Star-dust in Hollywood (1930)

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Star-dust in Hollywood air. And against the glittering yet ghostly radiance were silhouetted the camera-men with their grotesque implements ; the floor-lights seemed like tall-hatted freaks; the overalled workmen, lax from being steeped in so many warm Californian midsummers, were lounging with an almost Mediterranean grace—soiled pierrots. The Russian violinist was striking out his music with the doubly dramatized gestures of musician and cinema actor, which contrasted oddly with the earnest, foot-labouring, and frog-like appearance of his partner at the harmonium. Few scenes that we remember have a beauty weirder than those fog effects due to Von Sternberg and the vaporized purgative. One might well parody FitzGerald and exclaim : I wonder what it is the movies take One half as lovely as the scenes they make. " Spray it a bit over there," cried Von Sternberg. " It's getting thin." With the compressed-air spray, big brother to that dainty scent implement of the feminine dressing-table, a workman carefully painted the air thicker in the desired spot. Across the floor hissing compressed-air tubes coiled among the electric-light 'spaghetti,' and from outside the thud I thud I of a petrol air-pump beat a solid, monotonous counter-rhythm to the music of the harmonium and violin. Another workman was spraying Betty Compson with the purgative, which dripped from her. It appeared as wet as water, but had not the water's clammy coldness, and in addition was a shield from the chill of the actual water which later was poured in bucketfuls over her. To Bancroft's waist the other men were strapping a small seat. Hollywood heroines are not as fairy-like as imagination would picture them, nor Hollywood heroes as muscular. The golden-haired double, dripping like her star, was being used to adjust the [94]