Record #659

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Jacob Wilk, Warner Bros.
Reel 7
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Warner Bros.

The writer advises against adaptation of the play Mr. Gilhooley because of the probability that it would inspire hostility amongst Irish Americans; and anyway, the character of the story itself would probably lead to the film's total rejection by the censors in the U.S. and Canada. Nevertheless, some plot changes are suggested.


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WARNER BROS. 1929. Unsigned letter to Jacob Wilk (Warners) re "Mr Gilhooley", 6 June 1929: Dear Mr. Wilk: I have just returned from Canada and have read with considerable interest the play "Mr Gilhooley." There are two fundamental reasons and several minor ones which, in my judgment, indicate the inadvisability of purchasing and producing this story. First - The Irish locale, atmosphere, dialect and characterization will inspire hostility on the part of the rank and file of Irish-Americans to the extent, I believe, of very seriously limiting the sale and exhibition of the picture in this country. I have in mind the clause in the contract which makes it possible for an exhibitor to cancel a contract on such grounds. Second - The character of the story itself will, in my opinion, cause its total rejection by all of the Censor Boards of the United States and Canada.In addition, there is the matter of the dialogue which uses at times grossly profane language and also states pointed references to unmoral and immoral actions as to make it unsuited for general distribution. You may, of course, relieve yourself of the difficulties with the Irish by changing the locale and you could also change the story and the dialogue so that Gilhooley and Nellie could become actually married before they retire to his room, indicating the affair between Nellie and Matt as an innocent love affair, and changing the sequence between Nellie and Friel likewise. It is my opinion that if you have to make these changes, you will have lost so much of the actual value of the story as to make it exceedingly unwise to purchase the play. If I can be of any further assistance to you, I hope you will feel perfectly free to call upon me.

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