The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on October 26, 1980 · 322
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · 322

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 26, 1980
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LOS ANGELES TIMES CALENDAR OCTOBER 26, 1980 GETTY GOES FOR AN ART LONG SHOT BY WILLIAM WILSON The J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu does things quietly but somehow they make a large noise. Early this year the Getty's curator of paintings, Burton Fredericksen, became intrigued by a little painting in London. Later a donor purchased it for the museum. In April it was shipped here under an export license describing it as from the "Circle of Giulio Romano" an interesting 16th-century Italian Mannerist but not precisely your famous figure. The 17-inch wooden panel depicts a man on horseback galloping over a Latin inscription from Petrarch which translates, "And so desire carries me away." That is a pretty apt motto for a tangled tale of intrigue that unraveled from the simple purchase. It may turn out to be the story of how a sharp-eyed curator bought an unrecognized little gem by a truly famous artist. It may reveal some shady shenanigans in the London art market. It definitely illustrates the complexity of buying Old Master art in a sphere restricted by trade laws and national pride. Painting curators are animated, if not carried away, by the desire to acquire good pictures for their galleries. "Good" to them means aesthetically absorbing, historically significant, and firmly authenticated as the work of a certain artist, preferably famous. If a work fulfills all these conditions, curators are happy. If such a work can be independently identified and bought at bargain prices the normal reaction is unadulterated glee. Fredericksen spotted the little picture sitting broken in half resting on the desk of a London art dealer, Richard Herner of Colnaghi's. Fredericksen was attracted to the picture and had it investigated by the Oxford Research Laboratory which Please Turn to Page 99 if " " f vl CI Officially, this panel is attributed to the "Circle of Giulio Romano," but the Getty is betting ifs a rare and valuable Holbein. DISNEY FILMS: CHASING THE CHANGING TIMES BY WAYNE WARGA There is a creative crisis at Disney. It is a complicated one, having to do with a diminishing enthusiasm for Disney films, which in turn has to do with changing audiences and changing mores. The crisis has been complicated by a resistance to change within the Disney hierarchy. The Disney image is for family films, a long tradition of G-rated and usually '50s-flavored films. It is a tradition which endured for years after television replaced films as the family medium. Now time and changing audiences have caught up. Disney films have fallen victim to the increasing sophistication of audiences of any age. What were once family films are now largely considered made for children. The audience for Disney films is rapidly shrinking. So is the portion films contribute to the Disney financial statement, yet it is a crisis which cannot easily be found among the crucially important totals. Disney's third-quarter profits (ending June 30 and including the company's lucrative theme parks) were up 19, to a record level. But there are clues mixed in with the financial good news: Neither of Disney's live -action summer releases, "The Last Flight of Noah's Ark" and "Herbie Goes Bananas," has done well at the box office. "Noah's Ark" has been all but written off by the studio management, while "Herbie" fourth in the series about the Volkswagen with a mind of its own is expected to turn only a modest profit. However, two Disney summer re-releases did very well. "Lady and the Tramp," originally released in 1955, and "Mary Poppins" (1965) are expected to bring in a total of $17 million. "We've got trouble," says Ron Miller, president, chief operating officer of Walt Disney Productions and executive producer of motion pictures. "And we're doing something about it." The fact that "Lady and the Tramp" and "Mary Poppins" are doing well is no surprise to industry observers. They are part of what is known as the Disney annuity, a big backlist of films all but a few of which are animated which go as far back as the 1930s but still generate considerable revenue, in part from nostalgic grownups. It is also possible to argue that not since "Mary Poppins" and "Jungle Book" (released in 1967 and re-released last year, earning $27.4 million worldwide), have there been any memorable Disney characters. Please Turn to Page 36 SPOTLIGHT Boyd Raeburn's once -modern music is getting belated but well -deserved attention. By Leonard Feather. Page 5. The Mirth of a Nation: The Three Stooges may be running, but campaign humor is not so choice. Page 6. "Fade to Black": Dark humor and a touch of Hollywood Gothic. Reviewed by Kevin Thomas. Page 37. Ingrid Bergman and the old question. Roderick Mann interview, Page 38. Stage and screen versions fill in most of the blanks of the Elephant Man. By Dan Sullivan. Page 60.

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