Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1928 - Feb 1929)

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20 Beauty Takes The players you laugh at on the screen than those who are famous for "emoting." the B$ M Photo by Phillips Anita Garvin is statuesque, and her beauty is vital and com manding. LOVELY, laugh-getting ladies, Salomes of slapstick, unsung heroines of the custard pie and the "108," beautiful damsels bereft of dignity, goddesses of the gag — the comedy girls. Give them a hand ! The brief flash given the cast on a two-reeler leaves their names in obscurity to all but the quickest eye. The laughs they get are their sole glory, the one reward for bruises, sprains, and scratches. That is, of course, if one excepts the little — figurative — matter of salary. But the plaudits of the throng pass them by, these game, hard-working kids whose pulchritude would dazzle a Kleig. Some of the most beautiful girls in Hollywood are in comedies. They have to "be. In the fast shooting of a two-reel comic, there is no time for individual lighting, no thought for registering the best angle of profile, no fuzzy close-ups. Action is too quick to allow for charming poses, alluring expressions. A few hard lights to make the scene sharp and clear, the swift, direct movement of the gag, and that's all. They need beauty to look entrancing under such conditions, and in such unflattering situations as the grotesque absurdity of a "108" ■ — a complete flop which ends violently in a sitting posture on the floor, legs and arms flying. Many a serial queen would blanch if required to perform the feats a comedy girl tosses off in a morning's work. With either conscious or unconscious stoicism, they run the risk of breaking bones a dozen times during ar the two weeks' course of a picture. On the screen their daring is not particularly obvious, because it culminates in a laugh. And the psychology of a laugh admits of nothing but just that — an explosive expression of amusement, with no undercurrents of alarm, or sympathy for the feminine vanity of the girl when the custard pie is thrown at her pretty face. Which is all as it should be. The girls themselves would be the last to deplore it. Laughs are the tickers by which they check the merit of their work. Pure, unadulterated guffaws are what they labor for. And these gorgeous-looking young things, whose perpetual aim and hope is to be laughed at, have an awful lot of fun on their own side. Introducing three of the better known, and most beautiful — Miss Frances Lee, Miss Estelle Bradley, and Miss Anita Garvin. Frances Lee is the Christie piece de resistance. The sweetly decorative ornament of innumerable Bobby Vernon comedies, she is now in a series of two-reelers called "Confessions of a Chorus Girl." .These are more or less polite comedy, but on the first day of work Frances wore roller skates, and had to take a sit-down bump that left her with a painful distaste for chairs for a week. Frances is diminutive, cute, appealing. Neat little features without a flaw, wide, gray eyes, an inviting mouth and silky, light-brown hair. To say nothing of a figure that is a miniature V enus, modeled on 1928 lines. Born in Minneapolis twenty years ago, Frances was intended, by parental decision, to be a school-teacher. Only Frances' initiative saved that face and figure, and those dancing feet, from burial under a schoolmarm's desk. At thirteen she began to study dancing in a neighborhood class. But in a few months she had left the other pupils to their Highland flings and sailors' hornpipes, and gone far ahead. It became evident that her aptitude Avas more than a flair. Within three j^ears she was dancing professionally. Gus Edwards played in Minneapolis and wanted to sign her for his revue. But with precocious astuteness, Frances refused and remained at home instead, earning enough from local engagements to give herself a year at college. Later, Edwards sent for her to come to Chicago and substitute for a member of his troupe who had fallen ill. After this engagement Frances turned down his offer of a contract. Staying in Chicago, she did soubrette work at the Rainbow Gardens cafe, where she was nicknamed "The Baby of the Rainbow." Billy Dooley. of vaudeville celebrity, visited the cafe in search of talent, spotted Frances and signed her as his partner. Their tour finally reached Los Angeles, where they were seen by Al Christie, who signed them both. Considerable recognition has already been shown Frances. During a vacation from Christie's she was lent to Fox for "Chicken a la King." Her work in this so