was another girl who wrote me daily letters over a long period of
time -- years. In each envelope there would be two letters.
One was from her to me. The other purported to be from me to her.
She wrote, in my name, ideas, dreams, plans, thoughts. She endeavored
to prove to me thus that she understood me as well if not better than
I understood myself. It rather worried me, that strange dual correspondence.
Because, though definitely pathological, it was also intelligent and
sensitive. One day the letters ceased and never came again. Yes, I
have wondered. . . .
"I met one of the fans occasionally for
tea or for a cocktail. The meetings never developed into anything
-- not even friendship. The fan interest, you see, is predicated on
curiosity. It masquerades under many names -- love, passion, friendship
-- but it is essentially curiosity, rootless and transitory.
"The actor should never become the man.
"And so I speak the simple truth when
I stress the lack of any real romance in my life during those busy
"Well, then, to resume -- I returned
to Paris after the tour to find that talkies had come to motion pictures. I
was asked to make a picture in Germany for Ufa. I hesitated. I
felt that I photographed badly. I loved the stage too well to take
the cinema seriously. I did not believe that I ever would like it.
However, here was something new. I felt that with the
advent of talkies something tremendously significant had occurred
in the world of entertainment. Something that might well be mortally
wounding to the theatre. Once must grow, though the pains be severe.
I made the picture for Ufa.
"Shortly after the Ufa picture, M-G-M
asked me to come to Hollywood to make French versions for them. There
followed, then, a period in my life I would like to forget. A period
given over to signing contracts and in asking to be released from
them. A time when Luck seemed to have deserted one of her favorite
sons. I was very unhappy and it was my first experience with unhappiness.
I felt at the fork of the road I had taken the wrong turning. "I
came to Hollywood. I did not like it. The one bright spot in my life
here at that time was my friendship with Maurice Chevalier.
I had met Maurice in Paris several years before, at an evening
party. We had admired one another. But it was not until we were in
Hollywood, two Frenchman alone, that we really became friends.
day he's not at the studio,
you can find Charles in his study,
where he finds great relaxation in
both writing and reading.
played golf together. We dined and
talked and were homesick together. I miss Maurice
now. I do not know whether he will ever come back to Hollywood
or not. He loves the life of Paris. He loves his villa at Cannes.
He is having such great success over there. Perhaps in a year or two.
He should come back, for there is no one to take his place. That cannot
be said for everybody. He is unique and without a counterpart in the
world of entertainers." Both of our glances wandered to
the large framed photograph of Chevalier which, with a portrait of
Charles' mother, one of Pat Paterson Boyer and one of Charles himself,
are the only photographs in the library.
"I made the French version of 'The
Big House,'" Boyer went on, "and the French version of
'The Trial of Mary Dugan.' I had also made several talkies in
France by that time, of which 'Liliom' was the only one to be released
in this country. Shortly, it became obvious to producers that French
versions were costing too much money, that they could take care of
their French market by means of sub-titles. So they decided
to abandon the French versions. They had me under contract. I could
not speak a word of English. What to do with me? I was not used to
having people wonder what to do with me. I was miserable. My friends
all urged me to learn the language. Especially Ruth Chatterton, who
assured me that I would succeed enormously if I could but talk. I
didn't think so. But here I was. I did not know how to handle
failure, what to do with the thing. I learned a little English.
And I was cast in 'The Magnificent Lie' with Ruth Chatterton, in 'The
Man from Yesterday,' and in 'Red-Headed Woman.' All very small parts,