BACKSTAGE

IN ENTERTAINMENT

Foreign films saving the day for small movie houses

June 7 1958
BACKSTAGE

IN ENTERTAINMENT

Foreign films saving the day for small movie houses

June 7 1958

IN ENTERTAINMENT

BACKSTAGE

Foreign films saving the day for small movie houses

A YEARLY INFLUX of almost 1 ()().()()() non-English-speaking people into Canada is putting new' life into two of TV’s most gaunt and harried victims, neighborhood movies and local radio. Mainly in the "golden horseshoe" of southern Ontario, the new' arrivals have created a brand-new market for foreign films in nine languages and radio programs in more than twenty. Examples:

Three Toronto theatres impoverished by TV competition — the Studio. Paradise and Royal George — have been reopened by two brothers. Bob and Lionel Lester, and converted strictly to Italian films. They’re doing a landoffice business. Another smaller house that folded now shows German. Hungarian and Ukrainian movies to packed audiences.

Half a dozen major booking agents now distribute about 200 a year to thirty non-English theatres from Vancouver to Montreal.

ALTHOUGH THE fast-narrowing search for a miracle drug and protective vaccine is raising the most dramatic question marks in the struggle to beat cancer, other beguiling questions are popping up in Canadian research. Here are some of the latest:

^ Does modern civilization itself cause cancer? The federal department of Health and Welfare has been shocked to learn that Eskimos, believed to be immune, are not. Eight in Canada’s far north have been discovered suffering from cancer; some had been working on DEWline. Says Dr. Alex Phillips of the Canadian Cancer Society: The cause may lie in their changed life and diet. Another possibility: nuclear-tests fallout.

The large majority are strictly for foreign audiences — from French and Greek to Swedish and Japanese — and have no dubbed-in English sound or sub-titles. Their gross is now in the millions.

The most acceptable fare in most languages, according to Harold Bell, chief booker of International Film Co., is "sex and religion." This may help explain why Italian films are by far the most popular, followed by French, with Russian a bad last, and why Italian stars outshine others. Top favorite is not Gina Lollobrigida, but Sophia Loren. The male boxoffice hero is Amadeo Nazzari, "the Italian Errol Flynn.”

Such preoccupation with sex keeps Italian and French films fairly constantly in hot water with censors. "There’s a lot of cleavage and over-exposure." says Ontario censor O. J. Silverthorne in the politest terms, "but we lean over a little for foreign audiences,”

^ Does where you live and what you eat determine whether you get cancer? After lengthy research. Dr. Harry Warren, of University of B. C.’s department of geology and geography, says: "We re coming to the conclusion good health depends on a balance of chemical elements in the earth’s crust. Too many or too little of certain elements cause disease. With more research we may be able to supply useful information to those seeking a cancer cure.”

How' much does a patient's state of mind count in treating cancer? In a new $600.000 hostel built by the Ontario Cancer Society in Toronto, a different twist is being applied to treatment. The theory is that starchy, antiseptic

admitting he lets Sophia lean a little too. Russian films are more vigorously vetted for propaganda: bookers seldom even try to get them past Quebec censors. Hottest trade gossip concerns a coming switch by Russia from political propaganda to sex propaganda.

Foreign - language radio hasn't yet matched the films, but it could catch up in a hurry. Canada's private radio stations devote 150 hours a week to shows and comment in 25 languages (I 10 of it in Ontario and Quebec). Leading “foreign station": Foster Hewitt's Toronto CKFH with 24 hours a week in Italian. Greek, German. Macedonian. Hungarian, Polish. Latvian and Japanese, all sponsored by smaller local merchants.

hospital rooms have a demoralizing effect on patients who don't have to be in bed. The hostel’s wards are colorfully decorated, flowers arrive daily, paintings are changed each week. Hairdressers primp the women: there are movies. picnics, concerts and bingo. At the parties are people who have recovered from cancer. "Just talking to them boosts patients’ morale,” says a volunteer worker.

Ba,cl*:sta,ge IN MEDICINE

What’s behind cancer? Canada turns up some new theories

Backstage AT BRUSSELS

How our high-cost meals lose us friends at Fair

WHILE AMERICANS and

Russians vie for pre-eminance — and sightseers — at the Brussels international exhibition Canada has easily established firsts in one department: In L'Alouette

Canadienne, our restaurant in the big square steelframed Canadian pavilion, we have put on some ot the most-expensive. least-Canadian and most-criticized meals in the whole fair grounds.

Mounties on duty in the pavilion became so irritated at food and service they threatened to dine in full uniform in the nearby Czech restaurant.

The 48 Canadian college boys and girls acting as guides did cat with the Czechs before our official opening, although their meals are free in L'Alouette.

One American asked a Mountie to "arrest that man up there. He just charged me 80c for a cheese sandwich.” (Meals were $5.20 without wine or coffee.)

"That man" is Felix Georges Deneyer, a small, suave, wavy-haired Belgian who got the contract to run the restaurant after the government failed to interest Canadian caterers, including CNR and CPR. In Ottawa Deneyer impressed Trade and Commerce officials with eulogistic references to our native dishes and his Continental ways around a table. Here are some of the statements he made last October with Alan Phillips' current report on them from Brussels: DENEYER: "In Canada you find only steak and chicken, steak and chicken. In Brussels the accent will be on Canadian dishes — more than two dozen.” PHILLIPS: "I spent about a week at the fair. There may be Canadian dishes, but all I saw was boiled potatoes—not from P.E.I. Sample menu: tapioca consommé, St. Lawrence salmon, grilled rump steak and French fries, boulardi Bruxelles or potatoes dauphin, maple syrup pie.”

DENEYER: "Meals will be served with a special air. I will bring to L’Alouette a great dash.” PHILLIPS: "I saw' diners dashing right out of the place after waiting two hours to get served. Deneyer showed his own dash by firing 30 waiters the first week. He said they were inefficient: they said he’d promised $14 a day and paid them $5."

DENEYER: "Waiting for his meal to cook, the customer will relax, drink—he will love it.”

PHILLIPS: "In the Canadian bar I paid 7()c a glass for wine and didn't love it a bit. The same wine is half the price in Swiss, Spanish or Israeli bars.”

T & C officials got so many complaints about food and prices they have since had two unpublicized meetings with Deneyer. The $5.20 meal is now $4.20. You get about the same from the Czechs for $3.