SAMUEL GOLDWYN went to a great deal of trouble with "Roman Scandals" (United Artists), hiring Robert Sherwood and George S. Kaufman to write the story and supple-
menting them with a crew of punsters, gagsters and wisecracking specialists. The resuit is a more or less funny story, along with some highly amusing jokes and situ ations and others not so amusing. On the whole, "Roman Scandals" would have
been a fairly routine offering if it hadn't been for Eddie Cantor. Fortunately, Eddie can always be depended on to turn routine into riot. He doesn't really need all the rich embellishments and beautiful girls provided for him; he could be funny on a piece of string. However he~-or Samuel Golclwyn-seems to find them essential; and in any case the handsome settings make you feel that a great deal of money has been spent for your benefit, and the girls themselves are a genuine pleasure to look at. The idea behind "Roman Scandals" is the familiar turn-back-the-clock one. Eddie, the here, falls asleep on the outskirts of Rome, U. S. A., and wakes up in Rome, B. C. My own feeling is that the place for this idea is in the ashcan of oblivion, with the lid firmly padlocked on so that impoverished authors on the prowl for ideas may never be able to help themselves to it again. However, in the case of "Roman Scandals"it is unreasonable, perhaps, to complain. For Eddie Cantor, if he doesn't make the idea fresh, certainly makes it very funny. Gloria Stuart is the heroine, and David Manners, the young Canadian star, is the hero, looking very handsome with his hair done in tight little ringlets. The Conquering Sex "The Conquering Sex" (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)-originally "The Prize Fighter and the Lady"-is a picture that should give a great deal of pleasure to almost every one. If you are interested in ladies rather than prizefighters, there is charming Myrna Loy in a lot of pretty clothes and a genuinely sympathetic part. If you prefer prizeflghters, the producers, determined to take no chances on letting you down, offer Max Baer, Primo Camera and Jack Dempsey. What is more, they have distributed the interest so skilfully and worked it up so excitingly that the strictly feminine part of the audience is likely to find itself cheering hoarsely in the big fight scenes, while the ring followers will probably shed tears over the troubles of Miss Loy. "The Conquering Sex" is as contemporary and authentic in detail as a sporting news film. And it has a really good story to tell as well. The Girl From Maxim's There isn't a great deal of enjoyment to be derived from "The Girl from Maxim's" (Regal Films) except the antiquarians enjoyment at the amount of Victorian de tail accumulated and set forth in the picture. And even granting that. it seems a pity to spend so much money and waste so much historical research on a period whose sense of household decoration seemed inspired by the idea of frightening away evil spirits. However, if you can re
member back to the `Nineties you will probably be amused by recognizing some the curious fantasia of that era--the immense jardinières, the antlered hat stands, the thickets of palms, etc., which the director, Mr. Alexander Korda, has assembled and displayed with so much exactitude and pro fusion. As for the comedy itself, it suggests the museum almost as much as do the settings. There is a great deal of mystification about identities, most of it more confusing than ente,,rtaining. And the Girl from Maxim's (Miss Frances Day) was excessively playful and naughty in all the wrong people's bedrooms. But one is beginning to feel that the laugh has been turned on our immediate ancestors long enough. In any case, there doesn't seem to be any point to adding to the stupidity of our own era by describing so minutely the dullness of the last one. As Husbands Go The hero of this story gives his beautiful wife everything in the world she asks for-clothes, vocal lessons, modern furniture, trips to Europe twice a year, etc. "I love her too much to deny her any happiness," he explains. He is a simple-hearted small-city banker who has never learned to say no or to curb his inclination to give away money. And if you can believe all that, you can go a step farther and believe that when he finds his wife has fallen in love with someone else he merely says reverently: "You seem to me to have taken on a new radiance." It may be said that many people who have a slightly larger experience, however, both of husbands and of bankers, won't find in "As Husbands Go" (Fox Film) either a state ment ora solution of their own problems. If Rachel Crothers the author, really meant her people to be as silly as they sound, she has written a first-class comedy. If, on the other hand, she meant us to take them as seriously as they take themselves, her "As Husbands Go" is a third-rate or even a fourth-rate problem melodrama. Warner Baxter is the banker husband, Helen Vinson the wife. The picture shows some handsome interiors and some very smart clothes, but nothing else of interest. Mr. Skitch Coming down from banking circles, we arrive at Mr. and Mrs. Skitch (Will Rogers and Zasu Pitts) who, as the Fox Film picture opens, have had their mortgage foreclosed and are starting off across America in an open touring car. On the rear and running-boards are their worldly possessions, in the back seat their four children and the family dog who is about to become a mother. Under these circumstances Mrs. Skitch hasn't much opportunity to be "lonely deep down in her soul," as the banker's wife puts it. The Skitches travel from Missouri to California, meeting the sort of ad ventures that are likely to befall simple optimism when it sets out to cross a large, indifferent continent in a small, unreliable car. The comedy, `ike the Skitch itinerary, is rambling and easy-going, and leads into most of the obvious places. But as long as Will Rogers or Zasu Pitts is in the picture, it is entertaining. The Bureau of Missing Persons "The Bureau of Missing Persons" (First National) takes an actual governmental department and works it into a story of considerable liveliness, mystery and excite ment. It starts off by being carefully informative about the Continued on page 37
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various branches of the department and the way they work, but presently abandons morgue records, filing and checking systems, and comes down to the case of the murdered Chicago broker and his missing secretary. From then on it is a detective-murder mystery of the usual sort. “The Bureau of Missing Persons” is unusually well cast, and Lewis Stone gives one of his fine, mature characterizations as the Chief of the Bureau.
THE SIGN POST Little Women — Miss Alcott’s story for girls made into a story for everybody. The season’s most successful picture. With Katharine Hepburn. Alice in Wonderland—A conscientious picturization of the Lewis Carroll story on the screen. Suitable for all ages.
Duck Soup—A strange interlude in the life of the Marx Brothers. Slight but funny. Children may find it confusing. Female — Ruth Chatterton in some good clothes and a poor play. Not recommended for anybody. Dancing Lady—Joan Crawford’s admirers will see her at her best in this picture. Franchot Tone and Clark Gable also figure. For peopie above fourteen. Ann Vickers—Slightly expurgated and simplified screen version of the Sinclair Lewis novel. An adult picture. Lady for a Day—Gagsters and gangsters and an old applewoman. Funny and well acted. Very young people may find it moves too quickly for them. Henry VIII—The Tudor monarch (played by Charles Laughton) in a series of intimate situations. A family picture, but the family had better not be too young. I’m No Angel—Popular version of the life of Mae West, by Mae West, with Miss West in the leading rôle. Not for the young.
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