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What the Fans Think
Refuting a Slander.
WE wish to defend Richard Barthelmess against the slander directed toward him by Gene Charteris, which was published in the September Picture Play. After reading the terrible letter he wrote about Mr. Barthelmess, we think he is very narrow-minded on the subject.
If "The Patent Leather Kid" was lacking in any element of appeal or interest, as Gene said, why is it that all people, whom we have asked about the picture, have said they liked it very much ? Maybe "The Patent Leather Kid" wasn't his best picture, but we think the picture was good, and the ending was great. Maybe the trouble is in the viewpoint of the onlooker. We are inclined to believe that that is the case with Gene.
What if Mr. Barthelmess has made no progress? Does Gene think that people like himself are of any assistance to a star's progress ? We are not pretending to judge his progress ; we do not follow film news enough for that, but we do know when a picture is enjoyed. And we would like to add that we have never seen a film of Mr. Barthelmess' that failed to interest us.
As for the poor appearance of Mr. Barthelmess, we have our doubts as to Gene's judgment in this particular case.
What if Richard Barthelmess is on the verge of middle age, or will soon have a bald spot? Will a bald spot affect his acting ? We think not. His age makes it seem all the more wonderful to us that he could look so young in "The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come." We wonder if Gene saw that picture, or if he was too narrowed by his prejudice to look for some good in Dick Barthelmess and Molly O'Day.
If Mr. Barthelmess is not the person to take a pugilistic role, why blame him ? There are others besides ourselves who admired him in this role. We thought him immensely interesting in the way he chewed his gum. He has a personality which cannot be duplicated in all Hollywood.
Though Molly O'Day is not our favorite actress, we don't believe you. Gene, are helping her to improve her acting. There must be some good in that young woman, or she certainly would not be cast for important roles.
'Bobbie and Bonita Rogers.
Ill Twelfth Avenue, North, Seattle, Washington.
Doesn't Like "Kidlets."
In the May Picture Play there appeared an article entitled "They're Going to School for a Year."
Of the eleven players named, Gary Cooper, Fay Wray, James Hall, Ruth Taylor, Buddy Rogers, Lane Chandler, Louise Brooks, Jack Luden, Richard Arlen, Mary Brian, and Nancy Carroll, I am reasonably certain that the four who will be highest in popular favor, and most worthy of stardom, will be Buddy Rogers, Louise Brooks, James Hall, and Richard Arlen. Their performances so far have proved very satisfactory, and there is no doubt but that they will be able, by their own efforts, to carry a poor story to the heights. Isn't that what is expected of a star? Stars seldom are given roles equal to their ability, and it's usually their personal popularity that brings in the shekels.
Here are a few players whom I think are exceptionally interesting and who have real ability: Betty Bronson, Sally O'Neil, Molly O'Day, Lois Moran, Marian Nixon, Barry Norton, Charles Morton, and Anita Page. Some of these are well known and have been in the movies a few years. Betty, Sally, and Lois are given small parts in equally small pictures. Why? Surely they are admired, but there aren't roles for all of these youngsters, and only the luckier ones survive. Yet the producers are screaming from the housetops that the industry needs youth and the public ivants youth ! Horse feathers ! We want youth, yes, just as we want everything else. But we're being fed up with it. And the worst part of it is, these younger ones take the parts of much older women. You'll understand what I mean when I cite Loretta Young as an example. Only fifteen, and playing leading lady in rather sophisticated pictures. All she seems to do is to pose, and she has that "lookwho-I-am" air about her.
If they start out at fifteen, or thereabouts, playing leads, without previous experience, how long do they expect their success to last ? The best of our stars have been really popular only about six years, and they had real beauty and ability. But these prodigies are cut f rom the same pattern and don't try to be different. In six years, at about tw«nty-one or so, they will be passe and prematurely old, just when they should be enjoying life most. Mary Frances Cooney.
1012 Throop Street,
Chicago. Illinois. [Continued on page 10]