Even if a film receives mostly negative reviews, studio marketing departments can usually dig up at least one movie reviewer from around the country who had something nice to say about the film--and usually many more.
One of the studios' favorite sources of blurbs is Jim Whaley, who's been hosting "Cinema Showcase" since the '70s. The program, in which Whaley interviews Hollywood figures, is produced at Atlanta's PBS station and is seen on between 50 and 100 PBS outlets throughout the United States, mostly in the South. Whaley doesn't review movies, but his quotes are used routinely anyway. Most recently his name was featured on ads for the mostly panned "Curly Sue," andthe quickly forgotten "Year of the Gun" directed by John Schlesinger, which featured his observation that the film "ranks with the best thrillers in film history."
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday December 8, 1991 Home Edition Calendar Page 95 Calendar Desk 1 inches; 22 words Type of Material: Correction
The Nov. 24 Film Clips mistakenly identified John Schlesinger as the director of "Year of the Gun." The recent release was directed by John Frankenheimer.
Several studio marketing executives interviewed admitted that they had never seen Whaley's show and didn't even know where it appeared. Whaley did not return phone calls to Film Clips.
About the practice of using little-known reviewers as a source of blurbs, Greg Morrison, MGM's worldwide marketing president, says: "I'm most interested in what the critic says. The attribution gets second consideration. Obviously, though, someone with a lot of outlets is more important."
Morrison also points out that although research has shown that the public has no response to the blurbs, the studios continue the practice for another reason: "To be honest, the quotes give comfort to the industry and support to all the people who made the movie."