Harry Ransom Center

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Gloria Swanson discusses DeMille, acting technique

In this audio clip, Swanson talks about working with director Cecil B. DeMille and the violin players kept on the film set to help actors get "into the mood" for happy or sad scenes.

She also discusses acting technique for silent films with subtitle cards: "So the technique of being able to have emotions on the screen was to be sure that you did not react while somebody was speaking. Or [that] you, while you were speaking in the center of your speech, you not react. You saved it for either the beginning before you spoke or after you spoke, or you saved your reaction to what someone else was saying to after they had finished. Because, if you didn't know this technique, you would just stand like a stick, and you would have no emotion on the screen; you'd have it all on the cutting room floor."

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