Moving Picture Exhibitors' Association.

Photoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) online

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was almost forgotten. Oh, well, even famous violinists ought to
get used to playing second fiddle to lovely wives.

IF reports are true, you've seen the last of Miss Vidor on the
screen. Although her Paramount contract had many more
months to run there was some sort of amicable agreement
made. Florence has never thrown herself whole-heartedly into
her film work. She has not the temperament of an actress and
her interests have had a wide scope — too wide for Hollywood.




International Newsreel

When Phyllis Haver married William Seaman,
New York business man, she said good-bye to
the movies, forever and ever. You've heard that
before, but Phyllis says she means it. Mr. and
Mrs. Seaman were married by Mayor Jimmie

JUSTtoshow you howCal York keepsonthe job, hereisanitem
he sent in two weeks before the Gilbert-Claire news broke:

Believe it or not, the famous Jack Gilbert-Greta Garbo affair
is as cold as a supervisor's glance. Don't go getting technical
and looking back in old issues of Photoplay for this same
announcement. You'll find it, of course. But that isn't my

This time it's the real thing. They have only seen each other
a few times since Greta's return from Sweden.

Recently at Basil Rathbone's famous costume party they
barely spoke.

You may not think it, but this concerns you vitally. It means
that there will be no more Gilbert-Garbo pictures, unless, for
professional reasons, the affair is patched up.

Pause, friends, and mourn for Jannings now —

His plumpish purse and placid brow,

His perfect art, so true and clear.

His nose immersed in Munich beer!

His tummy stuffed with homeland food,

His temper, taste and checkbook good !

Ach, poor old Emil! What a pity

His German accent wasn't pretty ! ' ,

AROM.\XTIC, nonchalant figure with a flowing white
beard spent an afternoon in Hollywood. The film center
was, to Trader Horn, worth only an afternoon of his time.
Someone asked him what he thought of Jack Gilbert.
He smiled beautifully. "Ah, yes, ma'am, Jack Gilbert. I
like him, and he is so kind to his fine horses."

SOON after arriving in Hollywood from Sweden, Greta Garbo,
strolling around the M.-G.-M. lot, gets the shock of her life
to find a wrecking crew demolishing Stage Two. On this stage
the Garbo made her first American film appearance; on this
stage, too, the Garbo first met the Gilbert. Now the stage is to
become a machinery store house! There ain't no sentiment in
them studios!


A reunion that cut off the revenue of the tele-
phone company. When Lupe Velez was on
tour, Gary Cooper spent most of his salary on
telephone calls. And he paced the platform of
the railway station for two hours before her
train was due. That's love

PERCY MARMONT'S ovation on the night he appeared in
a box with Ronald Colman at the New York premiere of
"Bulldog Drummond" was almost as loud and as hearty as
Colman's — and that's saying a megaphone-full.

Percy, the old-time quizzical look in his eyes, told me he is
going to play the stranger in the Fox talkie, "The Passing of
the Third Floor Back." He may also do a dialogue version of
his great silent success, "If Winter Comes."

In the meantime, he has returned to England for the summer
months and will not begin work here until fall.

OAYS Groucho Marx, one of the famous Four Marx
'^Brothers, in an article in a New York daily in which he
comments on his return to the vaudeville stage:

"And the vaudeville actors talk differently. In the old
days they'd grab you and tell you what a riot they were in
Findlay, Ohio, and how they wowed them in Des Moines.
Now, all you hear is, 'We don't know what to do — Vitaphone
wants us to make a short, but Movietone is after us to do a
full length.' "

WITHOUT sensationalism, with no hectic gestures,
Blanche Sweet has calmly filed suit for divorce from
Marshall Neilan. And this brings to a close one of the most
tragic romances in motion picture history.

For years it has been rumored that they were to separate, but
for years Blanche has clung to Mickey and has loved him. And,
strangely enough, he has loved her, with a fierce adoration.

Brought together by tragedy, their love seemed only to be
more strong with each tragic circumstance. And now it is over.
Blanche appears to be perfectly calm. But Blanche has never
been one to show her real emotions.

NOW here's a chance for a bright young boy or girl to make
a little Christmas money. Or Thanksgiving money. Or
just plain every day money. There's a place for a revised book
of etiquette according to Hollywood standards. Rumor has it
that Pola Negri is engaged to Rudolph Friml. And she has not

Terrible effect of two many goody-goody
rdles on Mary Astor. Also what a blonde
wig and a cigarette will do for a demure
girl. Mary plays one of those gay dancers
in "A Woman from Hell"

yet filed suit for divorce from her present husband! It's being
done, my dears, in the best film families.

