Roy D’Arcy — Just a Little Fella Trying to Get Along (1927) 🇺🇸

Roy D’Arcy — Just a Little Fella Trying to Get Along (1927) |

February 08, 2024

No wonder, then, that a head-waiter in a New York hotel gave a sharp gasp when he clapped eyes on Roy D’Arcy. This headwaiter sees plenty of actors, but it isn’t every day that he sees an actor like Roy D’Arcy.

by Agnes Smith

A first glimpse of Mr. D’Arcy is like a first view of the Aurora Borealis or the Grand Canyon.

And yet I was supposed to sit in his presence and calmly drink tea. Well, there is one thing about Mr. D’Arcy: the stranger never has to wrack her brain to think up conversation. Nobody has to stand on the brink of the Falls and urge the Niagara River to take a tumble.

“I suppose,” began Mr. D’Arcy, “that David Belasco is very sore at me.”

This, really, seemed too, too bad.

“You see,” continued Mr. D’Arcy, “the other night I made a speech over the radio and I said what I really think about the condition of the New York stage. The stage has grown too sordid, too vile. And I also spoke my little piece about Mr. Belasco. Just think, the stage’s greatest producer descends to dreadful stuff like ‘Lulu Belle.’ Over the radio, I came right out and told him what I thought about it.

“I expect to hear from him any day. I guess he’s pretty mad about it.

“But I had to speak out about the present dreadful state of the stage. I feel very strongly about it, I assure you.”

“Then,” I answered, for after all, I had to say something, “you will never go back to the stage?”

Foolish question, of course; they never do.

“Dear, dear no! All the entertainment of the future, all the art of the future, is on the screen. That is to say, the screen is way ahead of the stage. However, next spring I may produce a stage play. Maybe on the Coast. Maybe here in New York. Anyway, I have a little play I’d like to produce.”

And then I remembered that Roy D’Arcy married Mrs. Laura Rhinock Duffy, daughter of Joseph L. Rhinock. Mr. Rhinock died recently, leaving an interest in Loews, Inc., and some more interests in the Shubert Enterprises.

So, if you follow me, the actor who happened to make a hit in “The Merry Widow” is now, in the language of Broadway’s gross materialists, “sitting pretty.”

It makes one a little dizzy.

“As for pictures,” again the flashing teeth, the hypnotic eye, “I have just begun. I have just served my apprenticeship. I could have been starred before this. But, no, I didn’t want to be starred. I said to Louis — that’s Louis B. Mayer, you know, — I said, ‘Just give me lots of parts in lots of pictures. I want to stick around and learn. Just let me do my stuff. You may cut me out if you want to. But just give me the parts.’

“I have just finished ‘Valencia’ with Mae Murray. We have made a knock-out. ‘Bucko’ has done a really big thing. That’s Buchowetzki [Dimitri Buchowetzki], you know. It’s a masterpiece. The best thing ‘Bucko’ has done.

“Of course, I am just a poor little fellow trying to get along. The studio was strange to me and so were the movies. But I have learned a lot, hanging around and watching.

“Maybe I am only a beginner, but whenever I have anything to say, I speak right out. If I have any suggestions to make — anything to improve the story or put punch into the picture — I go right to the director and give him the idea. If he wants to use it — fine! If not, what’s the difference?

“I have been all over the world — traveled in all countries. I speak six languages — French, German, English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.”

“Then, naturally, you want to be a director?” But, really, it isn’t necessary to ask such questions.

“Yes, indeed,” answered Mr. D’Arcy and his eyes lighted up. (Don’t forget that the word is “hypnotic”) “I have written a story which I want to direct myself. It will be my first starring picture. I can’t tell you much about the story except that it is a combination of ‘Variety’ and The Last Laugh.”

“That,” I commented truthfully, “ought to be good.”

“Good, yes. But maybe not good box-office. However, you never can tell.”

“You see,” and Mr. D’Arcy pinched the ends of his waxed moustache, “some critic wrote in a Los Angeles newspaper that I smile too much on the screen, that I don’t use enough expressions. This man said that I only use two expressions.

“So when that sap came to the studio, I took him aside and told him a few things. ‘Look here,’ I said, ‘Why should I use all my expressions at once? Why should I give my public everything at once? No, no; the secret of success is holding something back. Some day I shall be a star and I shall want something left. And when I am a star, I shall use all my expressions.”

To paraphrase the advertising slogan; when better expressions are used, Roy D’Arcy will use them.

“Yes, yes,” and those hypnotic eyes flashed again, “I may be just a poor little fellow trying to get along, but I use every trick I can think of to put myself over in a picture. There is nothing I won’t do before the camera to attract attention.

“No matter who the star is, I can give him opposition. That’s fair enough, because I like opposition myself; I like to put up a fight to get attention. If I am playing in a close-up with John Gilbert, I pull my handkerchief out of my pocket and wave it at the camera. That gets me notice. Jack Gilbert does the same sort of thing himself. Why, Jack would break a sword over his knee in one of my close-ups to steal the scene from me!”

For years and years, I have been waiting for an actor to say something like that. For years and years, I have waited for somebody to tell the whole, strict truth about picture-stealing.

It remained for Roy D’Arcy to say it. There you have it at last: the Whole Truth About Actors.

And there, plus hypnotic eyes, plus sideburns, plus waxed moustache, is how poor little fellows trying to get along develop into stars.

Roy D’Arcy — Just a Little Fella Trying to Get Along (1927) |

“There is nothing I won’t do before the camera to attract attention,” confesses Roy D’Arcy. “In playing a cIose-up with John Gilbert, I pull my handkerchief out of my pocket and wave it at the camera”

Photoplay Magazine — Advertising Section

Roy D’Arcy — Just a Little Fella Trying to Get Along (1927) |

Collection: Photoplay Magazine, January 1927