The Moving Picture World (1908)

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THE MOVING PICTURE WORLD 509 denied that they were purchasing sets of slides at bargain prices. . .-. . « -, .' . They likewise admit that the slides sold for the ruinous cut-price were from the studios of DeWitt C. Wheeler, Scott & vad Altena, The Van Allin Company, Moore-Bond Com- pany, and other leading makers. While the above slide makers cannot deny the right of Helf & Hager to sell their slides for $3.00 per set, they will be no doubt greatly edified to know that perfect sets of their slides have been sold by this firm for several dollars per set cheaper than they will sell them to the consumer, or, in fine, that Helf & Hager is cutting under them in price on their own make of slides to their own customers. They have no doubt been wondering what had become of the orders from the firms who had ben buying from Helf & Hager. Now they know and they will readily agree that these people were or would be the silliest simpletons to pay them five dollars for some- thing they could get for three dollars from Helf & Hager. They will likewise no doubt be greatly pleased to find that Helf & Hager have been using their make of slides to wean their legitimate trade away from them. It is not our intention or desire to do Helf & Hager any wrong, injustice, or impute any ulterior motives to them. We reiterate that they were acting entirely within their rights, and again we reiterate that we are acting entirely within our rights to criticise any transaction that destroys legitimate trade. Had not the firms who patronized Helf & Hagcr's bargain counter used their prices as a big stick e over the heads of other slide makers to compel them, under threat of loss of patronage, to sell their goods for less than they could be made for, probably nothing would have ever been said about Helf & Hager's clearing sale. And now we wish to ask Helf & Hager one question. We know that Mr. Alfred Simpson illustrated their song, "I'm Tying the Leaves So They Won't Come Down," for them, and we wish to know who made the slides for this song which they put out with a plain mat on? Mr. Simpson uses a special mat, and we know that none of the pictures made by him were "woozy," but many of the slides put out for this song with the plain mats on were badly blurred and very poorly colored. To. a person who knows slides these looked like contact copies. Were they? and if so, "who did the copying?" Helf & Hager also announce that they have not gone out of the slide business, only temporarily suspended. manufactur- ing, and that a new company is soon to be incorporated for $10,000. We wish them all the good fortune that may come to them in getting rid of the old slides in their establish- ment, and we understand from their advertisement that they are still trying to. get rid of them; but we likewise call the attention of every slide maker in the country to the fact that they need, far worse than the film dealers, an association which will fix an iron-clad schedule of prices, or they will in another year be compelled to further reduce the price of slides which is now so low that there is very little profit in the business. DETAIL.—IT IS THE LITTLE THINGS WHICH COUNT. By Hans Leigh. Sir Henry Irving was not the greatest actor who ever lived. Many people were of the opinion that he wasn't much of an actor at all. But somebody admitted that he had a genius for "detail," and a good many people believe to-day that this genius for detail was the chief basis of living's success. In the drama of the twentieth century "detail" has be- come a fetish. The actor or dramatist who neglects "detail" courts faHure. Now, the moving picture, as compared with the drama, suffers under a good many handicaps, but in the matter of detail both are on an even footing. Therefore, it behooves the makers of moving pictures to study detail, to plan it up for everything it is worth. By detail, I mean the small things which go to make a picture perfect—perfection of scenery, perfection of stage accessories, perfection of costume, and perfection of "move- ment" Only a day or two ago I saw a fine production from the Biograph, entitled "The King's Messenger." In this picture, * after the climax is reached, the hero bids farewell to the heroine, leaps on his horse and rides furiously away. Two scenes follow in which the hero is seen riding at top speed, and as the third scene opens, the hero dasRes into the King's presence chamber where he finds—the heroine calmly wait- ing for him. "Hello," exclaims the spectator, ''did she get there in an air-ship?" This little forgetfulness of detail obliges the manager to explain to his audience by word of mouth that when hero and heroine parted the lady returned to the court, while the hero rode on to the army and returned to court a month or two later. A title "A Month Later," would have helped, but a picture showing the hero delivering his dispatch to the general of the army would have been better. This is an imperfection in "movement." Then there are imperfections in action. A little while ago I saw a picture, entitled "Away Down East," which was so deficient in this - respect that I hadn't the faintest idea of what it was all about. It was absolutely unintelligible. It would be easy to multiply instances of improper cos- tuming, improper stage setting, and the use of improper .ac- cessories, but I have now in mind a picture which possesses nearly every fault which I have suggested. This is a "Mesalliance," which the makers mis-spell "misalliance." The hero is a nobleman and an army officer. When he marries the heroine he is in full-dress from the crown of his head to the skirt of his tunic. There is nothing lacking of gold lace and feathers. But his trousers—alack the day! Perhaps they split when he was lacing his boots; or they didn't come home from the tailor's. The audience is left to guess what became of the baron's "other" trousers, but something dreadful must have hap- pened to them, for the poor fellow was compelled to wear an old pair of gray tweeds, which he kept for spading the garden, and which had belonged to his deceased uncle. Qf course, I may be mistaken in this, but I cannot guess any other reason why a real baron should wear such a wrinkled, ill-fitting, knee-bagged pair of pants at his own wedding. Two years elapse, in which time the baron and his wife , have produced a fine four-year-old child, which is saying a good deal for the climate of Denmark, where the scene of this drama is laid. But although the baron has been more than successful in the parental line, he has apparently been unable to accumu- late a new pair of pants. The old gray tweeds are still doing duty in connection with the feathers and gold lace which ornament the baron's superstructure. The two years have not changed a wrinkle or evolved a patch. The baron's wife is living in the seventh heaven of bliss. Not even his pants have been sufficient to cloud the horizon of their happiness. True love, indeed! But alas, the demon "Trouble" is at hand. One day the baron receives "orders" to go to the Danish West Indies. In real life the baron would at least Jiave been given time to pack his trunk, but these orders are different. The baron has time to press only one kiss on his dear one's brow. Then he rushes across the ocean, with nothing but his dear old pants to remind him of the loved ones at home. Arrived in the Danish West Indies, the baron finds that the Boers are up in arms (sic). One day he is strolling along a country road in intimate friendly companionship with two or three private soldiers, when the party is set upon by Boers and the baron is killed. In due time a brother officer brings the sad news to the baron's family, and the poor, poor baroness is turned out to starve by her mother-in-law, who never liked her. The audi- ence is left to suppose that the baron was a penniless baron, entirely dependent on his mother for a living, and that some- how there wasn't even a pension for the poor young baroness to live on. So she is forced to take in sewing to support their phenomenal child. But, as the dime novels used to say, "Our hero was not dead." He was only slightly stunned, and before the Boers were out of sight he was able to get up and staggeraway. Now, did he go back to his regiment and report himself, as the regulations reauire? Oh, no. If he had done this, as the eighteenth century romancers used to say, "this drama would never have been written," and more's the pity. Had the army marched on, and was he left to be nursed back to life by friendly Boers? No; he got back to his regiment all right, but he never reported himself. He deserted; sneaked out of the country; got over to the American coast in a small boat, and then took ship to dear old Denmark. ''How do you know that?" asks somebody. "The picture doesn't say so." The picture doesn't say anything about it, but I know it is true because when the baron rushed in just in time to save his wife from starvation, he had on his dear old gray tweed pants.