NOT all the actresses are dieting to get thin. Winifred
Westover, the former Mrs. William Hart, has been eating
and eating to get fatter and fatter. And it's aU for her art, too.
Winifred has been chosen to play the name part of "Lum-
mox" from Fannie Hurst's popular novel. And if you read the
book you will remember that the leading lady was unstylishly
stout, slovenly and awkward.

But won't it be hard on Winifred if they cast her as a wood
nymph in the picture after that!

A WOULD-BE lyric writer brought a song to Buddy de
•*^ Silva the other day. One of the lines read like this:
"Oh, see the mountaineer.
He comes from far and near."
"What will you give me for it?" asked the ambitious

"Well," said de Silva, "I'll give you five yards head start."

I SEE by the papers that Ben Lyon has been added to the cast
of "Lummox" — to play the leading male role.
Ben has been one of "Hell's Angels" — Hughes' two-years-in-
the-making, two-million-dollar, still-unreleased picture — for so
long that he might be gl^d to get back to earth in a picture that
has no air sequences.

But maybe we're wrong. Maybe they'll stick in a few aero-
plane chases just to keep Ben from being homesick.

MAYBE you think all the dangerous things in pictures are
done by stunt men. Just guess again. While watching
Farina in his second talking picture, "Railroadin'," we decided
this chocolate baby is about the bravest of the lot.

Farina was compelled to lie flat on his tummy on the cross
ties, his foot caught in the track, while a speeding train passed
over him. We don't mind telling you, he almost turned white
with fright, even if he were game enough to do it. Oh, yes, it's
safe enough, but how would you like to do it, we ask you? His
parting line as he went under the train was:

"Gee, get ma wings ready!" [ please turn to page 74 ]



Here's what happened the first time that a
sheik and a sheba osculated for the super-
sensitive microphones. Now kisses are faked,
for real ones sound like a horse pulling his hoofs
out of a muddy road

IN "shooting" a sequence for "The Doctor's Secret," based
on Sir James Barrie's famous play, "Half an Hour," an
English servant girl was supposed to enter the room noise-
lessly in response to Ruth Chatterton's summons.

The maid entered, but a peculiar knocking sound accom-
panied her, and the director, William de
Mille, as well as the engineer at the control
panel, was puzzled.

The scene was retaken, but still the un-
wanted noise persisted. The electrical sys-
tem was checked for flaws and found to be in
perfect condition. Finally the scene was made
the third time, but the "clickety-clock,
clickety -clock" again accompanied the maid
as she walked into the room.

And then a keen-e>ed technician discovered
that the peculiar sound synchronized per-
fectly with the maid's steps as she walked.
Further investigation revealed that the girl
was knock-kneed and the "mike" picked up
the "knocks" of her knees with each forward

On another talkie stage recently the director
was gesticulating wildly. Obviously he was
greatly wrought up about something, but
since not a sound emerged from his lips and
his gesticulations did not constitute the deaf
and dumb language, the onlookers were

Pinally the door of a glass cage opened
and there was a verbal explosion. The
director, unable to contain himself longer,

Rubber is the vogue in the sound studios.
The latest is rubber jewelry, adopted to
prevent the jangle of real or make-believe
jewels being picked up by the mike. Then,
too, the actresses are required to wear eve-
ning slippers with rubber heels

rials of

Sounds aren't all they
seem in the new studios
for audible motion pic-
tures. The sensitive
ears of the microphone
make every day a sur-

"Hey, you sheiks and shebas, pipe down there. Whatd'ye
think this is supposed to be? Sounds like a doughboy sloshing
in the mud of Flanders."

Whereupon a reel of film was scrapped and several thousand
dollars charged up to incidental production expense.

The scene of action was one of the sound stages in a Holly-
wood motion picture studio. A sheik of the John Gilbert type
and a sheba a la Greta Garbo were enacting the amorous greet-
ing of two lovers for a talking picture, when the director, on
his glass-enclosed throne, began making a windmill of his arms.
He had been sitting next to the "mixer" and the fate of the kiss
in the talkies was settled then and there. The suction of
osculation was neither romantic nor dramatic to the director,
for it sounded like a horse pulling its hoofs out of the mud.

