Mexico: the Wonderland of the South

Source: W.E. Carson, Mexico: The Wonderland of the South (New York: Macmillan, 1914 – orig. pub. 1909), pp. 139-140

Text: Being 7091 feet above sea-level, — somewhat lower than the capital, — Puebla is a little more removed from the “northers,” but when one is blowing, the temperature at night is far from tropical. When I reached the city, the day was as warm‘as a fine June day in New York; but when the sun went down there was a sudden change to November, and a good blazing fire would have been a welcome addition to the comforts of my hotel. To while away the time, I went to a cinematograph show, but the cold pursued me even there. In order to ward off chills and pneumonia, I had to wear my overcoat in the hall, and even then I was unable to sit through the performance without going out now and then to get a hot drink. The Indians in the audience wrapped their blankets tightly about them and sat watching the pictures, grimly defying the cold. It was Christmas week, and a large number of these swarthy natives had come in from the country to do their marketing and see the sights. I witnessed an amusing example of their superstition.

An Indian family sat in front of me, and it was evident that they were seeing a cinematograph show for the first time. The worthy peon, his wife and children, seemed bewildered with amazement, and frequently crossed themselves. At last some French colored pictures were flashed on the screen. The figure of a magician appeared, looking very much like Mephistopheles, and in front of him was a pumpkin. This he touched with his wand, and immediately it was transformed into six sprightly ballet girls. After several transformations the wizard touched the figures, which disappeared in a cloud of smoke and flame. This was too much for the Indians. The man rose, muttering “Diablo, magio, no mas, no mas” (the Devil, magic; no more, no more), crossed himself repeatedly and, followed by his wife and family, all apparently very much terrified, hurried from the hall. It is safe to say that these Indians had a horrible story to tell their padre when they went to confession the next Sunday.

Comments: The writer was American and his full name was William English Carson, but I have found no further information about him. The coloured films would either have been hand-painted or used a stencil colouring process.

Links: Copy at Hathi Trust

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Maskelyne and Cooke’s

Source: ‘Maskelyne and Cooke’s’, The Era, 18 April 1896, p. 16

Text: The Easter novelty at the “home of mystery” in Piccadilly is an exhibition of Mr R.W. Paul’s latest development of the results of continuous and instantaneous photography, whereby animated pictures from scenes of everyday life are thrown upon a screen. Mr Nevil Maskelyne acts as lecturer, and in a brief introduction recounts the history of the ancient zoetrope, or wheel of life. Similar in principle to the zoetrope was the gyroscope, exhibited sixty years since in a gallery of the Polytechnic. This was a wheel of black silhouette figures revolving before a mirror, giving the appearance of vitality. Half a century afterwards Mr Edison produced his kinetoscope – a band of progressive photographs passing before the eye of the spectator applied to an optical peephole, and creating the effects of life and motion. Mr R.W. Paul’s apparatus shows us a series of pictures of photography come to life – photography taken “in the action.” The first moving scene announced by Mr Nevil Maskelyne is a band practice. The music of the march that one may imagine is being played is given on the pianoforte by Mr F. Cramer. A number of Highland dancers are scarcely quick enough in their movements; but the remark does not apply to the graceful evolutions of a serpentine dancer or to the good-natured boxing of a couple of trained cats. The animated pictures are likely to be very popular. The interest of Mr R.W. Paul’s invention is inexhaustible, for the attraction may be revived again and again by new pictures …

Comments: Robert Paul’s Theatrograph projector first became part of the programme at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London on 19 March 1896, having made its public debut on 20 February 1896 at Finsbury Technical College. The Egyptian Hall was known for its magic shows presented by the company of Maskelyne & Cooke, where magicians David Devant and John Nevil Maskelyne were important early adopters of moving images as a public entertainment. The films named here are the Edison titles Band Drill (1894), Highland Dance (1894), a serpentine dance (there were several Edison films of serpentine dancers) and Boxing Cats (1894). The review goes on to mention the various magic arts that formed the greater part of the programme at the Egyptian Hall.

