6 Degrees Film Round up: Olivia de Havilland & her Landmark case

Hello film fans: 6 Degrees cannot let another moment pass without mentioning the death of Olivia de Havilland. In 6 Degrees, the importance of strong women who helped shape the progress of Hollywood and the movie industry is one of the major components of the book-6 Degrees of Film. From the earliest days of the film-making industry, there were some strong women who influenced the course of the Hollywood machine.

 Olivia de Havilland was one of the women who stood up to the system and helped change the course of film-making with her landmark lawsuit against the studio system. Here’s an excerpt from 6 Degrees of Film talking about the de Havilland case:

Olivia de Havilland also fought studio bosses, winning
a landmark decision against onerous hiring practices in what
became known as the de Havilland Decision. She began her
film career at the age of nineteen starring in Captain Blood
with Errol Flynn. She was under a seven-year contract with
the Warner Brothers film studio, a standard contract for all
performers, who signed their lives away when they agreed to
the terms. She was “loaned out” to David O. Selznick for her
memorable part in Gone with the Wind, which earned her an
Oscar nomination in 1939.
After that, she demanding better parts beyond the same
old sweet-young-thing roles she had been playing. The studio
not only refused but slapped her with a six-month suspension,
another standard practice of those who wielded absolute
control. The last straw came at the end of her seven-year
contract, when Warner Brothers informed her that she had to
make up the lost six months from her suspension. Adding time
to contracts was another standard operating procedure to keep
actors in line. This time, de Havilland sued.
The court ruled in de Havilland’s favor, stating that not
only did she not have to make up the suspension, but all future
6 Degrees of Film
seven-year contracts had to hold to the intent and not force
extra time from suspensions on the contracted actor. The de
Havilland Decision paved the way for better treatment for
actors from the omnipotent studio bosses.
Olivia de Havilland was right in her decision to hold out
for more quality roles. She won an Oscar for her performance
in The Snake Pit, one of Hollywood’s early attempts to portray
serious subject matters such as mental health problems. As one
of Hollywood’s pioneering women, she has paved the way for
all female actors and for all women working in Hollywood


Round up for September:

The future of film is in jeopardy. At least, the way we experienced watching films in years past. The pandemic has created a real uncertainty around the future of cinemas. We may find that huge movie theaters may become multi-purpose auditoriums for meetings and business groups, as well as theaters showing films.

Drive in theaters have been experiencing a resurgence in popularity, and that’s a good thing- they are a unique and fun way to watch movies. The films we were expecting to see this summer, the Bond movie and the Christopher Nolan film, plus the new Wonder Woman movie-all were postponed and pushed back or slated for online debut.

Film Festivals have gone virtual, and the future of the Oscars is undergoing some major overhauls; and the Academy Award changes are long overdue! The coronavirus has been deadly and is still with us, but the changes it has wrought, at least for those of us who love movies, is something that will stay with us for a long time

Stay well friends, and till next time, see you at the movies!


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