A Scene From A Movie Never Made - Agate Rollings - Diomede (CD, Album)
In this burning-building scene Beatrice was rescued from her bedroom in an unconscious condition, and was hung over the fireman's shoulder like a sack of meal while he brought her to the ground. She was dreadfully frightened, she said, when she first went over the edge, but gained courage during the perilous descent. No one doubted that the choice of Beatrice for the lion picture was a good one. In order to film the scene correctly it was necessary to time the speed of Beatrice and the lion with deadly precision, so that the finish of the race would picture the lion almost upon the girl as she entered the cabin.
This split-second timing was accomplished by an ingenious arrangement of woven-wire fencing, which permitted many rehearsals of the actual race. High wire. On each side of this fence the lion and the girl were released at the same instant, but at different distances; and the time of each, running at top speed, was thus ascertained. For the actual picture the fence was removed. Every other possible precaution was taken against a misadventure.
Spiked running-shoes and a short-skirt insured the girl's footing and the freedom of her legs. To further guard her life, in case the lion should seem to be overtaking her, four cowboys, who could shoot the cigarette out of one's mouth, were stationed outside the corral.
It is needless to say that the company did not wish to lose the girl; neither did it wish to lose a five-thousanddollar lion. As the four cowboys might differ in their definition of danger, it was left to the director to give the signal to shoot—if shooting was necessary—for on him rested the responsibility for the picture, responsibility which included the lives of Beauty and the Beast.
Everybody thought that Beatrice would be equal to her task, for she had never failed; and if she was the least bit nervous, she concealed it most amazingly. However, as a sporting proposition, it stirred up the whole studio. Every other company on the lot stopped to witness the race. When everything was in readiness Beatrice stood like an athlete on her mark, while the big lion was restlessly pawing at the gate some twenty yards behind. The cameras were arranged to pick up only the last ten yards.
The director occupied a place just outside the corral, where he could direct the cowboys. The falling of his upraised hand was to be the signal to shoot. At the call of "Action!
On she came like a deer, the lion gaining rapidly. She tripped a little bit, but did not lose her stride. The hesitation, slight as it was, frightened her, however, and her fear showed unmistakably in her eyes as she glanced back over her shoulder.
She fairly flew; but so did the lion, and it seemed for a moment as though he would overtake her. This detail had been rehearsed many times. The man who slammed the door and the other who threw the bolt both felt responsibility for the girl—and incidentally for their own safety.
The impact of the lion on the great, heavy door would have wrecked the set had it not been heavily reinforced; but it held firmly and the beast was thrown almost on his back. He was in a towering rage when he got to his feet; and he stood there roaring and snarling magnificently for fully fifty feet of film. As I looked at the little girl, pale and trembling, lying in her sister's arms, the thought occurred to me that the heroism displayed in making the film was much more splendid than the rather pompous heroian she would simulate in her part of the story.
The other episode exhibits the quick wit and fine courage of another young woman. It happened in the first animal picture in which Gene Wilkinson appeared, and it began a series of pictures that ultimately made her famous.
The scene was set in a manner similar to the others I have described, but in the action there would not be the slightest danger so long as the lion adhered to his role. That role was to stay half hidden behind the bamboo in the rear of the inclosure, while Miss Wilkinson walked slowly across the foreground.
As ia the other cases, there were emergency exits and sharpshooters to insure her safety. Twice the action was rehearsed and the time taken, the lion skulking in the jungle beyond; but when the director called "Action! He let out a roar that could be heard a mile, lashed his tail against the bamboo, and suddenly bounded straight toward Miss Wilkinson. She started, but, seeing she could not make it, turned on her heel; and, to the amazement and horror of everybody, she ran straight toward the lion.
When he saw her turn he came to a full stop. The meeting was something of a melodramatic anti-climax, for the beast did not swallow the maid. On the contrary, her spiritual conquest expressed itself by her scratching him on the forehead. He walked out of the picture in dignified humility. It is easy enough to explain that the animal trainer had coached Miss Wilkinson in the etiquette of animals —especially the cats—and had told her how to bluff her.
I might continue telling of the exciting and perilous adventures incident to the lives of moving-picture folk; but the foregoing fairly typify the dangers of the rough stuff and show the efforts being made by producers to meet a gigantic problem and win the faith of a suspicious public without the aid of trickery.