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Homestead

Source: Margaret Frances Byington, Homestead: The Households of a Mill Town [The Pittsburgh Survey vol. 4] (New York: Charities Publication Committee, 1910), pp. 110-112

Text: Practically the only public amusements in Homestead, during my stay there, were the
nickelodeons and skating rinks. Six of the former, all but one on Eighth Avenue, sent out their penetrating music all the evening and most of the afternoon. There was one ten-cent vaudeville house, but the others charge five cents for a show consisting of songs, moving pictures, etc., which lasts fifteen minutes or so.

The part these shows play in the life of the community is really surprising. Not only were no other theatrical performances given in Homestead, but even those in Pittsburgh, because of the time and expense involved in getting there, were often out of the reach of workingmen and their families. The writer, when living in Homestead, found few things in Pittsburgh worth the long trolley ride, forty-five minutes each way. Many people, therefore, find in the nickelodeons their only relaxation. Men on their way home from work stop for a few minutes to see something of life outside the alternation of mill and home; the shopper rests while she enjoys the music, poor though it be, and the children are always begging for five cents to go to the nickelodeon. In the evening the family often go together for a little treat. On a Saturday afternoon visit to a nickelodeon, which advertised that it admitted two children on one ticket, I was surprised to find a large proportion of men in the audience. In many ways this form of amusement is desirable. What it ordinarily offers does not educate but does give pleasure. While occasionally serious subjects are represented, as for example pictures of the life of Christ given in Easter week, the performance usually consists of song and dance and moving pictures, all of a mediocre type. Still, for five cents the nickelodeon offers fifteen minutes’ relaxation, and a glimpse of other sides of life, making the same appeal, after all, that theatre and novel do. As the nickelodeon seems to have met a real need in the mill towns, one must wish that it might offer them a better quality of entertainment. Many who go because they can afford nothing expensive would appreciate something better, even at a slightly higher price.

Comments: Margaret Frances Byington (1877-1952) was an American social investigator. Homestead was part of the 1907-08 Pittsburgh Survey into social conditions, sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation. Homestead is in Allegheny County, Pennyslvania, and is famed for the Homestead Strike of 1892.

Links: Copy at Internet Archive

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The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Source: Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (London: Penguin, 2007 – org. pub. 1975), p. 91

Text: Before I was shot I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there – I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in the movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen to you in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television – you don’t feel anything.

Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television. When you’re really really involved with something, you’re usually thinking about something else. When something’s happening, you fantasize about other things. When I woke up somewhere – I didn’t know it was at the hospital and that Bobby Kennedy had been shot the day after I was – I heard fantasy words about thousands of people being in St. Patrick’s Cathedral praying and carrying on, and then I heard the word “Kennedy” and that brought me back to the television world again because then I realized, well, here I was, in pain.

Comments: Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist and filmmaker. He was shot and seriously wounded by radical feminist Valerie Solanas on 3 June 1968, at his studio. The incident was later filmed as I Shot Andy Warhol (USA 1996 d. Mary Harron). The Philosophy of Andy Warhol is a random selection of thoughts and memoir edited from telephone conversations between Warhol and editor Pat Hackett.

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The Pictures

Source: D.J. Enright, ‘The Pictures’, in The Terrible Shears: Scenes from a Twenties Childhood (London: Chatto & Windus, 1973), p. 52

Text:
Threepence on Saturday afternoons,
A bench along the side of the hall -
We looked like Egyptian paintings,
Bue less composed.

Sometimes a film that frightened us
And returned at nights.
Once Noah’s Ark, an early talkie
We took for non-fiction.

Cheapest was the home kino.
Lying in bed, you pressed on your eyes,
Strange happenings ensued.

But the story was hard to follow
And your eyeballs might fall in.
Fatigued, you fell asleep.

Comments: Dennis Joseph Enright (1920-2002) was a British poet, novelist, essayist and academic. The Terrible Shears is a collection of poems about his 1920s childhood, which was spent in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Noah’s Ark was an American film, directed by Michael Curtiz, and an early talking picture.

