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AUSTRALIAN FILM STAR
Miss Isabel McDonagh, Mrs Charles Stewart, who plays the role of Denise in Two Minutes' Silence,' the first Austiallan film with an International theme scheduled for its Sydney premier at the Civic Theatre next week, records her impressions of Hollywood and some of the famous personalities she encountered when she passed thiough the film capital, recently.
For years," Miss McDonagh writes, I have cherished an ambition to visit Hollywood. I don't quite know what I anticipated. Perhaps, because of a personal Interest in film production, I expected too much, but my first glimpse of the fabulous film capital was vaguely disappointing In the fiist place, it is not a city at all, but a small town In which everybody knows-01 professes to know-everybody else's business
'Ceitainly, the climate, here, is exhilarating, the cafes are marvellous and the shops all that any woman could wish for, on the Boulevard, wheie most of the stars do their shopping, it is pos- sible to put chase frocks and shoes at a ridiculously low Uguie
Yet most of the glamour one associates with Hollywood is gilt and a gi eat deal of Its romance lather grim reality There aie eighteen thousand people, I am told, on the casting buieaus of Holly- wood, yet only something like eight per cent of their numbei are making a modeiately comfoit able living out of films The remainder are eithei playing 'extia' or 'bit' parts and eating when and where they can 01 serving In one or othei of the innumerable small shops and cafes that abound in Holewood Most of the girls benind counteis aie really beautiful, but beauty alone means nothing in this city of beautiful faces Theic is something i athel tragic In the case of the thousands who flock to Hollywood for fame or foi tune-and lemain to sei ve in a menial capacity the veiy stais they hoped to emulate
Then too, the actual iieioes and heioincs of scicen fame are, in leahty, hard-woiklng people with veiy leal troubles ol their own Gi aft and lacketeeung is life in Hollywood as it is in all pal ti. of Ameiica Apart from the vaiious foims of piottction-ranging from aimed sentinels to live-wire eli cults sunoundlng theil homes-most cf the big stars employ a personal bodyguard Success Is great in Hollywood, but, peihaps, the costs of it are even greater In addition to all this, they luue a good deal to worry about one way or another roi the youthful stais, theic is the evei-present fear of falling from the high pinnacle of popularity on which the majoiitj. aie precariously placed It Is an old axiom heie that Hollywood forgets more easily than it remembers
"Visiting an American studio to-day is a very different and much more difficult proposition than It was in the silent days The slightest sound may spoil a sequence and with oveihead running Into thousands of dolíais a dav the time occupied In 're-takes' Is a costly consideration
"My first visit in Hollywood was to Lionel Bel- more, who was an old patient of my father when the latter was honorary surgeon to J C William- son, Ltd He levived pleasant memoiies of his stay In Sydney and of the generous appieciation Sydney audiences accoided his woik with Guy Bates Post In recent years, Lionel Belmore will be remembered foi his scieen performances in Soirell and Son,' 'Madame X ' and Cavalcade' -each of them being little cameos in chaiacteri sation It was Mr Belmoie who ushered mc In surreptitiously, to catch a glimpse of John Bairy more at woik in Night-Plight' The studio was immense and a levelation in technical equipment I got quite a tin ill to think that Ausli alian pioducers with the merest shadow of this equipment had pioduccd films which compaia tivcly spc iking at least, measured up quite favouiably to the aveiage American film
'I was introduced, later, to John Bairymoic and he impressed mc as nn amazing personality He has a low ilch voice, languid and tuneful in quality, and a tiacious almost regal piesence I should say he is much moie handsome off-scieen than on-if such a tiling weie possible
"Aflenval ds, the directoi of the film came over and Joined us and we had a long chat Both were genuinely interested in Austi alia and were cagei to know how their woik was íeceived in this country
'On the second day of my an i val In Hollywood I lunched at the famous Brown Delby,' where I met tw o of Hollj wood s most odd and fascinat- ing flguies-wallace Beeiy and Roland Young Wallace Beeiy has laughlhg blown eyes and a disarming almost child-like smile Roland Young is the pcifect host and entertained us with a diy, whimsical humoui Alleen Pi ingle, who was lunching at an adjacent table, has the most perfect-English speaking voice It is a wondei to me she is not featured In moie talkies Wera Engels, daughtei of the Commander of the famous i aider, 'Einden,' and Hollywoods latest foieign sensation, was also present She is very beautiful and was exquisitely dicssed
The following day I saw Lillian Ilaivey aad John Boles at work on 'Mv Lips Beti ay ' I do not think the microphone catches the full lyiic quality of John Boles's magnificent singing \oice I exchanged a few woids with Miss Haivey, who speaks German, Piench, and English fluently with a delicious accent She is a most rcfieshing personality, naive, witty vivacious, and bubbling ovei with meirimcit Unlike some of the other foieign film stars theic is nothing thcatiical In her gestures Everyone predicts a great future for this spaikling young scieen debutante
'I had lunch with Victor McLaglcn at his home the day before I had to teal myself away legret fully from Hollywood
'His estates, which cover acres and acres of ground might best be descilbed as a miniature farm for all provisions are grown on the place Tlie house itself is famed as the very mecca of material comforts The kitchen, with its huge open fires is a levelation to any modern housewife In simplicity and utility. Mr McLaglen, who is a perfect host entertains on a lavish scale There are glorious gai dens and a swimming pool which is the rendezvous of social Hollywood
"My stay was altogether too brief in Hollywood, ] and I had to regretfully decline an invitation to a reception of Marie Diesslei's After a breath- less week however, I have only the pleasantest recollections of Hollywood and its hospitality. It is an amazing place but the people in it are even more amazing "