The Observer from London, Greater London, England on April 29, 1934 · 24
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The Observer from London, Greater London, England · 24

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London, Greater London, England
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 29, 1934
Page:
24
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24 THE OBSERVER, SUNDAY, APRIL 29, 1934. O They're worn all the year round, of Jlllr f course, buf now is really the best time to Jf JBlf I appreciate a Dunlop Weathercoat. You f! JlBif e, f cart "cast a clout" with impunity before W ngm- H f May is out if you make a Dunlop W ilSa Jfc Weathercoat your constant companion, f ISf Ilk t In sun, rain, wind or storm it protects gSmm? Pk you from all that is undesirable in the jgjy1 111 weather without depriving you of any $mjF of the benefits of our Spring climate. f RUBBERLESS WEATHERCOATS 5, 41, 3j, J, ij, 2 gns. LATEX-PROOFED WATERPROOFS 2D'- upwards. Obtainable from Stores ono Outlntert everywhere Write for frustrated leaflet "DUNLOP RAINWEAR" (Dept.. 26). 52 Great Marlborough Street, London, W.I THE BEST PLUG IN THE WORLD for your car Mad completely In England by LODGE PLUGS LTD. RUGBY Eleventh Hoar Tailoring You can leave the purchase of a new suit to the very last minute and still have time to equip yourself at Austin Reed's. The system of sizes is so comprehensive that perfect fit is a certainty nine times out of ten. You can experiment with confidence because it is a rule with us that no suit shall be sold that is not a credit both to the customer and to Austin Reed's. This is not philanthropy. It is merely good business. We make some lounge suits costing more than six guineas and some costing less. AUSTIN REED 1 03-1 13 REGENT STREET, W.i 24 Coventry St., W.i 13 Fenchurch St., E.C.3 Atu at Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Belait COMEDY OF A FIRST-NIGHT. WHAT THE AUDIENCE DOES NOT SEE INA CLAIRE'S VIEWS. EXPEDITION TO THE ANTARCTIC. ADMIRALTY CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS. London has had more than its usual share of spectacular first nights recently famous performers from Vienna, Paris, and New York who have biazed into celebrity, and given theatrical audiences something new to talk about. Last week's event, the appearance of the brilliant American comedienne, Miss Ina Claire, in " Biography," passed off as far as the audience was aware faulty lessly an ovation for the actress at the beginning, a bigger, one still, at the end, the play itself made enthusiastically welcome, and a fast-moving, production that went apparently without a hitch. But sometimes it , happens that the onlooker is not the one who sees most of the game. Miss Ina Claire on the subject: "Of course, it was a nervous first-night for me first-nights always are. But cthere were certain special circumstances about appearing in London. The audience was enormously kind at the beginning, but then, one had the feeling, ' Most of them probably know of the play's success in !few York; some of them have probably heard of me as an actress; and now they're sitting back in their seats saying to themselves. " We've come here to see you. Go on. " You'd just better be good ! " ' It is a difficult atmosphere to start with. EXCJMKIl VOICES. " One thing was much easier than I had expected. I had imagined that after playing the play for so many hundred performances in America, and having got settled down and 'set' in a method, of playing it with American actors around me, it would be a shock to me when I heard the same lines that I knew by heart said in English voices; I thought I'd be knocked sky-high. "But it didn't happen. It didn't happen for this reason. The English company had not, as they might have done, made new characters out of the play's characters. They seemed to have found a method of creating a set of exactly parallel characters to the ones I was used to. " There were certain disasters that the audience may have seen. As soon as I had come on to the stage on my first entrance, the belt popped right off the coat that I was wearing. It fell on to the floor, and I had to stoop down to pick it up. " Then when I took off my hat all my hair seemed to shake down wrong. And then a lump of sugar from the tea-table fell down and stayed in the middle of the carpet on the stage. NOlvL ('OWAHI)'S EYE. "That lump of sugar! I began to imagine that, lying there, it would gradually fascinate the eyes of the audience ... It was just out of my reach, and I wondered whether I ought to get up and pick it up; then I began to calculate, if I left it lying there, how I would have to regulate all my movements about the stage to avoid treading on it. " I saw Noel Coward's eye gleaming at it from the box he was sitting in in apprehension, and making me -signs about it. Then a little later I forgot all