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The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Source: Bill Bryson, extract from The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (London: Doubleday, 2007), pp. 54-56

Text: Saturdays and Sundays were the longest days in Kid World. Sunday mornings alone could last for up to three months depending on season. In central Iowa for much of the 1950s there was no television at all on Sunday mornings, so generally you just sat with a bowl of soggy Cheerios watching a test pattern until WOI-TV spluttered to life some time between about 11.25 and noon -they were fairly relaxed about Sunday starts at WOI – with an episode of Sky King, starring the neatly kerchiefed Kirby Grant, ‘America’s favourite flying cowboy’ (also its only flying cowboy; also the only one with reversible names). Sky was a rancher by trade, but spent most of his time cruising the Arizona skies in his beloved Cessna, The Songbird, spotting cattle rustlers and other earth-bound miscreants. He was assisted in these endeavours by his dimple-cheeked, pertly buttocked niece Penny, who provided many of us with our first tingly inkling that we were indeed on the road to robust heterosexuality.

Even at six years old, and even in an age as intellectually undemanding as the 1950s, you didn’t hav to be hugely astute to see that a flying cowboy was a fairly flimsy premise for an action series. Sky could only capture villains who lingered at the edge of grassy landing strips and to whom it didn’t occur to run for it until Sky had landed, taxied to a safe halt, climbed down from the cockpit, assumed an authoritative stance and shouted: ‘OK, boys, freeze!’ – a process that took a minute or two, for Kirby Grant was not, it must be said, in the first flush of youth. In consequence, the series was cancelled after just a year, so only about twenty episodes were made, all practically identical anyway. These WOI tirelessly (and, one presumes, economically) repeated for the first dozen years of my life and probably a good deal beyond. Almost the only thing that could be said in their favour was that they were more diverting than a test pattern.

Comments: Bill Bryson (born 1951) is an American travel writer. His memoir The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid documents his 1950s childhood in Des Moines, Iowa. Sky King began as a radio show in 1946. It was first shown as a television series in 1951. It was cancelled in 1954, but new episodes were produced when it went into syndication in 1955, continuing to 1959. There were 72 episodes in total. Penny was played by Gloria Winters.

Links: Official Sky King website

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Seeing Stars

Source: Alan Bennett, extract from ‘Seeing Stars’, London Review of Books, vol. 24 no. 1, 3 January 2002, pp. 12-16, reproduced with slight emendations in Untold Stories (London: Faber and Faber, 2005), pp. 160-173

Text: In the 1940s within a mile or so of where we lived in Armley in Leeds there were at least half a dozen cinemas. Nearest was the Picturedrome on Wortley Road but others were just a walk or a tramride away – the Lyric down Tong Road, the Clifton at Bramley, the Palace off Stanningley Road and the Western a bit further on. And without ever being a dedicated filmgoer I could have graded them all from fleapit upwards in their degree of comfort and sophistication just as, a little later, I would be able to grade the neighbourhood churches in terms of high and low, many of the churches and cinemas since sharing a common fate, conversion to carpet warehouses, second-hand furniture marts and, nowadays, health clubs.

Programmes changed twice a week and we generally went on a Monday and a Saturday. Comedies were best, particularly George Formby, but we took what was on offer, never knowing whether a film had any special merit. Some came with more of a reputation than others, Mrs Miniver for instance with Greer Garson, Dangerous Moonlight (with the Warsaw Concerto) and Now, Voyager with the famous cigarettes. But I’m sure I must have seen both Citizen Kane and Casablanca on their first time round with no notion that these were films of a different order from the usual twice-weekly fare. It was only towards the end of the war that more of a fuss started to be made over forthcoming films, so that I remember reading in Picture Post (and probably at the barber’s) about The Way to the Stars with the young Jean Simmons, and the making of Michael Powell’s A Canterbury Tale, and the first Royal Command Performance, another Powell film, A Matter of Life and Death.

