Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1928 - Feb 1929)

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What the Fans Think 11 About This and That. Every month this section of my favorite film magazine starts me off grimly determined to butt in on some of the arguments expressed in its columns ; but usually, before one has time to prepare for battle, along comes some fresh discussion to tantalize the true fan. But some remarks of Lorraine Chandler's cannot go unchallenged. I refer to the paragraph about Charlie Chaplin, in which she finds it difficult to believe he is a great artist, because he is not a naturalized American, and because he took no active part in the war. It may be of interest that no less authority than the noted author and soldier, Major "Ian Hay" Beith, told me that he himself signed Charles Chaplin's exemption papers in the belief that his small stature and general physique rendered him far less useful as a fighting unit than as a mental and moral stimulus through his service as an artist and entertainer. Furthermore, it may seem strange to Miss Chandler to realize that there are a great number of people who may not wish to sell their birthright, however grateful and appreciative they may be of the opportunities to succeed materially that their adopted country has given them. Finally, Mr. Chaplin is not entirely innocent of service to the States, which claims a large portion of his yearly earnings as revenue. May I also add a word of praise and gratitude to the once-despised quickies? To Columbia, in particular, the fans owe a debt of gratitude for bringing back so many of their old favorites, and proving that neither their acting powers nor their box-office value has decreased, despite the influx of new faces and the general impression that experience is unnecessary. It was with great pleasure that this fan read Margaret Reid's article on Conway Tearle, proving what many Tearle fans have long suspected, that he has a delightful sense of humor. The vexed question of the real difference between a personality and an actor on the screen will probably never be settled; but if some enterprising producer would only return Mr. Tearle to us in Richard Dehan's "The Dop Doctor," it will be seen that he, at least, can lay claim to both titles. And if Columbia would become Betty Bronson's sorely needed fairy godmother, we should all be grateful. Peter Pan was a hard thing for any actress to live up to, but Miss Bronson must have another chance, and ought not to be lost in a sea of blondes and type actresses, because elusive personalities are so rare. Jean Webster Brough. Woodleigh, 38 Woodstock Road, Bedford Park, London, England. Take a Bow, Billy. While seeing "Excess Baggage" recently, I had an experience which will prove the light in which every one holds William Haines. There was a very old gentleman sitting next to me, and he got very excited during the picture. At the conclusion he turned to me and said, "Isn't that boy a wonder?" My answer was, "He is, and the greatest actor that we'll ever see." He looked around at the crowd of us that were together, and wanted to know if we were a delegation for something. So we told him that we were members of the William Haines Club, and he asked if he could join. The tears had been streaming down his face, because, he said, "he was so glad that things turned out right for Eddie that he just couldn't help crying." And then he told us about a boy of his that had died, and who, if he had lived, would have been about William Haines' age. "If my boy had lived, I would have asked nothing better than to see him like that boy on the screen. No one could ask more than to have a son such as he. May he always be true to the ideals that shine from his eyes." And he meant it. I am proud to be the president of a fan club in honor of the cleanest and finest American boy on the screen to-day, and we have made that old gentleman our club "grandpa." Vivian Stephens. Perry, Lake County, Ohio. Unfair and Unkind to Ridicule. Some of the critical letters about Rudolph Valentino are coolly sensible, but I think it is unfair and unkind to ridicule and blame those fans who have written of their grief so freely. Their exaggeration is quite natural and understandable. That their anguish is genuine I can well believe. Governors, philanthropists, and the like are continually being honored, not only in death, but while they are living. Every year a flood of honorary degrees from leading universities goes out to notable persons. It seems strange, then, and rather pitiful, that the praise of those who loved and enjoyed Valentino should be begrudged space in a movie magazine, of all places. Just why is it considered morbid to remember a dead player? Why is it silly and ridiculous to speak and write about Rudy? He was a talented, picturesque, and loved personality. Mabel Warren. 