One more episode I must record, however, for the remark of the hero in the crisis of his danger voices the exasperation that all actors feel when, after doing a notable feat of daring, the moving-picture patrons believe the picture to be faked. The incident occurred on a trip to one of the nethermost islands off the coast of California. Nothing could have been more wild and windswept. There were great caves that sheltered strange birds during the big storms; high, precipitous cliffs, and long stretches of beach on which was thrown the wreckage of lost sailing vessels.
The only inhabitants were wild boars and a curious fox. We made no end of bully pirate pictures, and a wildman story that nearly ended in disaster. Tom Sentous was cast for the wild man, no one else being physically eligible.
Tom appeared in scene after scene, pursued by English sailors, and finally was overtaken on the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. A hand-to-hand combat. Finally Tom was thrown off the cliff and went hurtling down some fifty feet into the water. We had waited several days until the sea should be calm enough to make the picture, for it was necessary to have assistance close by, in order to rescue Tom from the rocks. A dive was out of the question—no one pitched off a cliff would start in a diving position; so Tom had to go any old way and take his chances.
He did; and they turned out to be very precarious, for the poor fellow hit the water with such an impact that he was utterly stunned. It was such a long time before he came to the surface that we grew mightily alarmed; and when he rose it was seen that he was in great distress. There was much blood on the water, but that was only from his lacerated body; his real trouble was more serious. For several hours we rubbed him and applied restoratives.
When finally he came round, and was able to talk, his first remark, uttered faintly and with much effort, was:. Then and there we A Scene From A Movie Never Made - Agate Rollings - Diomede (CD swore to the same murderous intent!
This is not an undertakers' convention; it's a house party. And so I jumped up and down, clapped my hands in childish glee, and ended by dragging all the dinner guests into the middle of the room, where we played ring around a rosy! That was what Condon, my first director, considered a fine expression of the festal spirit. He and his cult believed that the moving-picture demanded action, and that any repose whatsoever was just so much waste of film. How we used to prance and tear through the tumultuous scenes!
Life in those days was full of riot and abandon. We were even taught to enter a room with terrific ostentation, and the simplest questions could not be answered without violent gesticulations and facial acrobatics. Besides his insistence that life should be interpreted in the most dynamic way possible, this director had many weird and peculiar obsessions regarding its symbols.
For instance, he firmly believed that only a few intellectuals knew the meaning of the mystic letters M. He was positive that a shingle on which was inscribed "George Smith, M. No doubt he saved millions of his spectators from splitting headaches by solving their puzzle on a sign three feet long, which read: "Doctor Smith. Some of his conceptions were perfectly magnificent.
So contemptuous was he of average intelligence that he labeled everything possible, even the dignified city hall. It was not only in scenery and props that his amazing talent for leaving' nothing to the imagination expressed itself. It was also evident in the invention of a whole new technic of acting; and under his direction a brand-new drama has been evolved. Take, for example, the registration of sudden poverty. On the stage they do it by dramatically hissing, "I am ruined!
The cinematograph is essentially a mechanical device, and during its development into an instrument of precision mostly enlisted in its service mechanical men. It was natural, therefore, that its first triumphs were of a mechanical nature. A few years ago our best pictures were the phantasms. The dissolve, the double exposure, the reversed film— every mechanical stunt imaginable was used to bewilder and entertain.
Along with these there were a few fierce melodramas involving shipwrecks and derailments; also, the pursuit pictures, in which a whole village joined in a mad chase and tore through town, upsetting apple-earts, baby-carriages, and scaffoldings, until finally everybody was subdued in a bath of whitewash. This palled, however. There was a demand for romance, plot, and real acting. The mechanics were up against it, but they stuck to their tasks and did their level best to meet requirements. Now their best was rather.
Gradually there came into the picture business men who had brains, technic, and poesy. At the present time there are engaged in this work in America half a dozen really great artists, and a considerable number who are better than the pictures they are compelled to make. But, alas! They stick to the early technic; and when they add to it a new symbol, it is ignorantly conceived. Even some of the better directors are guilty of childish devices. The present pilot of my particular star still insists that an engagement can be put over only by the use of the ring.
While performing last week in a very romantic story, I was called on in A Scene From A Movie Never Made - Agate Rollings - Diomede (CD first scene, when I met Her, to show that I had been very much impressed. I endeavored to do this quietly and unostentatiously, as any fellow would, still recording the fact that my sentimental bell had been rung. But the director would not stand for it. Now do it again; and leave nobody in doubt!
