Wednesday, May 27, 2009
March 27, 1932
SEX AND GANG FILMS DEFENDED BY LUBITSCH
‘Why Should We Dream of Roses and Honeysuckle?’ Asks Director
By H. Allen Smith
New York, March 26
Present day tendencies to delete sex and gang warfare from motion pictures were discussed today by Ernst Lubitsch, Hollywood director, just before he headed for the coast “to rest up from my five week vacation.”
“The most dramatic conflicts in life are the conflicts of sex,” the little black haired man said. “The conflict of man against woman and woman against man has provided high drama throughout the ages. Why should we close our eyes and dream of roses and honeysuckle?”
“And as for gangster pictures. Yes, maybe it is not nice to have such things. But don’t we have gangsters? If we had no gangsters, we would have no gangster pictures. If we had not sex, we would have no sex pictures.”
FIVE HECTIC WEEKS
Lubitsch is extremely high strung, with black hair slicked across his head and darting black eyes. He has been five weeks in New York attending parties by the dozen, riding the subways, catching up on the new plays and generally enjoying himself.
“But it is not a vacation – New York,” he explained. I have to go back to Hollywood to rest.”
Lubitsch naturally takes issue with those persons who deny that the talkies are art.
“Certainly the talkies are art! We can do things on the screen that they cannot do on the stage. We can express reality more than the stage. On the screen we can magnify a little bit of life – something that seems insignificant – and make it tremendously important. A finger. A hand. The movement of a finger or the movement of a hand. The twinkle of an eye. Those things are missing on the stage, and so many, many other details.
“I think the story in a movie is insignificant. It is how the story is told. The bare fact that a man dies isn't startling. Men die every day. It is how he dies. That is important. In the screen we can show how he dies.
“The sex, the gangsters, the drabness of many lives, these can be presented now. It used to be different. I remember seeing a silent film in the early days where the poor girl refused to marry a rich man because he was something of a villain. Not today! If the poor girl refused to marry into riches now, they would stone her. The crowds would go away muttering that she was a sap. “
Lubitsch said Greta Garbo was no mystery. “She is a real Swede,” he said, “and I have known many Swedes. They are shy, afraid to meet people. It is natural for them to keep in the background. But Garbo – she has a fine sense of humor. She is pleasant company, once you get to know her. That is the problem.
JOHN BARRYMORE PLANS STAGE TOUR
Mexico City, March 26 (INS)
John Barrymore plans to return to the stage shortly, Richard Bennett, the stage and screen actor, revealed here today. Bennett said Barrymore would first reappear on Broadway, and then tour the country in the title role of Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac.”
“Winner Take All” has been substituted for “The Main Event” as the title of James Cagney’s next starring picture for Warner Bros., which started production last week at the company’s Burbank studios. The picture is based on a story by Gerard Beaumont, “One Thirty Three at Three,” dealing with the prize ring. Marion Nixon is Cagney’s leading woman, and the cast also includes Dickie Moore, Guy Kibbee, Virginia Bruce, and the well known colored actor and composer, Clarence Muse, author of “Sleepy Time Down South.” The production is being directed by Roy Del Ruth.
FAY WRAY RETURNS
Fay Wray is back, after a long absence from the screen, playing the lead in “Nikki,” the New York stage play written by her husband, John Monk Saunders. This young lady, termed one of the ten real beauties in Hollywood, recently finished “Stowaway” for Universal, in which she has the featured feminine lead.
HAWAIIAN VILLAGE IN “PARADISE” FILM
Honolulu, T. H.
A primitive Hawaiian village of thatched huts, including all its inhabitants – grown-ups, goats, babies and birds, passed into the hands of the RKO-Radio Pictures’ production unit here making location scenes for “The Bird of Paradise,” starring Dolores Del Rio.
A single contract made with the village headman – as shrewd and wise a bargain as Director King Vidor ever met – turned the native hamlet over unconditionally for the exotic mating dance scenes which will highlight this spectacular film dramatization of the stage classic by Richard Walton Tully.
Miss Del Rio and forty brown-skinned maids participated in the dance to the red glare of torches, the barbaric staccato of tom-toms, and the shrieks of the girls as they were being carried off in marriage.
Filmed with startling realism, the scene was not a rehearsed affair staged for the movie-makers, but an event of great social importance to the Hawaiians. If the film company had not made it worthwhile to advance the date of the ceremony, the village council would have staged it at the regular seasonal period a month later.
