by Harold Downs
I AM VERY SAD!
During about half an hour Miss Luise Rainer was not only very sad, but also very glad; reflective and candid; a critic with a constructive bent, and an actress dealing soundly and destructively with some of the critics in some of their moods.
“When I went to Hollywood I was very young,” said Miss Rainer. The spirit of youth has not yet left her.
“I had travelled the whole of Europe with ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author’ – a very successful tour.”
Curiously it was my reference to films and Hollywood, to studio and stage playing, which started Miss Rainer’s flow of delightful conversation.
“My main interest is the theatre,” she confessed, “though, of course, I do feel that moving pictures are very important. They reach such a tremendous audience.”
Next, I was questioned: “What is more satisfactory than to see the work you do is useful to a large number of people?” Miss Rainer knows the answer!
“They call me a cinema actress in the papers,” was another confession. “Myvisit to Hollywood was merely going off the stage for a while.”
Had Miss Rainer in mind any serious plans? Any favourite British playwrights? Any special types of plays?
“I do not want to set a standard – or indeed to set anything,” she said. “I came here as an actress. I am very sorry if the critics think that I ought to have come with something more serious.”
Miss Rainer talked rapturously about players, with intellectual penetration of plays, in keen appreciation of Shaw, Sherwood, Emlyn Williams, Coward, and especially of Odets. She ended an illuminating half-hour on a generous note: “I feel about my work that I like to give as much warmth and love as I can produce to the big public. This kind of giving I feel is best for oneself. As long as one can give warmth and love, which are so much needed in our time, one really does something worth while.”
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Also included in the same programme is the following “Potted Criticism” of the play, Behold the Bride, in which Luise was appearing at the time:
A hotchpotch of theatrical material, gossamer light in its intellectual weight, is made brilliantly effective because Miss Rainer is an expert technician and knows how to change mood and manner to make the most of every opportunity. The bride – direct from Paris, helping the “family” out of a financial hole – is at last both welcomed and rewarded – suitably! There are amusing scenes and situations, which to the alert bring the reminder that high entertainment value is not wholly dependent upon the first-class interpretation of a play of exceptional merit. Specially noted: Luise Rainer, Griffith Jones, Jeanne de Casalis, Evelyn Roberts, Jacqueline Squire, Hazel Terry, Jack Lambert.