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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, September 01, 1946, Image 23

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On Drawing the Line
Holh^vood Defenders Want to Know Where
Realism Should Replace Glamour
By Horry MocArthur
Hollywood seems to remain of one mind and the more serious
movie-goers of another in this matter of screen realism. But Hollywood
Is getting self-conscious about it. By way of the Loew’s Theaters
publicity department it is taking sensitive exception to those critics
who continue to maintain that some films would be better if they paid
a little more attention to at least the outward aspects of reality. The
substance of most of these critical remonstrances is that $30-a-week
stenographers are not customers of Valentina, nor do they usually live
in apartments that would cost no less than $150 a month under the
strictest rent control. There is some thought, too, that a girl who rides
horseback across the West all day and all night might greet the dawn
with her face dusty and her gown mussed.
The complaints again have brought forth an answer—again be
cause this is an old battle. Now Hollywood’s defenders in the affair
of reality vs. glamour are saying they want to know where the line
should be drawn in matters of this kind. To quote the Loew’s pub
“Is, for instance, Cyd Charisse supposed to cover up her heaven
sent assets in ‘Three Wise Fools’ merely because an 1870 role calls for
lots of crinoline and not so much epidermis? Or is Esther Williams,
when the film shifts to an early-morning boudoir scene, supposed to
awaken from a sound sleep looking like Gravel Gertie merely because
that’s the way John Q. Public’s wife looks before she climbs out of
bed to squeeze the orange juice?
Money Is the Concern.
“Devotees of the Moscow Art Theater, students at the Yale
School of the Drama, subscribers of the late Group Theater and cus
tomers of those pneumonia traps where ‘arty’ films are shown might
reply with a resounding ‘Yes!’ to the above questions, but the mil
lions of movie fans scattered around the globe would most likely dis
agree_and disagree in the one manner that could well sound the
death knell of all motion pictures: By their studied and continued
absence from the box office."
Stop crying and listen a minute, fellows. We of the reality school
know you in Hollywood are more interested in making money than in
producing "art'’ (which must be put in quotes to indicate the way
you look down your noses at it). As a matter of fact, we do not want
you to go out of business: some of us are too soft for indulging in
police headquarters poker games or fire engine chasing. But there is
a place to draw the line you mention. No one complains if a fantasy
ignores fact. No one complains at any flight of fancy .in a Marx
brothers’ picture (such as that wild airplane ride in "A Night in Casa
blanca," which would have had any 10-hour pilot snarling at technical
flaws if he ha^ wanted to stop laughing for anything so foolish as
that.) No one objects if Bob Hope wants to make cracks about Bing
Crosby in a period piece set in the time of Louis XV.
There * a Happy Medium.
There is, however, some fair basis for answering with a polite if
not a resounding “Yes!” to those questions above. You could put Cyd
Charisse on a 1946 bathing beath if it is her “heaven-sent assets”
you want to give movie audiences. And if ^his “Three Wise Fools is
seriously supposed to be set in 1870 you had better stick to crinolines,
there are plenty of pretty-faced Hollywood actresses who look better
in crinoline..
As for Miss Williams' appearance in an early-morning scene, there
Is a happy medium to be drawn there, too. Contrary to the allegation
in the above chip-on-shoulder defense statement, John Q. Public's
wife probably does not look like Gravel Gertie when the alarm goes off.
But neither does she appear to have spent the night in a beauty par
lor, to emerge with her makeup slick and every hair in place.
There are, to be sure, unfair complaints lodged against what
seem to be lapses from realism in motion pictures. It was not so long
ago that Producer Carey Wilson, passing through town, felt called
upon to defend the crisp neatness of Lana Turner, as a waitress in a
roadside stand in "The Postman Always Rings Twice.” “That was
California,” Mr. Wilson pointed out. “If you have ever been there you
know that all waitresses dress like that. They get a package of clean
uniforms every week, so they have one a day. And there isn't a girl
©ut there who doesn't own a half dozen sun suits, even if she only
owns one dress.”
