That's Charles Boyer --
and he admits to  having
always been in love.
He'll also tell you how Garbo
influenced his marriage to
the "one girl," Pat Paterson

 
Picturegoer magazine, 1938

ARBO's latest lover on the screen is a man who himself confesses that he has always been in love.
"From my earliest recollections," Charles Boyer says, "I was in love with one small mademoiselle or another. Later boyhood years did not change me.
"In my native town, Figeac, in France, boys and girls didn't go to school together. So I guess girls from the beginning were a mystery to me, and in my childish fancy were created to be fallen in love with."
The Napoleon of the talking screen believes it helped him in later years as an actor.
"Their faces are all blurred now in my memory," he says, "but later ones I can remember.

"I was satisfied with my position in the French theatre," he declared, "when talking pictures came in. My first screen offer came from the UFA company, which wanted me for a part in La Barcarole D'Amour. I accepted, after some hesitation, because I felt that I should not neglect so important an opportunity. I did not regard motion pictures as a suitable medium for whatever talents I possessed, but I wanted to find out, for personal satisfaction."
Shortly after the UFA picture, Boyer was taken to Hollywood by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to star in French versions. He did not like Hollywood.
"I was to blame," he said. "For one thing, I was handicapped by my lack of English. Too, no Frenchman is entirely at ease away from home. I have never entirely rid myself of homesickness.

There was a very beautiful girl who came to teach philosophy in our school. I worshipped her with boyish adoration, which I'm perfectly certain she was never conscious of."
Later Boyer dedicated all his time to the theatre and swore he'd never marry. But eventually he went to Hollywood, and met beautiful Pat Paterson. Two weeks later they were engaged, three weeks later they were married.
Playing Napoleon in Marie Walewska was a red-letter event in Boyer's screen career. "Any Frenchman," he says, "would naturally regard it as a high honour and a high responsibility.
I tried to depict Napoleon the man,as he was. I hope I approached it with the proper reverence.

"I made French versions of The Trial of Mary Dugan and The Big House, and then the French versions were discontinued.
"Ruth Chatterton assured me that I would succeed, if I could but talk. I did not think so, but I learned a little English. It was not sufficient to assure me anything but minor roles. For the first time in my career, I felt I had failed, and I was miserable. I asked for my release, and got it."
Boyer says he does not know why he returned to Hollywood.
"On my return to Paris I studied English seriously, not that I had any intention of going back to America. I was content in Paris among my friends, with my stage work and one or two pictures.

"Miss Garbo," he adds, "was the ideal choice for the role of Countess Walewska. And in France, where they idolise her, I know that the picture will make screen history."
The picture, moreover, has had considerable influence on the French actor's career.
Charles Boyer and Hollywood have at last come to an understanding, and now regard one another with mutual respect and admiration.
It wasn't always so.
"For the first time since I came to Hollywood six years ago," Boyer says, "I am completely happy in my work on the screen. After so many unfortunate discouragements, it is a very pleasant feeling. Playing Napoleon has been largely responsible. I believe that in this role I have finally achieved a performance comparable to my best on the stage, and the future looks bright."
This was a different Boyer speaking from the one who twice requested to be released from Hollywood contracts, and once left for Paris with the avowed intention of never returning.
continue at top of next column

 

"When the offer came to play in Caravan, my first impulse was to refuse. At the same time, it was a challenge and failure had rankled. With conflicting emotions, I accepted."
Mention of Caravan still causes Boyer to explode.
"If I was unhappy the first time," he gestured, "I was doubly so after Caravan. I cringed at seeing myself wearing black curls and playing haunting melodies in the moonlight. I have never looked more ridiculous, or felt more uncomfortable in a part."
Caravan would have been the end of Hollywood for Boyer "had I not read the script for Private Worlds. After Caravan, I had again asked for my release, and for the second time received it. But in Private Worlds, I saw a chance to redeem myself, and I shall always consider it my first real picture."
Another event occurred soon after, which made Hollywood even brighter for Boyer -- he met Pat Paterson. "I owe the culmination of our romance to Greta Garbo," he smiled. "Pat and I were planning to see the premiere of Queen Christina at the Chinese Theatre. When we arrived every seat had been taken. As we stood in the lobby, I said, 'Let's get married.' We went to Yuma and within an hour we were married."                             Fin                     next article


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