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STAR SYSTEM ON THE WAY OUT'
XT0LLYW00D, Friday.— The star system -1'1- as Hollywood has traditionally known and practised it may be on the way out, say experts.
The success of such films as 'Sunset Boulevard,' 'Treasure Island,' 'The Men,' 'The As phalt Jungle,' and '711 Ocean Drive' has practically convinced even the old-line diehards in Hollywood the story is now more important than the star. Even Warner Brothers, the studio that a few years ago signed Gary Cooper for $325,000 (£A144,444) a picture, Hum phrey Bogart for $250,000 (£A111,111), and Errol Flynn for $200,000 (£A90,000), has insti tuted a widely advertised search for original film material. The man most responsible for Hollywood's current reap praisal of the star system is Stanley Kramer, 37-year-old in dependent producer of four successful non-star films. 'So This is New York,' 'Champion' 'Home of the
Brave,' and 'The Men,' with out high-salaried stars, have made money. 'Home of the Brave,' for example, which cost $370,000 (£A164,444) to produce, has grossed $2,500,000 (£A1,111,111) to date. 'Champion,' which cost $570,000 (£A253,333), has grossed the same amount. 'Stories first' Actors are important, Kramer agrees, 'but they're not nearly as important as stories. I don't want to spend my time looking for stories for people. I look for the stories first, then the people. Once you start re verting to box office lure or the star system, you're sunk.' Soon after Kramer proved the public would patronise a good picture with or without top-name stars, Dore Senary, production chief of MGM, cast newcomers Nancy Davis and James Whitmore for the leads in 'The Next Voice You Hear.' He had the film completed in two Weeks for less than $500,000 (£A222,222). The picture is now showing a handsome profit. John Huston is another film executive who believes strongly in the drawing power of adult, provocative story lines. In 'The Asphalt Jungle' Louis Calhern was the only well known name. And the lead in his current picture 'The Red Badge of Courage' is being handled by Audie Murphy. Both these actors have never been ranked among the big box-office lures. One reason why stories are now assuming more importance than stars lies in the fact that writers, the creative men in town, are gradually taking over the production reins of the in dustry. Three of the largest studios now boast production executives who once made their living with the typewriter — Schary (MGM), Darryl Zanuck (20th Century-Fox), Jerry Wald and Norman Krasna (RKO). ? * * THE movie colony has adopted tea drinking in a big way. Time was when British stars were the only ones who demanded the cameras stop at jour each afternoon. Now such players as Shirley Temple, Errol Flynn, James Cagney, hurt Lan caster and Virginia Mayo make afternoon tea a ritual.