Shots and Angles

Shots and Angles

ANN ROSS December 15 1934
Shots and Angles

Shots and Angles

ANN ROSS December 15 1934

Shots and Angles

ANN ROSS

Power

THE SCREEN adaptation of Feuchtwanger’s novel “Jew Suss,” is one of those magnificent historical pictures which English studios are learning to do better than anyone else in the world. A sombre, cold and haughty picture which deals with tyranny and treason and ends in one of the most elaborate hangings ever screened, it may not meet with the success of “The Private Life of Henry VIII,” which managed to be rollicking even in its scenes of execution. But Conrad Veidt’s suave and bitter performance as the Jew who rose and perished by his own greatness gives the picture a dark excitement of its own. “Power” is magnificently worth going to see. It is even worth standing in line for on a rainy winter’s night.

St. Louis Kid

THIS IS another tough and tireless Cagney picture, with one or two important notes of difference. Patricia Ellis slapped Jimmie twice and didn’t get slapped in return. An even more important oversight was that the hero was jailed when he was bareheaded and wearing a truckman’s overalls, and a few scenes later made a jail-break wearing a business suit with waist-pleated trousers and a Stetson hat. He wasn’t carrying an overnight bag either when he went to jail.

In “St. Louis Kid” Cagney is cast as a truck driver constantly in trouble, sometimes with the management, sometimes with the police, sometimes with both. There is a dance-hall sequence, some catch-ascatch-can love-making, a milk war, and a gangster ending. The picture is built largely about Mr. Cagney’s special talents rather than about any special idea. His acting as usual is lively, perfectly timed, and as interesting to watch as good tap-dancing. But someone should write him a new story.

The Fire Bird

r"PHIS PICTURE starts out as domestic drama and presently switches to murder mystery. Then, just while your mind is working coldly on which of eight suspects was guilty of the shooting, you find yourself up against the question of what is wrong with modem youth—very annoying to us serious sleuths who wanted to stick strictly by the original problem of who murdered Mr. Ricardo Cortez.

Verree Teasdale is the mother, Lionel Atwill, the father, and Anita Louise, the daughter, and they make a handsome and impressive little family group. I liked the interiors, too, of their magnificent Viennese apartment. The veteran C. Aubrey Smith is the inspector of police who can solve any major crime but admits that problem girls are beyond him. The picture ends—as mystery pictures certainly should not— with worried head-shakings all round.

The Girl of the Limberlost

"DETTY BLYTHE, who plays the Birdwoman in “The Girl of the Limberlost,” once played the Queen of Sheba in the old silent days, so that should give you an idea how seemly and innocent life is becoming on the screen. I’m afraid I can’t trust myself to speak about “The Girl of the Limberlost,”

except to say that it follows faithfully the girlhood classic; which seems, in fact, to be chiefly what is the matter with it.

The Limberlost epic was hurried on to the screen to placate the Legionnaires of Decency, and seems to conform pretty closely to Hollywood’s new theory that the only way to kill a cat is to choke it with butter. Marian Marsh is the girl, and Louise Dresser, folksiest and cheeriest of our mature actresses, is the cold, morose, hardbitten Mrs. Comstock.

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch

COULDN’T get much worked up about “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch” either, though it had a lot of fine people in it—W. C. Fields, Pauline Lord and Zasu Pitts among others. “Mrs. Wiggs” as a play must have had a good deal of bright oddity back in the Cuban war days. But comedy tends to get rather vague and uncertain when seen through the mist of years. Especially now, in the fifth year of the depression, being poor just doesn’t seem to be a humorous idea.

When W. C. Fields rolled into the picture, however, you didn’t have to worry any more about how funny the story must once have been, because it became really funny at once. I don’t know why W. C. Fields dropping his hat and picking up his cane, then dropping his cane and picking up his hat, should fill me with such simple pleasure but it does. And I don’t know why Mrs. Wiggs’s fine, brave philosophizings about her poverty should fill me with such aching boredom, but they did; and I am sure all right-thinking people will fully disagree with me.

What Every Woman Knows

CAREFUL, intelligent and engaging screening of Barrie’s popular play. Helen Hayes is the Scotch Maggie who manages to make a great man of her husband (Brian Aheme) in her own way— which is anything but his. Theatre-goers will find little change in the screen version, which burrs along pleasantly in its Scotch way. There were places where it seemed to go a little thin and perfunctory and where it would have been a pleasure to have seen W. C. Fields come bumbling in, upsetting Mr. Barrie’s neat calculations. Still it is an unusually pretty, wise and touching picture, especially when it is in Miss Hayes’s capable hands—which fortunately it is most of the time.

THE SIGN POST

We Live Apaln—Screen version of Tolstoi’s “Resurrection,” with Anna Sten finely cast as the peasant girl Katusha. Also Fredric March. Adults.

Case of The Howling Dog—Complicated murder story, in which the defense lawyer (Warren William) confuses the evidence and saves the beautiful criminal (Mary Astor). He also confuses the audience rather. One of those mystery stories that have to be worked out on paper when you get home.

The Life of Vergie Winters—Ann Harding, the screen’s most persecuted heroine, in one of the pictures that won dishonorable mention on the censor list. Though all it seems to prove is the awful consequences of going on the loose. Not for children.

The Richest Girl In The World—Love troubles, brightly described, of a beautiful billionairess (Miriam Hopkins).

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Shots and Angles

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Thine Is My Heart—The Shubert lyrics. Richard Tauber's fine voice and the period detail of this English picture make it worth seeing and hearing. But the story drags a good deal. Children will find it uninteresting.

Happiness Ahead—More about the handicap of riches, and how an heiress (Josephine Hutchinson» got round them by marrying a windowcleaner (Dick Powell». The picture is brightly directed and Josephine Hutchinson, a newcomer, is interesting to watch.

The Barretts of VVimpole Street—Domestic life on Wimpole Street, with Charles Laughton providing some frightening moments as the father of Poetess Barrett (Norma Shearer). With Fredric March as Robert Browning. An unusually fine picture.

British Agent—Leslie Howard in a sort of G. A. Henty rôle as the hero who tried to upset the Russian Revolution. Exciting, but rather foolish. Kay Francis is the beautiful Russian hazard.

Chained—All about beautiful Diane (Joan Crawford» who has the love of a good man, half a dozen fox capelets. gowns by Adrian, a camp in the Adirondacks and everything a girl could wish for except Clark Gable. She gets him in the end, too. There’s no particular moral.

Belle of The Nineties—The censors have rewritten Mae West’s play in almost as strangely garbled a fashion as though Miss West had rewritten it herself. On the whole, Mae has the laugh on her critics.

She Loves Me Not—Love duets between Bing Crosby and Kitty Carlisle, occasionally interrupted by a story about a night-club dancer (Miriam Hopkins) who got into a men’s college dormitory. Sometimes amusing, but children will not be interested.

One Night of Love—Considerable romance which has, in these better days, nothing to do with the title. And Grace Moore’s voice finely recorded. Highly recommended.

Chu Chin Chow—British-Gaumont screen version of the famous operetta, enlarged but not diluted, with the fine music left intact. A family picture.

The Last Gentleman—A fractious millionaire (George Arliss) has difficulties with his greedy relatives, but discovers that where there is a will there’s a way. Both the way and the will may surprise you a little. Not for serious Arliss admirers, however, as it is rather trivial.

Cleopatra—Spectacle film with historical references. With Claudette Colbert, who is less likely to remind you of Cleopatra than of a beautiful circus queen. Not highly recommended.