by Sidney Pink
After signing the final AIP settlement documents, I called Producciones MD advising them I had completed the American script of VALLEY OF THE SWORDS. At the same time I got approval to seek a distribution agreement with Warner Bros. I chose Warner not only because of my friendship with Ben Kalmenson, executive V.P., but also because I knew Warner was in need of product and was searching for an historical spectacle for its 1962-63 release schedule. While my English version was not totally complete, I felt it was good enough to let the Warner people judge their interest in the project. If they were interested, the could make constructive changes to that first-draft script.
I called Ben Kalmenson in New York and offered him the distribution rights for the Western Hemisphere and Japan in exchange for a pre-production contract without Warner's participation in financing. Interested, he set the machinery in motion for studio approval. I made extra copies of the script and turned it over to Warner's script reading department.
If the existence of such a department surprises you, let me explain the need for it. Hundreds of scripts are submitted yearly, and if producers were to read every script submitted, they would have no time for anything else; hence the reading dept. At Warner's, the readers read everything and prepared a three-page synopsis together with their comments and degree of interest. A recommeneded script would be channeled to the production department and then, if it had sufficent merit, to the proper producer.
Our project was different. We didn't need any production decisions; the only decision to make was whether it was the kind of picture Warner wanted to release, which would depend on its box-office potential. The reader was instructed to give the script evaluation to Dick Lederer, head of advertising and publicity. He in turn was to give his report to Kalmenson. I was promised an answer in seven days, so I waited in L.A.