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a great responsibility on our hands. I States. She violates every law of dehave heard it said and corroborated, in cency, save one, that is known to the unimpeachable quarters, that to the Hindu, the Japanese, or the mestizo of movies is due a large part of the unrest South America. It is scarcely conceivin India. For a decade, the East Indian able to them that anyone but a prostihas been gazing upon the white man's tute should behave like that. Yet they movie; and it is inevitable that he have it on good authority
have it on good authority - the film should ask why the people who behave that she is the daughter of the American that way at home should consider that millionaire or the British peer, who conthey have a divine mission to civilize siders himself immeasurably the poor and govern other races. Whatever one Hindu's, the poor Jap's, the poor peon's thinks of the movie, I believe we should superior. all agree that it does not illustrate, par- Nor do I believe that Charlie Chaplin ticularly well, the social superiority of is destined to spread the doctrine of the the white race. The Anglo-Indian offi- White Man's Burden very successfully. cial and his wife may be supremely We deal, in these other continents, with scrupulous and tactful; but the native peoples to whom unnecessary bodily is, of course, going to consider that the activity is not a dignified thing. You movie gives them away.
cannot possibly explain Charlie ChapI have no doubt that the worst films, lin to them correctly. You just cannot. not the best, are shipped to the remoter They simply think that official Anglocontinents. Japan is overrun with for- Saxons are minuetting in the parlor for eign movies, as well as India. I do not diplomatic reasons, and that Charlie know about China, but certainly the Chaplin is the Anglo-Saxon ‘out in the Dutch East Indies, Indo-China, the pantry.' Paris is as keen, I understand, Straits Settlements are invaded. Read on ‘Charlot'as England and the United the guide-books. Mr. J. O. P. Bland, States. But compared with Asia, Africa, who has been observing alien races in and South America, France and Engtheir own habitat, for many years, with land and we are, as it were, one flesh. patient precision, avers that the Amer- This particular problem is none of ican (and perhaps European) movie is my affair. But it might be well, all the doing incalculable harm to the mixed same, not to present ourselves as topopulaces of the South American re- tally lacking in social dignity at the publics. To take only one instance: we very moment when we are being so can perfectly see that to the Hindu and haughty about the Monroe Doctrine the Mohammedan, the Japanese, and and Japanese exclusion and the White the South American of Hispano-Moor- Man's Burden in general. The people ish social tradition, the spectacle of the who are told that we are too good movie-heroine who is not only unchap- to mess up with them in a league of eroned but scantily dressed, who more nations must wonder a little when they or less innocently 'vamps' every man look at Charlie Chaplin, having prewithin striking radius, who drives her viously been told that he is the idol of own car through the slums at midnight, the American public. I have taken who places herself constantly in peril- Charlie Chaplin merely because of his ous or unworthy contacts, yet who is on positively world-wide popularity. The the whole considered a praiseworthy love of slap-stick is not confined to the and eminently marriageable young Anglo-Saxon tribe, though I believe no woman, is not calculated to enhance other tribe likes it one half so much. Perthe reputation of Europe or the United Sonally, I am bored to tears by Charlie. But as a public, there is no doubt that serious drama has violated them, but it we adore him. We understand perfectly has never positively contradicted them that our peculiar sense of humor in no flung them out of court. Unity of wise prevents us from carrying on an action has at least been kept, in mest enlightened form of government with a cases. Even unity of time has often good deal of success. Slap-stick has al- been stuck to; and in rare cases of late, ways been in the Anglo-Saxon's blood. unity of place. There has been no virBut I can see that the Brahmin or the tue in discarding the three unities, exSamurai, who gazes on Charlie and the cept the virtue that is made of necessity. custard pie, might legitimately wonder But the screen-play must discard them, whether, after all, Charlie was intend- in order to find itself. Unity of time ed by the Deity to govern the whole and unity of place alike would kill the planet; cannot you?
