The Real Rainer
[This article first appeared in Picturegoer’s Famous Film Supplement: The Great Ziegfeld, 27th February 1937]
The eyes have it, and that is one of the reasons why lovely Luise Rainer, the Viennese star, was chosen to play the role of Anna Held in The Great Ziegfeld.
Anna Held was famous for her large, lustrous eyes…eyes that would not behave…eyes that captured the heart of America’s greatest showman, Florenz Ziegfeld…eyes that inspired poets and composers to praise them in poetry and song.
“Miss Rainer’s eyes are equally as beautiful as Anna Held’s, if not more beautiful,” says producer Hunt Stronberg who chose her for the role. They are as large, lustrous and contain that same tantalising quality of pseudo-naughtiness.
“Although Anna Held was known to millions of people for amusing naughtiness on the stage, I knew her as a woman with a very sweet temper off-stage, a lovely and gentle woman.
“This also is true of Miss Rainer. In person she possesses one of the sweetest personalities I have ever known. Yet, in her characterisations for the screen she is capable of adapting herself to an opposite personality tinged with polite naughtiness and a little devilish twinkle in every glance and an impish suggestion in every movement of her lithe body.”
Luise has the gift of making those who work with her like her.
Before Luise Rainer ever made a picture, William Powell said that she was a dramatic actress, and a “very individual individual.”
Being the first actor to work with Miss Rainer in films, he was in a position to know. And after the preview of Escapade, he was able to tell any doubters: “I told you so.” For in that picture the petite star proved her ability beyond question.
Luise Rainer is a most definite personality. A key to her character is her entire simplicity. It is reflected in her gestures, her spoken thoughts and her mode of living. That is why Hollywood and its glamour are so confusing to her. And she asks wonderingly: “They make gods of us in Hollywood. Why?”
Then she goes on: “I do not want to be thought of in this way. I am only an actress. All of us should do our work well if we do it at all. Why should there be such acclaim when we only do what is our duty?”