about it. and walked on to it backwards and squashed it flat into the carpet. And I thought. ' Well, thank heaven that's out of the way and done with, now.' And I saw Noel Coward's look of relief and congratulation. " Comedy acting is a much more technical matter than emotional acting. I don't think a plav can ever be made completely right on the first night. There is the matter of waiting for laughs one can never be certain beforehand what an audience is going to laugh at. TUB QUESTION" OF PACE. " There is the matter of pace and also of cutting. In America we never 'open cold ' that is to say, open straight away on Broadway without having taken the play out in the provinces. Sometimes we stay out a week, sometimes weeks." (The .Theatre Guild, it is well known. keep their new productions m the provinces for an indefinite time until they are entirely satisfied that everything is as exact as they can make it.) " In America we took 'Biography' into the provinces for a week. But it was a week in which we got very little sleep. We were making cuts and slashes in it. and getting it together. " In some ways it is a difficult play to act in. It is really a very gentle sort of play. Nothing happens in it. When you come to think of it. the characters don't do anything. It would be easy to turn it into a pure farce, and play it as a farce. But the serious side to it is an important side, and one has to be watching all the time that the comedy does not slip over into farce, and so spoil the rest. FILMS AND THE THEATRE. " It is interesting that Broadway is ceasing on the whole to care lor dramatic ' Dlays for plays that we used to call ' good theatre ' melodrama, excitement. and movement. " ' Good theatre ' has now become bad theatre. People find that they can get excitement on the films, and they go to the theatre for character and psychology for the things they cannot get on the films. " Why do I speak in the play with what you are pleased to call so good an English accent? Am I trying to do it as a special tour de force? No, not at all. I do it in the first place because the girl I am playing is supposed to have lived in Europe for a long time, and it is perfectly possible for Americans who have lived in Europe to lose their American accents. " Secondly, I do it because it becomes natural to me. I have played dozens of English plays .in Ni'W York. 1 suppose that I have played English comedy parts more olten Uiun American ones. " And again, 1 began my stage career as a mimic 1 find myself copying the people round me instinctively; and after 1 have been in London' a very short time. 1 tind myself echoing the accent that 1 am among. " Do I know that 1 have similarities to Marie Tempest'.' No but 1 am flattered that anyone should think so. I admire her very much, but I think that the explanation (if there is a similarity) is that we were both trained in the French school of comedy acting. Miss Tempest is obviously in the tradition of French comediennes, and the teachers who first taught me acting in New York had been through the training of the Comedie Fran-caise." Hubert Griffith. (By Our Naval Correspondent) The Admiralty is calling for volunteers for service with the Expedition to the Antarctic, which is being organised by the Royal Geographical Society. ' One lieutenant, R.N., who must be capable ot commanding and navigating a three-masted topsail schooner, 112 ft. overall, and of 24 it. beam, Is required.. His busi-ness will presumably be concerned, solely with navigation and seamanship, as if is stated that he need have no experience in ice: This officer will be required to join the expedition not later than the beginning of July,. 1934, in' order that he' may take an active part, in the fitting out of the ship. In addition to this, officer, one lieutenant (E) is, required to. take charge of the 100 horse-power Diesel! engine' with which the schooner will be equipped. This officer will be required to join at the beginning of August, 1934.. The services of these two officers; the order states, will be required until-about May, 1937, an announcement which-indicates the anticipated period pi: the ex-v pedition. Their, service in the Antarctic will count as full time for all service purposes. Officers desiring to have their names considered for service with the expedition are instructed to submit their applications through the usual channels without delay. ' It will be of interest to learn, in due course, the number of applications for this adventure in command of a sailing ship in Antarctic waters. Though the number of lieutenants who would like to volunteer probably comprises the -greater portion of those on the active list, the number with the necessary qualifications must be strictly limited. . When the Admiralty, two years ago, called for volunteers to undergo, training in sail, the applications from junior offir cers were, I understand, very considerable. The proposal to reintroduce sail training, of which the First Lord, Sir Bolton Eyres Monsell, was so ardent an advocate, has subsequently, however, been abandoned; This call for volunteers for the Antarc tic schooner serves as a reminder that, in the course of the next few weeks, the little 3C!