Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1928 - Feb 1929)

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Are the Movies Scorning Love? 19 through a story to-day without one actual suggestion of a kiss, and still definitely prove that two characters were deeply fond of each other. This can be wholly accomplished by what one might call indirect action, suggesting their response to each other's demands for affection— more properly their mutual understanding. What is really in the discard to-day is sex love — the more obvious sort of sex appeal. It was a natural reaction from too much of it. "I might say, additionally, that I feel the talkies will result in even more restraint in love-making. They must, or else the love scenes will have to be very skillfully written not to sound foolish. Your stage plays demonstrate that most love scenes, unless they take place at the final fall of the curtain, run a chance of proving embarrassing. The most delicate form of suggestion will have to be used in talking films to prevent their appearing ridiculous." This talkie phase should be very interesting to those of you who already are familiar, with this new manifestation. Consider the predicament of the fair ingenue who, due to the idosyncrasies of the devices, is forced to lisp, "I worthip you." The letter "s" when recorded, or any sound closely related thereto, 'always has a funny effect. This' might also result in a "My s-s-s-sweetheart," said with a very sibilant "s." Even more grotesque might be some of the foreign pronunciations, as "I loaf you," ravishingly uttered by some central .European star. There are natural exceptions to the tendency toward a diminishing love interest. They are such pictures as "Seventh Heaven," -"Drums of Love" — from the past — "Merry-Go-Round," and others based on romance of the more ideal kind. Also "The Sea Beast," though in this the niotif of conquering the legendary ocean mammoth, and the intrigue against the hero by his half-brother, were prominent in working out the plot. All pictures that tell a great and popular love story are bound to have many blendings of thought. And in many instances the love story itself is literally snowed under by some huge avalanche of drama, or carried on as in a tide by the sweep of an idea. I don't believe that any picture without some attraction, like spectacular photographic effects, or thehumanness of sacrifice, or achievement, or a cross-section of life, apart from its love interest, has ever succeeded brilliantly. Consider "The Big Parade," with its unexampled picture of the war front ; "The Birth of a Nation," with its sweeping panorama of the conflict between the North and South, and postwar reconstruction difficulties ; "Wings," with its airplane spectacle; "Ben-Hur," with its chariot race, and a religious and spiritual undercurrent Milton Sills and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., dominate the story of "The Barker," as father and son. The comradeship of Ralph Graves and Jack Holt endures, while their love for the same woman comes to grief in "Submarine." 'The Ten Commandments,' with biblical pageantry, the sensational opening and closing of the Red Sea, and the tragedy of the boy who didn't believe. Above all, "The Covered Wagon" — fa Hardly more than a scant suggestion of love in some of these ! Compare with them "Old Ironsides," and its overdone sentimentality. The picture was weak, because of hampering and ridiculous scenes between Charles Farrell and Esther Ralston, at the steering wheel of the old merchantman. "Stella Dallas" and "What Price Glory?" may be nominated as other films that have succeeded in .spite of a very slight love plot. Of really romantic films, "Robin Hood" and "The Thief of Bagdad" were best. Strangely enough. Douglas Fairbanks is not an especially good screen love maker, and therefore affectional episodes in his picture are nearly always tempered. Primarily "Robin Hood" and "The Thief of Bagdad" triumphed because they were pictorial masterpieces. Stars venture some opinions Chaney's I have interesting mous for its epic of pioneering Westward. regarding the scope of love in pictures alluded to. "Pictures are gradually coming to a point where it is recognized that there is drama in many elements other Continued on page 114