Suburban cinemas were often pretty comfortless places. While the entrance could be quite imposing, with the box-office generally at the top of a flight of white marble steps, presumably to accommodate the rake, the auditorium itself was often not much more than a hangar, the aisle carpeted but the seats on lino or even bare concrete. Wartime meant there was no ice-cream but en route to the cinema we would call at a sweet shop and get what Dad called ‘some spice’, provided, of course, we had the points, sweet rationing the most irksome of wartime restrictions and still in force as late as 1952, when I went into the Army.

As a family we always went to the first house, which ended around 8.10, with the second-house queue waiting as we came out, scanning our faces for a clue to the experience we had just had, much as, I imagine, soldiers did when queuing outside a brothel. The second-house crowd seemed to me more loose-living than we were, raffish even. It certainly included more courting couples and folks who liked a drink (and who might even have had one already), none of whom minded rolling home at the to us unheard-of hour of half-past ten.

The waiting (and the Second World War involved a good deal of waiting in every department) was generally done up the side of the cinema in a grim open-sided arcade that today would be drenched in urine but wasn’t then. If the cinema was full and the performance continuous the commissionaire would come down the queue shouting: ‘Two at 1/9;’ ‘A single at 2/3.’ Or (very seldom): ‘Seats in all parts.’

We always called it ‘the pictures’, seldom ‘the cinema’ and never ‘the movies’. To this day I don’t find it easy to say ‘movies’, ‘going to the pictures’ still the phrase that comes to me most naturally, though nowadays I’m not sure that ‘the pictures’, like ‘the wireless’, aren’t among the self-consciously adopted emblems of fogeydom, the verbal equivalent of those smart Covent Garden establishments that do a line in old luggage. But calling the pictures ‘the movies’ went with calling cigarettes ‘fags’, beer ‘booze’ or girls ‘birds’. It signalled a relaxed, unbuttoned approach to things, life led with more of a dash than I was ever going to manage.

Picture-going was generally a family affair, but when we were still quite young, at eight or nine, say, we were allowed to go to U films by ourselves and (with a bit of nagging) to A films too. Since the A signified that a child could only see the film when accompanied by an adult this meant hanging about outside the cinema accosting congenial-looking cinema-goers, preferably women, with ‘Can you take us in, please?’ Warning us often, every time we left the house it almost seemed, against ‘stopping with strange men’, my mother never liked my brother and me to go to the pictures on our own, but only once did I come to any harm and then not really.

In 1944 we had moved, disastrously as it turned out, from Leeds to Guildford, where we stayed for a year, so at that time I would be ten, and had persuaded my mother one afternoon to let me go see Errol Flynn in The Sea Hawk, which I’d seen in Armley but was now showing at the Palace in Onslow Street (closed in 1956 to become a bingo hall and currently a nightclub called The Drink). I hung about for a bit until a genial middle-aged man in glasses came along with one boy in tow already. This seemed to indicate respectability and I was about to ask him if he would take me in when he got in first, even taking my hand before shepherding us both past the box-office; he may even have paid.

The film had already started, Errol Flynn flirting with Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth while the usherette showed us down the aisle and before we had even sat down the man was pinching me and remarking on my nice chubby legs. This seemed fairly boring to me as, so far as I was concerned, they were just legs, but I put up with it for the sake of Errol Flynn, who soon after we sat down was away on the Spanish Main. However, the clutching and the pinching was getting more urgent until, innocent though I was, it dawned on me that this must be what Mam’s mysterious warnings had been about.

The sight of Errol Flynn now chained to an oar in the Spanish galleys seemed to bring these claspings to a new pitch of urgency and I decided, as they moved higher up my legs, that I ought to make a break for it. So I got up and, foolishly, headed not up the aisle to the foyer but down the aisle to the Gents where, not surprisingly, my admirer followed. Once there, I didn’t hide in a cubicle but just stood waiting, not knowing what to do.

I see myself standing in that cinema lavatory and hearing the bang of the swing-door as this kindly, bespectacled man, now suddenly sinister, comes through the door in pursuit. The entrance to the Gents was also the back door to the Exit and my admirer stood there for a second, obviously wondering if I had fled the cinema altogether. There was a moment, which in a film would hardly seem credible, when he stood with his back to me trying to decide if I’d gone. Had he turned and looked down the steps to the lavatory he would have seen me. But he didn’t turn, and obviously deciding it would be prudent to leave, he pushed the bar and went out through the exit door.