-ton craft in which five officers are sailing home from the China sea, is expected to arrive. This little ship is manned by Lieutenant-Commander Sherwood (in command); Lieutenants Salt, Francis. and Ryder, and Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander Ommaney-Davis. AUSTIN IX1D LID. LOM EH9K A record was made at Tilbury passenger landing stage yesterday when the s.s. Worcestershire arrived from Rangoon at in. 30 a.m.. and in thirty-five minutes disembarked over two hundred passengers and twelve hundred packages of baggage. MUSIC IX THK PARKS. The St. Hilda's Colliery Band will plav in Hyde Park this" arterndon from 3 to 5, and this evening from 7. :t0 to 9.:ti). They will also play in Hyde Park daily during the week from A to " in the afternoons and from 7 to H.:i0 in the evenings. Stye pictures. MAN OF ARAN." A SEALED DOCUMENT. (BY C. A. LEJEUNE.) At last,.. after two years of work and trilpplp anH -nntirnrYof irri 4,-Tff-, nf Aran " is an' accofnplished.iact, and anyone- in' London -who; ?has : not already viewed" it I cahhotf. recall whether Flaherty, told me he had shown it to sixty or six hundred .individuals to- date can see it at the New . Gallery Cinema this week. Let me say at the outset -that it ls:a -beautifulTilm. -Flaherty, as a camera man, ..can ?! never be- ' beaten this side heaven,- and10 six thousand feet of such fine and purposeful pictorial composition have seldom bee'n set out upon the screen: " Man. of-Aran " is lovely to look at -sincere? virile, and understanding. It has been made by a man who loves the place and the-people, and his passion has been communicatediSirevevery shot. Everyone will go to see it everyone should go to see it for Flaherty has not his like in the film-makirig'wof!d:S: But it is not a great picture, in the sense -trYat ";Nanook " was great. It is1 superbly free of -trivialities, but the struggle for existence, which is the basis of all Flaherty's films, is never made dramatically clear to an audience who are, after, all, strangers to this sea-folk, arid unversed in ,. the , difference between the incidents and "the' accidents of their lives. ; " Two years is too long a time to spend over any picture, however vast in project. It is possible to get too close to a subject in two years. Feuchtwanger told me once that he saw more of the truth of a place or a person in three days than he would ever: capture again in a lifetime of experience. Flaherty, I think, has come to understand his islanders so well that he. has forgotten a little about the public. - His film takes the islanders for granted, marches in silent comradeship with them from the start, which, is a thing that we outsiders, however sympathetic)' can never do. " Man of.Aran " has no story, not evert the- trace of story that was to be found in "Moana" and "Tabu." It barely recounts the movements of a nameless father, mother and son through their daily life of fishing, seaweed-gathering, the planting of potatoes, the harpooning of sharks. It works up to a formal climax in the onset of a storm at sea, but that, one feels, is more to round off the film in proper shape than because the idea demands it. It is safe to surmise that Flaherty intended all these incidents to be illustrative of a central theme, but he is himself so familiar with the theme that he has come to believe that the bare statement of circumstances is enough to suggest it. When Flaherty sees a woman walking along the shore with a basket of seaweed on her back, it is for him excit- . ing and dramatic, because he knows by ; experience the struggle for existence that : that load represents. But when the audi-i enee see the same picture, they see only the woman and the seaweed. " Man of Aran " is a sealed document, the key to which is still . in Flaherty's own mind. -- . I. am not quite sure whether it is legitimate to round off a column on the classic " Man of Aran " with a note on the frank entertainment film "It Happened One Night;" how' showing at the Tivoli, but in view of the fact that it was directed by Frank Capra, who is generally recognised amongst connoisseurs, cognoscenti and the what-have-you of our discerning public as the best craftsman currently working-in America, I think 1 have a reasonable ca'se. " It Happened One Night" is the old Taming of -the Shrew story on board a transcontinental 'bus, with Clarke Gable as a tenacious reporter and Claudette Colbert, as a spoilt society heiress on the run. The train of circumstance is, to say the least' of it; fortuitous, but Frank Capra has handled his players- and