Friday, August 6, 2010

April 26, 1932


Row Over Salary Is Cause of His Decision

Hollywood, April 26 (UP)
An unsuccessful fight for a higher salary, added to his interest in medicine, has resulted in James Cagney, one of the fastest rising stars in motion pictures, to announce that he’s through with films.

Cagney, portrayer of “hard-boiled” parts, wants to become a physician.

He dreamed of a medical career while boxing, driving taxis, “hopping bells” in hotels, breaking into stock companies and becoming a film star. Now that he has some money saved and has been refused the salary he thinks he deserves, he figures he might as well begin studying toward a medical career.

Cagney jumped to instant success in “The Public Enemy,” a gangster film. His salary of $450 a week was raised, but when he watched the fan mail pour in after “Taxi” and appearing in other pictures, he figured he should receive just as much as William Powell, Ruth Chatterton and Edward G. Robinson, who are expected to have contracts calling for salaries of $7000 weekly.

Statistics showed he was second in popularity to Maurice Chevalier.

For weeks he wrangled with executives of Warner Brothers studio, without being awarded the increase he sought. Rather than back down on his demands, he decided to quit.


Los Angeles, April 26 (AP)
A divorce from Thomas S. Gallery, sportsman and assistant manager of the Hollywood American Legion boxing stadium, whom she charged with desertion, was granted to-day to Zasu Pitts, film actress, by Superior Judge Lester Roth.

A property settlement in which Miss Pitts was given the Los Angeles residence and custody of their child, Ann, 9, and an adopted child, Mike Gallery, 9, son of the late Barbara La Marr, film actress, had been effected out of court.


Hollywood, April 26 (INS0
Hollywood waited to-day to see if Marlene Dietrich, German film actress, would accede to the wishes of the Paramount Studio and film a picture without Josef von Sternberg as director.

Von Sternberg went “off pay” when he failed to appear to direct Miss Dietrich yesterday in a picture chosen by the studio and which he did not approve. He was reported en route to New York.

Miss Dietrich appeared at the studio, but did not go to work.

The director, Richard Wallace, who was assigned to replace von Sternberg, will be ready to “shoot” within four days.

Miss Dietrich has indicated she would not appear in the new picture and her attorney said she had not been formally notified of the company’s ultimatum.

“We shall sue Josef von Sternberg immediately to the full extent of our right in law and equity,” declared B. P. Schulberg, managing director of production for Paramount. “We have had the test forced upon us to determine whether employees drawing large sums weekly are in fact employees, or can do as they please.”

“If Miss Dietrigh likewise refuses to proceed under our instructions and allow Wallace to direct the new picture, we shall take all legal stops to protect our full rights.”

Von Sternberg walked off the lot in dissatisfaction over the story assigned to Miss Dietrich after one he had originated had been rejected by the studio.


Los Angeles, April 26
It’s no joke to lose $500 in times like these, even to Polly Moran, screen comedienne.

So the actress asserted when she appealed to the district attorney’s office to find a man whom she gave $500 for an asserted interest in an oil lease and the promise that he would establish the Polly Moran Oil Company.

Miss Moran says all the man did was take her money, and she didn’t think that was at all funny.


Singapore, April 26 (UP)
Charles Chaplin, confined to hospital here by an attack of dengue fever, expected to be discharged today and to continue his tour of the Far East at the end of the week. He arrived here from Java with his brother, Sid Chaplin.

From Luella O. Parsons:

Los Angeles, April 26
The millionaire boy producer (Howard Hughes) is getting ready to make another “Hell’s Angels” only “this one,” says Howard with a smile, “won’t cost $3,000,000.” “It will be just as good, too,” he told me, “but you have to learn by experience.”

The second war number will be called “Zeppelin B-27” and Howard Hawks, who did such a notable job in “Scarface,” will direct it. All the characters will be German and the story will deal with German Zeppelins during the war.

I saw Howard just after he had had a look at “Scarface” at the midnight performance at the Paramount Theater. “How much did you cut from it?” I asked him. “We didn’t cut the version shown here at all,” he told me, “but we did add a few more scenes.”

Oh, dear, I get so confused hearing of all of these new girls in the movies. My dictionary only used to have the names of Gloria Swanson, Marion Davies, Norma Talmadge, Norma Shearer, Mary Pickford and the established stars.

Every day now someone hands me a new prospect. Polly Walters has just been passed on as playing an important role in “Is My Face Red?” “Don’t you know her?” I was asked. I had to confess my ignorance. She is the girl who played the telephone operator in “Five Star Final” and she did so well Radio bought her contract from Warners.

From Wood Soanes:

While the battle forces are being arrayed by the small independent chains who seem determined to make a “case” of the recent M-G-M method of distributing “Emma,” that organization has decided to road-show “Grand Hotel,” which won’t suit the down-town houses in the least.

The smaller houses were annoyed because “Emma” was almost sure-fire but, as in the case here, the larger houses were permitted to have exclusive rights. Now “Grand Hotel” having established itself with something of a smash in New York, is to be released not to the motion picture theaters but the legitimate.

This marks the first time since “Ben Hur” and “The Big Parade” that a production will have been presented in a hundred principal cities as a legitimate attraction, and the first time, so the M-G-M publicity bureau says, that any picture will be presented in “two-a-day” showing on so large a scale.

The first release was at the Astor in New York; the second is to be on April 29 at Grauman’s Chinese theater. After that a general release will be made.

The press department estimates that it will be almost a year before it is seen in any regular film houses. Just what the effects of this decision will be remains to be seen.

Of course, “Grand Hotel,” with an all-star cast and an expensive production may be able to stand up nicely under a two-dollar scale. M-G-M will soon know the answer.


John Barrymore, who does the Baron in “Grand Hotel,” is to play Somerset Maugham’s “Moon and Sixpence” for his second picture at Radio. Then he returns to M-G-M to resume his contract. Radio is about ready to release “State’s Attorney.”

Mae Marsh has been given a new one-picture contract by Fox and will be seen as “Aunt Jane” in “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.” When “Over the Hill” was emerging from production, Fox was enthusiastic about Miss Marsh, but the box office returns were chastening.

Adolph Menjou has also been signed by Fox to play opposite Joan Marsh in “Fancy Free.” Neil Hamilton, who just finished “The Woman in Room 13” with Elissa Landi, goes to Constance Bennett to appear in “The Truth About Hollywood.

Newly arrived in Hollywood is Charles Laughton, leading character actor of London, who is to appear with Tallulah Bankhead and Gary Cooper. Until five years ago he was a hotel keeper; in his first six months on the stage he had six flops; and then, overnight, as the saying goes, he became famous.

Ernest Hemingway’s new novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” has been purchased by Radio for a stipulated sum of $16,000. It is designed for Constance Bennett, who may have Leslie Howard and Roland Young in her support.

There is talk that Gary Cooper may go to Columbia if Paramount doesn’t meet his salary ideas.

Johnny Mack Brown, once a screen star in the making, went to work at Monogram, an independent firm, the other day in a small role.


Judy said...

I'd heard about this report claiming Cagney planned to quit movies and be a doctor like his two brothers (apparently a ploy to get the studio to agree to his demands), but hadn't ever seen the article, so it is fascinating to do so! I'm glad he stayed with acting. And that is a lovely picture of him.

GAH1965 said...

It was news to me, but I'm glad he stuck with his day-job. It'll be interesting to see if there are news reports of how much WB boosts his pay up to.