IN “MANNEQUIN” Joan Crawford starts life as a poor girl in a New York tenement district, and works her way up slowly but surely to life in a penthouse with a shipping millionaire (Spencer Tracy). Her problem here is so simple that one wonders why she makes it so difficult for herself. Will she choose love and poverty, or love and a million dollars? Joan chooses both. First she marries her childhood sweetheart (Alan Curtis). Then, just at the point when the question comes up about going on relief, Husband No. 1 turns out to be a heel and Joan is free to follow her heart, which all the time has been leading her by a process smooth as celluloid toward the penthouse apartment and airplane travel in Europe.
As usual, Joan has some remarkable clothes, some of which she is just allowed to model and some that she has for her very own. All three principals perform with ease, and the production is handsome and smooth, easy to watch while it’s going on and easy to forget when it’s over. ARTISTS, their loves, their difficulties 4 L and their distractions, are getting a lot of attention on the screen lately. “She Married an Artist,” the latest of the series, isn’t as well managed a comedy as “Live, Love and Learn” but it has its points, the chief one being a crotchety performance by the veteran Helen Westley. John Boles is the artist here, a famous illustrator. and the newcomer, Luli Deste. is the heroine. They’re both as busy as bees when the picture opens, he with his illustrating, she with her fall fashion show. But
She Married an Artist
they manage to snatch an afternoon off and get married.
That’s when the trouble starts. For the hero already has two women in his house-his bossy housekeeper (Helen Westley), and a slinky smoldering artist’s model (Frances Drake) who looks at the bride as though she were going to take a bite out of her. It’s a difficult position for a young wife, but Miss Deste meets it gallantly, helped no doubt by a wonderful wardrobe. There are some good comedy sequences in “She Married an Artist,” and none of the troubles of young married life are taken too seriously.
' I 'HE PROBLEM of Sonja Henie’s producers—how to put her on ice and keep her there—is successfully worked out once more in “Happy Landings.” She is first shown as a simple Norwegian girl with a talent for skating and a longing for romance. A pair of transatlantic flyers, a Manhattan band leader and his manager (Cesar Romero and Don Ameche), drop down from the skies, having missed the way to Paris, and Sonja promptly falls in love with Bandleader Romero.
He goes back to New York, and presently Sonja is discovered waiting for him in his hotel lobby, demure and trusting in one of the new Shaker bonnets. Eventually her problems are settled by Don Ameche, who gets her a skating contract and persuades her to switch her affections to himself. Bandleader Romero in the meantime is taken care of by Ethel Merman, who demonstrates with her usual authority that the way to hold your true love isn't to wait for him in lobbies but to crock him with a flowerpot.
It’s a rough-and-tumble story but, thanks to a generous number of beautiful
skating sequences, it’s worth watching. Sonja’s acting is still a long way behind her skating. But as long as she skates, what does it matter?
Every Day's a Holiday
MAE WEST has sacrificed her independence to the extent of allowing Schiaparelli to dress her in her latest film. Everything else she has handled for herself, and even her clothes suggest at times that Madame Schiaparelli wasn’t allowed to do much more than run up a few seams and sew on the dome snaps.
It’s a West film, from the moment Mae appears, selling the Brooklyn Bridge to an innocent, till she reforms and helps elect an honest candidate for mayor. There are minor differences. Mae wears a black wig through part of her story, and develops an interest in public rather than purely personal affairs. However, these changes don’t alter the familiar West tone. Mae is still head overseer, and as long as she is present the male supporters (Charles Winninger, Charles Butterworth, Edmund Lowe) are just water boys. Beyond a prolonged window-robbing sequence, there isn’t anything in “Every Day’s a Holiday” that Miss West’s detractors can actually take exception to. Just the same, they will probably continue to feel that it’s time the West license was revoked.
