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Director Loses Bid To Block 'Mask'

March 21, 1985|DOROTHY TOWNSEND | Times Staff Writer

Director Peter Bogdanovich's last-ditch effort to block nationwide release of "Mask" without the Bruce Springsteen music he wanted in the sound track floundered in court Wednesday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Cole refused to issue a preliminary injunction barring Universal Pictures from distributing the film to 800 U.S. and Canadian theaters later this week.

In a position paper presented to the court, Universal called Bogdanovich's attempt "ludicrous" and "tragic," saying "if reviews and the public's initial reaction to the release of 'Mask' last week mean anything, (he) has directed an outstanding motion picture."

The studio stated that the real reason the matter was in court was over the use of four songs in the soundtrack by Bob Seger "in lieu of the four Bruce Springsteen songs that Mr. Bogdanovich so desperately wanted used."

Bogdanovich had complained that the Seger songs were substituted behind his back and that, in addition, two key scenes had been deleted from the film. In a suit filed last month against the studio and producer Martin Starger, he claimed that they had violated his contractual rights to final cut and thus had damaged the movie.

The studio maintained that it found the demands of Springsteen and his recording company, CBS Records, unreasonable from a business point of view and asked Bogdanovich last fall to find alternative songs, which he did not do.

Starger found Seger songs he liked and approached Bogdanovich's lawyer but to no avail, the studio contended. It also argued that there was no evidence that the real-life teen-ager on whom the story is based was a Springsteen devotee.

Robert Dudnik, an attorney for Universal, said Wednesday that by contract the film was to be no longer than 115 minutes and that the pre-cut version was 165 minutes. He said that the studio retained final cut authority under terms of the contract.

The scenes cut from the film, which is about a disfigured teen-ager and his relationship with his mother, included a funeral scene for a motorcycle gang member and another showing the boy and his mother singing a song to their biker friends.

Court papers indicated that Bogdanovich went along with the funeral scene deletion last fall but disapproved of the second cut.

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