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New-York tribune. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, August 24, 1919, Image 38

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The Scenario Treadmill
Holds the Thoroughbred
By Virginia Tracy
"And what part do you think would
be good enough for him, then? Ham?
"W?e?11," we considered, "why?
yes?if it had stronger love scenes"
"Well, believe me," pronounced our
friend, "if you can't write anything
about him till he gets hold of a Hamlet
? an improved Hamlet?believe me,
it'll be a.uite some while before you
write 1"
We. withdrew from our friend and
sat apart in thought. It was true.
The wait would he too long before
doing ourselves the justice of at least
trying to say something about Ses?uo
Hayakawa. The responsibility was too
grave. Suppose there were, some?
where in the world, persons who
hadn't seen him, persons still waiting,
so to speak, to be saved and yet who,
chancing upon an earnest word at the
psychological moment, might yet be
brought to grace. Why withhold that
earnest word simply because present
scenario conditions make it almost im?
possible to finish the sentence?'
Oh, conditions! Suppose you have
a thoroughbred racehorse, trained to
the last degree and fit to win all the
season's prizes, just when the law for?
bids racing. And you say to Author?
ity: "But if you could seo my
thoroughbred in action, in full action,
you would understand what, a race
really is; then you would want every?
body to see one and get the action of
their own lives quickened up a little.
Isn't there some sufficiently spacious
stretch of sufficiently clastic turf
where he could show you his paces?"
And Authority looks out of the window
with its amiable, blind eye that droops
lietween the stoop and the basement
and says, "Well, there's the arcaway."
Restrictions That Hedge Scenarios
For here are some of the stone pits
which the public?the ultimate author?
ity?has built around our pictures: No
stories dealing with "problems," fairy
tales, legends, history, psychology, poli?
tics, religion, capital and labor, the
war, unhappy endings or married life.
Then every little studio has rulings all i
its own. We know of one which, be?
sides the foregoing restrictions, uses I
nothing connected with the West, busi- j
ncss, motion picture actors, newspaper ;
men or stories which give no oppor
tunities for evening dress. Hut they are j
all very keen on their pictures being
"close to the heart of modern life."
Imagine coining close to the heart of i
modern life in a story not allowed to!
touch upon problems, psychology, poli?
tics, religion, capital and labor, the war,
business, motion picture actors, news?
paper men, Westerners, married life
or persons without evening clothes! Is |
the space left much bigger than an j
areaway? Of course, somebody is for-'
ever kicking it down. Just as the Sid- I
ney Drews in one way and Cecil De !
Mille in another have kicked down the |
regulation about married life, so has j
Mr. Hayakawa kicked over the happy j
ending. Useful spot, an areaway, but j
no place for a racehorse! And, alas!
in Mr. Hayakawa's case the happy end- ?
Ing has been replaced by all sorts of
nonsense as to what he may do with?
out offending America and what he may
do without offending Japan, whereas we
ourselves would back him to offend
America with one swat and Japan with
another and come out on top of them
both, if only he could find a story
which did not disappoint us in those
expectations, at once sturdy, magnifi?
cent and profound, which his appear?
ance, his temperament and his com?
mand of it, the whole personality of his
dramatic force, immediately arouse
in us.
Room to Stretch in "Gray Horizon"
Now in his current release, "The
Gray Horizon," he comes not into the
capital of his kingdom, but at least
into one of its desirable provinces. The
picture has force, genuine emotional
force, and a tunic, tense excitement;
it is possible to play a great part of
it with the happiest poetic freshness,
und all of it with deep feeling; the
lovely interiors and those beauties of
both brilliant and shadowy light in
which his pictures are apt to excel
? this time really outdo themselves, but
are none the less quite outdone by an
austere splendor of great mountains
which wc do not remember ever to have
Manhattan Opera House, Special
Sal?? of seal? opens To-morrow Morning
tit bos ottlr<? for the great
BARNEY FAGAN Testimonial, AUG. 31
KAYMOMi HITCHCOCK will announce
Nora Bayes, Willie < oilier. Mile. Nittii
Jo, Clifton Crawford, Hondlnl, Stella
Maybew, Sum llernard, Mr lut y r? and
Iletith, Lew Dockstader, Marie Dressier,
Eddie, Leonard, Willie Sweatnaru, Irv?
ing Berlin. Chick Sales, Ilert Willtumt?.
