Thursday, April 7, 2011

May 5, 1932


And She Usually Wins Her Fights With Studio Over Pictures, Too

She’s The Main Star On Fox List

By Robin Coons – Hollywood, May 5

There is a lot of courage and fighting spirit in the tiny, starry-eyed and red-head miss called Janet Gaynor. You might not suspect that little Janet, with her sweet voice, can speak with authority and almost always have her way. But twice in the past two years she has done it.

When she didn’t want to play in “Liliom” she walked out and went to Honolulu. When she came back she got what she wanted. Recently she turned down “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” as a vehicle, insisting on “The First Year” instead. She got it.

Underneath that disarming sweetness Janet has a good sound head. She says:

“I didn’t object to ‘Rebecca’ because it was so much the type of picture I’ve been doing. I really don’t mind being typed as the character fans know. I think it’s silly to talk about my wanting to be a ‘new’ Janet Gaynor, because I know I can’t. I know I can’t be a Garbo or Shearer ever.

“My part in ‘The First Year’ isn’t heavy or dramatic, but it has some depth to it. That’s what I want. I think all I really have is sincerity. That’s what has carried me through in the change from silents to talkies. My voice has been criticized, brutally sometimes, and I think I’ve gotten by only because I am sincere.

I couldn’t be sincere in ‘Rebecca,’ and besides it is a part for a comedienne, which I am not. That’s why I objected to playing it. But we didn’t fight about it. We just talked it over and they agreed with me.”

(Small wonder they “agreed” with Janet at that. She’s the ace of box-office attraction on the Fox lot, and that isn’t forgetting Will Rogers, either.)

Janet, I know, lost $50,000 in salary by walking out on “Liliom.” Even to a star that’s a lot of money, and Janet likes the things money buys.

On her return from Honolulu she played in “The Man Who Came Back,” in which she played a sweet girl who turned narcotic addict. She knows she wasn’t very convincing in the part, but believes it did her no harm. For then came “Daddy-Long-Legs,” a typical Gaynor role, and the contrast made it the more welcome. “Merely Mary Ann” and “Delicious” have been on the same order and she believes “Rebecca” would have been just too much.

A lot of the big stars who don’t like the way they’re treated talk about accepting salary suspension. Few of them do it. Janet, who looks like a child, had spunk enough to prove the exception. And you can believe that studio respects her for it.


Los Angeles, Cal., May 5 (AP)
Having lost their first move to evade serving a thirty-day jail sentence, Mary Nolan, actress, and her husband, Wallace T. Macrery today indicated, through their attorney, that they would apply for probation, or appeal to the state supreme court.

The pair was convicted of violating the state labor laws on March 11. The appellate department of the superior court yesterday upheld the conviction and sentences.

Miss Nolan, formerly known on the New York stage as Imogene Wilson, and Macrery, were convicted of failing to pay employees of a gown shop which they operated in Hollywood.

Miss Nolan is now on a theatrical tour. She has forty-eight hours within which to surrender, and five days within which to final an appeal. Her husband is said to be accompanying her on tour. Both are at liberty on $200 bonds.


Hollywood, May 5 (INS)
Miriam Hopkins, who adopted a baby boy in Chicago yesterday, divorced her husband, Austin Parker, playwright, in Juarez, Mexico, by airmailing a divorce complaint from Hollywood to Juarez, her attorney, Manuel Ruiz, announced here today.

Miss Hopkins obtained the divorce through “mutual consent,” Ruiz said, but he declined to reveal the date.


Los Angeles, Calif., May 5 (AP)
Dr. R. Jesse Citron, once a physician to prominent Hollywood and Beverly Hills personages, was called into federal court today for trial on charges he illegally supplied narcotics to the late Alma Rubens, motion picture actress.

Mrs. Theresa Rubens, mother of the actress, is to be the principal prosecution witness. The case will be heard without a jury.


New York, May 5 (UPI)
Broadway hummed today with a rumor that Gilda Gray, the dancer, plans to marry again. Her prospective husband was described as “a wealthy Bostonian.”

At the Savoy-Plaza hotel, Miss Gray said: “I won’t confirm the report, but I won’t deny it either. Maybe I’ll say something about it in a few days.”


Hollywood, Calif., May 5 (UP)
Hollywood will try to settle its own differences without resorting to courts of law.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has called a special meeting to consider what action, if any, should or must be taken in the controversies between studios and actors.

These cases involve Marlene Dietrich, Josef Von Sternberg and James Cagney, all of whom have been suspended from their studios.

The conciliation committee of the academy in the past has brought about the adjustment of numerous disputes.


New York, May 5 (AP)
Monty Banks, divorced in California a week ago, sailed for Europe last night, waving good-bye to his former wife, standing on the pier.

In his divorce petition, the screen comic charged his wife disappeared for five days without an explanation. Following the divorce action he came East, Mrs. Banks following.

