Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Disney, Buena Vista and 1957

One more item from my attempts to search the Boxoffice magazine archives: Jerry Beck recently had a post where he talked about the brief period in the late '50s where Disney's distribution company, Buena Vista, distributed non-Disney films. I found a couple of items from Boxoffice magazine in 1957 that mention this. It seems to have been part of an attempt by Disney to fill out Buena Vista's release schedule by distributing foreign and domestic films that (as Jerry said) fit in with the type of movies that Disney produced himself.

One item I found was from October 5, 1957, and mentions that Disney was actively looking for foreign films to distribute:

German Film to BV

LOS ANGELES - Walt Disney's Buena Vista Film Distribution Corp. in boosting its foreign film releases, and has acquired the rights to "The Story of Vickie," a German-made film which will be dubbed into English and released next year. It's understood that Disney, now in Europe, is looking over other foreign pictures to import. Buena Vista currently is distributing two foreign imports in the western hemisphere and previously released "If All the Guys in the World," a French film, and "Most Noble Lady," a Japanese production.

And this one, from a few weeks earlier (September 14, 1957), mentions Disney's acquisition of two Americana films from the C.V. Whitney stable. (As the linked post mentions, the second film, The Young Land, was not actually released by BV.) The list of planned BV releases also mentions Disney's intention to do "The Rainbow Road to Oz" as a feature, something that also didn't turn out as planned.

15 From Buena Vista in Next 18 Months

HOLLYWOOD -- Buena Vista Distribution Co. will release 15 full-length color films within the next 18 months, according to Leo F. Samuels, general sales manager.

The new releasing schedule, the biggest yet for the Disney distributing company which was formed four years ago, was determined at an international sales conference last week at the Disney Studio in Burbank.

Included in the 15 Buena Vista releases, with four titles yet to be announced, will be the following Walt Disney productions:

"Perri," Disney's first True-Life Fantasy, which has received tremendous acclaim in reviews from the trade and the press of Los Angeles, where it has just begun its first engagement.
"Old Yeller," a live-action feature based on Fred Gipson's best-selling novel, starring Dorothy McGuire, Fess Parker, Jeff York, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran.
"The Light In the Forest," based on Conrad Richter's great adventure novel, featuring James MacArthur, Wendell Corey, Joanne Dru, Jessica Tandy, Fess Parker, and introducing Carol Lynley.
"The Rainbow Road To Oz," Disney's first live-action musical, with an all-star cast, including the most popular of the talented and famous Mousketeers.
"Arctic Wilderness," feature-length True-Life Adventure.
"Sleeping Beauty," Disney's most expensive all-cartoon feature, produced in Technirama and Technicolor.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," reissue.
"Peter Pan," a reissue of James Barrie's classic.
"Banner in the Sky," based on James Ramsey Ullman's novel, with a distinguished cast.

In addition to the Disney features, Buena Vista will distribute two major Technicolor productions of C.V. Whitney Pictures, Inc., "The Missouri Traveler" and "The Young Land." "The Missouri Traveler," based on the popular novel by John Burress, costars Brandon DeWilde, Lee Marvin, Gary Merrill and Paul Ford, and introduces Mary Hosford. "The Young Land," an action drama of California's early days, will star John Wayne's son, Pat Wayne, and Dennis Hopper and Dan O'Herlihy, and will introduce Patricia Craig.

No comments: