Came the dawn : memories of a film pioneer (1951)

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favourite and most successful play, David Garrick. We were only too willing to do all that we could to help him but this great old gentleman had lost nearly all of his memory and could hardly take in any of the things we wanted him to do. He had a lady with him who was most patient and helpful but it was plain that he was past understanding the unusual conditions in which he was required to work. Miss Mary Moore, who always acted with him and was then, or afterwards became, his wife, asked me point blank what age she would look if she took in the film her usual part with Sir Charles. I was obliged to answer truthfully that, in spite of make- up or any other artful aid, she would just look her age or a very little younger. She immediately threw up the part and picked out a pretty young lady from our own company to play it instead. Her first choice was Claire Hulcup but she afterwards changed her mind and asked if they could have Chrissie White instead as she was even more suitable for the part. The two Hulcups were clever and adaptable people with plenty of resource and very pleasant to work with, for they slipped into our ways easily and soon became an integral part of our com- munity. Claire assumed the surname of Pridelle, and she and her husband and Hay Plumb were the life and soul of the 'Vivaphone' until its end. They played many other parts as well and we were very sorry to lose them when they finally decided to leave us. Still another actor-knight came to bask in the partly artificial sunshine of our studio about this time in 1913. Sir John Martin Harvey came with his company to make The Cigarette Maker's Romance, produced by Frank Wilson. It is very important to realise that the making of a successful film from an existing stage-play is very far from being a mere photographing of the various scenes as they have appeared on the stage. It is true that a few inexperienced companies did attempt to do it in that way but the horrible mess which was the inevitable result soon proved a sufficient deterrent to others who sought to take that easy path. At that time of our Hamlet production for Gaumont I wrote a description which may be quoted now in this connection:— * Words in the play must, of course, be translated into action in the film. It was necessary to interpolate all sorts of scenes, visuali- sing episodes which are merely described in the play. The Queen's explanation that she has seen Ophelia gathering flowers by the 118