So I went through the regular formula for love at first sight, which first consists in enlarging the eyes, to indicate wonder; then a smile, suffusing the face, to register satisfaction; ending, however, in the pointed brows, the sign by which one interrogates.
The next spasm is the heaving chest, to indicate that the heart has been stirred to its nethermost depths. Now, "determination to have her at any cost" must be shown. This is accomplished. But the director was stubborn, and his final argument was the success of the film. The more violent Album) is really more easily produced than that of the higher forms of drama, for the reason that the actors are obedient puppets, performing to certain set symbols.
For instance, when parts are assigned for a new play each actor knows instantly how to make up. The father of a girl of eighteen must look sixty at least, gray and dignified. The mother of the same young lady must appear motherly, that is, like Martha Washington, or a dear old dowager duchess.
In reality, the father and mother of a girl of eighteen would be enjoying their vigorous forties, and, likely as not, would be found on the tennis court playing a hard deuce set; but as symbols they would never do, unless elaborately labeled. The chap cast for the doctor, without further ado makes up with a fine, septic point-lace beard and a stem, professional frown.
I recently visited a meeting of the American Medical Association and, as a moving-picture actor, I was amazed at the scarcity of facial foliage—a few mustaches, but most faces were clean-shaved. I have often wondered whether the victory of the North in the Civil "War was very creditable. If we are to believe the moving-pictures depicting that struggle, all. It A Scene From A Movie Never Made - Agate Rollings - Diomede (CD not seem fine to have beaten up so many old men.
The negro mammy in those same war dramas was originally designed by Lew Dockstader, and the symbol has never changed. Why, you ask, do they always make up white people as negroes who could not possibly deceive a child, when a real mammy is so easy to find? The colored folk are infinitely better actors and much easier to obtain than Indians; yet these people are rarely faked.
No doubt it has been noticed that we insist on Indians wearing war-bonnets at all times, whether they are at war, peace, or Irish picnics; but an Indian minus feathers would be like a fisherman without his oil-skins.
You can bet our fishermen never venture forth without oilskins. On the hottest days in August, with a sea like glass, we load up A Scene From A Movie Never Made - Agate Rollings - Diomede (CD poor devils with rubber boots, tarpaulins, and sou'westers. They eat, sleep, and work in those smelly garments at all times; if any of them should be omitted, even for an instant, some clerk in the front row might mistake a fisherman for a butcher.
A great many actors know better than to behave as they do, and occasionally they care enough to argue the point with the director. Sometimes even the extra people develop courage sufficient to revolt. In one story the director curiously enough happened on a cockney Englishman to play the part of a butler, a position he knew well by long years of service. At the first rehearsal the explosion came. Condon had ordered him to dress like a court chamberlain in a fairy-tale.
He submitted to this indignity; but when he was told to stand like a ramrod, with his nose in the air and his arms. Condon, I cawn't act that w'y! Indeed I cawn't! No, sir! I 've friends who will see this pitcher, and I cawn't 'ave 'em think I 've lost me reason. I 've served in some of the best 'omes in Lunnon, sir, and I never yet saw a butler dressed as I am, sir. Sometimes a colored weskit and gloves, sir; but never such duds as these, sir! Some of the rich brewers 'ave footmen dressed as 'andsome, but never a butler, sir!
On my word, sir! A butler does not walk like a German soldier doing the goose step, sir. Nor do they stop and turn a comer on their A Scene From A Movie Never Made - Agate Rollings - Diomede (CD, sir, like a bally sergeant! No, sir—if I do say it—the manners of a good English butler are graceful and easylike. I think you 'ave 'card the story, sir, of Lord Cromer's dreadful blunder in mistaking the American Ambassador for the butler. It 'appened at Marlborough 'Ouse, sir. No, sir; if I am to play the part of the butler, sir, I 'ope you will permit me to play it as it ought to be done, sir!
With that out of his system, the butler stood expectant. This is what he got:. Meantime you play the part as I tell you. This story is not produced to entertain a bunch of English servants, but for the American public; and I have an idea that I know their definition of a butler a little better than you do. Charlie Chaplin and Rob Wagner. Oourtesy of Artijraft Studios. Douglas Fairbanks has to keep in perfect physical trim for his athletic stunts.
