-steahng gypsies, causing every gypsy in the 
area to swear vengeance on them. Granger, grasping the 
opportunity to rid himself of the two men and win Valerie 
and the estate for himself, shoots them and contrives to 
make every one but Valerie believe that the murders had 
been committed by the gypsies. Valerie protects him at the 
inquest, but when she discovers that he had designs on little 
Suzanne's life because she stood in his way of the estate, 
her love turns to hatred. She informs the police about the 
murders and her evidence sends Granger to the gallows. 
On the day he dies, her stepdaughter is killed accidentally. 
Fate, however, insures the inheritance of the estate for 
Granger's line when Valerie, bearing his son, dies. 

Anthony Havelock-Allan produced it and Marc Allegret 
directed it from a screen play by Audrey Lindop and Cecil 
McGivern, based on the novel by Joseph Shearing. 

Strictly adult fare. 



August 21, 1948 



HARRISON'S REPORTS 



135 



"Luxury Liner" with Jane Powell, 

George Brent, Lauritz Melchior and 

Frances GifFord 

(MGM, September; time. 99 min.) 
Very pleasurable! Joe Pasternak again shows smart show- 
manship by his handling of this lush, easy-to-take Techni- 
color musical; his musical sequences are a smooth blend of 
the classics and the popular, presented in a way that is 
bound to appeal to all tastes, and, in spite of the fact that 
the story is hghtwcight, he gets the most out of every comedy 
situation and never allows the proceedings to become too 
serious. As much credit is due the players — Jane Powell, 
George Brent, Laurit? Melchior, Marina Koshetz, Frances 
Gifford, Xavier Cugat, and Thomas E. Breen, for they play 
their respective parts naturally and with zest. Miss Powell's 
voice is as glorious as ever, and her handling of comedy 
very good. Melchior's voice, of course, is thrilling, but he 
makes his best contribution in the comedy department, 
aided considerably by Miss Koshetz, a fine comedienne. The 
romantic interest between Brent and Miss GifFord, and be- 
tween Miss Powell and Breen is developed in a charming and 
at the same time comical manner. Most of the action takes 
place on board a luxurious steamship, and the production 
values are up to the usual fine MGM standard ; — 

Brent, a widower and captain of a luxurious liner, in- 
sists that his daughter Jane, remain at finishing school when 
she pleads to be taken along on his next voyage to Rio. 
When the ship gets underway, Jane is found aboard as a 
stowaway, and Brent, to teach her discipline, refuses to 
acknowledge that he is her father and orders her put to • 
work to pay for her passage. She in turn refuses to acknowl- 
edge that she is his daughter and resorts to numerous pranks 
to embarrass him, much to the dismay of Breen, a young 
officer, who had been assigned to keep an eye on her. In 
the course of events she becomes friendly with Melchior in 
the hope that he would listen to her voice. She becomes 
friendly also with Frances Gifford, a wealthy but distraught 
tourist, who was having a difficult time warding off the 
attentions of Richard Derr, her former fiance. Shocked by 
Jane's "hard luck" story and unaware that she was the cap- 
tain's daughter, Frances pays for her passage, arranges for 
her to stay in her suite, then remonstrates with Brent for 
his mistreatment of a stowaway. She soon learns the truth 
about Jane, and her meeting with Brent blossoms into a 
romance. But the romance is clouded by Frances' inability 
to make up her mind about her true feelings for Derr. Jane, 
unaware that her father was in love with Frances, tries to 
patch up the romance between Frances and Derr. But when 
she learns of her father's feelings, she manages to maneuver 
the affairs of all concerned in a way that ends with Brent 
winning Frances while she herself gives in to the romantic 
overtures of Breen. 

Joe Pasternak produced it and Richard Whorf directed it 
from a screen play by Gladys Lehman and Richard Connell. 
The cast includes John Ridgeley, Connie Gilchrist, the Pied 
Pipers and others. 

Good for the entire family. 



"Urubu" 

(United Artists, August; time, 65 min.) 
"Urubu" is a routine jungle adventure film, the sort that 
should derive its best revenue in so-called exploitation houses 
that deal in sensational ballyhoo methods. Actually, the pic- 
ture offers Uttle that has not already been seen in numerous 
other jungle pictures, but the producers, George Breakston 
and Yorke Coplen, who are the only white men appearing 
in the film, have worked into their photographic record of 
an expedition into the Matto Grosso jungles of Brazil a 
fanciful story about a search for a missing white explorer 
and the sensational rescue of a white captive girl. Most of 
it is hokum and will be recognized as such by discriminating 
picture-goers, but those who are not concerned about 
whether they are seeing fact or fiction, as long as it is ex- 
citing, should find it to their tastes. 



The film has the