Picturegoer (Jul-Dec 1937)

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July 3, 1937 PIUUKfcbUfcR WEBUy* PICTUREGOER— THE SCREEN'S MOST POPULAR MAGAZINE DEAR KAY FRANCIS, Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, there was a Hollywood actress who, though she took an intelligent interest in her career, was regarded as the essence of sweet reasonableness, the director's friend and the producer's joy. Perhaps she felt that she owed something to films as well as having given something to films, because her stage career had not been sensationally successful and she was down to her last few dollars when her friend, Walter Huston, got her a screen role that made her famous overnight. At any rate, her reputation for common sense and off screen charm even in business matters became something of a byword. She did not even worry unduly if she was given a role or two that she knew would not be likely to enhance her prestige. " It seems to me," she said, " that a studio makes seventy-five pictures a year and they can't all be good." Of course, she confessed, she tried to raise Cain at the front office periodically, but thought it foolish to get unpleasant about it. If you have read so far you will doubtless recognise that this is not a fairy story and that its heroine's name is Kay Francis. We mention this pleasant impression we have always had of you because in view of it we find it particularly hard to believe the increasing number of Hollywood gossip stories which have recently appeared charging you with being concerned in studio " incidents," clashes with directors and fellow artistes. Filmgoers would doubtless have forgiven you an honest-to-goodness revolt against some of the material that has been handed out to you in the last year or two. We can appreciate that you have had some terrible stories to contend with, " real stinkaroos " as you put it yourself. Few actresses would have gone on accepting them with such patience. We find it less easy, however, to appreciate the growing list of incidents over frequently petty issues with which you are credited by the film colony scribes. It started in a small way with reports of trouble during the filming of Wonder Bar. Then we heard that you had had a reporter ejected from a restaurant, where you were holding a party. When you came to London on your last visit you went out of your way to snub the English press, which had always treated you with the utmost courtesy and consideration. You really needn't have bothered, incidentally, staging that undignified " run out " at the boat train. We weren't as interested in the then-blooming romance between Kay Francis and Delmer Davis as all that. The growing legend, however, has really reached the culminating point in the series of rumours of childish verbal clashes between you and Joe May on the set of your latest picture Confession. When an actress, following other similar charges, is accused in the public prints of losing her temper with her director because of so trivial a matter as being politely corrected over a line of dialogue she is in serious danger of acquiring a reputation for artistic temperament. And you should know, as well as we do, that no star can afford to maintain a reputation for artistic temperament, certainly no star who has figured in as many indifferent pictures as you have in the last two years. If you don't know we're telling you. Which brings us naturally to another development in your career which is distinctly disturbing. Don't you think that you are becoming too closely associated with the more sobby Hollywood forms of manufactured emotionalism, particularly in those motherlove roles, of which you apparently have another in Confcssior. . You have pretty well run the entire gamut of filmic feminine suffering. We think we speak for many picturegoers when we say that we would like to see a revival of the charming and sophisticated Kay Francis of One Way Passage and Trouble In Paradise.