This epitomizes the one outstanding difficulty encountered
in the making of talking pictures. "Mike's" ears are too

— — "


the lalkioi

Albert Boswell

I II u 1 1 r at e d by

Ken Chamberlain

sensitive. And yet, paradoxically, if "mike's"
sense of hearing were' not as acute as it is, his
ears would be no good for the purpose of produc-
ing talkies.

Embalming a story for the out-loud, facetious-
ly termed the "Chinema," is hedged about with
many precautions to prevent the " mikes " from de-
veloping temperament. As one producer re-
marked, "The darn contraptions cost SI, 750
each, and they no doubt figure they're entitled
to an attack of the temps occasionally."

One of the precautions is the "mixing" room, where the
"mixer" controls the volume of each voice while the sex appeal
artists and the matinee idols are pulling the censored dirty
work in the drawing room on the sound stage.

IN the filming of "Bulldog Drummond" there was plenty for
the man at the "mixing" panel to do. Lilyan Tashman, as the
black-hearted lady, was making life pretty tough for Ronald
Colman and Joan Bennett, aided and abetted with a vim guar-
anteed to make every audience long to read their respective
epitaphs. Of course, under such circumstances, one's voice is
apt to wander away from reason, and it is then that the
"mixer" is called upon to manipulate the little gadget that
modulates one voice and intensifies another.


,.-t! " '~ ^^^ '*if^ ' i''

- - I Jlff i lCi. .

-' ^iUi.

When Paramount was filming "The Doctor's
Secret" a servant girl was directed to enter the
room noiselessly. The "mike" picked up a knock-
ing sound. Tiie "clickety-clock" proved to be
caused by knock-knees

But not all the frailties of the human machine and the
temperamental "mike" can be rectified by the mechanical
widgets, and Fred Niblo's little joke about the talkies being a
howling success can be applied to both the good and bad
among the sound pictures. Likewise the "truth in advertis-
ing" banner of a Los Angeles theater that a
certain talkie was in its "third thunderous

The infant born out of the wedlock of the
silent drama and the stage first began to
lisp, then to bellow, then make ungodly
sounds and finally to talk a blue streak. It
~ is the lisps, the bellows and the ungodly

sounds that are giving the producers head-
aches and those depended upon to eliminate
them sleepless nights.

IT has been definitely determined that the
kiss is not to be talkie-ized. The reverbera-
tion of the smack is easily picked up by the
recording device, but as the reproducing
apparatus repeats it in the screening it is
anything but satisfactory. In audience
tests the theatergoers burst into gleeful
ribaldry when they should have been
thrilled. The closeups with the lovers' faces
glued together remain a stock factor, but
they won't be "verbal." The "squishless"
kiss brings the desired "Ooos" from the

Many of the stars famous for love scenes
had to learn all over again how to kiss when
the silent drama [ please turn to page 113 ]

The clatter of iron-wheeled garbage
wagons raised the deuce with the making
of sound film exteriors. Imagine the rattle
of a garbage ambulance in the background
of a mountaineer drama! Now all Holly-
wood garbage wagons have balloon tires



AS Joan Crawford's first starring vehicle, this vivid
picture of ultra-modern youth, as the movies see our
younger folk, will undoubtedly create quite a stir. This is
Josephine Lovett's sequel to "Our Dancing Daughters."
Then, too, it is the first time Joan and Douglas Fairbanks,
Jr., have played together.

Joan plays the role she does so well, that of a pampered
play-girl bored with the world her rich father gives her to
play with. The climax of the picture is based on a thorough-
ly original and unique situation.

Joan is exquisitely poised and gowned, and her acting
highly commendable. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., gives astound-
ingly accurate impersonations of John Barrymore, Jack
Gilbert, and his own dad, Douglas, Sr. Probably a tre-
mendous box-oflice hit. Pari Talkie.


THIS picture is JNIaurice Chevalier's (pronounced She-
val-yay) first screen appearance and, because of his
great popularity in Paris, his screen debut has been awaited
with unusual expectancy.

Dispel your doubts, he can stay as long as he likes. He
sings with joy. He plays with abandon and his personality
gets you. He renders half his songs in French and half in
English, but it is not just his pleasing voice, nor even his
perfect pantomime, that makes him a success.

The plot is inconsequential and much of the dialogue is
stilted and unnatural, but the sparkling, lovable personaUty
of Chevalier lifts the story out of the commonplace — and
makes it dehghtful entertainment. Fans will love Chevalier.
AH Talkie.




