Glyn, to be sure, was full of “It,” even if she felt compelled to cover it up. In the American edition of Three Weeks, for instance, Madam offered the following defense:
For me “the Lady” was a deep study, the analysis of a strange Slav nature, who, from circumstances and education and her general view of life, was beyond the ordinary laws of morality. If I were making the study of a Tiger, I would not give it the attributes of a spaniel, because the public, and I myself, might prefer a spaniel!
Yes, Glyn had learned how to package “It,” wrapping it up to be presentable while promising something you could not wait to unwrap. “I am only the conductor,” Glyn reportedly remarked, “of these glorious currents of health and hope and joy and success, but it is good to help pass magnetic vitality on to others.”
“How it would surprise readers of that long ago success Three Weeks, who think of Madam Glyn as a siren on a tiger skin, to hear this “line of talk” from her,” Williamson marveled. Her readers would get a chance to spot Glyn, who had the last word in Peter Bogdanovich’s Cat’s Meow (2001), in the hit comedy Show People, starring Marion Davies, whom Glyn visited at her Welsh retreat, the previously visited St. Donats Castle.
Glyn’s move to Hollywood, as Williamson recalls, had been a difficult and frustrating one. She had
almost everything against her. She was supposed, even then, to direct a picture which would be made from her books; but in truth she was allowed to have no authority at all. She was merely a picturesque figure-head, to whom those really in authority tried to be polite while being evasive—she was permitted to tell a pretty young star what style of hair-dressing became her best, or what the daughter of an English duke would wear when she “followed the guns” in the shooting season [. . . .] If Madam Glyn went east, fondly imagining that she had directed a film, she would see it on the screen and hardly be able to recognise it as her won. But all is changed now. She is trusted and respected as a director. The girl stars whom she moulds for their parts in her pictures feel her fascination, and believe that her influence upon them doesn’t end when their work together is finished.
Now, pardon me, while I am under the influence of The Price of Things, one of the novels Glyn adapted for the screen and directed as well. Its opening lines promise the tale of a married woman who did not mind the influence of a thrilling, if thrillingly ugly, stranger who encourages her “to banish all thought.”
“What do you mean by thought? How can one not think?” Amaryllis Ardayre’s large grey eyes opened in a puzzled way. She was on her honeymoon in Paris at a party at the Russian Embassy, and until now had accepted things and not speculated about them. She had lived in the country and was as good as gold.
She was accepting her honeymoon with her accustomed calm, although it was not causing her any of the thrills which Elsie Goldmore, her school friend, had assured her she should discover therein.
Honeymoons! Heavens! But perhaps it was because Sir John was dull. He looked dull, she thought, as he stood there talking to the Ambassador. A fine figure of an Englishman but—yes—dull. The Russian, on the contrary, was not dull. He was huge and ugly and rough-hewn—his eyes were yellowish-green and slanted upwards and his face was frankly Calmuck. But you knew that you were talking to a personality—to one who had probably a number of unknown possibilities about him tucked away somewhere.
John had none of these. One could be certain of exactly what he would do on any given occasion—and it would always be his duty. The Russian was observing this charming English bride critically; she was such a perfect specimen of that estimable race—well-shaped, refined and healthy. Chock full of temperament too, he reflected—when she should discover herself. Temperament and romance and even passion, and there were shrewdness and commonsense as well.
“An agreeable task for a man to undertake her education,” and he wished that he had time.