"A Visit to Movieland" reprinted from The Forum magazine, January 1920. This is the 7th of 9 parts. Written by "The Forum's Correspondent."
Screen Make-Up Very Difficult:
And then we noticed how these photographic oddities had been heeded in the make-up of the actors. None had rouge on his face, only grease paint, dusted with yellowish powder. Those who had full color in their lips had not rouged them, for to have done that would have been to invite heavy black lips in their photographed image. We chatted with an actor who was waiting to be called for a scene on one of the distant sets.
"Make-up for the screen," he said, "is much more difficult than for the stage. In the theatre we are at a distance from the audience and behind bright lights which cover errors of make-up. But in this game, brought close up to the camera, we are magnified many times. This necessitates the greatest care in make-up. On the speaking stage, a streak of grease paint will give a splendid effect for a scar. The same trick used for the screen, however, would produce nothing but a black line. We have to draw the skin together to make a deep crease; this is held in place by adhesive tape. Then the crease is filled with a mixture of collodion which, upon drying, holds the skin drawn. The tape is then removed and, upon photographing, there is presented on the screen a scar that fools a surgeon."
We presently left the big "community studio" and motored to an enormous plant owned by a widely-known movie company. Here we were fortunate to see a rehearsal in progress. There sat the star in gay Spanish costume, an operatic star also of international fame; nearby was her husband, a Broadway leading man, one of those lights of the theatre who no longer jeer at the movies. And he was he-vamping for the camera. The director who was conducting the rehearsal was making his company play the important situations, speaking lines, sobbing and ranting, as they would have done in the theatre. And, being good actors, they looked quite bored when a performer other than themselves held the center of the stage; and they stood in little groups whispering about new cars they were going to buy, and shouldn't one have a cottage at the beach as well as in Hollywood; and "I'd have run away with that last picture I did with Pauline Frederick, only she made the director cut out my best scenes--"