This character of the butler is the most useful of any in the photo-drama. It is amazing the amount of scenery he saves! An interior set may be cheap and shoddy, and have about the same magnificence as a tintype studio; yet when a splendid butler enters, one begins to breathe the rarefied atmosphere of aristocracy and the spectators get their bearings at once, for they know from reading our popular novelists that only the rich can afford such pets.
The richness of an interior set is in direct proportion to the amount of furniture used. The richer the people, the more impedimenta clutter up their lives. Plumbers who have risen to the proud distinction of movingpicture directors insist that the rich simply wallow in furniture.
A truckload of junk rented from the People's Outfitting Company, with a large plaster Cupid and Psyche from the prop, room, will produce a salon that would make the Duke of Bedford hide under his bed. Jorkins, the butler, is not the only servant who has a fixed symbol, however. Burgette, the maid in the banker's home, is equally well standardized. She wears astonishingly short skirts, a white tidy on her head, a dinky little apron, and answers the simplest questions with a curtsy.
As no maid in real life ever performed thus, I think this symbol must have come down to us via musical comedy. Sometimes, when the action becomes fast, these poor French dolls bob like corks.
In looking over my note-book, I realize that I have forgotten to mention the lads in the hair pants. What would become of the "Western stuff without these curious nether garments? A sombrero, an open shirt, two young. Up to now I have spoken only of the standardization of characters; but action has become quite as hardboiled, and there are definite stunts by which to express the whole gamut of human emotions, intentions, and conditions.
I think I have mentioned how love at first sight is registered; but there is one bit of action even more stupid than that. Does he approach the house, glance at the number, then walk up the steps and ring the bell?
He does not. This accomplished, he turns to the camera and, his face beaming with delightful surprise, brings down his fist in his open palm and unmistakably says: "I '11 do it! The quick sequence of events necessary to tell a story in twenty minutes often requires that love at sight shall ripen into an engagement in sixty feet of film.
The only way so far discovered by most directors to indicate this pleasing result is through the symbol of the engagement ring. Every actor must carry a pocketful of these in different sizes, so as to be ready for any emergency. If the handsome cowboy in the leather panties meets the girl from Gotham for the first time, in the middle of the desert, and strolls off up the wash to make movingpicture love to her, he must be ready on returning close to the camera to slip on her finger a ring that fits.
This saves much talk, a trip to the jeweler, and other clap-trap of real life. Death is put over by two different symbols, one for the home and the other for outdoors. The sick-room death scene, with slight variations, is pictured thus: The doctor and the family are on the far side of the bed, which is set in a stage tableau depicting tense anxiety.
The sick mother, lying well downstage, rises from her pillow, stares vacantly into the Great Beyond, clutches frantically at her beads, and, with several fine convulsions, expires. The doctor now takes her limp hand, looks long and thoughtfully at the departed, and then, slowly raising his eyes to the chief loser, mournfully shakes his head.
She sighs heavily and, turning to the next mourner, shakes her head; the next one does the same to his neighbor—and so on down the line to the last servant. This clioches the fact that death has come. The out-of-door demise is presented in quite a different way. Here the victim has been shot, smothered, or run over.
The doctor arrives, looks over the wreckage. Anyone who has ever seen firemen stop in the midst of their hazards and hose to pray for the fatality on the sidewalk knows how true to life this picture is. Think of a bunch of cowboys in hair pants showing respect in this way! It is superb! I have often wondered what lawyers think of the jurisprudence of the moving-pictures. It stands to reason that we could not very well wait on the slow processes of the law, when we must do so much in twenty minutes.
It does seem, however, that we ought at least to legalize our wills and weddings by having witnesses to the former and licenses for the latter. But what do we care for such trifles! That beats anything England ever did with her snappy criminal code. Up to date there is only one recognized symbol to indicate great distance: we shade the eyes, lean forward, and sweep the long horizon.
I used to believe that when a person shaded his eyes it was to keep out the sun; yet we do it, in broad-brimmed hats or with our backs to the sun, on cloudy days, and, in fact, under the fierce, penetrating rays of the quarter moon.
Having discovered our quarry, or prey, or prize, 'way off yonder, our instincts call us naturally to instant action; but we must not start too soon. So, after gulping, backing and filling for at least ten feet of film, we gain a firm foothold and, with heaving chest, fare forth. Moving-picture lovers are the kissiest people on earth. And when we arrive at the happy ending—well!! It is technically known as the clinch, and ends the film in a slow dissolve.