(RKG. U, a. FAT. OFF.) B^ ^

A Review of the New Pictures

BULLDOG DRUMMOND—Goldwyn-United Artists

THIS is a corking melodrama — and Ronald Colman gives
the best talkie performance to date. He's suave and
easy before the terrorizing "mikes." \'oice gives him a new
charm. "Bulldog Drummond" puts Ronald Colman right
at the top after some recent wavering, if lavish, films.

The English writer of shockers, Sapper, dashed off "Bull-
dog Drummond" as a stage melodrama. With the advent
of the talkies, every producer was after it. But Sam
Goldwyn reached first.

Goldwyn took a lot of pains with the film. It is intelli-
gently and tastefully done. The sounding is highly expert.
Here a raindrop can be made to act in the sound pictures
as excitingly as a Rolls-Royce. The cutting (one of the
drawbacks of the talkies up to now) is finely done. In a
phrase, "Bulldog Drummond" is great stuff.

Bulldog is a demobilized officer who wearies of his dull
club life. He puts an advertisement in the "agony column"
of The London Times, asking for adventure. Out of the
avalanche of letters, he selects one signed Phyllis. It re-
quests him to be at the Green Bays Inn at midnight, if he is
sincere in his quest for adventure.

It develops that Pliyllis' uncle, a miUionaire American, is
being held prisoner in a fake hospital by three master crooks,
aided and abetted by a host of bloodthirsty JMalays.

Colman gives a superb performance and he gets fine aid
from an excellent cast. The best work is done by Claude
Allister, as a new sort of silly ass Englishman, and by
Lilyan Tashman, as the tough baby who leads the crooks
All Talkie.


The Best Pictures of the Month






The Best Performances of the Month

Ronald Colman in "Bulldog Drummond"

Maurice Chevalier in "Innocents of Paris"

Ruth Chatterton in "Madame X"

UUric Haupt in "Madame X"

Joan Crawford in "Our Modern Maidens"

Claude Allister in "Bulldog Drummond"

Lilyan Tashman in "Bulldog Drummond"

Doug Fairbanks, Jr., in "Our Modern Maidens"

Warner Oland in "The Studio Murder Mystery"

Casts of all photoplays reviewed will be found on page 14^1


WHEN the "Follies" were being filmed, visitors at Fox
Studio had to put on dark glasses and false mous-
taches to get within calling distance of the set. All activities
were shrouded in mystery. But the revue is finished at last.
Glorified gals! Legs! Abbreviated costumes! Everything!

Other studios have already followed suit with this type
of entirely new entertainment. Song wTiters are as numer-
ous as microphones in Hollywood, but the "Fox Follies"
is first — and, as such, is important. As this is to be an annual
event it is likely to improve with age and experience.

The music is the best part of it. "Break Away" and "Big
City Blues" should be instantaneous hits. The big dance
acts are breath-taking, but there is not enough variety.

Sharon Lynn and Sue Carol are the two picture players
with leading roles. Most of the rest are from the stage.
Sharon is surprisingly good, revealing, as she does, a hot
blues voice. Sue is full of pep and particularly cute in
"Break Away." Stepin Fetchit furnishes his usual brand
of unexcelled comedy. Di.xie Lee and David RoUins dis-
tinguish themselves.

The slight story (which is only an excuse for the presenta-
tion of the acts) weakens rather than aids the revue.
Legitimate plays are often better in talkies, but synthetic
follies are not quite like the real thing. Revues depend
upon personality. The baldheaded row can't send mash
notes to a shadow on the screen.

However, don't miss the "Follies." You'll find yourself
absorbed by the spectacle and, if you don't go away hum-
ming those good tunes, we'll be surprised. All Talkie.

^ MADAME A— A/.-G.-M.

RUTH CHATTERTON followed at least three big
actresses and hundreds of lesser ones in "Madame X."
Yet neither Bernhardt's playing nor the performances of
Dorothy Donnelly or Pauline Frederick can take the edge
off Chatterton's superb conception of this famous character.

Lionel Barrymore has put aside the grease paint and the
Barrymore tradition to turn his attention to the broader
medium of directing. This is his first feature length attempt.

In the court room scene the film rises to its emotional
heights. This is harrowing and poignant beyond words.
Miss Chatterton does her best work thus far in the audibles
in this scene and she is ably aided by Raymond Hackett.

Ullric Haupt, too, is excellent as Laroqitc. "Madame X"
is a little slow moving as it works up to its climax — but the
big scene will have any audience hysterical. .1// Talkie.





