Celluloid : the film to-day (1931)

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TRADER HORN Directed by W. S. Van Dy\e (Produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Culver City, California, U.S.A., 1929-31) Perhaps the safest recipe for a really successful box- office film is to take the old, old romance of the boy and the girl and set it against a background of real material. It follows, also, that the stranger and more sensational the environment, the more attractive the picture is likely to be with the multitude. Pseudo-epic films of great achievements stand out along the course of the cinema's development like telegraph poles along a railway. Occasionally interesting but more often sickening, they are yet beloved by the masses because the romantic human-interest is combined with hideous perils, and bewailed by the intelligent because the natural camera material is smirched by a conventional and banal story. But to a certain extent we must be thankful for what little real material we are allowed to see on the screen, for at least ninety per cent, of the ordinary movies is composed of artificially built sets in which artificially made-up actors and actresses disport themselves. For the moment, I deplore the love-interest 196