The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on April 17, 1932 · Page 45
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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 45

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 17, 1932
Page 45
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CRITICISMS Drama Books Editorial Open Forum Fiction Features Den Moines, Iowa, Sunday, April 17, 1932. Ssction Ten MAKING UP Wallace Beery Wins an Unofficial Title. HOLLYWOOD There's a contest among actors at' the M-G-M lot to see who can provide the most primitive makeup box. The only rule is that once having provided the box, the actor must continue to use it. William Haines started the thing by appearing with his makeup outfit in a small wooden box that had once held 50 clgarets. A powder puff and a couple ot sticks of grease paint are his total equipment. Then Lewis Stone began bringing his makeup on the set in a leather ammunition pouch. It was once part of his accoutrement as a United States cavalry officer. The pouch has a big advantage over a box, according to Stone, ucause you can hang It by the strav on a nail and always know where to find It. Nils Asther refuse to relinquish complete makeup box that hooks on the back of a chair and John Gilbert still clings to a tripod arrangement that can stand in a corner on the set, but Neil Hamilton carries his makeup in a tin lunch box of the kind used by mechanics. THE tin lunch box was high on the list for primitive simplicity when along came Jean Hersholt with his powder and paint wrapped up in paper and carried in one of his pockets. Wallace Ford countered with a small paper bag which his fellow actors thought was full of candy until, needing to repair his makeup on the set, Ford produced from the bag all the essentials. They were still debating whether a paper parcel or a paper bag, was the more primitive when somebody .. mentioned the fact that Jackje Cooper carries no makeup at all. His eligibility for the simplicity contest grew doubtful. However, when somebody else discovered that Jackie's makeup box came to the studio in his mother's handbag. And right there Wallace Beery walked in and immediately was awarded the palm. Beery never uses makeup if he can avoid it but today he had to smear a little on. His makeup box turned out to be a plain manila envelope. As a rule, actors are avoiding makeup more and more with the modern film. Many of them use it very lightly or not at all except when panchromatic or supersensitive film make it necessary. Elissa Landi Star Of Film at Strand BESIDES writing several novels that have been published, Elissa Landi finds time to act capably enough before the cameras. Her latest work Is "Devil's Lottery," now at the Strand. It is a picture of love. Victor McLaglen, Alexander Kirk-land and Barbara Weeks are with the star. Wednesday, the Strand feature will be "The Big Timer," a comedy-drama with Ben Lyon, Thelma Todd and Constance Cummings. At the Paramount Is "But the Flesh Is Weak," a high comedy with an English film- Robert Montgomery and Nora Gregor are James Cagne, star of "The Crowd Hoars," the Des Moines feature. THE STARS Cameras, of Hollywood a Lure Heeded by Film Favorites of Yesterday. HOLLYWOOD If you want to know where your oldtime movie favorites are, most of them are still In Hollywood and still In the movies. What's more, a majority of them continue in pictures because they would rather do this than anything else, even though they have acquired enough money to retire. Both Florence Lawrence and Florence Turner, two of the screen' first stars, have minor roles In "Sinners in the Sun," a picture now iinder production. Miss Lawrence was famous as the Btograph girt and Miss Turner as the Vitagraph girl in the days before the names of stars were used on the film. Ella Hall, a former popular leading woman, Helene Chadwick, Alice Lake, Barbara Tennant, Vola Vale, and Claire McDowell, all established favorites, are In pictures today.