3201 West Dauphin Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Lay Off My Favorite." Hark ye, Gilbert fans ! The latest joke — for it can be nothing but a joke — is presented by Bernice Williamson in her October letter. Oh, it indeed calls for a laugh ! She says, "Gilbert has ridden to fame on the light of Renee Adoree's reflected glory." Don't some people think up the oddest things? That is positively the best I've heard yet. It is so ridiculous ! Miss Williamson is, I presume, harboring the impression that Mr. Gilbert's one and only picture was "The Big Parade." She doesn't seem to realize that "Shame" and "Monte Cristo," two of his greatest pictures, were made before little Miss Renee was even heard of. Nor does the fact that Jack has scored success after success since "The Big Parade," zuithotit the aid of Miss Adoree's "reflected glory," appear to matter particularly. Without a doubt, Miss Adoree added considerable charm to both "The Big Parade" and "The Cossacks," and she is undeniably a talented actress; but it seems to me that, instead of her reflected glory helping Gilbert to fame, the very opposite is true. Even her greatest admirer must admit that, no matter how splendidly she portrayed Nang Ping in "Mr. Wu," she was not the same spirited Renee who gave us Melisande. Come now, Bernice, praise your favorite all you like, for she surely deserves it ; but lay off our favorite. His glory is his own. You'll never convince his fans differently, and he has done nothing to you to merit your bricks. Hazel I, Weatherston. Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. British Studio Gossip. I have often read in the "What the Fans Think" an account cf a fan's visit to a studio in Hollywood, and wondered if the fans would be interested in the stars working in a British studio. I shall not bore you with stories of stars you do not know, but will start off with Monty Banks, who is firmly established at the Elstree Studio. Whenever I have seen Monty arrive at the studio it has been on the running board of his car. He is very active, as one would imagine from his pictures. He has very dark skin, black hair, and black, sparkling eyes. He is just lovely to every one and responds to every call to be "snapped" by a visitor. Anna May Wong is the loveliest creature. She is making "Piccadilly," and when I saw her she was wearing a gorgeous silver-and-blue kimono and a long pigtail. I was very surprised to hear her speak perfect English, with a lovely American twang. Dorothy Gish proved most disappointing. She seemed sulky and not so beautiful off screen. Joseph Striker is very, very handsome and nice, and is a perfect match for our own darling Betty Balfour. The last time I saw Walter Byron, he was attired as a clergyman, and was engaged in leaping over chairs and settees on the set, while waiting for the director and camera man to come along. I know every one will love Walter when they see him opposite Vilma Banky. But the most gorgeous creature I have seen off screen was Dolores del Rio. She is wonderful and has won the hearts of most of us English fans with her excursion to the East End. She was very anxious to study the lives of the slum dwellers, as she intends to portray one of them in a future film, and I am certain we can absolutely depend on something very excellent from Miss del Rio in that film. Louise E. Johnston. 211 Hampstead Road, London, N. W. 1, England. From One Artist to Another. There are ripples like a Silvery wave on a sleepy ocean Running round your mouth. In the molding of your face There is inimitable serenity. Your eyes see far to the end Of things accomplished. Only Lying beneath the fringe of Your long lashes Are the taut, blue, violet lines That strain upon the leash That holds you to this earth. Helen Chandler. The Theater Guild, New York City. For Tamer Love. I have not acquired the spirit of cynicism to the extent that I believe woman to be the base and blatant creature that most of the recent movies depict her. A good woman is too wonderful to be constantly represented as a shallow, sensuous, wholly pleasure-seeking, jazz-crazed individual; and a young person, nowadays, at the age where he begins to be sex-conscious has a difficult enough time living straight without having love represented by scenes of debauchery. The worst feature is that the scene for such rot is made so glamorous that we all want a shot at it. At the same time, those of us who have seen life realize that this lustful pleasure that is supposed to be so enjoyable is all a huge pain. I enjoy movies, but I'd like, for a change, to see some clean, pure love stories. Bring back some of those infinitely tender scenes of "Seventh Heaven," or give us a leading lady such