The theater, the cinema and ourselves (1947)

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2. IN DEAR KING EDWARD'S COSTUME DAYS I t is astonishing to look back on the days when Marie Tempest twirled her parasol on the stage and Charles Hawtrey or Gerald du Maurier lit their cigarettes with such affected naturalness; if you did the same at Ascot or Ranelagh you were more likely to be introduced to a duchess—that is, if the duchess liked that kind of thing. It is not so very long ago that Beerbohm Tree in his sumptuous productions at His Majesty's tried to smother Shakespeare in gestures and costumes. In the all-star show at The Coronation Gala Performance in 1911 "the Forum scene from julius caesar gave Tree the opportunity to surround himself with perhaps three hundred of the most popular London actors," and King George and Queen Mary, reflecting the Edwardian period, celebrated their accession by seeing the subtle flavour of Ben Jonson, Shakespeare and Sheridan completely drowned in display. We have learnt a lot since then. In the past ten years, scarcely interrupted by 8