- YOU remember Wilfred Lucas, a D. W. Griffith star who was a leading player in "The Birth of a Nation." He is likewise around Hollywood. So are Ted Doner, musical comedy star; George Ovey, comedian; Bill Franey, Elko star; Ed Coxen, Charley West, Melbourne McDowell, Ford West and Francis Ford. Four former directors are frequently seen. In character roles. They are Frank Ijeal, Edward J. Le Saint, Phillips Smalley and Jerome Storm. Grace Cunard, though she is said to have a fortune earned when a star, refuses to give up screen work. For the Joy of it, she accepts many roles even though they may not be important. And among the favorites whom you see lunching here and there In town and some of whom you see in the movies, too, are Theda Bara, Florence Vidor, Clara Kimball Young, Emile Chautard, Emma Dunn and Helen Jerome Eddy. SHINE ON background. seen. In this scene from the ; f- ', I ' - O ,m f , B l 9m, 4- s V .Jl A tense moment from "Scandal for Sale," with Charles Blckford and Claudia Dell, at the RKO Orpheum. Naval Aviation Has Interest at Garden NAVAL planes are zooming across the screen at the Garden. The occasion is "Hell Divers," air film starring Wallace Beery, Clark Gable and Conrad Nagel. Being a picture with navy men, there is a woman. Or rather there are two women. Dorothy Jordan and Marjorie Ram beau. Beery and Gable make a quadrangle . . . and excellent entertainment for the screen patron. Wallace Beery Stars In Grand Attraction WALLACE BEERY saves two lives but loses his own in "Hell Divers," .the Grand picture with a theme revolving around the naval air service. Clarke Gable and Conrad Nagel are the persons Beery carries to safety, in a plane which is wrecked landing on the deck of a naval carrier. The women in the cast are Marjorie Rambeau and Dorothy Jordan. THE CASINO PICTURE JACK HOLT, Boris Karloff, and Constance Cummings, head a strong cast in "Behind the Mask," mystery melodrama now showing at the Casino. PICTURES ORPHEUM PRESENTS 'SCANDAL FOR SALE KNOWN to the patron of the screen as a likeable portraycr of newspaperman roles, Pat O'Brien has never worked on a newspaper. After he studied law at Marquette university, he turned to the stage and was seen in several successes on Broadway. He achieved Iowa fame when he married ' Elolse Taylor of Des Moines. Again in "Scandal for Sale," now at the RKO Orpheum, O'Brien is seen as a news reporter. Seen with him are Rose Hobart, who has blue eyes and a deep, throaty voice; Claudia Dell, once glorified by Flo Ziegfeld; and Charles Bickford, who has red hair, once operated a street car, and is most often seen In he-mannish roles, with a menacing tinge to his make-up. . Taken from the novel "Hot News," the picture reveals the tactics of a newsman in his unscrupulous search for scandal. His mad course of sensationalism eventually leads him to ruin. The author of the novel, Emile Gauvreau, is a city editor working on a New York paper. ' The atmosphere and background of the film are said to be genuine, and tlM story Itself effective. MONTGOMERY STARS IN PARAMOUNT FILM ROBERT MONTGOMERY is one Of Hollywood's most personable young actors. He likes green hats and double-breasted suits, reads Roman and Russian history, fences like an expert, and eats faster than anyone you have ever met To round hira out, he once sailed on an oil tanker. He drives midget cars, and can't stay up late at night because he gets circles under hla eyes. " His delightful personality may be seen now on the screen at the Paramount, in "But the Flesh is Weak." The film is a high comedy, with an English background. New to the screen, Nora Gregor is Montgomery' leading woman. The cft9t ' also has Edward Everett Horton, Frederick Kerr and Nils Asther. On the stage an Iowan, Hugh Skelly, brother of the more widely known Hal Skelly of the stage and screen, headlines in a sketch called "Honeymoon Troubles." "Hank the Mule," Is another sketch, and the Four Covans round out the program. , The Rockets dance, Al Morey directs the orchestra, and Organist Billy Muth does a songolog. A RACE TRACK PICTURE HAS CAGNEY, BLONDELL ONCE upon a time James Cagney was one of the luckier tap dancers on Broadway. He danced well, his personality was congenial, and his stage presence was always at ease. He stepped gingerly from New York stages to Hollywood studios, and in a short time became a favorite in gangster roles. He was superb as "Mileaway" in "The Doorway to Hell." His latest picture, "The Crowd Roars," finds him cast as a motor car racer, with Joan Blondell as his leading woman. The picture is at the Des Moines. West coast critics have styled "The Crowd Roars" a "smash thrill melodrama," with race track scenes superb In action and directing. One scene shows a car doing three somersaults; another a racer burning alive in his machine as it thunders around the track. In support are Ann Ovorak, looked upon as one of Hollywood's latest and prettiest discoveries; Eric Linden; Frank McHugh, former Des Moines stock player; and Guy Kibbee.