I wish I could record that I went back and watched the finish of the film but I just hung about for a few minutes until the coast was clear, then (though nothing had happened to me) ran home in mild distress. I told my mother, who became satisfyingly hysterical, but Dad, a shy and fastidious man who I knew regarded me as a liar and a show-off, was just made angry, refusing even to believe anything had happened and, if it had, ‘It was all nowt.’ Certainly I hadn’t been damaged, and if damage was done at all it was only in Dad’s refusal to acknowledge the situation. As it was, the only lasting effect of the incident was to put paid to any further lone visits to the cinema and to teach me to keep quiet. One’s legs often got felt up as a child. Dad’s old headmaster, Mr Alexander, used to give us lessons in algebra and he was a great stroker and clutcher, though only of the legs and not the parts appertaining. Vicars did it too, without seeming to want to take it further. It was something I came to expect, and just another of the ways in which grown-ups were boring.

Comments: Alan Bennett (born 1934) is a British playwright, screenwriter, essayist and actor. Untold Stories is a collection of essays and memoir, including the section entitled ‘Seeing Stars’, on his memories of cinemagoing, from which this extract comes. The films mentioned are Mrs Miniver (USA 1942), Dangerous Moonlight (UK 1941), Now Voyager (USA 1942), Citizen Kane (USA 1941), Casablanca (USA 1942), The Way to the Stars (UK 1945), A Canterbury Tale (UK 1944), A Matter of Life and Death (UK 1946) and The Sea Hawk (USA 1940).

Links: Full article at London Review of Books

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The Cinema in the Slums

Source: Dorothy Richardson, ‘Continuous Performance X: The Cinema in the Slums’, Close Up vol. II no. 5, May 1928, pp. 58-62

Text: At the moment of reaching perfection as territory sacred to horror, slumdom produced a novelist who featured with all his mind and all his heart and all his soul the lives of its inhabitants, awakening official expediency and unofficial solicitude and driving the oblivion of the general public into a timely grave, And the day that saw compulsory education snatching the children for a while from the worst, saw also philanthropy grown fashionable, slumming adding meaning to the lives of the charitable unemployed and bands of devoted people weaving a network of settlements, missions, and institutions of all kinds over those areas of the larger cities that hitherto had been left undisturbed, save for an occasional forced raid, even by the police, and unproductive save for their disproportionate contribution of disease and crime and the endless procession of half-starved labourers of all ages and both sexes available for exploitation in the basements supporting the British empire.

But slumdom, though not quite what it was, continues to flourish and will continue, however rehoused and state-aided and generally disciplined, if they are right who see its problem as a biological problem, its habitants as a recruited army, an army ceaselessly recruited from above and to disappear only when we make up our minds to weed out undesirable types. And though wonders have been worked, as all may see who can remember the children haunting the by-ways even twenty years ago, there is still a vast army living, except for the all-too-short school years, in a state of mental and moral constriction, pressed upon and paralysed by circumstance and there is its off-shoot, the battalion of half-crazed intelligentsia dreaming of salvation to be reached one by a banding together for destruction.

All these people like all the rest of us are preached at by doctrinaires of all kinds and mostly by heavily interested doctrinaires who from the midst of ease — though many of them are hard workers, at jobs chosen and beloved — rate these state-pampered idlers for their thriftlessness, quote the perilous budgets of exceptionally heroic family chancellors — oh those budgets detailed from margarine to skimmed milk — upon which appears no single one of the necessary superfluities whose rôle in creating the cheerfulness of the complacent judges is ignored by them because it is permanent.

