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¡In Australian Films.
'TJAVE you ten men who can wear tails and li look as if they're used to them?" '
"Can you find me fifty aborigines?"
"1 want a girl with a good voice and good looks. She has to swim and sing."
"Let me have a look at a batch of 'toughs' to fit into a two-up school."
TMs is the type of query that comes over the telephone to the manager of a,casting bureau in fact, these very requests came to Mr. Claude Flemming and Mr. Frank Harvey last week in connection with the pictures, "Uncivilised," "The Flying Doctor," and "Thoroughbred," which are now being made in New South Wales.
Anticipating the need for a bureau to satisfy the demands of directors when the Quota Act ga,e a fillip to the pic
hire Industry in N.S."W" Mr. Flemming and Mr. Harvey, with years of ex- perience in screen and stage work both in America and England behind them, decided that they would organise a casting office on the lines of those already established abroad.
, At present their Central Film Casting Agency has fat hundred people listed lor prospective picture acting. They are classi- fied according to type and attached to each portrait is a description of the person. Age, weight, and height are tabulated and I record is kept of the acting experience-if any. Any ability to sing, dance, ride, swim, play tennis, or speak foreign lan piiges is also noted.
When the film director téléphones for a man or loman to fin a certain »le all people registered lu that category are noti- fied and sent to the studios. The director sfasles out those whom he
desires to make a screen ' tet, and the final choice
Iliade after that, The unlucky ones go back to
6 pigeon-holes until another call-and perhaps elr big chance-comes. >
II a batch of extras is wanted, those recorded wiling to take on such \rork are sent along. an> people are able to earn a little pocket-money this way. They are able to fit in with the crowd. "lough their lack of outstanding quality debars
'm from indhridual roles.
* We proportion of the six hundred registered na Mr. Flemming and Mr, Harvey are young
girls, but there is a dearth of pre- sentable young men and middle aged folk. Mr. Fleming considers that the average Australian male is a shy person, who thinks it looks rather foolish to
apply for film work, even if It is his secret am- bition In life 'to excel in pictures. Middle - aged people are also ex- ceedingly diffident about coming to the front, and yet Mr. Flemming considers tha^t they are the back'
bone of a picture. He predicts an increasing demand for middle-aged people in the near future. I The Sydney bureau is affiliated with Connies, Ltd., in London, and with Howard C. Brown in New York. The names of actors and actresses seeking Australian engagements through these over- sea agents are forwarded in the hope that Mr. Flemming and Mr. Harvey might place them. The popular idea amongst laymen is that the big stars in Hollywood would not come to Australia at any price-that they consider the picture industry here unworthy of their talents, and that they would
Anxious to Come Here.
be afraid of missing bigger chances while away from the great film centres. But the lists sent out- give the lie to all that, most convincingly, and prove that Australian picture-making is taken very seriously and held in high regard by those who have won fame in Hollywood.
These names stand out amongst those anxious to make pictures here when their present contracts are concluded: Jean Harlow, Rochelle Hudson, Gail Patrick, Madge Evans, June Collyer, Mary Arden, Mona Barrie, Robert Montgomery, Jack Oakie, Lyle Talbot, Reginald Denny, Lionel Barry- more, Noah Beery, jun., Mrs. Patrick Campbell, Helen Gahagan, Cora Sue Collins, and Alice Brady. Leon Gordon is keen to come back as a scenario writer.
Of course, most of these have named a price
for their services which, according to oin: standard at present, is very high, but their interest in the Industry here proves that those who are looking ahead in pictures are looking towards . Australia, and Australians should feel tremendously proud and gratified about it. Mr. Flemming is now negotiating with local film companies to cast some of the outstanding oversea actors and actresses on his lists, and it was through the co-operation of Mr. Flemming and Connies, Ltd., that Mr. Charles Chauvel engaged Mr. Denis Hoey to play
the male lead in "Uncivilised."
As an adjunct to their bureau, Mr. Flemming and Mr. Harvey have a school of film acting. Their pupils number seventy-two, of which twenty are children-many just tiny-tots. Only ten of the prospective stars have passed their first youth. Under Mr. Flemming's direction several of the children from the school, headed by 10-year-old Gloria Gotch, recently took part in a short film, "Magic Shoes," which is soon to be released. Another pupil, Miss Helen Hughes, acted as the princess in this story, and Mr. Flemming considers that she will go far in film work. Miss Hughes, he says, is the ideal Australian girl. She has dignity, poise, fine physique, and an excellent voice. Miss Sheilah Parry, who is the fairy queen in "Magic Shoes," is another girl who could, if she would, win fame, according to her director. Incidentally, the policeman who finds himself in the magic shoes and begins to dance is Andrew Higginson, whom theatregoers will remember as "Danilo" in
I the original Sydney production of the "Merry
Widow," and1 quite unconsciously he would find himself doing the "Merry Widow Waltz" when re- quested to dance before the camera. Another stage favourite who appears in Mr. Flemming's film is Phil Smith, father of Mona Barrie, the young Australian girl who has done so well in Holly- wood, yet is willing to come back to pictures in her
Mr. Flemming considers that every type of actress and actor required for film work is to be found among Australians, and, as^examples, he gives us the portraits that appear ori-.this page. You see the face of the scholar, the', cynic, the ingenue, and the proud, well-bred Englishwoman. These faces are outstanding among i the many.
Asked for the principal fault among those who seek employment through his bureau, Mr. Flem- ming said that it is difficult to convince people that naturalness is their greatest asset. He fihds it very hard to induce them to t shed the veneer which they have acquired, thinking that it will improve their chances. He tries first to make them feel at home in his studios so that he can get to know the real person and not the person his client would like to be or thinks he really is.' As a test piece he gives them Noel Coward's "Private Lives" to read aloud. This play, he con- siders, supplies the kind of dialogue most gener- ally used in films. There are no long passages, and the potential actor forgets to be stilted and unnatural when speaking those terse, everyday
Children are even greater poseurs than the adults, and Mr. Flemming says that they come in all pre- pared to make long speeches at him, when he only wants to see them sprawling in a chair or answering his commonplace questions in a simple
It is quite apparent, then, that one cannot bluff one's way into pictures, and, while our doctor and our hairdresser have been the only people who are supposed to know us as we really are, our casting agent has also been able to discover the
real self. l
MR. CAMPBELL COPEL1N, who is already well known to Australian theatregoers as a particularly versatile actor, has unusual qualities for picture work. His features lend themselvpi to "sinister" make- up, if necessary, and his acting ability would carry him through such a part which is usually so difficult to cast successfully.
(Below.) MISS JUDY PRICE is an ideal young Australian. As an out-of-doors girl she would be excellently cast in a picture, for she rides, swims, and plays a good
game of tennis.
The face of a great man-poet, philosop h e r, scholar, priest - MR. P. SCULLY'S handsome features could pass before the camera in any role which re- quired a man with the stamp of dis- tinction upon him.
// MISS IIUGLA HURLEY makes her name in the film world it will probably be for her portrayal of the well-bred Englishiooman. She has a dignity and a reserve which admirably qualify her for