Ne<l Woybarn'a production
with SO Ziegfeld <ilrls. and
nK'liultrn: Andrew Mark
m "On, Mr. Moon,"
und 100 others.
Broadway & nth si.
New Show Everj Meek
Twice Uitily I Matine? the.. 25c . ?5c, i Smoking
2:15 4 8:15.1 Night? ?3c to $1.00. | Permitted
Ere. S:30.|A SAT.. 50o to $2.00.
George White's Scandals ?*
25 M?nate? Fro? 8XTRF
Timei Sastr? j BATHI>o
&'*?t 17 7th
tit. bub. SU.
seen equalled, and which lends to the
earlier part of the picture heaven
knows how- much of its imaginative
value. It is always a good wager to
keep Mr. Hayakawa out of doors. If
the story has not the right qualities
for him there, if anywhere, it will
take them on, and, if it has them al?
ready, there they will find themselves
with the least opposition of atmos?
phere, for he is entirely competent to
keep scenery in its place, backing up
human romance.
We aren't going to blunt any ap?
petite by telling the story of "The Gray
Horizon," since it is simply and purely
a story, and a very good one. But we
ought at least to suggest that it con?
cerns a very simple boy whose life is
violently invaded by all the great
forces?by death and treachery, by the
lust and satisfaction of vengeance, by
love, and the loss of love, and the sud?
den vision of an implacable fate?and
who meets them as they conic with the
passion and directness of his very sim?
plicity. Nothing of this is mushed or
fumbled, not is it watered by any
maudlin waverings or repentance; tiic
boy charges against the world with an
instant clean obedience to the strength
of his impulse, and with no more
lingering or yearning about his crime,
once it is done, than a young animal
or a young god might have. There are.
to be sure, certain brief scenes toward
the close where we think we see Re?
morse invited by the story and hang?
ing round the threshold in hopes of
being asked in. But Mr. Hayakawa
will have none of her. He plays these
scenes for the mere nervous frenzy of
a strong nature coming to realize that
it must be beaten and his Yano finallj
dashes himself to pieces against life
with the best grace of hatred and hard?
ihood to the very end. lie gives the
part the clear action of a wave whicl:
gathers and rises and shines a momenl
in full splendor and then flings itsell
away in a spirited and ungrudging
Restrains Greed for Self-Sacrifice
We are well aware that this crasl
is a sacrifice for love, but of that wi
wish to say as little as possible. No
because we don't like it in "The Gra;
Horizon," where it is inevitable an<
right, as vigorously defiant, moreover
as if it were self-assertion. But w
simply cannot bring ourselves to en
courage Mr. Hayakawa in that greei
for sacrifice as a chronic state whicl
has grown on him so alarmingly tha
we have learned to tremble lest w
should yet see him drown before ou
eyes in the very syrup of self-pity'. W
had long determined to say this, eve
if our knees gave way with us am
we fell into mere supplication as w
said it; in fact, the first thing in the
advance notices of "The Gray Horizou"
which made our heart jump for joy
was the announcement that he killed
somebody. Our spirits' have been very
low about him during those pictures in
which virtue seemed actually to be
Bwallowing him whole. It has become
too much his habit to be always mak?
ing presents to the poor, turning the
other cheek to slanderous attack, de?
voting his existence to nursing weak
Anglo-Saxon youths back into the nar?
row path, renouncing unfortunate la?
dies who suck the honey of his musical
vows up to the last reel only to be
thrown back upon the stony bosom of
their family?, professedly four their
own good but really In order to grat?
ify his taste for renunciation and for
dying for the first person that comes
handy. Forgetful of the royal days
when wo sat spellbound while he.
branded Fanny Ward with a red-hot
iron, while he fled through the mid?
night of volcanic islands carrying stol?
en pearls in his breast, or poisoned his
| wife for the honor of his house, he
! has lately so indulged himself in a
; desire to pluck sympathy from every
I flower that there has begun to creep
into his acting, more damaging than
any acid to that keen metal, a sug
I gestion of slow music and of his lin?
gering on the taste of his own suffer?
ing virtue as on an all-day Bucker.
Hayakawa Transcenda Restriction
This is one of the dangers of being
an essential poet and tragedian among
those areaway restrictions. Stories of
? historic importance, of legendary
| beauty and romantic passion, things of
I scope and depth and really large signif?
icance conceived in an ultimate and
; distinguished mood, are the very essence
I of his meaning as a dramatic figure.
