Talking pictures : how they are made, how to appreciate them (c. 1937)

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Talking Pictures individuals. Sometimes there is a feast of stories for months. Then for no accountable reason a famine oc- curs, and for this reason it has been found a wise policy to leave an adequate margin. Story departments must buy in advance of their needs. For example, a studio which uses only fifty stories a year never permits its stock to go below one hundred and fifty. Further, a story which is mediocre for an existing star, may prove a flaming "ball of fire" under the inspiration of some new comet-personality. No one thought much of a story called Three Smart Girls until along came a girl called Deanna Durbin. For her the story fitted like a beautiful gown and seemed to reflect her own charm. Weeks, months, sometimes years of work and con- ferences involving many minds are required to find and select stories. When the picture version is made, people leaving the theatre often exclaim, "Why, it isn't like the book at all!" Experienced producers, hearing such remarks, shrug their shoulders in mock resignation, for it is difficult to explain that the screen play is a different expressive medium, related to, but unlike either of its distant relatives, the stage play, or the novel. The casual visitor to a photoplay seldom understands these differences. But in them one finds the reasons for the amazing growth of the photoplay, its present solid place in public esteem. [56]