With Authentic Sniffles.
• There also are occasional films which demonstrate the vast dif
ference between the run-of-mlne Hollywood product and the picture
with the realistic approach. One of these was an excellent photoplay
entertainment called “Vacation From Marriage,” about which we have
heard more favorable comment (and not from Moscow Art Theater
devotees) than about any glamour movie in a year. In this, Deborah
Kerr was supposed to impersonate a British housewife with the sniffles,
who wrapped herself in a bathrobe and got up to fix her husband’s
breakfast without first making a trip to the beauty parlor and the
hairdresser. And that is exactly what she did look like. She resem
bled neither Gravel Gertie nor Esther Williams as Van Johnson enters
the room. And it is highly doubtful if she lost any of the fan follow
ing she is building up in this country while she was bowing toward
There is a place “where the line should be drawn in matters of
this kind ” If Hollywood will stop swinging wildly in its own defense
and use some common sense.
New Edition, Elot Off the Press
By Jack O'Brian
The fall theatrical season will get
off to a rowdy start Wednesday j
when "The Front Page.” Ben
Hecht's and Charles MacArthur’s j
valentine to their own Chicago po
lice reporting days, is revived at the
Royale Theater.
A good many paradoxical notes
have accrued to the brash and bril
liant comedy since it premiered Au
gust 14,1928 at the old Times Square
Theater. It was made into a fabu-j
lous movie success in 1931, after
running 276 times on Broadway. Pat
O’Brien, who played Hildy Johnson
in the first film, got the role because
he was believed to have played it
originally on Broadway. Lee Tracy,
who later went to film prominence,)
actually was the original Hildy.
On the basis that “if at first you
do succeed, try, try again,” Holly
wood remade “The Front Page” a
few years later, this time changing
Hildy to a girl, played by Rosalind
Russel). Cary Grant played the
managing editor, done originally by
Osgood Perkins and in the first
movie version by Adolph Menjou.
Won an Award.
Undoubtedly Hecht and MacAr
ttiur's largest success, “The Front
Page” set Hollywood off on a rash
of pictures about newspapermen,
none of which approached its drive,
verve and tone. The playwriting
pair wrote it in 1923 but tossed it
aside as unfit to present. They got
together on it again in 1928. Jed
Harris read it and produced it al
most immediately. It started both
writers off to fabulous screen suc
cess, although each alone and in
concert, has bemoaned the literary
constrictions the movies impose on
a writer. Hecht recently explained
his approach to screen-writing. "I
put on my sport jacket and take off
my brain.”
One movie Hecht and MacArthur
WTote and produced independently
as a gesture to bolster their con
victions on Hollywood’s absence of
esthetics won an Academy Award:
“The Scoundrel.” Currently they are
represented on Broadway by a
drama, “Swan Song,” which they
somehow have managed to keep
alive and running in the face of
extremely bad reviews.
The cast of the new and revised
/<iV wjtRxaa
% emlWm
'Mylleft Sparrow
Broadway "Front Page Is headed
by Lew Parker as Hildy Johnson.
Arnold Moss, known generally as an
actor ' in heavier parts, including
Shakespearean, will play the man
aging editor.
Hunt Stromberg. jr., the producer,
is 23. He was just five when "The
Front Page" originally arrived on
Ina Claire Returns.
Cuff Stuff: "Call Me Mister,” one
of the solidest of Broadway hits, is
150 performances old and seeking
a cast for a road company. Ina
Claire will be back on Broadway this
year in the Theater Guild’s “The
Fatal Weakness,” by George Kelly.
The summer’s most glamorous new
lyweds, Moss Hart and Kitty Car
lisle, will star this week in "The
Man Who Came to Dinner,” at the
Bucks County Playhouse hear Moss’
fashionable farm. Hart was co
author of "T. M. W. C. T. D." with
George S. Kaufman.