IN MIX PICTURE
Lois Wilson is at last in a western part, and here’s hoping she doesn’t meet the fate of “Law and Order.” She played in that but the part was left on the cutting room floor. At the last moment, Lois was cast in “Death Valley Town,” in support of Tom Mix. Others in the cast are Fred Kohler, Forest Stanley, Willard Robertson and Edith Fellows. “Death Valley Town” went into production at Universal City on Monday under the direction of Al Rogell
THEY DO HAVE TO STEP ABOUT A LOT
Motion pictures demand that the actor take the bitter with the sweet – long hours and hard work are offset by interesting location trips frequently, which lessen the grind of work.
Roland Young goes all the way to London to make a picture this month, sailing from New York about the twenty-third. He will visit his family in England, where he was born and reared, and return for film work in Hollywood sometime in June.
James Gleason will be sent to New York soon for part of “Madison Square,” and Mrs. Gleason will accompany him. They will be there for a month and will be able to see the new shows, etc.
Ken Maynard is leaving at once for a trip to Mexico City, hunting a picture locale for his first Tiffany production under their new contract.
Dolores Del Rio and Joel McCrea recently returned from Honolulu where they went on location for R. K. O.
Tom Brown and James Gleason had a week in Agua Caliente this month, with the “Information Kid” company.
Lillian Bond has had several offers for picture work in England since leaving First National, if she cares to go.
Donald Cook’s parents live in Honolulu, and he is hoping for a picture assignment which will send him there.
SHOULD BE GOOD
That there is a good deal of humor in politics, except for the defeated candidate – and then it’s a joke on him – is proved by the action of the RKO-Radio Pictures Studio in announcing the forthcoming production of “Hell Bent for Election.” The election story is good-natured fun and will poke the merry finger of satire at the political maze through the person of Edna May Oliver. Helping her will be an all-star cast. The studio emphasizes the fact that it will give Miss Oliver, literally, truly and in-fact, an all-star cast recruited from the best comedy kings and queens of Hollywood.
“STREET OF WOMEN”
The completed roster of players for “Street of Women,” which entered production late last week, at First National studios on the West Coast, now reads as follows, according to latest advices from Hollywood:
Natalie, Kay Francis; Link, Roland Young; Doris, Gloria Stuart (replacing Marian Marsh, who is ill); Larry, Allan Dinehart; Lois, Marjorie Gateson; Clarke, Allen Vincent; and Maid, Louise Beavers. Production supervisor for the film is Hal Wallis and Archie Mayo will direct.
Allen Vincent, named above for the role of Clarke, is a juvenile with a considerable Broadway reputation. He was seen on the stage in “The Vinegar Tree,” with Mary Boland.
STAGE WEDDING TO START PICTURE
The showing of the widely heralded RKO Pathe human interest drama, “Young Brides,” which is scheduled for showing at the RKO Majestic starting Thursday, will be given an appropriate opening with a real life wedding on the stage at the 9 o’clock performance.
Co-operating merchants and the Majestic will be the donors of gifts to the couple chosen to be married, which will include the license, the ring, the wedding clothing worn, a honeymoon trip by airplane, hotel accommodations and other gifts.
In the leading roles of the picture “Young Brides” will be seen Helen Twelvetrees, Eric Linden, Arline Judge, Cliff Edwards, Roscoe Ates and Polly Walters.
RIALTO FEATURES OLSEN-JOHNSON
Winnie Lightner, who comes to the Rialto theatre Tuesday next in “Gold Dust Gertie,” Warner Bros. uproarious comedy, which also features Olsen and Johnson, has something to say in praise of the latest beauty baths.
“Anna Held rates credit for inventing the milk bath. Several actresses have taken credit for the champagne bath, designed for other purposes than beauty, and one famous movie star once advocated a buttermilk bath for the skin you love to touch – but take it from Winnie the fish bath tops them all!
You take this bath in a boat, entirely surrounded by fish of every sort and condition. I am just recovering from the effects of two days spent in taking such a bath. Clad only in a bathing suit and a pair of duck trousers, without even stockings to keep the fish off my legs, endured the rigors of deep sea fish bathing with only Olsen and Johnson, as companions in my misery.
MENJOU STARS FRIDAY
Adolphe Menjou had to work hard to keep from being outshone by his fellow players in “The Great Lover,” which will be shown Friday at the State theatre.
For Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gathered together a group of unusually prominent players for their film version of the celebrated New York stage success, even going so far as to borrow Irene Dunne from another studio because she seemed the ideal type for the feminine lead opposite Menjou. Miss Dunne recently received critical acclaim for her work in “Cimarron.”
The other principal feminine player is the tempestuous Russian actress, Baclanova, back in films after a long vaudeville tour. Baclanova’s last notable picture appearances were in “Docks of New York,” “Avalanche,” “Wolf of Wall Street,” and “Forgotten Faces.”
BARRYMORES AT MAJESTIC NOW
An auspicious event of the 1932 screen season is the opening today at the Majestic theatre of “Arsene Lupin,” featuring John Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore in the first joint appearance of the celebrated stars in a motion picture. Karen Morely, John Miljan and Tully Marshall have important supporting roles in the production, which was directed by Jack Conway, who last scored with “Paid.”
The well-known mystery stories of Maurice Le Blanc which idealize the debonair French thief Arsene Lupin, supplied the motivation for the first appearance together of the two Barrymore brothers, although the picture is more directly based on the Paris stage success on which Le Blanc collaborated with Francis de Croisset.
BIG PARADE RETURNS WITH SOUND
A treat is in store for moviegoers starting Monday at the Empire theater, for “The Big Parade,” King Vidor’s masterpiece, has been reissued by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with sound effects and will be shown at this theater for three days.
Time has not lessened the effectiveness of this picture.
Sound has also been employed to advantage in the scenes in which the hysterical fever over the populace is at its height at the beginning of the war with its parades, flag-waving, good-byes to the enlisted men and other manifestations of the patriotic fervor. Again the sound of the moving trucks and marching men adds thrills to the stirring sequence in which Renee Adoree as the French girl looks for John Gilbert as the regiment moves to the front, finds him at the last minute and sinks to the roadside clutching the old shoe which he has thrown her.
SUSAN LENOX ON STRAND SCREEN
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had an eye on the box office when they handed Clark Gable the choice assignment opposite Greta Garbo in “Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise,” which is one of the feature picture attractions on the Strand theater program starting Sunday.
The picture is one of Garbo’s best in talkies. Modernized, the David Graham Phillips novel makes splendid material for Garbo and as her leading man Gable is more than amply romantic.
Robert Z. Leonard, who makes his first appearance as a director with Garbo in this new production, has been careful to keep the story moving. There is very little of the sitting down and talking-things-over footage in this film. Leonard has employed his camera to every advantage and given his picture a splendid screen presentation that adds vastly to its dramatic qualities.
NORMA TALMADGE FILM IS COMING
In the supreme performance of a brilliant career, Norma Talmadge, United Artists star, makes the glamorous, haunting personality of “DuBarry, Woman of Passion,” which comes to the Palace theater Thursday, step alive from the shadows of the past to again enchant mankind.
She gives piquancy and charm to the lovely milliner who brought a nation to her feet, ruled a king, and lavished the gold of the country for her whims until the red shadow of revolution swept her to disaster. Splendid support is given by Conrad Nagel, as her soldier-lover and William Farnum, as the king who tempted her with riches and power.
WILLIAM HAINES IN DRAMATIC PART
Taking the audience behind the scenes in a large national broadcasting studio to find romance and drama, William Haines and Madge Evans work out the plot of “Are You Listening?” current feature at the Aztec theater.
The film is based on the serialization of J. P. McEvoy’s radio romance by the same title. A large cast including Anita Page, Karen Morely, Joan Marsh, Wallace Ford, Neil Hamilton and Jean Hersholt enact the leading roles. This is Haines’ second straight dramatic part for the screen, his first being in “The New Adventures of Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford,” the performance which won him a new long-term contract.
Three sisters, Laura (Madge Evans), Sally (Anita Page) and Honey (Joan Marsh), come from a small town to the bright lights of Broadway. Laura and Honey go to work at a large national broadcasting studio as singers. Sally takes the easiest way and becomes a Broadway playwright. Laura falls in love with the continuity writer for the station (William Haines) although he is married to a nagging wife (Karen Morley) who refuses to give him up. In despair Laura attempts suicide. In a moment of frenzy, the man shoots his wife. Dragged into scandal and misery, the two lovers fight their way out their difficulties after many dramatic scenes.
A short subject program selected for its variety includes an Oswald rabbit cartoon, a color novelty, “Dream World” and a two-reel comedy, “Keep Laughing.”