Star-dust in Hollywood (1930)

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Star-dust in Hollywood situations possible out of the whole working of the human heart! Beyond these everything but mere change of circum- stances or of combination. Forty authors at sixty pounds a week each; two thousand four hundred weekly pounds' worth of authorship ! Truly one might here feel that the mountain was in labour to bring forth ... a movie plot! Ornitz's bland smile greeted us over a newspaper. He at least had made his movie plot. He at least could sit content in his little cubicle and let the sixty pounds a week roll up. No longer his the mental torture. Other hands had taken his plot from him. It was being anatomized into continuity. He had typed it out on a few sheets of paper, half a dozen, no more. He had described only the main skeleton of the plot and delineated the chief characters with sufficiently dis- tinct personalities. Still, those few sheets represented some £500 worth of weekly authorship. Now continuity had it, and £100 a week was mincing it into scenes. Mincing it? No, stuffing it with scenes. Ornitz's sketch was as the iron skeleton that the sculptor sets up for his figure. Continuity was now clapping on the clay. Directors and cameras would shape it. The cutting-room would put on the finish. The Technical Department would make a hundred thousand replicas. The lights of a thousand cinema theatres in a thousand cities would proclaim its name; posters would depict its stars; and somewhere, flashing for a moment on the screen, would appear: " Story by Samuel Ornitz." Samuel Ornitz, like ourselves, was a newcomer to Los Angeles. He was an importation. His values were not those of Hollywood. Coming from New York, he was a cosmo- politan, for New York is in many ways, and especially in artistic matters, the most cosmopolitan of all the world's big cities. And Ornitz had seen New York from bottom to top. Born in the exotic, strangely blended American Ghetto, he had at last experienced success enough to become the [90]