Oscar Serlin. producer of "Life
With Father," has a new play ready
for Broadway: "Washington Square,”
by Ruth Goodman and Augustus
Goetz, suggested by the Henry
James’ novel. "Jemand,” an early
European Molnar success, has been
bought by RKO Pictures for a film,
with a Broadway production due
first to whet the fans’ interests.
Larry Finley, the millionaire pro
moter, will prepare the radio serial.
"Myrt and Marge,” for Broadway
play form. "On Whitman Avenue,”
past its 130th performance, has five
more weeks on Broadway before
going on tour.
1 W«mf Bros. (—1 W/M
Dorns Open 12:30 P.M. Ha
now Fust stum i p.h mm
Mytltry in Evtry Momtnll
Andrea KING
In Wirnet Bios"
Film Titles
Can Affect
Box Office
By Harold Heffernan
One of the most fascinating
phases of this business of film-mak
ing is the motion picture title. Titles,
we know from experience, are tre
mendously important to a feature’s
career at the box office. An ex
tremely intriguing title has been j
known to add a quarter of a million \
or more to a picture’s gross. In the!
same measure, a bad title can work;
irreparable harm.
We thought we knew a lot about!
titles but not until an hour’s riis-;
cussion with Arch Reeve, veteran!
head of the movie industry's Public
Information Committee, did we real
ize just how titles are bornr how
they're treasured and protected and
to what extremities rival producers
will go to snare a fitting one from
the other.
Every 30 minutes, on the average,
some one in the film business gets
an idea for a title. Reeve points out.
But pictures take months to develop
from the idea stage to first public
showing, at which time they may be
It Is to protect rights to such
titles in the intervening period as
well as to avoid harmful similarities
and expensive litgation in settling
conflicting claims that the Johnston
office operates its own title registra
tion bureau.
Scramble for Words.
This service has registered an
average of 3,350 titles a year for the
40 American and British producing
studios, signatories to the “gentle
men’s agreement” covering work of
the bureau. It accepts as suitable
another 300 cleared through the of
fice of nonsignatory producers.
Here's the pungent way Reeve puts
“Let an atom bomb explode, let a
gang of prisoners attempt a mass
escape from a penitentiary, let a
king abdicate to wred a commoner,
let the President use a colorful
phrase in a speech, or let the Army
or Navy fight a dramatic battle,1
and there is an immediate scramble
to register timely words and phrases
tied in with the events as titles for
"Add to these the thousands of
titles used for books, short stories,!
plays and songs,” Reeve continued,
'and it is easy to see the need for a
priority system to avoid confusing
the public w-ith similar or duplicate
titles of the films they see and to
preserve valuable property rights.”;
Experience has taught that a title
which has aroused widespread pub
lic attention as a book or play has
attained popularity as a dramatic
phrase can have a great effect on
success of the motion picture
using it.
Card files of the industry’s self
imposed machinery maintained in
New York and Hollywood list more
WORDS FAIL HIM—And when they do, Norman Z. McLeod,
the able comedy director, has a ready hand with a sketching
pencil to let the players know just how he expects them to act.
Specimens of his on-the-set work are among the souvenirs of
many famed Hollyxeood stars, including the original of the
one reproduced herewith. Above the McLeod sketch is the
actual scene as reproduced by Danny Kaye, Fay Bainter and
Virginia Mayo from the pictorial instructions. All of this, of
course, is part of Mr. Kaye's “Kid From Brooklyn,” opening
tomorroxv at Keith's.
Today’s Schedules
NATIONAL—“The Show of 1001
Wonders”: 2:30 and 8:30 p.m.
CAPITOL—"Smoky": 1:45, 4:15,
6:45, 9:15 and 11:45 p.m. Stage
shows: 12:55, 3:25, 5:55, 8:25
and 10:55 p.m.
COLUMBIA—“Anna and the
King of Siam”: 12:45, 3, 5:15,
7:30 and 9:45 p.m.