She called on him yesterday before sailing time, taking him a bunch of gardenias. Neither would discuss the matter of a reconciliation, but as the boat moved slowly from the pier it was observed he was waving to Mrs. Banks – and wearing a gardenia.


Valparaiso, Ind., May 5
Miss Beulah Bondi, who has been visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. O. Bondy, for the past two weeks, en route from New York to California, left Wednesday morning for Hollywood via Denver, Colo.

Miss Bondi was the guest of honor at several functions while here. Sunday, Mrs. Garland Windle gave a tea to the mutual friends in her honor.

Upon arriving in Hollywood, Miss Bondi will begin work in the talkie, “Rain,” a United Artists picture being produced by Joseph Schenck. She will play the character of Mrs. Davidson, the missionary’s wife.

Her many friends will look forward to this production, having scored such a tremendous success in her character work in “Street Scene,” which the local people were privileged to see several months ago at the Premiere.

Miss Bondi will be in Hollywood the entire summer.


Los Angeles, May 5 (AP)
An $18,000,000 production program, the largest in the history of the studio, was announced today by Universal Pictures Corp.

Carl Laemmle Sr., president of the corporation, said the studio had decided that business trends were turning upward.

The program calls for 26 features, 26 two-reel comedies, 32 one-reel comedy shorts, cartoons, novelty releases and 104 news reels.

Casts will be sent to Greenland, Tahiti, Africa and the Malay archipelago during the year to make several of the feature productions.


San Francisco, May 4 (UP)
Motion pictures in the third dimension were screened here today.

A 35-year-old inventor, Charles Monroe Stitt, came to San Francisco from a small town in interior California and demonstrated movies possessing the long-sought stereoscopic effect of depth at a private showing to representatives of the United Press.

“With natural color and sound already added to the motion picture,” Stitt said, “we feel that in giving the dimension of depth, the illusion is complete.”


Hollywood, May 5 (INS)
Dr. George T. Boyd, physician prominent in the film colony, today committed suicide in a manner as dramatic as some of the screen plays of his celebrity patients, according to police.

Sitting in his car in a lonely spot in the Hollywood hills, and looking down on the city, he chose between two ways of death – a physician’s hypodermic needle and an automatic.

Dr. Boyd selected the needle, and while waiting for the drug to kill him used his prescription blank to write a note to his wife explaining “You will be better off without me. My insurance will tide you over until times get better…”

He died, authorities said, before completing the note.


By Robert Grandon
Recently I received a letter from an enthusiastic fan questioning as to the ways and means of studio makeups. “Do the actors apply their own makeup?” the letter went on, “or does some expert do the work? Or how is it accomplished?”

Like everything else, it all depends upon the character and the difficultly. For ordinary straight roles, the actor puts on the grease paint and wields the rabbits foot himself. But for a character part, or some difficult undertaking, it is a different story.

Veteran actor though he is, Walter Huston went under the hands of a makeup man for his role in “Abraham Lincoln.” Reproducing a noted historical character is best accomplished this way.

Lewis Stone applied his own makeup for the doctor in “Grand Hotel,” though it was a long and tiresome process.

The late Lon Chaney, specializing as he did in the grotesque roles, was his own makeup man.

Frederic March went under makeup hands in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” as did Boris Karloff as the monster in “Frankenstein.”

Loretta Young was on the verge of despair when they gave her the part of the Chinese girl in “The Hatchet Man.” Perc Westmore, master makeup man of Warner Brothers, made her over into an Oriental. It was one of the masterpieces of the year. Russ Westmore is another of the experts who build up characters for RKO.

One of the best known of all, perhaps, due to the tremendous advertising his products have received is Max Factor. From his studios in Hollywood he goes forth to create people for the screenies and to fool the camera as well as the public – a job requiring expert talent and nice discrimination.

From Luella O. Parsons
Los Angeles, May 5

Karen Morley has never really given a bad performance. You will agree with me, I know. She is one actress who can be put into any sort of picture and she manages to make good on it.

That is why she is to play the role in “The Claw” opposite Lionel Barrymore that Irene Fenwick created on the stage.

The picture, I have heard, will be called “Washington Life,” but Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer denies any knowledge of this change of title. At any rate, much of the story will be filmed in Washington.

After seeing Lionel Barrymore in “Grand Hotel,” I am one who is willing to say here is an artist and a great one. I cannot help who played Kringelein on the stage. To me his is the greatest of them all.

You would never in the world suspect that writer of excellent comedy, Nina Wilcox Putnam, would go serious on us. Yet that’s just what she has done.

Inspired by her successes in the movies, Nina has written a book called “American Citizen.” It is an epic on the order of “Cimarron,” except that where Edna Ferber builds her story in Oklahoma and shows the opening of that vast territory, Mrs. Putnam chooses New York as her locale.

Charles Rogers has purchased the screen rights to the Putnam novel.

He bought it from a synopsis. The development of New York city from the early days when Manhattan was purchased from the Indians and later, when John Jacob Astor, founder of the Astor fortunes, was a fur trader, will be told in a drama showing the development of New York city.

