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Joan Crawfords film Letty Lynton...


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Hi TCM & TCM Fans,

      I was wondering if anyone knows the exact date when Letty Lynton will be able to be seen and released?  I know there was a big trial over it many years ago and supposedly the copyright infringement is expiring.  Was wondering if MGM plans to clean up the print and do a dvd / bluray release of this film.  It's one movie of Joans I've never seen.  Thanks so much!!!!!

 

Sincerely,
Troy Leong

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10 minutes ago, tcountry627 said:

Hi TCM & TCM Fans,

      I was wondering if anyone knows the exact date when Letty Lynton will be able to be seen and released?  I know there was a big trial over it many years ago and supposedly the copyright infringement is expiring.  Was wondering if MGM plans to clean up the print and do a dvd / bluray release of this film.  It's one movie of Joans I've never seen.  Thanks so much!!!!!

 

Sincerely,
Troy Leong

I would have hoped that the after all of these decades (the film was released in 1932),  that any copyright infringement would have expired but that doesn't appear to be the case:

Letty Lynton has been unavailable since a federal District Court ruled on January 17, 1936 that the script used by MGM followed too closely the play Dishonored Lady (1930) by Edward Sheldon and Margaret Ayer Barnes without acquiring the rights to the play or giving credit. On July 28, 1939, the Second Circuit awarded one-fifth of the net of Letty Lynton to plaintiffs Sheldon and Ayer Barnes in their plagiarism action against MGM.[6] This case was incorrectly said to be the first copyright decision ever to direct the apportionment of profits on the relative basis as in patent suits where a patent has been appropriated.[7] A previous similar decision had been made in 1921 in the case of the plagiarism case regarding Al Jolson's song Avalon (see Avalon (Al Jolson song).

On November 7, 1939, MGM petitioned the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeals ruling, stating that the questions arising in the suit were predicated solely upon the copyright laws of the U.S., and not the patent laws. However, MGM did not prevail in this latter action, and the film is unavailable even to this day save for some bootlegged copies.[8]

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https://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13752

Ayer Barnes renewed the copyright to her play in 1957, then died in 1967. According to current understanding of U.S. copyright law and this case, her rights will expire 70 years after her death (2037). The question is what if any rights Theodore Sheldon (relationship to the playwright Sheldon unknown) possesses--he contributed to the 1957 copyright renewal and his date of death is unknown to the Nitrateville regulars.

Supposedly TCM's lawyers (who convinced the heirs of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to allow the release of Night Flight (1933), and the heirs of Margaret Kennedy to allow the release of The Constant Nymph (1943)) have reached out to Ayer Barnes' and Sheldon's heirs. But the lack of news suggests no good news.

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3 hours ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

https://www.nitrateville.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=13752

Ayer Barnes renewed the copyright to her play in 1957, then died in 1967. According to current understanding of U.S. copyright law and this case, her rights will expire 70 years after her death (2037). The question is what if any rights Theodore Sheldon (relationship to the playwright Sheldon unknown) possesses--he contributed to the 1957 copyright renewal and his date of death is unknown to the Nitrateville regulars.

Supposedly TCM's lawyers (who convinced the heirs of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to allow the release of Night Flight (1933), and the heirs of Margaret Kennedy to allow the release of The Constant Nymph (1943)) have reached out to Ayer Barnes' and Sheldon's heirs. But the lack of news suggests no good news.

You'd think the surviving heirs or interests would want to get some kind of value out of old properties like this, if only to pay all the lawyers they hired to protect their interests!

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there are several streams available on ok...here's one:  https://ok.ru/video/322755496611

considering it's age, it's not horrible..parts are washed out a little, and some sound crackles....this is not a film that's going to be remastered, if that's what you're waiting on.  Like you, it's a Crawford film I hadn't seen, so I watched it here.  

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Shutoo....thanks for your response and I seen a copy on the Russian site ok.ru.  I love love love that site they've got everything there.  Why don't you think the studio might remaster this film?  I think it would be awesome if they did.  I think it's a classic JOAN gem.  Anyways....thanks again and have a GREAT day!!!!!!

 

Sincerely,
Troy Leong

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48 minutes ago, tcountry627 said:

Shutoo....thanks for your response and I seen a copy on the Russian site ok.ru.  I love love love that site they've got everything there.  Why don't you think the studio might remaster this film?  I think it would be awesome if they did.  I think it's a classic JOAN gem.  Anyways....thanks again and have a GREAT day!!!!!!

 

Sincerely,
Troy Leong

I assume the studio doesn't have the source material that could be  used to remaster the film.    If they do,  they don't own the rights to it,  so why would they go to any expense. 

My hope is that the surviving heirs or interests would donate what ever source material is available (whoever has it),  to UCLA so they could remaster the film (assuming such source material is still intact someplace \ somewhere).

 

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On 8/8/2021 at 11:12 PM, txfilmfan said:

You'd think the surviving heirs or interests would want to get some kind of value out of old properties like this, if only to pay all the lawyers they hired to protect their interests!

Another issue I've heard about (no idea if it's in play here): I've heard anecdotes about heirs or collectors who have the rights to X or the only known print of Y, and have inflated ideas as to its worth. As in expecting so big a payday that the studio or label wouldn't be able to meet expenses or turn a profit. Given the names Joan Crawford and MGM, the Dishonored Lady heirs might name a price that Warner Bros. can't meet.

For my part, I currently hope 1) the legal injunction does expire in 2037, 2) I live to to see that day, and 3) WB has materials in its vaults better than the currently circulating bootlegs. I'm quite aware of the copies available out there, and so far have refrained from watching them. And I've heard GREAT things about Joan's performance.

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4 hours ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

Another issue I've heard about (no idea if it's in play here): I've heard anecdotes about heirs or collectors who have the rights to X or the only known print of Y, and have inflated ideas as to its worth. As in expecting so big a payday that the studio or label wouldn't be able to meet expenses or turn a profit. Given the names Joan Crawford and MGM, the Dishonored Lady heirs might name a price that Warner Bros. can't meet.

Wouldn't surprise me a bit if this were the case.  But after 50 or 60 years of "no takers", you'd think it was time to lower the price or reset expectations.  You see the same thing when people try to sell buildings or houses, holding out for a higher price while it deteriorates.

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6 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Wouldn't surprise me a bit if this were the case.  But after 50 or 60 years of "no takers", you'd think it was time to lower the price or reset expectations.  You see the same thing when people try to sell buildings or houses, holding out for a higher price while it deteriorates.

Then there are those selfish controlling types who don't wish to enrich others, in fact they make it their life goal to suppress. They would rather see their limited resources deteriorate than pass them on to future generations.

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3 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

Then there are those selfish controlling types who don't wish to enrich others, in fact they make it their life goal to suppress. They would rather see their limited resources deteriorate than pass them on to future generations.

The good thing is that this isn't a universal concept.     

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