Film Strike Chokes Off City Backlot Business (New York Daily News/Aug 06/1980/US) By Bruce Smith


Hollywood's usual glitter is shrouded in gloom today as a strike by movie and TV actors and musicians enter its 17th day, with every indication pointing to a long impasse. Effects of the dispute are being felt here as well as in California, largely because of New York's success in recent years in attracting moviemakers.

"I would say we're being badly hurt," Thea Sklover, head of the governor's movie and TV office, said. Location queries for future projects have "slowed down considerably," she added. "We usually get five or 10 requests a week. The phones haven't been ringing."

In a note of irony during the current heatwave, a film titled Escape From New York starring Ernest Borgnine and Donald Pleasence, was supposed to have begun production here yesterday. It has been postponed for the duration of the strike.

Hopes for a quick settlement of the walkout collapsed Monday when a negotiating session called by a federal mediator, broke up after three hours with no progress made and no new sessions scheduled. The striking performers are represented by the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the American Federation of Musicians, who joined the walkout last Friday. The studios are represented by the American Motion Picture and Television Producers. The main issue that has emerged is the performers' income from sales to the burgeoning video market.

Two feature films are still being shot in New York despite the strike because of interim agreements between independent producers and the unions. The agreements bind the producers to the terms of the new contract when it is finally negotiated.

Ragtime, which brought James Cagney out of his 20-year retirement, is being shot in Brooklyn; its producer is Dino De Laurentiis. The Chosen, starring Rod Steiger, Maximilian Schell and Robbie Benson, is filming in Manhattan and Brooklyn; the producers are Judy and Eli Landau.

Works on three other feature films here have been shut down by the strike: Patrimony, starring Burt Reynolds, Arthur, starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli, and Rich and Famous, starring Jacquline Bisset and Candice Bergen.