Okay Chicago! You are going to get a break at last! You are going to have a story written about your town without so much as mentioning a single gangster.

Carl Laemmle, Jr., who lived in Chicago when he was a babe in arms, and his father, who is now on his way there en route to Europe, decided to give the city a break. The picture will be called “Michigan Boulevard.”

It’s an original by Eleanore Dolkart and it tells something of the beauties of this city. Most of the exteriors will be made there and it will be a romance in which Lake Michigan, Lincoln Park and other landmarks will be pictured.

A line or two concerns Dorothy Burgess, reported engaged to Clarence Brown, who has become one of our most “engaged” men. She plays opposite Monte Blue in “The Stoker.” It’s a story by Peter B. Kyne and M. H. Hoffman is bringing it to the screen. Chester Franklin, brother of Sidney and W. K. on his own, will direct.

Ralf Harolde, who is one of my favorite villains, I mean on the screen, plays a part in “Hollywood Speaks” opposite Genevieve Tobin.

John Wayne, the boy who will always be remembered in “The Big Trail,” principally because he didn’t make the goal expected of him, is at Paramount. He is playing a part in “The Challenger,” George Bancroft’s next picture.

Gilbert Roland is at First National. He will play an important role in “Life Begins” with Loretta Young.

Around the luncheon table this week we were discussing various studio phases. One writer said a star cannot be better than her director. Most of them are dependent on good direction. I don’t intend to go into that because I value my life too well. But the fact that Harry Cohn has selected Frank Capra to direct Barbara Stanwyck in “Brief Moment” means a good picture.

Barbara has had mostly good pictures at Columbia. Not all of them have been good at First National, curiously enough. Perhaps because of her directors. “Brief Moment,” by S.R. Behrman, will be put on the screen by Jo Swerling.

Snapshots of Hollywood:
Pretty titian-haired Virginia Bruce with Jack Gilbert at the Olympic Stadium. Sitting next to them was Harpo Marx, playboy of the Marx family. A dark-haired girl, this time, was the recipient of Harpo’s smiles. Marian and Zeppo Marx were also in the Gilbert party.

Ruth Roland expected this week after an absence of many months.

Eric Von Stroheim bringing 30 to the final dance of the season.

John Gilbert host to 10 people at the Mayfair Saturday night.

Gary Cooper renting a beach house.

Roscoe Ates and his pretty daughter, Dorothy, doing some special dance steps at the frolics.

From Wood Soanes:

Tomorrow Douglas Fairbanks returns from his jaunt to the South Seas on the Monowai, so his knight of the typing machine, Mark Larkin, hastens to inform me, bearing with him most of the film that will eventually be shown as “Robinson Crusoe of the South Seas.”

““Man Whom Devil Fears” is the sobriquet given Fairbanks by the South Sea Islanders,” Larkin writes.

“In Polynesian, this nom-de-plume is reverently spoken: ‘Ena matau Ta tiaforo Ita taato ora.’

Doug was curious to know how he gained this appellation and found it started when the natives learned that mosquitoes never bit or even bothered him.

“This was strange and unusual for a white man. It is probably explained by the fact that Doug is tanned, and even much darker than most Polynesians. At all events, the name had its drawbacks. A scene in the picture calls for Doug to dive from the highest mast of the yacht into the waters of the lagoon. The cameras were being placed in position and he started up the mast.

“Suddenly, there was a loud cry from the natives who occupied hundreds of boats in the water. The lagoon began to fill with man-eating sharks. Eddie Sutherland, the director, relayed the news to Doug, who promptly descended.

Then the natives, now safely on the shore, set up another howl – the sharks wouldn’t dare touch him, the man the devil feared – the sharks should be taught a lesson.”

But the Man Whom Devil Fears wisely took no chance on the sharks who may never have heard about the devil.

Plans are being made in New York to present “Grand Hotel” on the stage again at two-dollar prices, which would put it in direct opposition to the movie version. And the stage version of “Cavalcade” has been filmed to enable Frank Borzage, who will direct it for Fox eventually, to get the British atmosphere.


“Behind the Mask” Opening Tomorrow, Features Summer Cut in Prices

The American announces new and reduced summer prices, which will go into effect on Friday. The same type of first-run selected pictures will be screened, together with high class short subjects, it is announced.

Friday’s feature will be “Behind the Mask,” starring Jack Holt, Boris Karloff of “Frankenstein” fame, and Constance Cummings. This picture is claimed to be equal to any horror film ever made for thrills and chills. The plot concerns a dope ring that is ruled unmercifully by the unknown power, “Mr. X.”

How a private hospital, where sorceries are practiced, and which is a clearing house for enemies of the dope ring, is brought into this theme, goes to make for unparalleled shudders, it is announced.

Selected short reels and Hearst Metrotone News will also be seen. Thursday night will be marked by the final performance of “Platinum Blonde,” starring Jean Harlow and Robert Williams. Loretta Young is also seen in a leading role.