Talking pictures : how they are made and how to appreciate them (1937)

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Talking Pictures directors meet on one common ground. They all are specially and acutely sensitive* to the drama of life, for they all have the same central hobby, an enthusiastic, abiding interest in people. A good director cannot be a grouch or a recluse. He must have an insatiable love for, and interest in, his own kind. And every director, whether he will admit it or not, is a practicing psy- chologist. The principal tools with which a director works are men and women. A director is judged by the logic and accuracy with which he fits actors and actresses into the parts and the plot of a fictitious story. It is here that individuality of the director becomes most evi- dent. Each director will have different methods of get- ting* the ultimate in emotional reaction from the cast of his picture. One director will be very brusque and businesslike. Another will patiently explain each scene quietly and in great detail. W. S. Van Dyke is an example of the first school, Sidney Franklin of the second. Sidney Franklin, unconsciously, is an extremist in his method. He speaks in such an abnormally low, quiet voice that his players find themselves giving unusual concentra- tion to every word he says. The director must know his story so thoroughly that he senses the exact moment when actors should be sub- dued or their actions.intensified. Actors depend on di- rectors to give them the necessary connection between scenes. If a player worried about tempo, the distraction would interfere with his creation of a perfect individual scene. It is the director's responsibility to be certain [156]