Silver Screen (Nov 1930-Oct 1931)

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She Thanks H er Lucky Stars Dorothy Arzner is the Movies^ Only Woman Director and Shes Never Had a Failure By Dora Albert RUTH CHATTERTON is like a skilled musician who when inspired knows what strings to play; she can ki. consciously play on certain emotions of her audience. Clara Bow is at her best when she acts spontaneously, at her worst when she has to repeat a scene over and over. These are the views of Dorothy Arzner, Paramount's only woman director and for that matter the only woman director of the talkies. She says she tries to live her life utterly without reactions. Positive action is all she is interested in. It was Dorothy Arzner who directed "The Wild Party", "Sarah and Son", and "Anybody's Woman". She has directed Ruth Chatterton, Clara Bow and, in the days before the talkies, Esther Ralston and Nancy Carroll. She has also worked with such general favorites as Fredric March. "Fredric March," she said, "is a very sincere worker, very natural and very much of a man. I believe he feels the emotion he portrays, which is most unusual for a man! "Unlike some actors, he does not stand aloof from his part. He really gives himself to his work. He has great freedom of movement and no inhibitions. If he has to shout, he shouts. If he has to run up and down stairs, he But he doesn't fall in love with the women to Here's the handsome Dorothy Arzner making the handsome Richard Arlen do his stuff. Dorothy started as a film cu tter and climbed unaided to her present eminent spot in movieland. She won't talk about herself but she'll rave about the stars she has guided to success runs. whom he makes love in the films. He is in love with his own wife, Florence Eldridge." Of the women stars Dorothy Arzner confesses that she particularly enjoys directing Ruth Chatterton. "She knows her business. She is a skilled technician. She knows what instruments to play on in order to awaken emotional response. "Sometimes, of course, it is impossible for the actress to know just what reaction she will get. When Ruth Chatterton in 'Anybody's Woman' played the scenes where she had to get Clive Brook to come out of his drunken spell, we believed these scenes were farce, and that the pathos of the situation would not come through. Ruth Chatterton's audiences saw something more in these scenes than just comedy. There were tears very close to the laughter. "It is sometimes said that women are more emotional than men. I think that men players are more restrained, but it is a natural restraint. "I should like to direct some of the men stars, particularly Maurice Chevalier. He would be fun. I suppose the reason I am always given women stars to handle is because that's a man's idea of what a woman's work in pictures should be. "Most of the pictures I have done have been pictures of feminine appeal. I thought that 'Sarah and Son' would appeal chiefly to women because of its theme, but more men than women personally told me that they liked the picture. I asked them what they \Contnwed on page 61] 51