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CinemaAngel

Legal Battle Over "Rear Window" Resumes! WOW!

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*Legal Battle Over "Rear Window" Resumes*

 

 

By Eriq Gardner

ABC News

October 31, 2010

 

 

*NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The legal fight over whether the 2007 film _Disturbia_ is a rip-off of an Alfred Hitchcock classic is far from being in the, um, rear window.*

 

 

Despite nearly three decades of litigation over rights to the famous "Rear Window" story, and a decision last month that seemed to put an end to the matter, Universal Pictures is once against being sued.

 

 

The Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust filed a new lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday claiming that Universal and its affiliates breached a settlement agreement by distributing and advertising "Disturbia," which stars Shia LaBeouf as a teenager under home confinement who spies on his neighbors and believes one to be a killer.

 

The complaint is fascinating but requires some background first.

 

 

Sheldon Abend was an esteemed literary agent who represented the estates of authors including George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams, David O. Selznick and Cornell Woolrich, author of a short story that served as the basis for the 1954 classic Hitchcock film, "Rear Window."

 

 

In the 1980s, after Hitchcock's original was shown on television, Abend took on MCA, Hitchcock and star Jimmy Stewart in court, claiming that the defendants not only needed rights from Paramount to show the film, but also had to secure rights to the underlying story that served as the basis for the film. The case culminated in a landmark 1990 Supreme Court decision that established the so-called "Abend Rule," which deals with the continued distribution of a derivative work during the copyright renewal period of the underlying work.

 

 

The big case also produced licensing and settlement agreements in 1991 and 1992 between the parties. The pact gave MCA, a predecessor to Universal, the right to distribute the classic film and have limited rights to exploit the film in advertising and theme park endeavors, in return for a percentage of gross revenue.

 

 

It's these settlement agreements that the Sheldon Abend Revocable Trust now claims have been breached.

 

 

 

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12019269

 

 

 

 

Rearwindowposter.jpg

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The same plot device has been used in other films, besides *Rear Window*, so I don't know how they get off suing *Disturbia*, which was a decent film.

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> {quote:title=ValentineXavier wrote:}{quote}

> The same plot device has been used in other films, besides *Rear Window*, so I don't know how they get off suing *Disturbia*, which was a decent film.

 

No kidding. Even the Tiny Toons did a copycat episode! And wasn't there a movie about a little boy with a broken leg who thinks he sees a murder?

 

Edited by: traceyk65 on Nov 1, 2010 10:03 PM

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> {quote:title=loliteblue wrote:}{quote}

> this is just sooooo sad. I hope it gets resolved this movie is a Hitchcock best and doesn't

> deserve this kind of trama.

 

1. This has nothing to do with any legalities over REAR WINDOW....the legal concern here is over DISTURBIA.

 

2. It was obvious to me when I saw the tv spots for DISTURBIA that it was clearly a knockoff of the Hitchcock film....and when i saw it recently i really liked it, actually.

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I'm watching "The Teddy Bears" (1905) Thomas Edison short on TCM. Its a wonder he didn't got sued by Goldilocks. (for ripping off her story) :)

 

By the way after seeing (ow my eyes) Goldilocks in this movie, it should have been titled "Who Let the Dogs Out". woof woof

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> {quote:title=kriegerg69 wrote:}{quote}

> 1. This has nothing to do with any legalities over REAR WINDOW....the legal concern here is over DISTURBIA.

>

> 2. It was obvious to me when I saw the tv spots for DISTURBIA that it was clearly a knockoff of the Hitchcock film....and when i saw it recently i really liked it, actually.

 

Well, there is the 1949 film, *The Window*, starring Bobby Driscoll, with a plot almost identical to *Rear Window*, except he's a kid, and not in a wheelchair. The point is, if the idea clearly predates *Rear Window*, they have no business suing *Disturbia* for stealing their idea, because it wasn't their idea!

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Witness to Murder (1954)

 

Barbara Stanwyck sees a murder through her bedroom window, but no one will believe her. She is stalked by suave killer who first takes steps to convince police she is crazy, but she has ally in sympathetic policeman.

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Lady on a Train (1945)

 

While waiting at a train station, Nikki Collins witnesses a murder from a nearby building. When she brings the police to the scene of the crime, they think she's crazy since there's no body. She then enlists a popular mystery writer to help with her sleuthing.

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The Window (1949)

 

Then that hot summer night Tommy decides to sleep on the fire escape -- outside the Kellerson's apartment, since it is a story higher and gets more breeze. Tommy sees the Kellersons kill a man. Tommy's parents and the police won't believe his story. But the Kellersons want to silence him.

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After watching "Disturbia", the movie did remind me of "Rear Window" but both films had their differeneces so I wouldn't say that the film "Disturbia" is anyway like the "Rear Window".

"Rear Window" is a classic memorable movie. "Disturbia" was good but not a classic in anyway shape or form.

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The film The Window was just a take on 'the boy who cried wolf' not on the story that Rear Window was based on.

 

The key premise of Rear Window is (1) a house-bound guy who (2) 'believes' he may have seen a murder while watching his next door neighbor through binoculars and (3) involves his girlfriend and the police in proving it. So, Disturbia is simply an update and spin off of that.

 

I think many posters here are not fans of copyright protection and I think it goes too far as well. BUT, these filmmakers give no homage to Hitchcock or his film while doing a REMAKE. C'mon. I also liked the film and watched the extras ... not ONE mention of Rear Window yet mention of a few other films. Who are they kidding? Let's face it, the brass told them to completely silence any mention of Rear Window in the film or in the extras to keep from ANY indication that the film was a remake. That's dishonest filmmaking, regardless of the legal aspects to things.

 

Edited by: filmsyncs on Nov 5, 2010 6:51 PM

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...but don't forget that both films were based on a story by Cornell Woolrich. More likely Disturbia was adapted from the original story and less from the Hitchcock film.

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