EARLE—“The Big Sleep": 1, 3,
5:10, 7:25 and 9:40 p.m.
HIPPODROME—"Madonna of
the Seven Moons”: 2:25, 4:15,
6:05. 8 and 9:50 p.m.
KEITH’S—"Canyon Passage”:
12:30, 2:20, 4:10, 6, 7:55 and
9:45 p.m.
LITTLE—"Fallen Sparrow”:
2:45, 6:05 and 4:30 p.m.
a Woman”: 1:40, 3:45, 5:45,
7:45 and 9:45 p.m.
PALACE—“M o n s i e u r Beau
caire”: 1:05. 3:15, 5:25, 7:30
and 9:40 p.m.
PIX—“Souls at, Sea": 1:25,
4:10. 6:45 and 9:30 p.m.
TRANS-LUX—News and shorts.
Continuous from 1 p m.
than 50.000 titles of features and
short subjects. Of these more than
20.000 have been used on feature
length pictures released in this
country during the last 30 years.
Changing trends in Americap;
living, as well as outstanding news,
events, have been mirrored in film
1 titles. Earliest motion pictures, pat
terned closely after popular stage
melodramas of the day, bore such
| titles as “Dizzy Heights and Daring
Hearts.” "Enlighten Thy Daugh
ter,” "The Five Faults of Flo,” "No- j
torious Gallagher or His Great Tri
umph,” “Please Help Emily,” “Song
of the Wage Slave,” "Susan Rocks
the Boat,” “Thou Shalt Not Covet”
and “Victory of Virtue.”
Relaxation of moral standards in
American life that came after World
War I and led to the “flapper age”
found film titles following the trend
with phrases that undoubtedly
would be rejected under today’s sys
tem. There were such tidbits as
“Week-End Husbands.” “Red Hot
Papa,” “The Painted Flapper,"
“Pagan Passions,” “Paid to Love,”
"Hearts Aflame,” “The Girl With
the Champagne Eyes.” .“Girls Gone
Wild,” “Footloose Widows,” “Flam
ing Youth,” “Discarded Woman,”
“Blond for a Night,” “Be a Little
Sport” and “A Bachelor's Wife.”
Title registration activities now
tie in closely with the industry's
other self-imposed regulations. These
cover story plots as well as adver
tising material. So, it is easy to see
that virtually all the flaming titles
mentioned above would be snuffed
out under the rules of today.
“Man” Is Popular.
The big depression brought a
flurry of new titles, as did the rise
of gangster warfare, a series of sen
sational escape attempts at Alca
traz Prison, a judges proposal of
companionate marriage, and the
growth of juvenile delinquency.
Hollywood's early recognition of the
Nazi threat came in such titles as
“Confessions of a Nazi Spy,” “Mor
tal Storm” and “Escape.”
“Man” seems the most popular
word in movie titles, appearing in
the bureau’s cross-indexed flies
more than 350 times, from “Cave
man ’ and “Primitive Man” to
"Superman” and “Wonder Man.”
But "Her” outnumbers “His,” 129
to 82. And “Man” is surpassed by
adding titles using "Woman,”
“Lady,” “Girl” and “She” for a
total well over 500. Titles show there
is only one “Perfect Lady” and one
(See HEFFERNAN, Page B-7.)
It was love at first sight! What a
gal I She wouldn't make a move
\ without him. In fact, she worked
like a horse for him I Then Danny
fumbled into fame and fortune.
Only human, he left her for the
% more obvious charms of those
£ luscious, lovely Goldwyn Girls.
Adapted by Don Hartman and Melville Shevelson
From • Screen Play by
Crover Jones, Frank Butler and Richard Conned
Based on a play by Lynn Root and Harry Clork
Released through RKO RADIO PICTURES. INC
Directed by NORMAN Z. McLEOD
DOORS OPEN 10:45 A. M. i
t 4
f>Hfk| « T»«#nin\*iwr^ m«i ii vi ivn
pppl0>P> U. t. TWUSUHV on UTH tT.
