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Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Five
May 28, 1970 ; May 28, 1970
Civ. No. 34751
[*166] [**321] [****779] Statement of the Case
Plaintiff, on November 14, 1967, filed his complaint against the defendants Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor Burton, Franco Zeffirelli, and Does I through X, wherein he sought damages for (1) breach of contract, (2) unjust enrichment, (3) breach of confidential relationship and (4) services rendered and benefits conferred. Answer to the complaint was filed by the Burtons on January 16, 1968, and no other defendant was served or appeared in the action.
On March 20, 1968, respondents (Burtons) took appellant's (Blaustein's) deposition, and on June 18, 1968, respondents filed [***2] their notice of motion for summary judgment based solely upon appellant's deposition. The motion was noticed for hearing on July 17, 1968, but by stipulation, hearing thereon was continued first to July 31, 1968, and ultimately to October 21, 1968.
On July 29, 1968, appellant filed his own affidavit and the deposition of Martin Gang, taken on March 26, 1968, in opposition to the motion. On October 17, 1968, respondents filed the declarations of Richard McWhorter and Norman G. Rudman, and the affidavit of Kenneth L. Maidment in support of the motion.
The matter was argued and submitted and the court announced its decision granting [**322] the motion on November 19, 1968. Motion for reconsideration was denied January 10, 1969, and summary judgment was entered in favor of respondents on January 16, 1969. The appeal is from the judgment.
Statement of Facts
Appellant, in his deposition, testified that he had been in the motion picture business since 1935. After serving as a reader, a story editor, the head of a story department, and an editorial supervisor, he became a producer of motion picture films in 1949. The films he has produced include “Broken Arrow”; “Mr. 880”; [***3] “Half Angel”; “Just One More Chance”; “Take Care of My Little Girl”; “The Day the Earth Stood Still”; “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”; “Don't Bother to Knock”; “Desiree”; “The Racers”; “Storm Center”; “Cowboy”; “Bell, Book and Candle”; “The Wreck of the Mary Deare”; “Two Loves”; “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”; and [*167] “Khartoum.” The functions of a producer of a motion picture are to (1) generate the enthusiasm of the various creative elements as well as to bring them together: (2) search out viable locations which would be proper for the artistic side of the production and would be proper from the logistic physical production side; (3) create a budget that would be acceptable from the physical point of view as well as satisfactory from the point of view of implementing the requirements of the script; (4) make arrangements with foreign government where the photography would take place; (5) supervise the execution of the script, the implementation of it onto film; (6) supervise the editing of all the production work down through the dubbing process and the release printing process, at least through the answer print process with Technicolor in this case; (7) the obligation [***4] of consulting with the United Artists people on advertising and publicity; (8) arrange casting; (9) engage the interests of the kind of star or stars that they (the United Artists' people) would find sufficiently attractive to justify an investment, and (10) develop the interest of a proper director.
During 1964, appellant conceived an idea consisting of a number of constituent elements including the following: (a) the idea of producing a motion picture based upon William Shakespeare's play “the Taming of the Shrew”; (b) the idea of casting respondents [****780] Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor Burton as the stars of this motion picture; (c) the idea of using as the director of the motion picture Franco Zeffirelli, a stage director, who at that time had never directed a motion picture and who was relatively unknown in the United States; (d) the idea of eliminating from the film version of the play the so-called “frame” (i.e., the play within a play device which Shakespeare employed), and beginning the film with the main body of the story; (e) the idea of including in the film version the two key scenes (i.e., the wedding scene and the wedding night scene) which in Shakespeare's play occur [***5] offstage and are merely described by a character on stage; (f) the idea of filming the picture in Italy, in the actual Italian settings described by Shakespeare.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
9 Cal. App. 3d 161 *; 88 Cal. Rptr. 319 **; 1970 Cal. App. LEXIS 1935 ***; 168 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 779 ****
JULIAN BLAUSTEIN, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. RICHARD BURTON et al., Defendants and Respondents
Prior History: [***1] Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Robert W. Kenny, Judge.
Disposition: The judgment is reversed.
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