No man's personality can so little en?
dure the commonplace. We hope we
don't ' suggest that his acting is not
"natural''; it is not always natural to
be undistinguished. That throughbred
racer we were speaking about a while
ago is perfectly natural?as a thorough?
bred; he will never be a drayhorse for
all that. Mr. Hayakawa has, as a mat?
ter of fact, too truly naturalistic a
technique, too justly observed a variety
I of manner, for people to be always
j gasping about how natural he is. But a
story without a vivid imagination, which
can clutter along pretty convincingly
arm in arm with mediocrity, faces
him, droops, withers and drops down
dead, leaving him with its corpse on
his hands; another muffler upon that
mingling of dramatic dynamite and
classic restraint which mark him, for
us, as the most important actor of our
screen. Ah, now, if wo just could get
him a Hamlet?even without improve?
Meanwhile, there is "The Gray Hori?
zon," with the earlier moods of utterly
, charming vivacity and the leap and
j sparkle of its little river, with its wild
! and lonely mountains and the passion
that arises amid them, as lonely and
1 as wild as they.
Variety's, Golden Days
Go Unmourned
By Rebecca Drucker
The actors' strike casting us on our
own resources, we turned to a con?
sideration of vaudeville, dipping into
back files containing tha Conning
Tower symposium "Variety's "Golden
Days" for historical perspective. Well,
well! Was there really a mellow per?
fection in all those fondly resurrected
old memories that a newer generation
is denied sight and sound of? Was the
chap who fell backward over the foot?
lights so much more irresistibly funny,
the lady who sang "Ta-ra-ra-boom-de
ay" of a bo much more devastating
charm, the trick bicyclist so much more
startling than anything we have. to
show in vaudeville? Permit us politely
to doubt. Wo would deny no one the
right to a sentimental debauch about
the past how and then, but we remain
shy of taking all those ecstatic reminis?
cences at par.
The memory of one not so old is
still long enough to recall the vast
dreary wastes in the variety bill of
ten years ago, of acrobat and animal
act and juggler, spaces as arid as the
insistent jazz of the present. We can?
not feel that all that is uniqcre in
vaudeville is outworn?that nothing is
alive and stirring in vaudeville. Not
easily will we admit that while we have
the dashing impact of Eddie Cantor,
the cunning indirection of Frank
Tinney, the shrewdness of Will Rogers,
the subtlo pantomiming of Bert Will?
iams, the extraordinary caricaturing of
Chic Sale's rural types, the superb de?
monstration of the comic values of in?
animate objects of W. C. Fields. These
men all draw from rich sources of
comic material, and shape it with a
true, unerring art.
They may have passed out of the
variety stage, in the strict interpreta?
tion of the term, but what are the roof
shows and the revues but extensions of
vaudeville? Ed Wynn and Al ?Toison
are still variety artists, no matter
where they do their turn.
"Everything in entertainment from
prima donnas to trained fleas" is the
extremely catholic boast of the Keith
| enterprises, but the trained fleas are
| now present on a vaudeville bill with
i perceptibly diminished frequency and
1 the prima donnas in increasingly large
numbers. Vaudeville has not resisted
: entirely an insidious pull toward the
i "classical." "Good" music, living stat
i lies and ballet drama are now legiti?
mate members of the vaudeville fam
ily. However, if one is inclined to
nourn the passing of that naivete
which was vaudeville's chiefest charm
n other days, he has only to reflect
;hat in this new passion for refine
nent is displayed a naivett? of an
;qual though a different sort.
The Keith management, which has
ihown great capacity for considering
ill the ancles of their manjr sided busi
less/has not overlooked the value of
ixperimcnting?within the limits of
?ood business. If the results of this
?xperimenting aro not radical, it is be
ause they have kept tight hold of the
psychological truth that the common
lenominator underlying vaudeville is
he love of the familiar. Who said
hat vaudeville audiences are insatiable
"or new sensations? No audience is
nore pathetically eager for the safety
;hat lies in long usage?for the songs
.hat resemble other songs it'has loved,
?okes from which custom has removed
:he sting, thrills that do not take it by
surprise. And a greater part of vaude?
ville entertainment is built on a shrewd
"ecognition of this fact.
Every fresh and new act has to spec?
ulate against this inertia. To come
through a victor in a duel of this kind
there has been evolved a rule of thumb
that a certain kind of audacity, a ccr
.ain mode of attack, is required. Thin
is the myth of vauc??ville personality.