movie. Even unity of action is by no That was, in a sense, a digression. means necessary to it. At least, so it For what I really had set myself to do seems to me; but then I am very strong was to indicate what, it seemed to me, for the picaresque, the epic movie. were some of the possibilities of the Certainly, unity of action in the strictmoving picture — the moving picture est dramatic sense is not a virtue in the as an artistic genre, that is. I have no screen-play. It is precisely the movie's means of knowing what technically chance to give the larger, looser texture may be achieved in another decade or of life itself. It does not, at its best, two: what marvels of color, of scene- have to artificialize and recast life as shifting, and the like. But all that is does the well-made play. Its motto not stage-managing, not the play itself. I only is, but ought to be, ‘Good-bye, fancy, being largely Anglo-Saxon still in Aristotle! This may seem a superfluour make-up, we shall go on with slap- ous saying, since we have been bidding stick to the end of the chapter. Prob- that gentleman farewell so vociferously ably the alien among us will be more for so long. Yet the drama has, up to quickly educated to slap-stick than to our own time, been on speaking terms any other of our ideals. It will be the with him. The drama, I fancy, will first step in Americanization. I do not have to continue to be on speaking see how you can develop slap-stick ex- terms with him; and I am not sure that cept along the line of least resistance. the one-act play, which has so much It can only go a little further all the vogue at present, has not actually intime, and become a little more so. vited him to come back and have a cup
But the movie drama has a more seri- of tea. ous and varied future than that. It is The movie is another matter. It has important. It must chuck - it ought its own quite different future; and proto chuck the Aristotelian unities ducer, director, actor, and author will overboard. The three unities have long all have to pull together to make since ceased to be sacred, yet the mem- that future artistically as well as comory of them has overshadowed the mercially brilliant. More power to their whole of European play-writing. Our elbows!
EXILE AND STEAMER
BY JEAN KENYON MACKENZIE
THERE is moonlight and sunlight, unless it is the superstructure of an oilthere are the stars and the sea. Some well? You whose house is on the Huddays are gray and ribbed with the white son, where a steamer is at anchor betrouble of the surf. Some are white fore your very door — it is eight bells; days, full of a sparkle of sunlight like a the hour was struck, and did you hear spray above the water. On some days the bell? The signal stands in the enmountains that have been long lost rise gine-room at 'Full Steam Ahead,' and out of the sea; at noon they are faint did you hear that drumming? A week and far away; but with evening they she lay in the river; this morning she is draw in and cast anchor before the little gone, and are you therefore lonely in cabin where you live. They are blue. the world? Thus beauty, in her various fashion, In the lost places of the earth a steamsmites with her rod the rock of your er is the great Presence — she furnishes monotony, and water does indeed gush the empty seas. However far out and forth; you drink and are assuaged. But dim, with her little plume of smoke, she still you look to the sea; you have a leaves her wake in the heart. There glass at hand, - it is a ship's glass, –
, shores where from every white man's and it is not for beauty that you hunt cabin her passing is followed with a with your glass: it is for excitement. sigh; speculation broods upon her all You are hunting for the very heart and day long. Her ports, her flags, her cargo, flaming core of excitement, and that her crew, seem a little while to live in is a steamer. Living in lonely places the mind after she has gone down the like this, you are a prey to obsessions; slope of the world. She may be a poor,
; you are obsessed by certain sleepless mean, unkempt cargo-boat, dingy upon
thoughts; they stir in your heart while a bright sea, but she is the symbol of you sleep, and they speak without ceas- migration, and a winged flutter in the ing of steamers. It is they that drive heart. you in the morning to your glass, and As for The Steamer, that is another to be looking all day out to sea, and matter a matter of Elijah and the at night to be searching the dark for a ravens. Be sure that Elijah, once he got little cluster of stars that are low upon the ravens' schedule, was not caught the horizon, like the Pleiades in March; napping. He was up and had his glass
, but oh, they are not the Pleiades—they out before the ravens were overdue. shine with a difference: they are the And be sure that there is no steamer so lights of a steamer!
mean, so obscure in her listed sailings, How shall I be telling of steamers to
but is The Steamer to prisoners somethe dwellers in great harbor towns, where, behind a barring of cocoanut where the loveliest ladies of the sea palms or a grating of ice. Be sure that come and go without applause? Or to she will put on airs once she has dropped inlanders who never see a mast at all, behind her betters, and will go swelling ,
into little empty harbors where there carries her garland of lights away into is only one calendar, and she the only the darkness, or her feather of smoke saint written there. Before the anchor into the noon; she grows smaller and falls, white men are off to her between dimmer; her drums grow fainter, and the breaches in the surf. The chain is once again in a silence and a void you hardly taut when the little canoes and are ‘ten leagues beyond man's life,' you the surf boats are alongside, and white ‘can have no note unless the sun were men are running up the ladder. And post.' suddenly, with the letting go of the an- You see how, with The Steamer, it is chor, in that great room of the sea and a kiss and a blow. Between the kiss of sky, or in that narrow river-room with her coming and the blow of her going is its forest wall, there are the agitations the span of your little day — all the of traffic and of commerce. The winches honey of news and of gossip, all the fore and aft thrum and clamor; voices wine of excitement, must be savored of white men and of black men rise now. I think of the
little settlefrom the water level and from the deck; ments by the sea waiting to hear of the cargo is slung off and on, dripping with war from The Steamer, on a day of her the gilt of palm-oil and the dust of rice days. I think of the first camouflaged bags, or reeking of salt fish.
