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

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Why Stories Are Changed exception proving our second generalization. But critics were unanimous in calling the screen version far superior to the stage version. Why? Because in this story the huge bulking luxu- rious hotel was the star. The people in it were secondary. Vicki Baum established the theme that anything and everything dramatic in the world can happen in a great hotel. The physical bulk of the hotel was a vital factor. This could only be suggested on the stage, but it was actually achieved on the screen. Do you recall that amazing shot looking down inside the hotel from the top floor, past seemingly endless balconies, to the clerk's desk two hundred feet below? To competent critics these physical changes of the screen play made it superior to the stage version. In the same manner, the author sincerely believes that the screen version of Romeo and Juliet for the first time in dramatic history achieved that for which William Shakespeare longed when he wrote the play. Romeo and Juliet is painted on too broad a canvas for efficient stage use. The play starts with a quarrel between the retainers of the Montagues and the Capulets. However effectively suggested on the stage, this illusion remains difficult to set up with a few supernumeraries and a small setting. On the screen the Plaza at Verona could be reproduced in full size, and the fight in the photoplay is comparable to many struggles which actually took place on it during feudal times. The balcony scene presents considerable difficulty for the stage. Its height can only awkwardly be sug- [6 7 ]