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William A. Seiter
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"Convention City" is one of those fabled films that seems to have grown with time. This is supposedly one of the films that brought about the production code and the censorship of movies under Will Hays. The film today is thought to be lost, and a user on this site states that Jack Warner himself, about a decade after the film was made, ordered that all prints of the film be destroyed, along with the negative. While I have yet to read that anywhere, it does appear that the film is no longer in the Warner Brothers archive.
From what I can best tell, the movie was filmed in the summer of 1933 and was released around Christmas of 1933, playing into the early months of 1934. Reviews of the film noted that it was very funny, and that the audiences wee roaring with laughter. Adolphe Menjou was singled out as the best actor in the film. The reviewers note that if you are a fan of drunks, then this movie has more then enough drunk scenes, that after a while can become tiresome.
So apparently the film was shown publicly as there were reviews in the paper. I own a copy of the script as well as several original stills from the film. A copy of the movie however appears to be lost. Now lets, talk about the film being "lost" for a moment.
When a film is shown, hundreds of prints could be made of the movie to be shown at various theaters across the country. The films usually open in a larger market first, then the films are packed up and shipped from one theater to another, until at the end of the run, the films are shipped back to the studio. The studio would tend to destroy most copies of the film, and keep just a few. There is always the chance that a copy of the film never made it back to the studio and is in private hands.
If Warners does not have the prints of negatives, there is a chance that the film might exist in a foreign country. Many US made films were shown overseas after having been dubbed into a foreign language. This is probably the case, though not definite, for this film. A copy of the film might reside in a small unchecked film archive in some other corner of the globe.
So, what does remain from the film. The shooting script, the dialogue script, stills. I have also read that some musical scores from the film remain, as well as establishing shots and scene shots, that show Atlantic City, where the film took place. This footage does not show any actors.
For many people this film is considered to be a Holy Grail...and I am sure a copy of the film exists out there somewhere as of yet undiscovered.
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