A cargo which included a Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, a refugee song writer from Germany, a celebrated French dramatist, a movie star and notables in the worlds of business and diplomacy arrived on the Ile de France yesterday.
Elmer Rice, who was a hard man to corner, finally gave out a routine interview in which he commented on drama, politics, Fascism and whatever else he could think of.
“England seems to be going for Fascism,” said Mr. Rice. “The masses are only too happy to seize on what they think is an opportunity to save the country from economic hardship-perhaps ruin.
SEES TOLERANCE ON WANE
“Although the country seemed proud to call itself the most liberal in the world, I should say there is a strong anti-Semitic movement in foot. The tendency is markedly away from tolerance and freedom.”
Wearing a light summer suit, shell-rimmed eye glasses, blue shirt and necktie, the author of “Street Scene” expressed the belief that America too will some day see a strong anti-Semitic movement. “way out of proportion to its present scope.” He said that as a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, he has received complaints on this score which have been “considerable in number.”
For two weeks Mr. Rice has been in London, where his play “Counsellor-at-Law,” is running with success. He had almost nothing to say about drama in general and said he may write a political play, but is not decided yet.
A summa cum laude graduate of the Law School of Columbia University, class of 1912, Elmer Rice found during under-graduate years that his pet interest was the drama. He attended plays and practiced writing them. “On Trial,” one of the most successful melodramas on Broadway; “Street Scene,” “Close Harmony” and “Counsellor-at-Law” are some of his successes.
FUGITIVE COMPOSER ABOARD
A fellow passenger of Mr. Rice was Franz Waxman, twenty-seven-year-old German composer, who has fled the Nazi persecution in his homeland. Author of the scores in “Paprika,” “La Chanson de la Vie” and “Lilliom,” Herr Waxman plans to meet Eric Palmer in Hollywood, where he will join Fox Films.
“I will never return to Germany,” he said. “I left and made my home in Paris when Hitler came into power. My parents are still in Berlin, but I can never rejoin them.”
Slight of build and nearsighted, Mr. Waxman told of the difficulties encountered by German refugees. He said many of them who are artistically inclined have forsaken their country, taken up life in France and England and are “fairly happy.”
The young composer turned his nose up at political subjects, however, and insisted that “art is all.” He doesn’t speak English well, travels first class but heeds no rules of sartorial etiquette and wears a shabby felt ha### that has seen much wear and shoes that are not new. But Herr Waxman is an artist.
“NEVER HEARD OF JEWS”-HAINES
William Haines, the movie star, was asked by a Bulletin staff writer what he thought of the Nazi-Jewish question. He promptly answered that he never heard of the Jews, didn’t know any of them were in Europe and asked what those who are there are doing there.
He spent some time talking about the film business and said he “is going to play in serious pictures in the future.”
A group of twenty-one Bedouin Arabs were on board, wearing native garb, but they had nothing ### of Palestine.