Record #1182

Record Type:
William A. Steffes
Samuel Goldwyn
Reel 12
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Goldwyn, Samuel

An angry letter occasioned by an article in the Chicago Daily Tribune (included) in which Goldwyn is quoted as denouncing the industry and saying the movies are all bad. Steffes main complaint is against the business practices of Goldwyn and the other majors. He claims that movies have been priced out of the reach of the poor man and made a class entertainment. AudienceAn article in the Chicago Daily Tribune (included here) attributes many quotes to Samuel Goldwyn -- the general point being Goldwyn's view that all motion pictures are bad and that he denounces the entire industry.


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Protest letter, 28 April 1938 from W. Steffes to Goldwyn over a recent article of his, amounting to a general Allied denunciation of the majors: "... Perhaps if you and other producers of motion pictures would have confined themselves in the past to operating producing companies rather then trying to monopolize the industry by grabbing off all of the theatres and then insisting that their B product be played in their A theatres on preferred playing time at advanced admissions prices and on percentage terms that you know no theatre can afford to pay and merely kidding yourselves and the directors into believing that there is no limit so when one of the B pictures that cost a few hundred thousand dollars grossed a million for no reason whatsoever other than stated above, the director immediately pulls his hair and shouts: 'See, I am not spending enough. If I make a million dollar picture we can gross two.' "... You have been kidding yourself and wrecking one of the most marvellous industries that ever existed. You have jacked film rentals up to where the theatre owners are almost panicky. They in turn have been compelled to raise admission prices to meet your exorbitant terms to the point where the public has stopped coming for the simple reason that whether you know it or not there is a serious recession on. "... The motion picture business was primarily the poor man's entertainment but producers like yourself and others have removed it from this class and have now placed it in a strictly class entertainment field as only the well-to-do can afford to go to the movies and then not very often." He also objects to movie stars appearing on radio ... "The theatre owners have even been able to withstand this obnoxious move by the producers, temporarily at least, and in my opinion it has only been through their ingenuity in conducting give-aways and chance games in their theatres. "Now lo and behold the producers maintain that the chance games must go and have been conniving and scheming and doing everything humanly possible to outlaw chance games which has practically been accomplished and you haven't seen anything yet of bad business Mr. Goldwyn. ..."

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