And almost everything that comes to this segregated army from without, teaching, preaching, state-aid, welfare-work, art-galleries and suchlike cultural largesse is tainted more or less, not always hopelessly but always tainted, by the motive of interest. Is not, cannot be, entirely above suspicion. Even the most devoted resident missioners are there with an aim, the confessed aim of betterment, of bringing light into darkness and comfort where no comfort was. It would be monstrous to attempt to decry the motives and the labours of these noble people and absurd to deny their great fruitfulness. And though there may be amongst them numbers of pitying souls who would be left at a loss if there were no one to rescue, there are also those whose labours are carried on in the spirit of an invitation to the dance of life. These bring charm. But their power is akin to that of the kindly host. Contact with them may be for the lost a tour of paradise; but it is a conducted tour.

And now, as it were over-night, there has materialised a presence subsuming all these others and, by reason of its freedom from any ulterior motive beyond that of its own need to survive, immeasurably more powerful as a civilising agent than any one of them. It says of course aloud for all to hear as it opens its doors conveniently in the manner of the gin-palace at every corner: it’s your money we want. It does not say we want to help you. Yet it offers as many kinds of salvation as all previous enterprises combined and offers them impersonally, more impersonally than even the printed page. It illustrates. And its illustrations are encountered innocently, unguardedly, in silence and alone.

It is said that the cinema offers nothing to nobody save spiritual degradation. There are clamourings too, and secret whisperings of the enormous power of the film rightly used, used that is to say according to the speaker’s idea of what is right. But both these claims ignore what is inherent in pictures, ignore that which exerts its influence apart from the intention of what is portrayed. Mankind’s demand for pictures, like the child’s demand, is much more than a childlike love for representation. There is in the picture that which emerges and captures him before details are registered and remains long after they are forgotten. And this influence, particularly in the case of the contemplators we are considering, is exercised as potently by a photograph as by a “work of art” and by a moving photograph, if it be the work of an artist, much more potently. Imagination fails in attempting to realise all that is implied for cramped lives in the mere coming into communication with the general life, all that results from the extension of cramped consciousness. But it is not merely that those who are condemned with no prospect of change to a living death, are lifted for a while into a sort of life as are said to be on the great festivals the souls in hell. It is that insensibly they are living new lives. Growing. Gathered spontaneously and unsuspecting before even the poorest pictures, even those that play deliberately upon the passions of the jungle, the onlookers are unawares in an effectual environment. While they follow events they are being played upon in a thousand ways. And all pictures are not bad or base or foolish. But even the irreducible minimum of whatever kind of goodness there is in any kind of picture not deliberately vicious, is civilisation working unawares.

Comments: Dorothy Richardson (1873-1957) was a British modernist novelist. Through 1927-1933 she wrote a column, ‘Continuous Performance’ for the film art journal Close Up. The column concentrates on film audiences rather than the films themselves. The novelist referred to is presumably Charles Dickens.

Links: Copy at the Internet Archive

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Faces in the Audience

Source: Carothers, ‘Faces in the Audience’, Motion Picture Magazine, February 1915, p. 140

facesintheaudience

Comments: A cartoon from the American fan magazine Motion Picture Magazine, signed (it would appear) ‘Carothers’. The film actors referred to are J. Warren Kerrigan, Ford Sterling, Broncho Billy Anderson, Grace Cunard, Mabel Normand, child actor Little Billy Jacobs, Francis X. Bushman, Blanche Sweet and Cleo Madison. ‘The Mutual Girl’ refers to Our Mutual Girl, a serial made by the Mutual Picture Corporation, starring Norma Phillips.

Links: Copy at Internet Archive

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Journey Without Maps

Source: Graham Greene, Journey Without Maps (London: Vintage, 2006 – orig. pub. 1936), pp. 15-17

Text: The cinema in Tenerife was showing a film which had been adapted from one of my own novels. It had been an instructive and rather painful experience to see it shown. The direction was incompetent, the photography undistinguished, the story sentimental. If there was any truth in the original it had been carefully altered, if anything was left unchanged it was because it was untrue. By what was unchanged I could judge and condemn my own novel: I could see clearly what was cheap and banal enough to fit the cheap banal film.