situations with such assurance that nobody is likely to raise a quibble. His great talent is in making' extraordinary people do extraordinary things in a quite ordinary way a secret that has helped the great imaginative -liars ever since Homer. It is my broad : opinion as a motion picture fan that "It. Happened One Night" is one of the most entertaining films that has ever . been : offered to the public, and I have a. shrewd suspicion as . a critic that Frank Capra is the only director who could elevate Mr. Gable and Miss Colbert, charming and talented though they undoubtedly are, into the main body of this weekly oration. ' My official tip for the week is " Man of-Aran." My unofficial tip is "It Happened ' One Night." I know that this statement will bring down upon me the bitter -contempt of film societies, film groups and film theorists generally, but we all have our weaknesses, and mine happens to be a preference for story over seaweed, however patiently gathered and significantly displayed. SOME NEW FILMS OF THE WEEK. Bottoms Up fCapitol) A very little while ago Miss Pat Paterson, of Bradford. Yorkshire, was hacking along in unregarded parts in- British studios. She played, if you will recall, the ingenue part at the beginning of Anna Neagles . "Bitter Sweet," and adorned a number of films which might be called quickies without malice. Mr. Winfield Sheehan, of Fox, visiting this country, saw her, had a test made of her. and signed her up on long contract. The musical romance, "Bottoms Up," is her first Hollywood picture. It is tuneful, frivolous, and nicely upholstered, and Miss Paterson's own work in it is pleasing enough to emphasise our unrivalled capacity for " missing out " on The Return of Bulldog Drummond (Regal). Hollywood is reported to be anxious because this B.I.P. production, with Ralph Richardson, has forestalled their own new Bulldog Drummond picture, with Ronald Colman. Hollywood need not worry. You're Telling Me (Plazal. This is one of Paramount's typical spurts of good fooling, without noticeable plot, and with certainly no formalities, that puts customers in the happy mood of the old music-hall, and allows W. C. Fields, for long one of the most valuable assets in the American amusement world, to go out and get guffaws all the way. MONtMOdENCr PALLS BaSff- KBNOftA ' Sfak TUB HtAMIES (sflft ' THE ROCKIES TjMtjfcW LARIAT TRAIL jfc EMERALD LAKE. &f. 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ALL CANPAC TOU INCLUDE 1.MI MILES SMOOTH WATER CRUISE THROUGH THE ,) PICTURESQUE ST. . LAWRENCE SEAWAY Write for Illustrate J Canadian Toon Handbook CANADIAN PACIFIC a s DEPENDABLE j- k . World'tiZnwtait Trawl System f M i'it .- Charin Crow (TrafalMr A T A , 4b- Sq.Ve.'W.l, lta Leadenhall StT.'Tff pbjU jj 'tfy. e-C-3 Lorulon. or Local Agent S tfew .the J6uieas through MTTP-. . BI9 S CI T-.rUlTlC STnSculaRS Since 189 3 Ze) supremacy ha Deen uncru nen geo. CARL ZEISS fLONDOm Ltrf- Wrrte to-dxv for Cttmicru TJ. Mortimer House. Mortimer Full if St., London, W.i. helpful itfvr'cc. A S A N AUSTIN I . jljj.-' -K,W j twa wat(L& i The Sixteen Carlton Saloon as illustrated), A five-seat er on the 10 ft. wheelbase, cross-braced chassis. I'ront and rear seats adjustable. Folding occasional tables- 16 h.p. or 18 h.p. engine optional without extra charge. Four-speed gearbox with Synchro-mesh gears. Triplex glass. Dunlop tyres standard. At works 328. The Sunshine Roof iSttcd to Austin cars, and used exclusively for the last three years, is made by us under licence from The Pytchley Autucar Company. Read the Austin Magazine: 4d. every month YOU BUY A CAR BUT YOU INVEST IN AN AUSTIN AUSTIN' and 'INVESTMENT' The Colonel doesn't say much on any subject but what he says Is sound. On the subject of cars he is terse, and to the point. "What you want, my lad, is a car that's dependable a sound investment an Austin. Let those who like have their supercharged this or that. You want a car that will never let you down; one that's light on the pocket. You can't go wrong on an Austin." The Colonel, of course, may be rather emphatic. But he's reason to be. He's had an Austin for five years, you see. This year, too, he is able to point out the many Austin improvements to reinforce his argument. Synchromesh gears, cross-braced frames, engine Insulation by ruDDer, traffic indicators, new, more efficient brakes, adjustable rear seats, not to mention sliding roofs, wind deflectors and a dozen or more refinements which would have cost a tidy sum five years ago when he first "invested." It's hard to believe that these new cars cost less than his old one. But they do. The Colonel's advice is sound why not act on It? The Austin Motor Company Limited, Birmingham and 479 Oxford Street, London. London Service Depots : 12, 16 & 20 h.p. Holland Park, W.I I. ' 7 & 10 h-p. North Row. W.I.

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