MAE WEST is back with an assortment of new wisecracks, and at least fifteen pounds added weight. The weight, it must be admitted, is better distributed than the wisecracks. Some of the latter are new and funny, some are old but still funny because of the grim punctuality with which Mae delivers them; and practically all of them occur in the first halfdozen scenes. After that the picture settles down to melodrama with occasional rude borrowings from burlesque. Miss West prowls and growls her way through the rest of the story, falls in love with a handsome earl (Paul Cavanaugh) and sings the famous aria from “Samson and Delilah” a little as though it were Frankie and Johnnie—just a little, not enough to be really funny.
Mae is going outside her talents when she takes to melodrama, with true romance and monogamy in the offing. A lot of Mae West admirers will be seriously disappointed in “Coin’ To Town.” Our suggestion that she change her handsome leading man and substitute the four Marx Brothers probably comes too late.
rT"'HE SCOUNDREL,” featuring Noel Coward, is a picture that a great many people will find impressive, even overwhelming, and a great many others will just think queer and unsettling. There is a good deal of talk in it, but it is extremely brilliant talk. There is very little action, but what there is, especially in the latter sequences, is likely to raise your hair rather queerly on your scalp.
It’s about the modem New York literary world, which is about as far as anyone could imagine from either heaven or hell; but heaven and hell come into it just the same. And it has a conclusion so melodramatic that it might be even rather funny if it hadn’t been handled so skilfully by Noel Coward and written so well by Messrs. Hecht and MacArthur. Some people may want to leave “The Scoundrel” before it is half over, in which case they will miss one of the oddest sensations they are likely to receive in the movies. I liked it enough to see it twice.
TF1IS IS exactly what you will expect if you have been following the Arliss historical illustrations through the years. Richelieu is crafty, benevolent, smiling, resourceful, playing politics for keeps and pretending just to be playing them for fun; and always a jump, and sometimes two or three jumps, ahead of his enemies. As usual he has a pair of young lovers in his keeping, and as usual he triumphs over everyone in the end.
It’s a good story, interestingly if not surprisingly handled, and very acceptable to those of us who like to feel we aren’t just fooling our time away at the movies being entertained. Like the rest of Mr. Arliss’s historical exercises, it is a way of recapturing history and bringing it back, if not entirely authentic, at least alive.
Living on Velvet
A HANDSOME girl called Amy (Kay Francis) has two suitors, one rich and dependable (Warren William), the other reckless and poor (George Brent). She marries the undependable one and lives in poverty with him till he spends all their money on a passenger airplane—he’s that sort of provider and it’s that sort of poverty. Then she goes off to live on velvet with her rich aunt; returning to the hero when he meets with an accident which almost kills him but mends rather mysteriously the flaws in his character. That’s only the scenario. The story is really Miss F'rancis’s
clothes, which provide all sorts of variety and excitement, especially one white evening gown which had positively nothing above the—. However, I mustn’t be mean and give away the plot. Better see it for yourselves.
rT'RAVELLING SALESLADY” is a lively little item with Joan Blondell as a lady drummer selling dental supplies. Having speed and lasting ixnver as well as the smile that both wins hearts and sells toothpaste. Miss Blondell soon has the map of the United States looped with ribbons of toothpaste from coast to coast. True love comes to her in the end, as it must even to lady drummers. “Travelling Saleslady” won’t give you a single thought to take home with you, but it is amusing while it lasts.
pORBIDDEN TERRITORY” is a British •L picture, telling the adventures of three audacious Englishmen, a father and two sons, in Soviet Russia. They happen quite accidentally on a huge hidden aerodrome, which was to be the Soviet’s big surprise in the next war. How they came on it and how they got away with their knowledge form one of those perfectly improbable adventure stories, told so smoothly and expeditiously that you are completely convinced while it is happening, even if you don’t believe a word of it. The outdoor scenes especially are brilliantly handled, the Russian landscape really looks like Russian landscape, the Russian characters actually speak Russian. “Forbidden Territory” is exciting, preposterous, but as fine entertainment as anyone could ask for.
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