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Dramatic Mirror & Theatre World, November 27, 1920, p. 1017

Watching Alice Joyce

Bt Harold Howe

Alice Joyce
Beautiful Vitagraph star, who is captivating her admirers in her newest photoplay, "The Vice of Fools."

"YOU will find her in Number Ten," the casting director informed me. So thither I went. I was not going to interview Alice Joyce. I planned to sneak up quietly near the set and observe her before the camera and between scenes. The editor had commissioned me to write something different.

"Alice Joyce is one of the most charming personalities on the screen" he told me, "and I want you to study her unobserved. See if you can't catch that indefinable charm of hers through her work on the set. She may be caught off her guard if you simply peep about. Don't let her see you. It would spoil everything."

So with his parting advice still humming in my ears, I stumbled over furniture and pieces of timber in my hast to approach Number 10.

Fortune Favored Me

for Corinne Griffith was working in a beautiful boudoir close by. It occurred to me that by standing on the edge of her set, I could look over on Number Ten. If Alice saw me, she might assume I was interviewing Corinne. I took the beautiful southerner into my confidence.

"I won't be here long," she answered. "In a few minutes I am off for the day. Then you will have the place to yourself."

"But will they pull down the set?"

"No they are going to shot several scenes here tomorrow."

Corinne of the creamy skin and the long lashes led me to a corner of the set. She peeked through the curtain.

"S-s-h," she warned, her big blue eyes apop with mischief, "you can get a fine unobstructed view from here."

Between the parted curtains Miss Joyce could be

Plainly Seen at Work

while I would be unobserved.

"Here's your lookout, Peeping Tom," Corinne laughed, revealing her beautiful teeth. "Just wait until I am through with this scene and the boudoir is yours for the rest of the day."

After Corinne and her staff had departed I took my position and looked over on Number Ten. Alice and her director were in the middle of an animated discussion. I watched them both closely. Alice was giving him the same undivided attention that a "good little girl" would give her teacher. The great motion picture star was buried in Alice Joyce the woman, who strives with each new production to improve on her last. All her director's suggestions were received with child-like respect. Occasionally she would break in with a suggestion of her own and was apparently delighted when he approved her judgment.

The Scene Showed

a handsome bedroom--the bed on the right, a dresser on the left and in the foreground a table, while diagonally across from the bed was a pier glass. At the moment Alice was rehearsing some bit of business.

Everyone knows that she is a mistress of pantomime, and from my point of observation I began to get the atmosphere of the story. It was almost the same as seeing Alice on the screen. She came slowly down the room from the bed in a beautiful negligee. Twice on her way to the table she stopped, and that brooding madonna look came into her eyes that has given her the title of "Madonna of the silver sheet." It was clear to me that she was conveying renunciation.

Desperate longing was reflected in a pair of brown eyes that the public know only too well for me to describe here. As she reached the table she took some flowers from a vase and crushed them to her breast. Her lips quivered as if in a tender reminiscence.

"Shoot," said the director, "and I watched her do the same scene over again. Suddenly the camera man exclaimed, "Lord, I forgot the fadeout."

The director laughed. "Shoot it over."

"Joe,* you should be ashamed of yourself," Alice exclaimed. "Darn it, I had an

Early Dinner Engagement

and we still have that double exposure to take."

Joe looked crestfallen. Miss Joyce laughed. "Poor old Joe. Never mind; go ahead and shoot."

"Miss Joyce," Joe shouted. "This is going to be the best photography I ever gave you. See if it isn't."

"Alice smiled upon him--the Joyce smile, rated exceedingly high in gold coin of the realm.

"You couldn't make a bad picture if you tried, Joe," was he reply.

Is it any wonder all who work with her give of their best.

This conversation evidently put the director on his mettle, for suddenly he decided to improve the layout of the scene. While he and his two assistants were busily engaged moving things about, Alice sat down on the bed and cupped her chin in her hands. Her eyes were fixed, looking into space. What a screen player who had worked with her told me recently came into my mind.

"Alice Joyce," he said, "is one of the most sincere actresses I have ever worked with. Often between scenes when lights are being adjusted, or there is a halt in the production, you will find her sitting quietly in a corner thinking."

"Did you ever ask her what she is thinking about," I asked at the time.

"Generally she is concentrating to keep in character," he replied.

And now right before my eyes was the proof of what he said. Moving picture fans seldom

Realize the Truth

back of the work of a picture star. Hours of waiting in addition to acting are part of a day's work. Alice Joyce sitting on a bed of a studio set, concentrating so that her thought would keep in the character she was portraying is an index to the realism of screen work.

Alice looked up suddenly and smiled. I followed he eyes. A maid was coming on the set--a motion picture maid all ready for action. Alice moved along to make room for her. They chatted for a minute when the star began to look into space again. The girl turned toward her and, just as a sister would, she began to touch her hair, settle her combs and arrange her negligee.

Interviewers dwell at great length on her

Peculiar Reserve

As I watched he work in perfect good fellowship I penetrated that so-called reserve. It is concentration pure and simple. She carries this characteristic off the set as well as on. When she is not working her mind is occupied with the next script. I don't know of any star that gives so much of real self. She throws herself into each new interpretation with her whole heart and soul. She is only reserved in the sense that every one is at times, withdrawing from others to concentrate and to think.

The director was ready so Alice again went through the scene already described. This time Joe did not forget the fade-out.

"Now, Miss Joyce, we are ready for the double exposure."

There was an immediate hustling during which Alice went to the dresser and took down her hair. I might here describe her face as reflected in the mirror, for from my vantage point it appeared framed in an oval symphony. The light threw its rays into the mirror and her face and hair were illuminated in a golden glory.

What follows is a

Critic's Impression

of Alice. It always seemed to me to aptly describe her charm and the reason for the hold she has on he public.

"Miss Joyce's beauty is truly exotic--rare. The golden apple of the fables might have come to her without causing any of that famous dilemma mythology tells us about. Startling to immediate attention are her eyes and mouth. Her eyes are like glistening deep brown twin gems. And they speak with all the volubility that her vocal organs are denied in her work on the screen. It has even been said that Miss Joyce is one star of the screen who always speaks her lines--despite the silencer of the camera--with her eyes.

"Her mouth, with its frame of full blown, healthy and beautiful lips, is one of the most striking points of her charm. With her mouth and eyes Miss Joyce

Sounds the Whole Scale

of human emotions in her work and well do her admirers know that it needs, but a wistful purse of the lips or a gleaming glance from those windows of her soul to pull their heart-strings as she wills.

"And the gods were as complete with her as generous. For as a gorgeous setting for their masterpiece they crowned her with a coronet of glory--a wealth of royal dark brown hair that makes her one delightful symphony."

*Presumably Joe Shelderfer, who shot most of Joyce's Vitagraph films from 1917 and 1921
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