Critical Moments

Do you remember Charles Ray, who in the silent days invariably played the part of an appealing, weak but soft hearted hero? In most of his pictures he was forced through a series of mishaps, predicated upon his weakness, his unwillingness to fight back at the world but always before the end of the film he would find himself and emerge victorious.

He was a great favorite. People liked a character who embodied all the weaknesses of mankind yet had the courage to overcome them. It was the old “worm turns” idea and Ray found himself a wealthy and successful actor, but that was nearly ten years ago. For the past five years Hollywood has seen nothing of him but lately out of a past of sickness, poverty and despair Charles Ray has emerged with renewed ambition. He wants to be both an actor and novelist.

He believes that he has evolved a new philosophy and it is his ambition, now that he has written a novel catching the essence of his thinking, to play the leading role in a picture to be made from the story.

On the “Ladies Should Listen” set at Paramount, where he plays the minor role of a doorman, the popular lead and character actor of a decade ago disclosed details of the latest chapter in his colorful life story.

“Despair is weak and futile,” he said. “I suppose suicide has occurred to most of us in our times, but the men and women of worth don’t attempt it. There is something else in life than material success and happy endings to love stories and I have come to believe there is something more— something far better—on the other side.

“That’s what I have tried to say in my book. It’s a novel of Hollywood. A book for Hollywood people. My people. For it’s to them I want to give my message.

“And to do it as completely as possible, I want to play the central character myself, should the story ever reach the screen. Right now it’s in the hands of a literary agent.”

THE CRUSADES TO BE SUBJECT OF FILM

Paramount announces that Cecil B. De Mille’s next picture, which is in a casting stage, will be called “The Crusades” and, as the title indicates, will deal exclusively with the historically famous treks and junkets made by the adventures of many of the more important European countries in the time of Richard-the-Lion-Hearted of England.

Harold Lamb, who wrote such books as “The Crusades,” “Flame of Islam,” “Iron Men” and “Saints Ghengis Kahn and Tamerlane,” has been assigned to write the script of the picture which is to go into production late this summer.

Casting for the “Crusades” will begin shortly with Richard-the-Lion-Hearted as the choice role to be filled.

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