Hollywood Studios Combine On Contracts Best Artists (1931)

Hollywood Studios Combine On Contracts Best Artists

Plan to Give the Finest Players an Opportunity to Appear in the Choicest Talkies by Having Them Sign Up with Two Firms. Case of Leslie Howard to the Front

by Mollie Merrick

Hollywood, Calif., July 18–Studio combines of fine artists may be one of the measures adopted in the future to secure the services of high-priced stars for motion pictures.
That two of the largest motion picture studios in Hollywood have been considering a joint contract on Leslie Howard, with the services of the actor divided between them over the period of the contract, is something new in talkie tactics.
Leslie Howard, whose name in legitimate circles has no superior, has ideas about the type roles he accepts in talkies. His ideas do not include being routined as an attractive foil for lovely ladies of the cinema–a foil with few or no intelligent speeches who merely makes a convenient background for the beauty’s exploitation.

To Give Actor Work.
Since one studio may not have, in the course of a year, sufficient parts of the type Leslie Howard cares to play, why not the double studio idea, giving an actor who has an intelligent and sympathetic interest in his work, something to keep him interested?
If such a policy comes through we shall have better players in the movies and, therefore, consistently better movies. Of course our ideas of players vary–rumor has it that Joan Crawford recently raised a loud objection to this actor when her director named him as his choice for her leading man. And the story goes, ladies and gentlemen, that the objection was on the ground that the actor didn’t come up to her particular scratch as an actor. Which can serve as your touch of humor for today.

(Ottawa Citizen, July 18, 1931)