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

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as possible in an important detail. That is another instance of the difference between those times and these. I alluded some while back to the American standing order for our films as being in effect 'anaesthetising.' Appropriately, it came to an end while we were finishing Morphia. I once wrote a film scenario myself called The Basilisk. The name part was played by William Felton and the thing I best remember about it was the very sinister effect I obtained, as he sat at a table facing the camera, by lighting his cadaverous face with brilliant green light through a hole in the table top. The 'green,' of course, was supplied by stain in the finished print. I haven't mentioned this film before because it was not at all a good one and it was my only effort at writing for the film. But I wrote a story once of which I was inordinately proud. I was very young indeed and I was inflamed by the offer of a prize in some child's periodical. It was to take the form of a bound volume for the whole year in return for a short original story. I got down to it. I chewed the handles off several pens, struggled with the difficulties of plot construction and sentence building and eventually evolved a tragic tale upon which I bestowed the glorious title of The Tragedy of Trundletown. I was as proud of this effort as I have ever been of a film since— in fact I should think it must have been very like a rubbishy film in embryo. It was with difficulty I lived through the long days and weeks till the magazine at last arrived. I scrambled through page after page until I came to my story. My glorious title had been changed to Poor Gertie and all my joy in life was dead. I have hated editors ever since. Early in 1914, or perhaps at the end of the previous year, I personally produced for the Ideal Company, a film called The Bottle, written, I think, by Albert Chevalier and certainly played by him. Chevalier was an exceedingly nice man and a wonder- fully good actor, and although he was temperamental and some- times difficult he was on the whole a good fellow to work with. I think he liked me and we got on very well in this film which was quite a good job of work and was most enthusiastically received by the brothers Rowson, for whom it was made. Chevalier was responsible for the plot of My Old Dutch, which was based upon one of his most popular songs. It was probably put into script form by Larry Trimble who produced it, with Chevalier in the principal part, for the Ideal Company, to follow The Bottle. And I made another film with Chevalier on another 127