NO doubt you read this thrilling m.vstery in Photoplay.
Perhaps you were among the many thousands who took
part in The Studio Murder Mystery Contest. In any
event, you will still want to see "The Studio Murder
Mystery" because it is a corking mystery melodrama,
with plenty of dramatic kicks and numerous surprises.
The story deals with the murder of a prominent actor in a
big studio at midnight. The suspects are many, of course,
and the murder chase is bafHing. We will not reveal the real
murderer here. Paramount made numerous changes in the
story and you will have to see the film to find out whether
the original killer is still the murderer. These changes, by
the way, have not hurt the story. Warner Oland gives
a fine performance as the foreign ace director. All Talkie.


Sound or Silent, You Will Find the



All Talkie


^^"'^^5? J
















1.- ^







All Talkie

SOPHIE TUCKER is on the Vitaphone. Her first feature is
a night club comedy drama with a synthetic plot that is a
medley of "Singin' Fool," "My Man," and "The Little Snob,"
but Sophie keeps it afloat with song. A cabaret hostess, edu-
cating her daughter abroad, has always kept her whoopee life
secret. The kid breezes in, gets wise, and snooty, and walks
out. Lila Lee is gorgeous as the upstage daughter. A hit.

YOU remember that this was a fairly good stage play.
You're sure that the film version is pretty bad. Something
happened between the stor>' conference and the cutting room.
Myrna Loy is the stereotyped Niibi, the gypsy girl and the
hot baby who disrupts homes, while Alice Joyce is the Hunga-
rian mother and Carroll Nye is the son. This film just doesn't
click, that's all. And it's unconsciously funny.


Part Talkie




All Talkie

ANOTHER cream-puff for the antics of the Metro-Goldwyn
playboy, Billy Haines. He plays a cultured young box-
fighter who registers incognito at a co-educational college and
falls with a thud for Joan Crawford. And for a climax the pic-
ture has one of these sure fire prize fights, with Bill hitting his
opponent with everything but the ring stakes. A lightweight,
friends, but amusing.

WHEN Richard Arlen finished making this film he an-
nounced that he was "punch drunk." This was not an
exaggeration, for Dick did all the fight scenes without benefit
of a double. This is the first time that he has spoken on the
screen and this carries an added kick. Arlen's characteriza-
tion gives the slight stor>' importance. Mary Brian makes a
sweet little wife and Baclanova is as devastating as ever.

Sono-Art —

All Talkie


All Talkie

SOMETHING will have to be done about the one singie-
talkie plot now in vogue. Al Jolson started it with "The
Singing Fool." Here it is, with variations, with Eddie Dowling
as a minstrel man with a breaking heart. Frankie Darro is the
current Sonny Boy. Real talkie honors are won by Marion
Nixon. The hokum is liberal in this film, but Dowling has a


SOME fifteen years ago Max Figman created the principal
role in this famous farce on the stage. Time has been kind
to the drama. The situation, which concerns a gentleman who
bets ten thousand dollars he can tell the absolute truth for
twentv-four hours, is still hilarious. Tr>- it over on your vocal
chords and see what happens. Richard Dix is at his best in
this light comedy. Helen Kane is a hit.

First and Best Screen Reviews Here

BOY— Pat he

AH Talkie

First National

Pari Talkie

ANOTHER lad makes good in a night club and then be-
comes a great big star on Broadway. Al Jolson discovered
this plot. Here Morton Downey is the singer who makes good
triumphs. Exactly like aU the other talkie plots except that
Mort plays an Irish boy. Downey is a little hefty for screen
popularity but, with a bit of reducing, a new plot and better
recording, he has his chance.

HERE we have Corinne Griffith in a slow moving part-
talkie version of Maxwell .Anderson's prize play. Corinne's
voice records nicely, but she seems altogether too bored as the
working girl who tricks the boy. Grant Withers, into marriage.
They quarrel continuously and separate but are reunited later.
.fMrna Tell portrays the scheming sister who aids Corinne.
Marcia Harris does well as the landladv.


All Talkie




Pari Talkie

IF it isn't a court room scene in the talkies these days, it's a
melodramatic mystery, and "The Hole in the Wall" is one of
the latter. This is the one about the crooks who do their skull-
duggery disguised as spiritualistic mediums. The story is con-
fusing, and the dialogue is weak. On the credit side we have

Online LibraryMoving Picture Exhibitors' AssociationPhotoplay (Volume 36 – 37 (Jul. - Dec. 1929)) → online text (page 7 of 145)