- Friday, Sylvia Sidney and Chester Morris will be seen in "The Miracle Man." Newspaper Mystery On Screen at Iowa X MARKS the Spot" Is the feature on the Iowa screen. It stars Wallace Ford, seen as a newspaper feature writer who becomes involved In a murder mystery. It Is a good picture. Tuesday and Wednesday "Way Back Home" will be shown. This film stars Phillips Lord, the Seth Parker of radio 4enown. Humor, pathos, and a happy endhig mark the picture. Wherein a Pertinent Question Is Asked and Pondered. BY GILBERT W. GABRIEL. NEW YORK Are drama critics necessary? This seems to be what is fondly known as a moot question. Several of my mora prominent correspondents make it so. I have long since agreed with, them and gone under the impression that drama critics are only luxuries, highly dispensable, the ' first creatures who, when comes the revolution, will be introduced to the firing squad and swift limbo. It is, therefore, a little disconcerting to learn from that eminent witness to communism, Maurice Hindus, that even in modern Russia the drama critics are deemed necessary, and are permitted to live, breathe and express frequent opinions in the daily prints. As long, say the government's instructions, as you express the viewpoint of the people your Job is' safe, your word is honored and your aisle scats yours for the asking. Of course, the viewpoint of the people. This means, among many other things, the politics of the people, the morals of the people, the people's present day capacity for enthusiasm, cynicism and 1932 romance. If the drama critic will be so good as to reflect all these fashionable ideas every time he reviews "Roar China," "Red Rust" or such, he may stay on board. WHICH is precisely why almost every play put on in Russia today is such a beautiful, dutiful piece of propaganda, and why no Russian critic ever dares suggest that it might possibly be pretty poor play. The people simply wouldn't let him do It twice. Drama critics have no such official permission over here in America. We must manage to get along as best we can in the riskier roles of privateersmcn, saying what occurs to our own featherweight wits and our own individual consciences about each new play witlt a blissful disregard for the blessings of the government, the amens ot the academy of arts and letters, or even the thank-you-ma'ams of Broadway. An English drama critle was recently over here on a visit. A funny fellow, he went back home and wrote a piece In which he expressed himself shocked by the great freedom the law allows his American cousins when criticizing an actor, a play or a producer. We have, he said, the very reverse of the Brit- lsh Ideal of a critic's responsibilities. whatever they may be. I only know that a bad play can run longer In London that anywhere In the world, and that a good one has usually to come over to New York to win a genuinely big success. IF there Is one creature less loved in this world than a fat man it is a good critic. Most of the Critics, good or bad, in this vicinity with one or two stern, rock-bound exceptions are also fairly fat men, and nobody can conceivably have any liking for us. Unpopularity is our red badge of business. For every brick we throw somebody is always heaving back a whole quarry. Nobody compliments us so sincerely as that almost daily person in the theater who curses us as the death-watch over Times Square. That Is our grim privilege; to go see the new plays of all sorts, grades, smells and colors, and to write reports on them for the benefit of the possible theater-goers who make up what the Russian government would so magnificently call the people. Reports, I hope, that are completely Individual and independent reports, frankly personal reports. For, any critic who pretends to express any more than his own personal opinion Is either a Pollyana or a Napoleon. Any critic who is afraid to disagree with every other critic.and with the theater public itself, deserves to be decorated with the pink and green ribbon of the sacred order of Abie's Irish Rose. THERE is no use in quarreling with the public, but neither Is there any great harm in it. There are plays which get themselves badly branded as critics' plays meaning that they win bright praises In print and no audiences at all after their second or third weeks and it is the critics' privilege to go on remembering them as good plays, sometimes great plays, for all that and that. All of which boils down to the unsweetened platituclo that a drama critic's opinion, no matter how professionally uttered, is only one In ten million and not to be taken as gospel of, for or by the other 9,999,999. Until the red flag waveii over Minsky's and the Emplr theater, let's simply say "stet."

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