CARL LAEMMLE SR. - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 10/02/1924 - HFSID 274950
Sale Price $1,190.00
Discussing The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, two of his greatest films, Laemmle explains his approach to filming literary classics.
Typed Letter signed: "Carl Laemmle", 1p, 8½x11. New York, N.Y.1924 October 2. On letterhead of Universal Pictures to Duncan Boss, Patterson, New Jersey. In full: "I enjoyed reading your letter of September 21st and agree that the educational possibilities of the screen are almost unlimited. I know that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have neither the time nor the inclination to read a great many of the literary masterpieces of the world, and that is exactly the reason why I have wanted for years to bring THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME to the screen. In some instances, it is of course necessary to make changes in the story structure in order to meet pictorial demand and the attitude of the censor, but we take particular pains to see that the beauty and spirit of the theme are not destroyed in this way.Of course, the first mission of the screen is to entertain, and for that reason, we cannot put upon the market at one time too many pictures of the serious, heavier type, but I believe producers and patrons as well have come to realize that classics can be so picturized as to be entertaining and educational at the same time. We mean to make more of them. I wonder if you have read that we are planning now to follow up THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME with a picture of similar magnitude in the production of Gaston Leroux's famous story, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, with Lon Chaney in the leading role. Work has already startd on the great sets for the picture, which, by the way, are to be built of structural steel. This is the first time such a set has ever been built at Universal City, and as far as I know, the first anywhere. Just a few days ago, I received an interesting studio note on this picture, copy of which I am going to enclose, [Item not included.] because I believe it will prove of real interest to you. Answering the question in the last paragraph of your letter, our studio at Fort Lee is used for the developing of all the negative prints that come in from our California studios. The positive prints are then sent to all parts of the world. I hope you will feel free to make suggestions or criticisms at any time. Cordially yours." 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. Laemmle was the first to bring Victor Hugo's classic story to the (silent) movie screen, with Lon Chaney as Quasimodo. As promised in this letter, he followed with Phantom of the Opera, again starring Chaney, in 1925. Both films were big hits. Laemmle, who took his company public on the NYSE in 1925, sold his interest to a syndicate for $5.5 million in 1936. Paperclip impression in upper left corner, minor nick in upper right. Slightly soiled in right margin. Otherwise, fine condition.
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