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Paul Coates -- Confidential File, January 22, 1959

January 22, 2009 |  2:00 pm


Another Claimant to 'Brave' Oscar

Paul_coates There was new confusion today in the "Who Wrote 'The Brave One?' " Oscar derby.

Now the window of Juan Duval, a Spanish-born writer-dancer-actor, claims the story idea for the Academy Award-winning picture was his.

She has a $300,000 suit pending against the King Brothers, producers of the film claiming "The Brave One" was stolen from a story her husband wrote.

Only last week blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo "confessed" to the press he was the mysterious "Robert Rich," who two years ago failed to claim the Academy Award for Hollywood's best original movie story of 1956.

Trumbo, jailed for contempt of Congress in 1950 for refusing to answer questions of the Un-American Activities Committee, says he's ready now to accept the Oscar if the Academy will give it to him.

Disputes Claim

1959_0121_alfalfa_ro Trumbo discounts Mrs. Duval's claim. He told me he wrote both the screenplay and the story on which it was based.

The widowed Mrs. Carmen Duval, a shy, soft-spoken Los Angeles secretary, has an impressive portfolio of documented evidence.

Controversy as to who wrote the motion picture has been brewing in Hollywood since the Academy's banquet of 1957, when no one would claim to be the "Robert Rich" credited with authoring Herman and Frank King's much-honored production.

A nephew of the King brothers by the name of Robert Rich denied that the inspiration was his, but at the time, Frank King assured Academy officials that the mystery was only a temporary one.

Now, two years later, Mrs. Duval has appeared with two scripts written by her husband which she claims were the basis for "The Brave One."

Both were registered in 1952 -- the first, "Corrida de Toros," with the Radio Writers Guild; the second, "Gypsy Shadows," with the Screen Writers Guild.

Similarities in Plot

Each had remarkable similarities in plot to the award-winning motion picture, which dealt with the love of a Mexican boy for a fighting bull.

Mrs. Duval charged that her husband's "Corrida de Toros" script was submitted to the Kings in 1952 through an acquaintance, Eugene Gould, who was a stockholder in the brothers' enterprise.

"That's true," Gould told me by phone yesterday. "I met Mr. Duval through a friend of mine and I read his script. I liked it and volunteered to submit it to Mr. King."

Didn't Like It

He added that when he picked up the script a week later, Maurice King said that he personally had read it and that he did not care for the story.

"Some time later," Gould continued, "I ran into Frank King and asked what their next production would be. He said, 'The Boy and The Bull,' and started to tell me the story.

"I stopped him after he related part of it and said, 'That sounds like the story I gave Morry.' He said to me, 'What are you talking about?' Then he turned around and walked away."

I asked Gould if he was still connected with King Productions.

"I have a few thousand shares in the company," he answered.

He paused, then added: "But if 'The Brave One' was from Juan Duval's original story, I see no reason why I should hide anything to keep him from getting credit."