The Film Mystery HTML version

7. Enid Faye
Behind Werner was the assistant director, to whom I had given little attention at the time
of the examination of the various people in the Phelps library. Even now he impressed me
as one of those rare, unobtrusive types of individuals who seem, in spite of the possession
of genuine ability and often a great deal of efficiency, to lack, nevertheless, any
outstanding personal characteristics. As a class they are human machines, to be neither
liked nor disliked, never intruding and yet always on hand when needed.
"This is Carey Drexel, my assistant," Werner stated, forgetting that Kennedy had
questioned him at Tarrytown, and so knew him. "There are a few people I simply must
see and I'm tied up, therefore, for perhaps half an hour; and Manton's downstairs still
trying to locate Millard for you. But Carey's at your disposal, Mr. Kennedy, to show you
the arrangement of the studio and to cooperate with you in any way if you think there's
any possible chance of finding anything to bear upon Stella's death here."
If Werner was the man who had used the towel, I could see that he was an actor and a
cool villain. Of course no one could know, yet, that we had discovered it, but the very
nonchalance with which it had been thrown into the basket was a mark of the nerve of the
guilty man. It was more than carelessness. Nothing about the crime had been haphazard.
Kennedy thanked Werner and asked to be shown the studio floor used in the making of
"The Black Terror." Carey led the way, explaining that there were actually two studios,
one at each end of the quadrangle, connected on both sides by the other buildings; offices
and dressing rooms and the costume and property departments at the side facing the
street; technical laboratories and all the detail of film manufacture in a four- story
structure to the rear. Most of Werner's own picture was being made in the so-called big
studio, reached through the dressing rooms from the end of the corridor where we stood.
I had been in film plants before, but when we entered the huge glass-roofed inclosure
beyond the long hallway of dressing rooms I was impressed by the fact that here was a
place of genuine magnitude, with more life and bustle than anything I had ever imagined.
The glass had, however, been painted over, because of late years dark stages, with the
even quality of artificial light, had come into vogue in the Manton studios in place of
stages lighted by the uneven and undependable sunlight.
The two big sets mentioned by Manton, a banquet hall and a ballroom, were being
erected simultaneously. Carpenters were at work sawing and hammering. Werner's
technical director was shouting at a group of stage hands putting a massive mirror in
position at the end of the banquet hall, a clever device to give the room the appearance of
at least double its actual length. In one corner several electricians and a camera man were
experimenting with a strange-looking bank of lights. In the ballroom set, where the flats
or walls were all in place, an unexcited paperhanger was busy with the paraphernalia of
his craft, somehow looking out of his element in this reign of pandemonium.