Jump to: navigation, search

Dundee Evening Telegraph (01/Feb/1927) - New Recruit to the Films




Basil Dean To Forsake The Theatre.

Mr Basil Dean, the famous play producer, who recently prophesied the imminent death of the present-day theatre, is going in for film direction.

That fact crystallises the considerable amount of speculation which has in the last few days developed concerning the future plans of the theatrical producer.

Mr Dean went to Elstree yesterday and inspected the great new studios of British National, to meet the £48,000 a year director-general, A. E. Dupont, and to study Mr Herbert Wilcox directing Dorothy Gish in "Madame Pompadour."

He spent three days last week at the Islington studios of Gainsborough Pictures, watching Mr Alfred Hitchcock directing Ivor Novello in "Downhill," the work of the electricians in the lighting of the sets especially engaging his interest.

On Thursday Mr Dean goes to Berlin to study the German studios, particularly the new Ufa building at Neu Babelsberg, which represents the experience of all other studios and is the "last word" in technical ideas.

In Germany he will meet famous directors, who, like him, have been drawn from tho stage to the screen by the possibilities of the cinema as a medium of drama. Weine (who made "Dr Caligari") was a stage producer; so was Paul Leni, who made the famous "Waxworks" and who is now filming "The Cat and the Canary" in Hollywood.

The actual production with which Mr Basil Dean will make his début as film director is not decided. There seems reason to believe that Mr Michael Balcon, of the Gainsborough Company, considers offering him one of the pictures in the firm's programme, which includes Noel Coward's "Easy Virtue." That would show characteristic imagination; it was the Gainsborough firm that "discovered" (in a screen star sense) Ivor Novello, that gave Mr Hitchcock his chance, and broke new ground by filming the Coward plays.

Mr Dean said that his screen orientation will be governed by the consideration whether he can bring something "to it."

"I am studying it carefully first," he said.

He agreed that he would like to direct a screen version of "The Constant Nymph," which he produced on the stage last autumn.