She’s an Actress and Wants to Prove It
That’s Marie MacDonald, Who Wants as Much Recognition for
Her Talent as She Gets for Her Figure
By Sneiiah Graham
Marie MacDonald came into the
commissary at Metro Goldwyn
Mayer. She was wearing a white
blouse and a long, but *lit-at-the
side skirt. There wasn't a man in!
the place who didn’t stop eating to
stare and drool at the blond actress
as she walked to my table.
“I am dropping my title, The
Body,’ ” says Marie, when the rest
of the dining room has more or less
regained its equilibrium. T don’t
mind them calling me ‘The Body,’"
she continues, with a slight lift of
one shoulder, "but, I do resent it
when they don’t look any further.”
Then says Marie, with a grin, ‘‘Do
you mind if I sit on the other side
of the table? I want to look at Spen
cer Tracy!”
This is one gal apparently with
no inhibitions whatsoever. She says
what she thinks and she thinks sur
prisingly, considering her beautiful
face and a figure that can take all
the well-worn adjectives. I watch
Marie put away a steak and pota
toes and top them off with apple
pie. “I can eat all I want and I don’t
gain,” she tells me complacently.
Marie weighs 118 pounds and is 6
feet 5 inches tall.
One-Track Mind.
“I’d like to sign a long-term deal ■
with Metro,” continues Marie. ‘‘I
like this studio.” She should. Marie
now is co-starring with Gene Kelly
in ‘‘Life's For The Loving” and she
should come out of it a big star.
The only hitch in the signing of the
contract is that she first must wait j
to see if Hunt Stromberg will con-!
test the case, recently won by Marie
for release of her contract with
‘‘They wanted me at Metro four
years ago, she tells me, after a little 1
more drooling in the direction of
Tracy, who, by the way, is the one.
man in the commissary NOT look
ing at Marie. He's eating and
Spence has a one track mind. -
‘‘Pan Berman wanted to sign me
as a showgirl. But I didn't want,
that, so I signed instead to sing
with Tommy Dorsey’s band.” It was
Dorsey w'ho changed her name from
Marie Frye to MacDonald. “Every-!
one will call you ‘Small Fry,’ ” he
told her. MacDonald was the name
of Marie's mother who was a Zieg- j
feld beauty.
Press Agent's Title.
“Then I sang with Charlie Bar
nett’s band. Next I signed up for.
some Bs at Universal and I had a
year and a half at Paramount, also
in Bs. Then I signed with Strom
| berg. In this life, that's being around
a long time. I’m 22 now, but people
say, 'Oh, she must be at least 25’” i
| Marie has made 16 pictures already.
It was Stromberg's press agent
W'ho gave Miss MacDonald the title,
' “The Body.” But it was Stromberg
who gave her first chance to prove
I she could act, as the model in
“Guest in the House.” Marie was
[ good and she was hoping she w'ould
get more and bigger parts.
| “But when Mr. Stromberg w'anted
to put me in ‘Young Widow” (which
Jane Russell had instead), I knew
where I stood. I haven’t been knock
; ing my brains out for the past six
! years for nothing. I want to be a
good dramatic actress. And that
1 means I must have good pictures.”
Won’t Remarry Soon.
Marie insists that she is not the
Cinderella type. “Things just don't
1; happen like that for me. I’ve been
broke in hotels and I’ve done my
share of going hungry.” And that
> brings us to the story that Marie
!i recently dined alone at a fashion
| Late Show Tonight!
Last Stage Show 11 P.M.
Last Feature 11:45
dj] “SMOKY” II
i M |] FRED MaeMURRAY 11
dl 20tk CtnturyFox VI
^ll^Vstm •««»! tit*
IV Now Doors Open 12:15 VI
If It's All Unfit | |
11 and a Smile H ide. ftl
Ubob hope||
11 Monsieur 11
ft] A Paramount Pictura | I
ftl Now Doors Open 12-1 *11
|| “ANNA and the II
ftl 20th CtnturyFox ||
Coming Attractions
NATIONAL—“The Magnificent
Heel” with Peggy Wood, start
ing September 9.
