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JANE BARRETT, English atai, who will arrive soon in Australia, to play the feminine lead opposite Chips Rafferty in the Ealing produc tion, ' Eureka Stockade." In addition to her film work she has appeared in more than 2000 radio sessions for the B.B.C. She is engaged to
Danish artist Hans Helweg.
Hard work and no glamor
Sfrict training at English
By BILL STRUTTON in London
Many a romantic young English girl dreaming of overnight film stardom would wake with a shock if a producer really decided she was the girl he was seeking
to make into a star.
The first thing the huge J. Arthur Rank organi sation does when it discovers a newcomer as star material is to pick her up gently and shake the star dust out of her eyes.
There are no parties and no fan mail for months ?maybe years.
THE candidate for stardom
is sent to school with an allowance of ten pounds a week and a few weeks' rations.
The school is called "The Com pany of Youth," and to the horror of its teachers (but the secret de light of its starlet pupils) news papermen have taken to calling it
Rank's "Charm School."
Its proper name does sound a
There, back at school, the new starlet meekly accepts reproofs when she falls to dreaming of a mink coat, and usually suffers the humiliation of being told in front of others that her accent is terrible
She loses her illusions and her self-consciousness very quickly.
"The Company of Youth" is now two years old and is responsible for most of the new faces now appear ing on the British screen.
Patrick Holt, formerly a young
' - ? ~-i
MOLLY TERRAINE, director 0/ J. Arthur Ranttft ' Company of Youth," a school for promising ftiml players, watches students Zena Marshall and Shawa
Noble go through a love scene.
British colonel in Burma, came back to school, and as a result won feature roles in "The October Man" with John Mills and in "The Mark of Cain" opposite Sally Gray.
Maxwell Reed, the tall, dark, strikingly handsome hero of "Dear Murderer" and "The Brothers" (in which he co-starred with Patricia Roc), was the company's earliest white hope.
Hazel Court, who now has a string of films behind her. including "Holi day Camp" and "Meet Me at Dawn,"
started her career there.
They all had to sit on forms, stand up to recite their pieces, and listen hard when the principal, Molly Tcrraine, gestured and mimed and drilled them in the art of act ing before the camera.
I visited "The Company of Youth" at its studios in Highbury this week.
In one room a number of pretty young girls and handsome lads, mostly teen-agers, sat round in a 1 circle, while their teacher, a portly, motherly woman, had them intoning the alphabet.
This was the "Breathing Class.'
In addition, their curriculum in cludes movement and mime, fencing, accent correction, play reading, script study, rehearsing of excerpts, remedial exercises, and diction.
The first three months at the Rank "Company of Youth" is called quaintly, but with some accu racy, the "purdah period," be cause not until after that time are the starlets allowed into the wider and more exciting world where actual films are made, and where they can meet producers, directors, and stars, and maybe be allowed to walk on in a bit part themselves.
Grooming also includes posing for publicity shots in ultra-formal even ing clothes or gay beachwear, tak ing on a job as a star's stand-in to see how they work, and sometimes acting as usherettes at some large and glittering charity premiere of a new film.
If the pupils can garner experi
ence on the way by acting in sofjl small repertory company thi ui gladly let off from school for the; richer experience of actual wort on the stage.
For this reason Arthur RanK has interests in a small reperton om pany at Worthing.
Each month Molly Terraim endi in a "school report" on the pro gress of each pupil.
In addition to acting as mi ins and gathering practical i peri ence on the stage of some mall theatre, many of Molly Terraine's "children" will be drafted int. roles in Highbury Studios, which have
just opened into production of seen ond feature films as a new bianch of film magnate's Rank's activities
Currently, John Stone, a squatfl
jawed, fair-haired, talented vounf actor, whose monthly repor are sprinkled with high praise, is co starring there opposite Ealnu star Jane Barrett?the girl chosen for the role of Alicia Dunne in Austra lia's "Eureka Stockade"?in a period comedy called "Colonel Bogey."
How are pupils for stardom
There are now 22 studying under the teachers of "The Company of Youth." and a large majority ot them had previous experience before being found by talent scouts.
Rarely does a letter accompanied by a photograph sufficiently con vince the casting bureau of the vast Rank organisation that the appli cant is sufficiently keen or capable
^0 great is principal Molly Ter
raine's reputation for coaching among film producers?she comes from a theatrical family and has played every sort of role herself? that she is often called in to ftroom a prospective star in a particular film part, or even for a film test
At present she is down at Den ham, spending all her time by the side of young Jean Simmons, who, , though she has never played
J Shakespeare before, is appearing as
Ophelia to Sir Laurence Oliviers
Molly, the small, vital mother of» 20-year-old daughter herself, has already seen the graduation of
many of her starlets to feature roles and even star status.
Tiny, honey-blonde Carol Marsh j went from her classrooms straight to stardom in "Brighton Rock," opposite Richard Attenborough.
Tall, glamorous Sonia Hoim is an example of an actress who has "arrived" through "The Company of
Firstly, she got a small part B
Peter Ustinov's "Top Secret," then j
a slightly larger role in Ealing's "The Loves of Joanna Godden," and, currently, a "plum" part in Cains borough's "Rescue."
Other graduates from "The Com pany of Youth" gradually being worked into British films are blonde Susan Shaw, who features in Gains borough's "Miranda" and Anatole de Grunwald's "Bond Street": hefty character actor Andrew Crawford, who is featured in "The Brothers" and "Dear Murderer."