The business of extending the range
)f vaudeville also runs up against
?.ho blank wall of native limitations,
rhero are many things extremely
popular in Continental and English
,'audeville that do not graft onto
\mericun vaudeville. For instance,
lone of tho several efforts to popu
arize pantomime here has ever suc?
ceeded. It may be that Americans
fail in the necessary finesse of atten?
tion. Notwithstanding the enormous
ippeal of Yvette Guilbert and Albert
Uhevalier to foreign music hall au
liences they won no success here. In
leed, Yvette Guilbert's failure still
;asts its shadow on many an adven
urous vaudeville impulse.
Notwithstanding these expressed
Concerts Sunday, 'J 15 & 8:15. Week of Aug. 25.
The Musical Comedy Star,
Popular Song Composer.
84 45*5?r
and Twice Dally Hiereafl-ep including Sunday dt 2.30 ^ 8.30
B.S.MOSS present ,0^\
Trie Mayflower Photoplay Corp Production- ||r i
Photo Ptey vi?h an Ant?z?n? Sbul
?%4 v\ ?<
?* ' K
From foe Play bv GEO. M. COHAN
Based on the 9tory by Frank L. Packard **S?31S^r ^^ ~t^
One Screen Entertainment you Won?F?fteh ^*te?
} # Positively the <Jreate?t Ca?t Even Presented on the Screen
>?mk<. ,-.-?_ '7^
limitations, the inertia or hostilitv of
a vaudeville ajrtHence gives curiously
before the push of a great talent, how?
ever unfamiliar. For instance, Beatrice
Herford's exceedingly fine and subtle
monologues are scarcely of the
robust sort to which a vaudeville
audience is accustomed. Yet they suc?
ceed enormously. And there is a re?
cent incident which proves that there
are unexpected responses in any
vaudeville audience.
There is in vaudeville a prodigy who
has memorized four thousand poems
and who recites whatever the audience
Asks for. In all his experience no
more than four hundred poems out of
his repertory have ever been asked for.
So, as an experiment, he announced
that he would recito a poem of his
own choice, "The Rallad of Reading
Gaol." But at the end of his allotted
time only one-half of the poem was
finished. Ho stopped und told the
audience that he could irf>t finish the
poem; that the nex.t act, a famous
vaudeville team, was waitinz to go on,
and with one accord the audience
shouted, "Never mird ?r? nexl ,
Finish it!" ?
It is this extraordinary qn.Ht, ,#
extension and chani;(.. ,, ?, tentatov,
quality in the gay. shifting, nal*
native crowd, that is the i
tion of American -.
Faithful a^ :? , liocrla^
it has the power to flat ,
comprehension. !?
cies that make it g?- ? ?pr?tent.
ative of the tira
As f'.r us, we ? ? ^0 y,^ .
varie-yV g?Q!? :: duy? ',? urtythir,.
/T lias Leen the custom annually for Hp
William Fox to present important screen
creations on Broadway prior to their gene
ral showing' throughout the world*
In previous years j2 Daughter of the Cods,
'"Cleopatra, '??he Jionor System?, WI LLIA M
FARNIJK in Tes Miserables" yJack and the
Beanstalk"and "Salome" were the oifeiinp*
This year maris a distinct advance in the
^ entertainment value of the productions*
(^ The third presentation of 1919 is g*
the greatest melodrama of all time
ByHmvijM>Blossom>*DLvectedL by Richard Stonto?
orouqkbreds and high life intermingled,
with the basic drama aftne human emotions*
Beginning TODAY, AUGUST 24///, and
they cafter DAILY & SUNDAY at 1 P*M'
continuousiij until H BJM* at the
"The World's Greatest Dividend
Belongs to Labor"? Deliverance
'The two greatest personages of modern times were Napoleon Bona*
parte and Helen Keller; Napoleon attempted to conquer thm
world with an army and failed, Helen Keller attempted to con?
quer the world with the power of mind?and succeeded.'*--*
Early Reservations Will 'Avoid
Box-Office Crowds
This most thrilling photoplay spectacle of
all time is making screen history
A Picture for Posterity
Produced and directed by George Foster Platt
The most perfect musical ensemble ever played with a motion picture
_ Arranged by Dr. Anselrn Ooetzl
Every Afternoon at 2:30
and Evening at 8:30
Including Sunday
42nd Street, West of Broadway.
EVENINGS 25c A $1.00

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