Jacqueline Logan — “Jackie” Startles Hollywood (1927) 🇺🇸

Jacqueline Logan — “Jackie” Startles Hollywood (1927) | www.vintoz.com

January 17, 2024

With red hair redolent of perfume, her costume a thing of magnificence and sumptuous enticement, her manner haughty and imperious, Mary Magdalene rides up in her chariot drawn by zebras to the House of Miracles situated on a street in Capurnia. She has come to see for herself the carpenter-teacher who has succeeded in luring Judas, her favorite, from her.

by Katherine Lipke

This brazen, picturesque beauty with the cold, cruel eyes and the voluptuous mouth is Jacqueline Logan, chosen by Cecil De Mille [Cecil B. DeMille] and a group of judges for her apparent ability to portray the depths and the heights — the lustrous wickedness and the radiant humility — required of Mary Magdalene in The King of Kings, De Mille’s picturization of the life of Christ.

The filming of the picture is now well under way and, commencing as it does with Mary Magdalene and her spectacular life of wickedness before she meets the Christ, it affords a glimpse of Jacqueline Logan utterly surprising.

She isn’t in the least a new actress nor an unknown one. For years her name has been seen in electric lights over motion-picture theaters throughout the country — to no particular purpose. The fact that “Jackie” has been featured in every picture of her career means little or nothing, for she has appeared only in program pictures, in uninteresting roles.

We have come to take her for granted, to think of her as one of the many girls capable of appearing in leading roles in small films, but evidently not of great emotional heights or depths. In an age of film discoveries, of new qualities found in well-known players by directors, Jackie has heretofore been passed by.

Now comes The King of Kings. From near and far trouped some thirty girls and women to try for the role of The Magdalene. Not only is this character one of the most dramatic in all history and tradition, but she is to be the main feminine character of the De Mille production. The characters of Christ, Judas, and Mary are seen throughout the picture, while the others come into smaller sequences.

Many of the actresses to be tested had beautiful robes made especially for the try-out. Great care was spent on preparations. The list of these thirty included many of the foremost names of filmdom.

At the end of the thirty came Jacqueline. One morning she was notified to appear at the studio.

The studio costume was wrinkled and torn. The studio wig had been used many times before. The studio sandals were much too big. The costume was badly draped on her, and she shuffled when she walked. However, Jacqueline was so confident of herself that her mood overstepped the annoyances of the test.

She saw in Mary Magdalene not an essentially wicked woman. Instead, she visioned her a woman who had never known the difference between good and bad. She was courted by princes and wealthy men, her home was magnificent, she was proud of her station in life — in every sense she was the glorious courtesan!

When she met the Christ and was converted, Jackie felt that she wouldn’t become a meek, penitent creature. Mary was a woman of radiant vitality, of unquenchable magnetism. This vitality and magnetism she would put to the use of the Christ and the development of His work.

So, on the day of the test, Jacqueline Logan visioned this woman as a creature of dazzling, glorious wickedness and later of radiant, happy resolution.

When the tests were shown before a group of judges she was virtually their unanimous choice, because she was able to portray both sides of Mary’s character.

This, to my mind, is one of the most amazing things about the choice of Miss Logan for the role. During years in pictures of little or no dramatic purport, she had not been able to awaken producers, directors, critics, nor fans to a realization of her emotional possibilities, yet she was abruptly chosen for one of the most dramatic roles in history because of her sweep of emotional ability.

One year married, Jackie has been rather inclined to be more Mrs. Gillespie, housewife, than Miss Logan, film player. Her thoughts have been filled with budgets and bank accounts, with the ordering of meals and the making of a home for her husband.

The awarding of the De Mille role to her will probably change all that — in fact, already she is emerging primarily as Jacqueline Logan, the girl who has been given the best opportunity of the year. And Mr. Gillespie, if he is a good scout, will probably attend to the budget matters himself.

The arrival of Jacqueline as Mary Magdalene at the House of Miracles, is one of the most spectacular moments in The King of Kings. She has been twitted at her banquet because her lover, Judas, is absent. The guests laughingly tell her that he is neglecting her for a carpenter from Nazareth who is said to heal the sick and bring the dead back to life.

In a magnificent tower of rage she calls for her chariot drawn by four zebras and drives to the house where the miracles are said to take place. She intends to see for herself, and also to win back her lover.

For this scene De Mille has built a street in Capurnia out among the hills back of his studio in Culver City. It is intensely real. The crude, low buildings with the drowsing merchants carry one back to the days of long ago. Outside the closed door of the House of Miracles at a turn in the street a crowd of cripples wait, hedged in by curious crowds.

The buzzing flies, the smell of the dust, the crude paving stones, all suggest the biblical time. It is into this scene that Mary comes with her. tempestuous zebras and her Nubian slaves. A velvet carpet is rolled down for her, and she enters the house.

Mary Magdalene — played by a girl whose name is well known, but who has never established anything remarkable to go with her name. Jacqueline Logan — chosen because she was thought capable of revealing the heights and the depths of a woman’s character, because she could dazzle with her wickedness, and later warm with her illumined understanding! De Mille has given another player a chance to make for herself an important place in filmdom. Will she make it an enduring one as well?

Jacqueline Logan — “Jackie” Startles Hollywood (1927) | www.vintoz.com

The home of Mary, as visualized by the De Mille technicians, is a dwelling of sumptuous, though restrained, beauty.

Photo by: Bert Lynch

Her chariot is drawn by zebras, and her pets are leopards — such is Mary Magdalene before her regeneration.

Jacqueline Logan — “Jackie” Startles Hollywood (1927) | www.vintoz.com

When Cecil De Mille chose sweet Jacqueline Logan for the vain, proud role of Mary Magdalene in The King of Kings, it was a big surprise. “Jackie” had for so long been the victim of negative, uninteresting parts, that no one had thought her capable of a highly dramatic characterization. Now she’s showing them.

Photo by: William E. Thomas (18951961)

Jacqueline Logan — “Jackie” Startles Hollywood | Even the Athletes are Lured | 1927 | www.vintoz.com

Collection: Picture Play Magazine, January 1927