Nearly all contracts casebooks feature the saga of Shirley MacLaine's suit against Twentieth Century Fox arising from the cancellation of the proposed film Bloomer Girl. None really get the story right. To be fair, none try. The case is a vehicle for exploring the obligation of the victim of the breach of an employment contract to take alternative employment. If MacLaine refused an offer of alternative employment that was not "different and inferior," her failure to mitigate would mean that the earnings she would have received would be offset against the damages; so, asked the court, was the alternative proposed by Fox "different and inferior?" And for that purpose it can be great fun. Is a western-type movie to be filmed in Australia different and inferior to a musical about Amelia Bloomer to be filmed in Hollywood? If so, what would not be? A musical filmed in England? A western musical? What about a western set in Mexico in which MacLaine played a nun with an unsavory past? Could she have possibly settled for that?
Victor P. Goldberg,
Bloomer Girl Revisited or How to Frame an Unmade Picture,
Wis. L. Rev.
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