The theater, the cinema and ourselves (1947)

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It is curious how the glamour of trilby still survives and how the glamour of scarlet street was seldom emphasized. Probably there were many at the time who felt that anything that du Maurier wrote must be gentlemanly and as anything gentlemanly must have glamour so trilby had glamour plus a certain spice. If this is so, the label has certainly stuck. But scarlet street lacked a du Maurier and many thought that a film about the underworld must necessarily be crude, they were prepared to shut their eyes to the tenderness and humanity. But the tenderness and humanity did not need much looking for. Joan Bennett was no mere vamp. She had charm and moments of gentleness and doubt, and, with all the sordidness of her life, was not sordid herself. There will be many Trilbys in the future, professional Trilbys like Viola Tree, artistic Trilbys like Phyllis Neilson Terry and those with the natural charm of Dorothea Baird whom "everybody knew could not act"! There will also be many plays with a Trilby as a heroine though in many different circumstances and many different environments. Each will reflect the charm, the glamour of their age, but the Good and the Bad of the days when du Maurier wrote trilby will never return unless we live in a Nazi state. We will no longer have to explain that a girl "may have a lot of good in her" though she is Bad, and a lot of "bad in her" though she is Good, and that sitting for an artist "for the altogether" does not necessarily mean utter degradation. 15. THE HORSY GIRL National velvet was a sympathetic and often a moving play; but its chief interest lay in the fact that it tackled boldly, and almost poetically, a neglected theme— a girl's absorption in riding and the love of horses. Perhaps its chief fault was that emotionally it hovered between poetry and prose, and it had not quite enough of either. The girl's love of horses became occasionally an almost abstract quality, too trite for poetry, too prosy for living prose. She seemed to cease to be a girl and became almost a pathological study, a girl who never grew up, a Peter Pan in the silliest sense. Such an interesting, such a human play could have been written round this neglected subject, the horsy girl is often so loveable. Would she not have developed an affection for someone partly, or even wholly, because of their love for horses? Would he not have given her a horse instead of an engagement ring; and if she really loved horses how little his station in life, or even if he was married or not would have mattered. Then Velvet with her passion for horses would have still remained a girl not a mere container for obsessions. But such a play has yet to be written. 36