steamer staggering up a river on her A day is all too short for what must accustomed schedule, like a fistful of be done with the barber and the stew- lightning in the hand of Jove. No suard and the purser and the chief and the pernatural visitation could have more captain of The Steamer. All the white astonished her worshipers, all unpremen find a day too short. Night comes pared. I think of her captain shaping too soon; the steamer hangs upon the her course all through the war, in the dark like a bouquet of fireworks, ar- dark, unarmed, without convoy - the rested. The last load of cargo
gone very idol and providence of the outover the side; the ship's launch has posts of the earth. And of the captains ceased to sob and sleeps in her berth on young
and old, whose names you do not deck; the second officer has made his know; and some of them, for their servlast bitter comments and has gone be- ice of The Steamer, wear medals, and low to wash himself, and the time has some of them lie in the waste of the sea. come for the white men to go ashore. For all you do not know their names, They hang over the railing calling to their names are known; living and dead, their little crews that are asleep; they they are remembered. Exiles remember negotiate the difficult descent into their and bless them-steamer, and captain, boats, for the trade swell is about the and the engineers in the vitals of the ship now, — and they go off into the ship, and the little cabin-boys who did rain.
their little duties when the steamer was There is this about The Steamer under fire. she comes and she goes. You keep your In my heart I see her now, and she best white ducks for her; you keep all is under fire. She is unarmed; she zigyour dates for her; you set your watch zags before her smoke-screen, trembling by her chronometer and your life by her with her speed. You lean on the iron schedule. Your letters home are full of wall of the engine-house, under that her worship. But she has such sweet- bright sky where it is morning, and you hearts in every port; the rush and en- watch the great fountains play upon the thusiasm of her advent is matched by level of the sea where the shells strike the rush and enthusiasm of her exit; she the water. You think of the engineers,
who will never come on deck if the ship For My Steamer you wait and wait, goes down; and you see on the bridge and you weary waiting. You cease to the legs of the little cabin-boy, whose breathe, lest contrary winds blow upon head, inside the pilot-house door, waits her. But your ardor has spoked the
. on an order. All the life of the ship, wheel of time; it slackens. The moons under the cover of the smoke-screen wax and wane with a strange and cruel and the sob of haste and the scream of deliberation. Well I remember my
first the exhaust, waits on an order. That affair with a steamer, and that the seayoung captain biting on his pipe, his sons dragged, and then the days. Long megaphone in his hand, is a symbol of after, I came upon a calendar with those man's will to order. He is enshrined days crossed off; and when I saw that there on the bridge above the trouble record of faint hours, I felt again the of the ship, - an image of ultimate re sickening arrest and backward swing of sistance so intense, on so many solitary time. seas, that his astral if ever at all An affair with a steamer is not always there is an astral - must still patrol mutual. There she is at Kribi to the the course of the steamer he saved, or of north of you, and you with a glass under the steamer that was lost.
the eaves since the dawn asking her by There is nothing stranger than a map wireless, — the wireless of the heart, – - with its understood relation to a is she yours. And boys running north place, and the way they do not resem- by the beach to ask the captain, is ble. You would never guess, to look at she yours. And boys running south a place on a map, what its aspect really by the beach to say that she will be is. Often I go to the map-room in the down by two o'clock or not at all. And public library, where I ask for the you, packed and ready, on the indigo Southern Cameroun. I look and look shade upon the sand at two o'clock, and at that symbol of the African forest, un- still on the sand at three o'clock, but til my secret knowledge unfolds in my driven back by the tide at four o'clock; heart, and I see again those little moun- and by misgivings at five o'clock driven tains under their green cloak; I cross up a path you know too well, to a those rivers in canoes, or by the old, old thatch which you had thought you need bridges of the fallen trees; those many not seek again. little ravines are blue again and full of And now boys run up the beach to the trouble of drums. Then I laugh at say, 'Steamer live for come'; and she the map, with its colors and its names; anchors well in. The red of evening and it is as if, in a group of strangers, grows behind her, her lights blossom you have met the eyes of
friend. on the dark, but no boat comes ashore. And so it is with the listed sailings of You are going to bed, when you are steamers so many and so broadcast: summoned by a lantern 'Boat live their names and their published ports for come'; and you race back to the trouble your mind as little as the birds water's edge, all your zests renewed. that migrate in the autumn. But oh, But it is a false alarm. There on the let them be but due where you are, and sand you find a black man streaming they touch you where you live. And with sea-water; he has swum ashore of these there is one that drops her an- from the ship in search of the launch, chor in youf very heart - you call her and under the illusion that this is
— My Steamer. You name her so, and all Powell's trading-post and that you are your fellow exiles call her yours; your Powell. With his wet hand he urges ardor does so subjugate your little world. upon you a bill of lading, incredibly dry. VOL. 128-NO. 1