CAPITOL—“Somewhere In the
Night" with John Hodiak,
starting Thursday.
COLUMBIA — “Cluny Brown"
with Charles Boyer and Jenni
fer Jones, starting Thursday.
EARLE—“Of Human Bondage"
with Paul Henreid.
KEITH’S — “The Kid From
Brooklyn” with Danny Kaye,
starting tomorrow.
LITTLE—"Jane Eyre” with
Joan Fontaine, starting Wed.
Day” with Gary Grant, start
ing Thursday.
PALACE—“The Outlaw” with
Jane Russell and Jack Beutel.
able restaurant and that she paid
her owm check.
“Look,” says Marie, “do I look
like the sort of girl who has to pay
her own ticket?” She does not, “I
haven't paid for a meal for myself
for the past six years.”
At this point in the conversation
Marie's husband, agent Vie Orsatti
from whom she is separated, comes
into the cafe. They wave to eacl
other. Then Marie starts to sing
softly, to the tune of “I Marriec
An Angel”: “Have you heard? 1
married an agent, I'm sure that
the change will be—awfully gooc
for me!” She then.tells me that she
will divorce Vic just as soon as she
finishes “Life's for the Loving.”
“Vic,” says Marie, “still handle:
all my business and I wouldn’t d(
a thing without him.” The divoref
will be in California because Marit
has no plans for remarriage.
“What do I want to get marriec
“The Curtain Rises”
Tues. Thru Sun., 8:45
Sunday Matinee 2:45
Ba« Ga. and Tlrkfit* Now
Alaska Arp#, nirht- Spiling at Kitt's
If at 8:00. rptnms 1336 G St.
aftpr show. and at ths thpator
for again?” she demands. “I have
a house in Encino and I have a
mother, a father, a horse, a dog,
two cats, a trailer and a maid.
Daddy feeds the horses, mother
cooks and the maid dusts. What do
I need a husband for?”
All I can say is that it’s a pleasure
for a reporter to talk with Miss
MacDonald. She's colorful. And that
Is getting to be a rare quality in
(Released by North American Newspaper
_Alliance. >_
Director Signed
Paramount has extended its con
tract with John Farrow, director,
for one year. Farrow has directed
eight pictures for Paramount. The
j most recent was the Technicolor
j production, “California.” His other
pictures are “Easy Come, Easy Go,”
i “Calcutta,” “Two Years Before the
Mast,” “You Come Along." “The
' Hitler Gang,” “China” and “Wake
Island.” which won the New York
| Critics’ Award for 1942. Farrow
now Is preparing “Blaze of Noon.”
Aqua Follies of 1946
E. Potomac Park Pool, Hain* Point
SI.30. SI.80. S3.40 (inti, tax'
Tickets at Willard. Kitt's, Statler, Paol
Reservations* RE. 0109
Bus Leaves Treasury 6::i0—
’Jth 8t. Cars to Cross Channel Ferry
| i
NATIANAI • final week: a:: ?«
All Evas., Sat. and Sin. Mats 60c, $1.20, SI.OO, $2.40
BARGAIN MAT. WED.i 60c, $1.20, SI.OO (Tax Inel.)
A Pre-Broadway Presentation
Eves. |1 M, $1:80. $2:40, $3.6G—M*U. $1.30, $1.80. $2.40 (Tsx IneL)
One W«ek Only Beg. Mon., Sept. 16th „
Mischo Millard Fanla i\!
MAIL { Evanincsi I ill, 1.80, 2.40, 1.00, S.89
ORDERS 1 Mpniir Matlnaasi $1.20, 1.00, 2.40 f
ROW L Eleoee Enclote SeH-Add retted Stomped Envelope J
U. ■ *
•1 * JCOK*
I * r
'■He-- •'

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