The action begins by a coyness on the part of Hortense and a languid yeamiag on the part of the lad. Finally we rush together in an attitude resembling the first hold in the bunny hug.
Then slowly she raises her face to mine and I bend to my duty, the picture dissolving out in a long languorous kiss that leaves the on-lookers wondering all the way home how long we stuck it out! So essential is the clinch, to show that lovers care for each other, that we pull it off in the most extraordinary places.
Anywhere, from the hurricane deck of a camel to a comer of Fifth Avenue at noon, will do. Of all phases of the silent drama subtle comedy is the most difficult of expression; and a situation that depends on the turn of a phrase and a witty reply in a dialogue is almost impossible, because of the objection to long titles and the cutting of the picture with too many subtitles. Many of our best comedians, who have amused us well for years on the legitimate stage, have made miserable failures in the photoplay; but, on the other hand, the low comedians and the clowns are enjoying a tremendous vogue, the fellow with the rubber.
These entertainers have brought back all the old claptrap of the miisic-hall and vaudeville; the slap-stick, Seltzer bottle, and bucket of paste are creating uproarious laughter, as they did twenty years ago. The demand for these purveyors of joy seems to be in direct proportion to the number of flip-flaps one can negotiate when kicked in the stomach; but even so.
Seltzer bottles and slap-sticks alone will not carry an actor to very great heights. Even in the rough stuff there must be art. A few years ago there came to Los Angeles, in a riotous vaudeville stunt, a little bit of a fellow who seemed designed by Nature for the photo-comedy.
He was a hit from the start, and in less than four years he had become probably the best-known actor in the world. There is no doubt that at this moment he has the greatest personal following in the whole history of the stage; therefore it becomes interesting to try to analyze his success. What does he do that is so funny? Why do we howl at his antics? It gets us nowhere to try to appear superior and dismiss him as a cheap vulgarian; for, notwithstanding an occasional lapse of this kind, he is yet the god Billiken to one hundred million people.
A man who can make a nation laugh, not once, but every week, must be considered. Perhaps Gr. Chesterton gives us the answer. Our English paradoxer takes the most elemental joke in the world and asks the question: "Why do we laugh when a fat man falls down? We do not laugh when a tree falls, or a house, or a child, or a poor man; but we howl.
The question is answered in Chesterton's statement that the reason is a religious one. Man, he says, has decided that he is made in God's image and has thus given himself a divine dignity.
There is nothing in Nature so dignified as a fat man in a high hat; hence the humor of his faU. The keen observer will recall that the comedian under discussion has evolved a character of much dignity; he wears always the suave manner and sartorial symbols of gentility, though a shabby gentility, it is true. His tightly buttoned coat seems to express a dignified hope that the absence of a shirt will not be noticed; his small, well-trained mustache, his bowler hat and ever-present cane—all are symbols of the gentleman.
Even his little mincing walk and the stiff-legged rigidity with which he takes the comer are the things that make his collapse so utterly comic. He kicks his way through life, and in turn is kicked; yet his manner is one of dignified aloofness from the proximity to danger. The humor of his kicks lies in the fact that they emanate very suddenly from a serene, reposeful attitude of calm dignity.
Even in his most tumultuous scenes, the manner in which he grasps his stick and endeavors to keep on his hat shows that he is constantly aware of the dignity he fears to lose. Running time: approximate 37 minutes. Wrinkles of a lifetime here AR Recordings Wrinkles of a lifetime here 2. By ths river variations Brian Eno recreation 3.
Moment Peter Broderick revisited 4. Wooden house. Running time: approximate 12 minutes. Si tratta di una demarcazione immaginaria il cui versante occidentale conta una nuova data rispetto al suo opposto orientale. Qui tutte le info. A dot on my new blank page Ships and ice between us A walk on the bridge of the ship in the fog Old tales around a table near the fireplace At least it happened The end of another useless day I painted your name in yellow on the wood Wrinkles of a lifetime here The night swimmer The rite of passage What it means to stand by myself in front of these walls A scene from a movie never made Finally I look upon the light Any house does not survive for a long time For an upcoming ending Tags ambient ambient music dark ambient minimalism post rock agate rollings databloem diomede experimental electronic Rome.
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