CARL LAEMMLE SR. - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 02/20/1935 - HFSID 168484
Sale Price $1,190.00
CARL LAEMMLE, SR.
The movie mogul tactfully rejects a suggestion to star May Robson in a film based on a novel by Harold Bell Wright, and then bluntly rejects the addressee's own plot outline.
Typed Letter signed: "Carl Laemmle" as President of Universal Pictures, 1 page, 7½x11. New York, N.Y., 1935 February 20. On letterhead of Universal Pictures Corp. to R. R. Brookner, Joliet Illinois. In full: "Your letter of January 23rd has come to my attention - also brief untitled of a plot idea included in your letter of February 7th. To report upon your story suggestions, - material you feel is suited to May Robson - 'Ma Cinderella' by Harold Bell Wright was looked upon with a great deal of interest when it was first considered by our Scenario Department, but our enthusiasm never arose to the point of action. Both 'The Re-Creation of Brian Kent', also by Harold Bell Wright, and 'Fidelity' by Susan Glaspell were brought to the screen by other companies, and I doubt if the rights are available. 'The Glory of the Conquered' and "Ambrose Holt and Family' have, I believe, been covered by our West Coast Scenario Department. I am asking them for reports and if there is any occasion for my discussing them further with you, I shall be glad to do so. Right now Miss Robson is not under the Universal banner, but it is not unlikely she will appear in our film later on. In the meantime, thank you for your suggestions in her behalf. I am sorry your story idea would not meet our picture requirements. It is too much in the nature of a preachment and not entertainment in the real sense of the word. However, in our film IMITATION OF LIFE, the friendship of a white woman for a negress is beautifully and understandingly portrayed. I am returning your outline herewith, regretting that I could not have been more encouraging. Cordially". CARL LAEMMLE, SR. (1867-1939), a German immigrant who started in Chicago building nickelodeons, busted the film "Trust" system by independently joining with others. He created the star system and founded Universal Pictures in 1912. Circa 1915, Laemmle built his Universal City on 230 acres in north Los Angeles, which became the first municipality devoted to the manufacture of films. Over the years he was known for producing quality films and stars. HAROLD BELL WRIGHT (1872-1944), a Disciples of Christ minister turned novelist, was the best selling American author of the first half of the twentieth century. Some of his most popular novels, including The Winning of Barbara Worth (1912) and The Shepherd of the Hills (1907) were made into movies, these two featuring Gary Cooper (1926) and John Wayne (1941) respectively. Ma Cinderella (1932), however, sold so poorly in the Great Depression that the publisher asked Wright to pay back most of the advance he had received. Australian-born actress MAY ROBSON (1858-1942) specialized in playing cross old ladies with hearts of gold. She has the earliest birth date of anyone ever nominated for an Oscar (for Best Actress in Lady for a Day, 1933). Laemmle's critical intelligence is on display in this letter. He artfully damns the story of the popular Wright with faint praise. Then he scornfully dismisses the plot outline of the unknown Brookner as "preachment" and not "entertainment," while adding that his studio had already made a film portraying interracial friendship - still a bit controversial in 1935. Irregularly trimmed left edge. Creased at upper and lower margins. Light mailing folds. Otherwise, fine condition.
Following offer submission users will be contacted at their account email address within 48 hours. Our response will be to accept your offer, decline your offer or send you a final counteroffer. All offers can be viewed from within the "Document Offers" area of your HistoryForSale account. Please review the Make Offer Terms prior to making an offer.
If you have not received an offer acceptance or counter-offer email within 24-hours please check your spam/junk email folder.