There remained a connection between it and me. One had never taken the book seriously; it had been written hurriedly because of the desperate need one had for the money. But even into a book of that kind had gone a certain amount of experience, nine months of one’s life, it was tied up in the mind with a particular countryside, particular anxieties; one couldn’t disconnect oneself entirely, and it was curious, rather pleasing, to find it there in the hot bright flowery town. There are places where one is ready to welcome any kind of acquaintance with memories in common; he may be cheap but he knew Annette; he may be dishonest but he once lodged with George; even if the acquaintance is very dim indeed and takes a lot of recognising.

Two Youthful Hearts in the Grip of Intrigue. Fleeing from Life. Cheated? Crashing Across Europe. Wheels of Fate.

Never before had I seen American ballyhoo at work on something I intimately knew. It was magnificent in its disregard of the article for which it had paid. Its psychological insight was either cynically wrong or devastatingly right.

The real Orient Express runs across Europe from Belgium to Constantinople. Therefore, you will go wrong if you interpret the word ‘Orient’ to indicate something of a Chinese or Japanese nature. There is enough material of other kinds to arrange a lively colourful ballyhoo, as you will see as soon as you turn to the exploitation pages in this press book.

Date Tie-Up. In the exhibitors’ set of stills available at the exchange are three stills which show Norman Foster explaining the sex life of a date to Heather Angel, passing dates to Heather Angel and Heather Angel buying dates from the car window. The dialogue is quite enlightening on the date subject at one point in the picture. Every city has high-class food shops which feature fancy packages of dates. Tie-in with one of these for window displays, and for a lobby display, using adequate copy and the three stills.

Another angle would be to have a demonstration of date products, the many uses of dates, etc. This would be quite possible in the much larger cities. And in cases where working with large concerns, patrons may be permitted to taste samples. These tie-ups must be worked out locally despite the fact that we are contacting importers of important brands.

Don’t under-estimate the value of a real smart window fixed up with date products, baskets of delicious fruits and dates, and the three stills shown here with adequate copy for your picture. “Buy a package of delicious dates, and take The Orient Express’ for Constantinople, a most thrilling and satisfying evening’s entertainment, at the Rialto Theatre.”

Do you Know That: Heather Angel’s pet kitten Penang had to have its claws clipped because it insisted on sharpening them on the legs of expensive tables;

That the pet economy of Heather Angel is buying washable gloves and laundering them herself;

That Una O’Connor permits only a very few of her intimate friends to call her Tiny?

That blast of ballyhoo had not sold the film; to my relief, because by contract my name had to appear on every poster, it had kept to the smaller shabbier cinemas, until now it was washed up in Tenerife, in a shaded side street behind an old carved door like a monastery’s. This was what made it an agreeable acquaintance; it hadn’t the shamelessness of success; it might be vulgar, but it wasn’t successfully vulgar. There was something quite un-Hollywood in its failure.

The Canaries were half-way to Africa; the Fox film and the pale cactus spears stuck in the hillside, a Victorian Gothic hotel smothered in bougainvillaea, parrots and a monkey on a string, innumerable themes were stated like the false starts and indecisions of a lifetime: the Chinese job from which one had resigned, the appointment in Bangkok never taken up, the newspaper in Nottingham. I can remember now only the gaudy poster, the taste of the sweet yellow wine, fiat roofs and flowers and an arbour full of empty bottles, and in the small dark cathedral a Christmas crib (castles and little villages and women with baskets of carrots, a donkey and a motor-car and a comic man in a top-hat, little caves where hermits or gipsies sat asleep on moss-covered rocks, a man on an old-fashioned bicycle, and somewhere right up in a corner, dwarfed by the world, the flesh, those bright spring carrots, the devil, the man in a top-hat, sat the Mother of God with an old-young child, wrinkled and careworn and cross-eyed, and Herod leant over a wall with his crown tilted).

Comments: Graham Greene (1904-1991) was a British novelist, many of whose works were filmed and who was a notable film critic in the 1930s. Journey Without Maps is a travel book about a visit to Liberia; Greene stopped off at the Canary Islands along the way. The film he saw was Orient Express (USA 1934), based on his novel Stamboul Train. The section of the chapter from which this pasge comes is entitled ‘Ballyhoo’.

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