THE PICTURE WORLD
Recent comedy titles : " Stung, by Gam," "Two Slips and a Miss/' "The Rummy Act of Omar K.M."
' Miss Kay Laurell, who won renown in America, along with a £5000 prize for a faultless figure, was the original " La Patrie," played at the Amsterdam Theatre, in New York. Miss Laurell is now in London, fulfilling a cinema engagement at £100 a week. In private life she is Mrs. Winfield R. Sheehan, wife of the" manager of the Fox Film Company.
A film novelty, introduced by Thomas H. Ince, is a device technically known as the transparent iris. On the screen when this effect is used the principal characters are portrayed as under a spotlight, while the minor characters in the scene are but faintly distinguishable. This centres the attention of the spectators upon the individual work of the principal, and aids in producing the desired effect more effectually than a " close-up." Amongst the items of news from London is a statement that Maßin Harvey has formed a company, including Courtice Pounds and Edward Sass, for a filmproduction of "The Broken Melody." Herein the actor-manager will (pretend to) play the 'cello as the aged Polish refugee impersonated all over the world by the late A. Vanßiene. Van Bieno staged this drawing-room melodrama, which is written by J. T. Tanner, author of "The Dancing Mistress," at the Sydney Lyceum in 1905, with Marie Rignold as leading lady, and later visited New Zealand. The principal played the . 'cello like an angel, but the piece was poor stuff, and did not run. Before- arriving here Van Viene boasted 4000 appearances as Paul Borinski, and he must have added some 2000 more to his list before his death. In connection with the efforts to combat the epidemic of infantile paralysis in New York recently, Universal made a special film dealing with the dread disease. Included in the picture were views of affected districts, stricken children, sanitary precautions necessary to arrest contagion, illustrations of what symptoms to look for in suspected cases, and close-ups of the medical treatment given to patients. In addition, scenes of the exodus of children from the city to rural districts taken at railway stations and ferry terminals. All the titles and sub-titles were printed in English, Italian, and Jewish, and the film was screened at 800 New York cinemas. , The latest addition to Australian production is a film illustrating the life of Adam Lindsay Gordon. While lacking possibly in grip, says a critic, the story is so romantically told that tho picture is sure to find favour amongst all the ■ poet's admirers. Its preparation must have entailed considerable research, and must have proved a very arduous task. A large expenditure must also have been involved, and the producers are to be congratulated upon having decided to test the verdict of Australian audiences with a picture that will appeal to a certain section of the public much more powerfully than to others. ' Whilst there I is undoubtedly ample opportunity for I tho exploitation of special , I subjects in Australia, the difficulty is to hit public taste. Ann Pennington, another Famous Players diminutive star, has made her ■ screen debut in Susie Snowflake, a -film , story of stage life. The partiality of the Famous Players for small women is ; remarkable. Ann Pennington is perhaps • ' the tiniest of tho lot, but Peggy Hyland, Marguerite Clark, Mary Pickford, and Hazel Dawn are all in the petite class. His Majesty's Theatre, London, has surrendered to the photo-play. A year or two ago the public was invading that building to see Sir Herbert Tree play "Macbeth." It now sees him on the screen in the same role. Sir Herbert says that in many ways the cinematographic " Macbeth " has the advantage of the stage version. Of much interest is the famous actor's suggestion that the coming of the cinematograph has given the actor immortality. " The joy of the picture-play work," he says, "is that, if it be worthy, it is not just for the moment. In art I am a Socialist. My impulse is to give whatever I have of value to the multitude. An-d the greatest of all multitudes is posterity. The actor lived but for his generation. Now, by the cinema, his art is registered for all time." " Eve," in the Tatler, comments lucidly on the "Macbeth" production. "It was a quite new tiling in sensations," she remarks. "As someone said—a. merciless critic, the cinema ; if it shows up your good points it shows up the bad ones, too. Only more so. You know Sir Herbert's Tree's little tripping ways—well, there they all were, and as there were no words to take your mind off them and bemuse your brain, you saw them a thousand times moPe clearly. And, of course, Shakespeare's one of the dramatic authors whose words people do think are a rather important part of his plays, though there's such a large cinema-revue public which prefers its entertainment without any kind of dialogue—of a- con-nected-up sort, anyway. But for those who want realism without too much beastly thinking, of course tho cinema's absolutely ' it,' isn't it ? —and even the most gorgeous His Majesty's stagemanaging could never come within streets of the great open-air scenes and real crowds that you see in. ' Macbeth' on the film." The search for "types" for photoplay productions has been reduced to a system in leading American studios by the adoption of the card index system. In the office of the studio manager for the Famous Players organisation there are 2000 of these cards, of which the following is a sample :—John Doe— Height, 6ft; weight, 1901b; type, young heavy; hair, blonde ; eyes, dark. In addition to these particulars, details as to experience and so forth are given. "In addition to the card file," says Mr. A. Kaufman, the studio manager, "we also have a complete set of still pictures for every, photo-play that has ever been produced by us, together with a cast of character. When we want a particular type, we frequently refer to these pictures, and engage the person who played a similar character or one who showed exceptional character ability in some previous production. By means of the cards and the pictures, we relieve ourselves of the necessity of depending upon the memory of individuals when it comes to picking the proper persons for any given cast. I imagine that I many players would be very grieved if they were to see the 'type' which is marked opposite their particular names. For instance, such little epithets as 'thug,' 'dope-fiend,' 'bar-tender,' or 'wharf-Tat' would hardly be conducive to a gentleman's self-esteem. But, they are there in many cases, and when we are collecting a mob 'for some such scene as the inside of a gang rendezvous, we go through the list and call upon those whose cards bear those distinctly uncomplimentary characteristics. When each new script is accepted and assigned to a director and star, the next problem is to .(rather the cast for the other "parts which are called for. Of course, the nrinnipal parts are more easily fillj ed, for there is generally some striking personality or some especially wellknown player who instantly springs to mind as one reads the script. Having prone over the script and conferred with the director as to the advisability of engaging these plavers, it is then a matter of consulting Uir files and the still pictures, and of choosing the luMsf
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THE PICTURE WORLD, Evening Post, Volume XCII, Issue 67, 16 September 1916
THE PICTURE WORLD Evening Post, Volume XCII, Issue 67, 16 September 1916
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