Record #599

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Maurice McKenzie, Executive Assistant
H. William Fitelson, Tiffany-Stahl, N.Y.
Reel 7
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Eastern Studio Committee

The Eastern Studio Relations Committee gets into action advising producers of potentially censorable material.


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EASTERN STUDIO COMMITTEE. 1929. Letter to H. WM. Fitelson of Tiffany-Stahl from McKenzie, Eastern Studio Relations Committee, 20 September 1929: Dear Mr. Fitelson: Mr. Frank Wilstach of our office has handed me the attached synopsis of an original story by John Reinhardt and F. Schumann Heink entitled "Mamba" and has asked me to read it for you and indicate to you the difficulties which you may encounter with the public and the official censors. It seems to me that you have developed a relationship between the German and English officers in such a manner as to induce comment from both countries. I therefore am a bit concerned lest the characterization of Bolte cause the German government and a fair proportion of English-speaking audiences to object seriously to your picture. If the character of Herr Bolte is played as Noah Beery sometimes plays his parts of Fred Kohler, you are bound to have difficulties. This applies not only to the innate character of the man himself but also to his actions as he approaches Ellen on their wedding night and his subsequent cruelties to her, to Hassim, his actions while on the party with the "latest from Paris" and the manner in which he plays the part of a deserter.I have indicated on the right-hand margin of the attached synopsis of the story the particular instances referred to above. We shall always be happy to be consulted before or during the production of your pictures, with the hope that we may be able to give to you the result of our experience by all of the companies. You may consult me in New York or Colonel Jason S. Joy in our Hollywood office. His address there is 5504 Hollywood Boulevard. [Note: Memo by McKenzie, 23 May 1929, confirming decisions of planning meeting for ESRC says in part:McKenzie is to telephone [studio representatives] each week inquiring "What are you thinking of buying? What have you in preparation? What are you editing?"McKenzie is to get to the contacts a copy of the information Colonel Joy secured of censor boards with a copy of Mr. Wingate's letter, marking each with red pencil "Confidential." Each day McKenzie is to give Joy a resume of what may be done or said here regarding production matters.]

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