STAGE & SCREEN
MISS JOCELYN HOWARTH
JOCELYN HOWARTH Rings Up Mr. Cinesound.
"Acting for the screen leaves you no illusions about your personal appearance," said Miss Jocelyn
Howarth a few days ago.
"After I had seen myself in the title role of "The Squatters Daughter,' I went home and wept bitterly. Most actresses are supposed to have good and bad camera angles, but it seemed to me then that mine
were all bad."
As she sat and talked, it seemed that Miss Howarth was being unduly pessimistic. She is a slender blonde, with pretty hair and delicate, piquant features. On the screen too she was by no means unattractive, her voice is soft, pleasant, and well-modulated.
'I dont think I have ever been 'movie-struck,'" she went on. "Of course, all young girls have vague visions of themselves becoming celluloid queens like Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, but I never got beyond that. My ambitions were centred on the theatrical stage-and they still are. On the stage, an actress has everything in her favour. She can colour her face with make-up, instead of emerging with the trying, uniform greyness of the screen. In matter of clothes, too, she can choose frocks whose colours suit her. If her features are irregular, or she has a mole or other blemish, she does not have to endure its being magnified in 'close-ups.' She has the response of an audience, and can become absorbed in her part, instead of acting in front of bored-looking camera-men and electricians, and pumping up a show of emotion for a scene of the line that has to be done over and over again.
'I was appearing on the stage last year in an amateur production of 'Cynara' when a representatlve of Cine sound Productions saw me and asked me to go to the studio at Bondi for a screen test. I really owe my engagement to Miss Mary Marlowe, for she had played the leading role in 'The Squatter's Daughter' on the London stage some years before, and recom mended me for the part. I was astonished when the
offer came. I didn't even know then that an organisation called Clnesound Productions existed; and when I first rang up the office I caused great amuse- ment by asking to speak to 'Mr. Cinesound.'
'Of course, I was terrified when the time came for me to appear 'on the lot' and begin work. I was so conscious of being an amateur actress among pro fessionals that at first I scarcely dared to speak unless spoken to. As for saying to myself, "Here am I a film star overnight. It's beyond my wildest dreams' I was to overawed to think of it. The over-bright lights made me screw up my eyes just when the director wanted me to look most charming. In trying to keep my eyes open, I would forget my lines, and
be more nervous than ever. When I think of the
mistakes I made, I blush with shame. I have only a small part in 'The Silence of Dean Maitland,' but learnt so much about screen acting in 'The Squatter's ter' that I feel I'll make a much better job than I did of the other.
The aspect of the work I liked best was being location. I have always liked the country. When I was a girl, my parents lived near Wagga; and I used to enter in the ring events at all the local shows. I was not a brilliant horsewoman, by any means; but horseback riding cultivated a love of horses in me, and gave me confidence.
The outdoor scenes in 'The Squatter's Daughter' were very trying, though-principally because of our bad luck with the weather. When we were at Wallacia, all the actors used to put on their make-up in the morning, just in case the sun might come out; it kept us waiting for weeks. Everyone was just as gloomy as the sky. I felt that if I laughed, the sky would turn and strike me to the earth, in sheer
Then at Penrith there was the bushfire scene, in
which most of us recehed burns and other small in-
juries. Once, a charred tree cracked and began to fall down close to where I was standing. My mother, who was near the camera called out, 'Come back, dear! Go back!' but I walked on, and, fortunately, the tree fell in the other direction. My mother's cry of distress had ruined the scene, from the point of view of the film, but the falling tree was so realistic that Mr. Hall, the director, could not bear to sacrifice it; and sound effects were artificially 'dubbed in' in the end."