HOLLYWOOD HOTEL” ÍS a big lively
Dick Powell musical, with a swing orchestra substituting for the one-time Busby Berkeley dance routines. Since the orchestra is Benny Goodman’s famous band, swing lovers will find the change a welcome one. Dick is one of Bennie Goodman’s saxophonists who goes to
Hollywood on a provisional contract. He has the usual ups and downs, and becomes involved with a tempestuous star and her double (Lola and Rosemary Lane).
Insights into Hollywood include a premiere, the making of a Civil War superproduction, and glimpses of Hollywood’s star plugger No. h opulent Louella Parsons. As in “Stand-in,” Hollywood is once more revealed as pretty much the violent ward of the nation. Hugh Herbert, Alan Mowbray and Edgar Kennedy are the chief lunatics. A great deal of “Hollywood Hotel” is familiar, but a lot of it is funny.
The Perfect Specimen
^\NCE THERE was a bossy old lady who decided that her grandson should grow up to be a perfect specimen, mentally, morally and physically. So she shut him up on the family estate behind a ten-foot fence, and by the time he was twenty-five he knew everything there was to know; he was tall, handsome, athletic, he had wonderful manners and he was a perfect sap. So one day a flighty blonde crashed through the fence and carried him off, and taught him all the things that grandmother had neglected, including how to fall in love.
May Robson is the grandmother, Joan Blondell is the girl, and Errol Flynn is the perfect specimen. The feminine stars are appropriately cast, but the part of the perfect specimen didn’t seem quite the role for the dashing Errol—he was far more at home leading the Light Brigade than he is here, trailing apron strings It’s really a part for the early Harold Lloyd, who would have made the role more plausible, and funnier.
The Sign Post
Rosalie.—Eleanor Powell as a dancing princess, Nelson Eddy as a singing cadet, a million dollars worth of production. Worth your time if your time isn't too valuable.
Hurricane.—Jon Hall and Dorothy Lamour in a lovers’ tragedy that is finally set right by Samuel Goldwyn’s hurricane. A good story and a really remarcable hurricane.
Stage Door. — Ginger Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, Andrea Leeds and Adolphe Menjou, all excellent, in aT fine screen version of the Broadway success. Recommended.
Live, Love and Learn.—The fun of being poor in an attic. With Robert Montgomery, Rosalind Russell, Robert Benchley. Bright comedy, for grownups.
True Confession.—Hilarious farce-comedy about the husband who couldn’t tell a story, and the wife who couldn’t help making a good story better. With Carole Lombard. Fred MacMurray. Recommended for adults.
Love and Hisses.—Walter Winchell and Ben Bemie continue their air battle. Most people will feel it’s about time the boys settled their fight somewhere else. With Simone Simon in a singing role.
Damsel in Distress.—P. G. Wodehouse wrote the story, George Gershwin the music, and Fred Astaire, Burns and Allen and a lot of other funny people take care of the rest. Grand entertainment for the whole family.
Tovarich.—Screen version of the stage success about the titled Russians who went to work in a Paris kitchen. With Charles Boyer, Claudette Colbert. Amusing.
Second Honeymoon. — Another Loretta Young-Tyrone Power romance. Miss Young has a rich wardrobe, but it doesn’t make up for the poverty of the plot.
Nothing Sacred.—Very funny comedy about a small-town girl who took Manhattan for a beautiful ride. With Carole Lombard. Fredric March. Adult comedy.
First Lady.—Kay Francis as the Washington iady who tried to run the United States. It’s amusing comedy, but Kay Francis piays it as though she really believed it. Feminine movie-goers will be interested.
Wells Fargo.—Another American epic, having to do with the establishment of a pony express across the United States. With Joel McCrea, Frances Dee. Some fine spectacle sequences, rather loosely strung together.
Conquest.—Napoleon and his famous affair with Madame Waiewska. With beautiful performances by Greta Garbo and Charles Boyer. Recommended for adults.
Victoria the Great.—Victoria from her ascension to her Diamond Jubilee. Finely acted by Anna Neagle and Anton Walbrook. A family film and highly recommended.
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