Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1928 - Feb 1929)

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IS Are the Movies Scorning Love? A father's love for his son is the strongest element in "Sins of the Fathers," in which Emil Jannings and Jack Luden are seen. lace Beery, Ernest Torrence, Milton Sills, and now, Lionel Barrymore, are prominent upon t h e screen, Sills especially, since he is making a big comeback in "The Barker." This, by the way, is the .story of a sideshow sh outer's life, and of father love. Tom Meighan has also scored in "The Racket," which has nothing of romance to offer, as far as he is concerned. There is a minor love, just barely indicated, between a young reporter and a cabaret girl, but even this is disposed of when the lady decides to go her own way. No ultimate clinch in this ! Considerable of this change may be attributed to the attitude of the movie public. They have become apparently sated with sweet romance. Only about a year ago, in fact, a very violent revolt among the fans against socalled "lovesick dramas" was indicated. This was brought on by too much fervent sugariness in "Flesh and the Devil," in which John Gilbert and Greta Garbo took part. While this picture may have been popular, it certainly produced a reaction of discontent among many picturegoers, as their letters disclosed. Doubtless this was a natural rebellion, since the love scenes in the film were so mushy, and tempestuous, at the same' time, that they caused several critics to refer to them as bouts, and kiddingly to call the rounds. A love scene that is susceptible of laughter is scarcely an asset to a film, and if "Flesh and the Devil" did triumph, it was rather because of a strong friendship theme than its lush blandishments. At that, its love story had a tragic culmination. Producers have evidently taken note of this, because the amorous episodes in "The Mysterious Lady," which stars Greta Garbo, were visibly shortened following the initial preview. The audience was inclined to titter at certain languorous poses that Greta Garbo and Conrad Nagel ass urn e d . Romantic love inter Jean Hersholt and Belle Bennett portray the love of a middle-aged couple in "The Battle of the Sexes." est consequently is subdued in this spy melodrama. More so, at least, than in some of Greta's earlier luxuriations. Certain stars are bound to be identified with romance. It is their natural milieu. John Barrymore is one of them, but he exercises marked restraint in "The Tempest," his film of Slavic setting. Perhaps the scene that really made this picture was the one in which, as a peasant officer, he is shunned by aristocrats at the state ball. This was replete with humanness. D. W. Griffith, whose love idylls have long been famous, has, so he told me, eschewed this type of story in "The Battle of the Sexes." "The picture centers, instead, about problems of family life, and two leading figures in the drama are middle-aged," he said. "I found it, in many ways, an interesting experience to direct a picture of this kind." Much, too, may perhaps be expected from the film when it includes two such competent enacters of father and mother roles as Jean Hersholt and Belle Bennett. "What can take the place of sentiment?" I asked a producer recently, who admits there is a considerable change in the public attitude. "Well, nothing — practically speaking," he replied. "Because the love element is essential to certain films. But we are treating it far more deftly than we have in the past. Merely a closeup of two lovers in each other's arms is, to-day, not sufficient proof of their devotion — or let us even say the fascination they exert for each other. Devotion, real devotion, must be suggested in countless other ways — perhaps even by the repression of their feelings for each other. "We could go