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Will the Joan Crawford Letty Lynton (1932) ever see the light of day!!?!?!?


CelluloidKid
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Crawford achieved continued success with Letty Lynton (1932), now considered the "lost" Crawford film due to a plagiarism case that forced MGM to withdraw it soon after release.

As a result, it has never since been shown theatrically, on television, or made available on VHS/DVD. The film is mostly remembered today because of the Letty Lynton dress, designed by Adrian: a white cotton organdy gown with large mutton sleeves, puffed at the shoulder. It was with this gown that Crawford's broad shoulders began to be accentuated by costume; this would become a trademark for the actress along with, later in her career, emphasized eyebrows and ankle strap shoes. When the Letty Lynton dress was copied by Macy's in 1932, it sold over 500,000 replicas nationwide.

 

 

This film has been unavailable since a Federal court ruled on 17 January 1936 that the script used by MGM too closely followed the play "Dishonored Lady" by Edward Sheldon without acquiring the rights to this play or giving credit.

 

 

On 28 July 1939 the 2nd Court of Appeals awarded one-fifth of the net of "Lettie Lyton" to the plaintiffs (Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes) in their plagiarism action against M-G-M, M-G-M Distributing Company, Lowe's Inc. and Culver Exchange Corporation. It was said to be the first copyright decision ever to direct the apportionment of profits on the relative basis as has prevailed in the instance of patent suits wherein a patent has been appropriated. On November 7, 1939 M-G-M petitioned the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals ruling stating that the questions arising in the suit are predicated solely upon the copyright laws of the U.S., and not the patient laws. The M-G-M lawyers charged 8 errors in the decision.

 

The film has since become famous due to its unavailability.

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Often in cases of story ownership, wouldn't the plaintiffs also recieve the negatives & Masters of the film? That's what happened in the case of RAFTER ROMANCE and several other RKO films, and when a studio buys a film story from another studio, like Paramount's THE SHOW-OFF(26), which they remade as MEN ARE LIKE THAT (30), and MGM bought and made two further versions called THE SHOW-OFF in 34 and 46. Through the years the Paramount prints were carefully preserved along with the rest of the MGM holdings. Without a doubt the original version would have been destroyed in Paramount's own hands.

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