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    Who Will Be Your Favorites For 1950?

    It is now six months since your favorite movie stars of 1949—Jane Wyman and Jimmy Stewart—received their Photoplay Gold Medal Awards. The race was close, the finish exciting.

    Now, once again, we are at the halfway mark of this thrilling competition in which you, the people, decide which stars will be the Photoplay Gold Medal Award winners for 1950. Through the year Audience Research, Inc. has kept a careful check on the preferences you have voiced to its representatives who are stationed all over the land, in small towns and villages, in farming areas as well as in the great cities.

    The actress whose performance you have most enjoyed, thus far in 1950, is Olivia de Havilland, in the picture “The Heiress.” Whether or not she will win the Gold Medal Award, six months from now, no one can tell—yet. But we do know that her current contenders for her position as queen of the people are (alphabetically) Lucille Ball in “Miss Grant Takes Richmond,” Jeanne Crain in “Pinky,” Katharine Hepburn in “Adam’s Rib,” and Betty Hutton in “Red, Hot and Blue.” In liking Miss de Havilland’s performance in “The Heiress,” you wholeheartedly agreed with Hollywood’s Academy Awards, for she received the Oscar for her acting ability in that picture. However, when it came to picking your most-enjoyed male star, you went to the opposite direction from the Academy Awards—which “Oscared” Broderick Crawford for his role in “All the King’s Men.”

    The actor whose performance was most enjoyed thus far in 1950 was John Wayne, in the picture “Sands of Iwo Jima.” After him, alphabetically, you liked the four male performances of James Cagney in “White Heat,” Broderick Crawford in “All the King’s Men,” Larry Parks in “Jolson Sings Again,” and Gregory Peck in “Twelve O’Clock High.”

    Your favorite picture, right now, is without any argument the melodrama “Battleground.” Your next nine favorites are:

    2. “All the King’s Men”

    3. “Twelve O’Clock High”

    4. “Sands of Iwo Jima”

    5. “Adam’s Rib”

    6. “Lost Boundaries”

    7. “Samson and Delilah”

    8. “Jolson Sings Again”

    9. “The Hasty Heart”

    10. “Pinky”

    Everything about this list is interesting—beginning with your top-choice picture “Battleground.” “Battleground” is further proof that a good picture needs no star-studded cast—other proofs have been Photoplay Gold Medal Award winners like 1948’s “Sitting Pretty,” acted by the then little publicized Clifton Webb, and 1947’s “The Jolson Story,” with the equally unknown Larry Parks.

    How different the pictures in this list are from the pictures you chose a few years back. Then comedies and musicals held you spellbound. Now you do not seem to want to “escape” by means of the movie theaters. Instead, you are eagerly seeing four war-based melodramas (“Battleground,” “Twelve O’Clock High,’ “Sands of Iwo Jima,” and “The Hasty Heart”), two “message” pictures dealing with the Negro problem (“Lost Boundaries” and “Pinky”), and one melodrama concerning U.S. politics (“All the King’s Men”). Only three of your favorite ten movies are escape pictures: “Adam’s Rib,” “Jolson Sings Again,” and “Samson and Delilah.”

    You prefer better pictures now. Nearly every one of your Top Ten pictures got excellent reviews from the critics. In bygone days, you and the critics were usually in opposite corners.

    This new trend is, we believe, due to two things: one is that Hollywood is making better pictures these days—undoubtedly due to the fact that the public began staying away from poor ones. The other fact is that you, the people, have excellent judgment. A really good picture, the record shows, will please people of all tastes.

    Hollywood has a theory that women make the decisions about what pictures are seen by the bulk of audiences. Nothing could be further from the truth. The facts are that every week some 50,000,000 of you attend the movies. Of this number, half are couples—a man and a woman together. A fourth consists of women either alone or with other women; and the last fourth is made up of men—alone or with other men. It is high time that Hollywood accepted the fact that masculine taste should be considered.

    Just to prove the point: Last year, as you recall, “The Stratton Story” won the Photoplay Gold Medal Award as the most popular movie of 1949. Men considered it the most enjoyable picture of the year—but women most enjoyed quite another film: “Johnny Belinda.”

    Actually, the only credit women merit as deciding factors is that they read more than men; so that they know ahead of time something about a coming movie, and so may influence men.

    The actor showing the greatest increase in popularity in the past six months is Broderick Crawford. Right behind him is Kirk Douglas, while the actress who has shot up in your estimation is Olivia de Havilland. But as a runner-up there’s a surprise package: Doris Day.

    It might interest you to learn about how you feel toward Olivia de Havilland. Did you know that she appeals more to women than to men? What is more, it is women over the age of thirty-one who like her best. Boys from twelve to seventeen aren’t much moved by her. However, she’s both a big-city girl and a country cousin—her appeal is fifty-fifty for small towns and for cities with a population over 500,000. Also, people in the higher income brackets like her better than those in the lower.

    The most enjoyed actor John Wayne, on the other hand, appeals slightly more to men than to women. However, upon study of the facts, it turns out that his big killing among males is with boys from twelve to seventeen. Girls between twelve and seventeen are highly impressed by him. People with lower incomes like John Wayne better than do rich people—and his biggest audience is found in cities with populations from 100,000 to 500,000.

    Did you know that during December of each year you don’t go to the movies as much—because of Christmas shopping? To make up for this, you can’t seem to see enough movies in January and February.

    Did you know that you go to the movies in your late teens and early twenties more than at any other time?

    Although movies were invented by Americans, and movies are the favorite entertainment in America, did you know that people in Great Britain go to. the movies with greater frequency than you? Forty-two per cent of the Britishers asked in a survey by the British Institute of Public Opinion said that they went once a week or more often; only twenty-five per cent of you Americans do the same as indicated by a recent Audience Research, Inc. survey.

    And did you further know that this year, 1950, marks the seventh year of this unique poll—wherein you, the people of America, tell Audience Research, Inc. your likes and dislikes about Hollywood’s actors and pictures so that Photoplay may learn them and make its Gold Medal Awards?

    That sizes up the situation at the halfway mark in 1950. Until the end of the year, the representatives of Audience Research, Inc. will continue questioning you and listening to your answers—and by the end of 1950, we shall know (and so will you) which actor, actress, and film will win the Photoplay Gold Medal Awards for this half-century year!




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