LET ’EM HAVE IT” is another of the new Law and Order series of crime and violence pictures. It’s about an outlaw
(Bruce Cabot; and his gang, and the long chase he led the police back and forth across Ohio; strewing clues behind him as he went, almost as lavishly as though it had been a Paper chase—a glove here, the heel of a slipper there, a footprint in cement in front of a looted bank, a shoe to match it, and marked currency all along the trail. It began to look in the end as if the police would just have to be told. Actually it was the bandit who finally captured the police inspector (Richard Arlen) and the latter, who had to shoot himself free.
I here are some interesting descriptions of behind-the-scenes detection methods, including clue classes, and the type reconstruction of a criminal from a bite left in the apple. All very fascinating but rather academic, seeing that the criminal was still shooting his way across country. “Let ’Em Have It” is concocted largely from the Hauptmann and Dillinger cases and is sufficiently exciting, though we would feel better protected if it proved the police to be as smart as they are loyal.
Break of Hearts
npi IE MOST that can be said for Kathar1 ine Hepburn’s latest picture is that it gives her every opportunity to rise superior to her story. It’s the same story that Norma Shearer, Constance Bennett, Marlene Dietrich, in fact, practically everyone in Hollywood, except possibly Laurel and Hardy, has tried a hand at; the one about the wife who loves and is deceived and goes away to drink champagne cocktails and lose her character among the fast and loose. The story is so wom that nothing is left of it now except the motions. Rising superior to it would be a little like rising superior to a course of dumb-bell exercises.
The Hepburn heroine, like the Bergner heroine, is married to a musical genius (Charles Boyer), who is also an egomaniac with a roving eye. We felt all the time that Gemma and Constance would have had a lot to talk over if they had met at one of Constance’s cocktail parties. As it was, Miss Hepburn wasn’t wise enough—or maybe
just wasn t interested enough—to act sensibly about her genius. “Break of Hearts” is the least rewarding Hepburn picture to date. Better skip it.
Escape Me Never
ALMOST THE only criticism one can ^ make of Elizabeth Bergner in “Escape Me Never” is that she steals her own picture. The story is important only because it shows the variety of her talents—it’s really more of a repertoire than a story—and the other actors might just as well be stage props for all they matter while she is around. She is a beautiful actress, probably the best of them all, and it is a great privilege to watch her and even to have her make you cry.
The troubles of her Gemma Jones and the way Bergner makes them real would make a movie usher weep. She’s a queer little gnome in “Escape Me Never,” struggling along in the rough wake of a musical genius, seeing through her great man all the time and thinking as poorly of him as anyone else. It’s all sob material, but Miss Bergner translates it into such poignant truth that you don’t have to be ashamed of being affected.
CTOLEN HARMONY” is about a jazz ^ orchestra (Ben Bernie’s with Ben Bemie himself in command) which travels about from city to city in a motor bus; a mammoth affair which is just about Hollywood’s most stupendous contraption since King Kong. It has two covered decks, day and night accommodation, a kitchen, a bar, everything
apparently, except a swimming pool and a golf course. In fact, a motor tourist’s most delirious dream.
When a gangster sees it coming down the road he can’t resist it, so he captures it and carries the band off to play for him. It’s dangerous, of course, because the band can be heard almost as far as the motor bus can be seen. But he doesn’t care; he’s been crazy with loneliness. George Raft, who plays the saxophone in the band, manages to rescue the party in the end. It’s a fabulous idea and provides plenty of opportunities for comedy, most of which, unfortunately, are neglected.
T MAY BE wrong, but I have a feeling that
Warner Brothers were so completely wom out after “Gold Diggers of 1935”—and no wonder—that they all went down to Mexico to recuperate and just shot “In Caliente” between siestas and water sports. It’s a good enough picture, with serenadings, serape paradings, one good song, “The Lady in Red,” and one big special number at the end, but it doesn’t send the brain reeling— a sure sign that Mr. Busby Berkeley isn’t in his best form.
There’s a sort of story to it, about a dancer (Dolores del Rio) who was once referred to by a New York editor (Pat O’Brien) as “a bag of bones progressing across the stage.” She carries the clipping about with her, nursing her dark Latin grudge, and finally stages a dance for him to prove he was wrong. He was wrong, too; at least, about the bag of bones, though the del Rio
dancing is a very moderate talent. Still she’s so good-looking that nothing else about her matters much. Edward Everett Horton is in the picture, too, and very helpful.
'"THE INFORMER” is a genuinely Irish, •L genuinely magnificent picture. It is a bitter and tragic description of an incident in the Sinn Fein rebellion of 1920, its background is the Dublin slums, its hero a drunken half-witted traitor; so movie-goers who prefer the Ireland of travel-talk scenery, Mother Machree sentiment and Janet Gaynor colleens had better take warning. John Ford, who directed it, also directed the unforgettable “Lost Patrol,” and is an Irishman who has notably not kissed the Blarney stone. There isn’t much fancifulness or funniness about “The Informer,” but there is the highest possible order of intelligence and imagination. Victor McLaglen’s performance as Gypo Nolan, the pitiful renegade who betrays his friend to the Black and Tans, is one of the finest tragi-comic characterizations of the screen.
THE SIGN POST
Richelieu. — Statecraft in eighteenth century
France, with George Arliss as the Cardinal; very stately and very crafty. A family picture and recommended.
Doubting Thomas.—Will Rogers’s picture, in which Will doesn’t do much except fall downstairs, impersonate a crooner and make considerable comments on the silliness of women. Alison Skipworth and Billie Burke are the women and very funny. A family film.
Mr. Dynamite.—Edmund Lowe in a Dashiell Hammett mystery story. Edmund Lowe is about the same as usual, but Mr. Hammett isn’t himself at all. Middling entertainment.
Our Little Girl.—Shirley Temple with a new father and mother (Joel McCrea, Rosemary Ames), who give her the same old problems to solve.
Call Of The Wild.—Loretta Young and Clark Gable, the last two people you’d expect to hear the call of the wild, are in this picture. So is benignant St. Bernard dog, who would scarcely seem likely to be interested either. Still it all shapes up into a good action story of the early Yukon.
The Bride Of Frankenstein. — The Frankenstein monster is back, and Frankenstein and his co-worker arrange a marriage for him, but it doesn’t turn out very well. Don’t take the children.
Mark Of The Vampire.—Dracula is back, too. Not much story but plenty of horror, thanks to Bela Lugosi’s awful phosphorescent hauntings. Don’t take the children to this, either.
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