Love Begins at 40, cont'd

 Just as his experiences in the war have sharpened Boyer's personal integrity, so the actor has come back to Hollywood with a new perspective on motion pictures.   Charles Boyer has become more exacting in his approval of the stories in which he will appear, for to him films now represent one of the chief means of entertainment to millions of men in uniform who look to the movies for an emotional outlet.   Production in both France and England has been greatly curtailed and more than ever American studios will fill that need.

Boyer is determined to appear only in films that supply either gayety or vital ideas to conjure with, and thus take the audience's mind off itself.   His new contracts, concluded when he returned to the film capital last winter, provide for two pictures with Paramount and a single production at Universal.   All of them are subject to his approval of stories.
Later, Boyer would like to do a play in New York.   Although he was a star of the Paris stage for a dozen years, he has never appeared in an English-speaking part. He is a little hesitant in this ambition.

"My English is not yet adequate for a play," he declared. "I could not give a really free expression to a part in English. There are so many times when you must feel a line, really think it deep inside you, to give it its full meaning, and I am still merely reciting words in English."

...he has become more exacting in his approval of the stories in which he will appear...
"When war broke out, it seemed the thing to do to offer my services." There is another reason Charles Boyer is not likely to do a Broadway play for some time to come. He is too contented to be back in Hollywood, to desert his pleasant California home for New York.
"I have been very happy in Hollywood," he said, "how happy I never realized until this last year threatened to make my return problematical.
"I was at Nice making a French picture, Le Corsaire, when the situation became really disturbing.   A few days before war broke out, production was halted because virtually all of the technical staff had been mobilized.
"I had taken Pat to Figeac to stay with my mother in the house where I was born. Figeac is a small town in the South of France and it was reasonable to suppose that in the event of war it would be far from the scene of hostilities.
"When the picture was stopped, I went back to Figeac and was there when war was declared.   If I had been in America when the war broke out, I would not have been called, because the class to which I belong was not mobilized.   But since I was home, it seemed that the only thing to do was to report to the authorities and offer my services.   I was mustered in as a private, the day of the general mobilization.
Because of illness as a youth, Charles had never had the usual two years compulsory training and therefore it was as a simple private that he was enrolled in the artillery.  He was sent to Agen, a larger town in the next province, about sixty-five miles from Figeac.  Pat moved over to Agen and lived at a hotel to be near her husband when he was off duty.
Those duties, however, Boyer explained, were pretty prosaic.  After the first month of routine training, he was given a clerical job as a telephone operator at a regional military headquarters and his entire three months of service were spent at Agen.

 In November about 115,000 Frenchmen over 40 were demobilized, Boyer among them.  He and Pat immediately left for Lisbon from where they took the first clipper back to the States.
When it was reported that Boyer had been released from the Army and was returning to America, there were wide-spread rumors that he was to be pressed into service on some sort of propaganda mission in this country.   This, the actor explained, was quite untrue.

"I have no connection whatever with the government now," Boyer declared to me. "When I was demobilized I was told to go home, just like all the rest.   For several years California has been my home so naturally I came back here to pick up my career.   I do not think it is likely I will be recalled."
His visit to the French Embassy on his trip to New York this month, Boyer pointed out, was purely a social one and had no offical significance at all.
"The Ambassador asked me to have luncheon with him on a day when he was entertaining an old friend of mine from Paris.  That was all.   The talk about my being back in America on an official mission is ridiculous."

And yet, I thought, as I watch five hundred women crowd into a broadcast studio that night to gaze dotingly at their hero and hang on his every word, the idea is not so ridiculous as that.
For France certainly won't be hurt any in its campaign to keep the friendly interest of this country, by a million or more American women forming their impressions of a nation, crystalizing their reaction to a race, by delightedly drinking in the disarming charm of this debonair demobilized private with a profile!


The End

...watching 500 women crowd into a broadcast studio to gaze at their hero...

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