PASTEUR" is a truly remarkable picture. And what is perhaps most extraordinary about it is that it actually is the life of Pasteur very much as it stands in the records, and not the work of a romantic screen writer in Hollywood. The producers just did a little quiet unearthing in scientific biography and let the facts create their own excitement. One of the great moments in "Pasteur," for in stance, comes when Pasteur (Paul Muni) is demonstrating the success of anthrax inoculation for sheep. Improbable as it may sound, there is more drama and tension in the particular climax than Cecil De Mille managed in the battle of the Crusades, with all the kings' horses and men and Berengaria thrown in.
It’s hard to describe “Pasteur” without making it sound merely educational and improving. You have to see it for yourself to realize how much daring adventure can come out of the thoughts that go on in a great man’s head. Paul Muni’s performance, needless to say, is worthy of his fine material.
Hitch Hike Lady
XJITCH HIKE LADY” is a heart*■ warming little picture about a nice old English lady who decides to come to America and surprise her son in San Quentin, California. She believes he is running an orange farm there, but everybody else understands the situation and helps her affectionately on her way, hoping that something will (urn up to avert the unpleasant surprise at the end. Something does, of course; there never was a moment when we were really worried about it.
The picture as a whole tends to trudge along at hitch-hiking pace, but the good lifts it gets from Alison Skipworth and from the English comedian, Arthur Treacher, help it on its way. It all works out happily and everything is accounted for in the end, except perhaps Hitch Hiker Mae Clarke’s complete wardrobe of sport tailleurs with matching accessories. Hitch hiking may be fun, but it’s hardly fashionable.
DESIRE” is one of Marlene Dietrich’s best pictures for some time. It is handsome and lavish, like all Dietrich pictures, and also spontaneous and gay, which is perhaps more of a surprise. The story is about a beautiful jewel thief who steals a
fabulous pearl necklace and runs off with it to Spain. Justice is soon on her trail, but so, fortunately, is respectability.
Scruples and love overtake her before the police catch up, and in the end she surrenders the pearls and her life of elegant crime and goes off to Detroit with her rescuer (Gary Cooper), where the two of them hope to scrape along on $125 a week. It’s all on that scale. The superb Spanish scenery is handsomely photographed and so is (he superb Miss Dietrich. The picture was directed by Frank Borzage and produced by Ernst Lubitsch; which means that the whole thing has been polished till it glitters.
The Ghost Goes West
"DVERY NIGHT on the stroke of twelve the ghost of the Glouries went on duty in the battlements of his ancestral castle. Then when a fanciful millionaire bought the castle and took it to America the ghost found himself readdressed, along with the family ramparts and turrets, to Florida. In New York he was presently mixed up with big business, civic receptions, publicity, mayhem, and all the other recognized features of American life.
“The Ghost Goes West,” as you may gather, is a little aside from the ordinary run of movies. People who like a sensible explanation for everything, including ghosts, may think it too fanciful. But those who are sympathetic to spirits will find it imaginative, entertaining and original. Robert Donat, perhaps because of the quality of his acting, seemed a very solid ghost, even if you did get occasional glimpses of furniture and wall panelling through his incorporeal midriff. Jean
Parker is the heroine, an American girl who, finally when the ghost is laid, marries his descendant (Robert Donat again).
Follow the Fleet
IN THIS picture the world’s greatest stepping pair surpass themselves as usual. It seems to be the habit of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire always to be a little better on the dance floor than seems to be humanly possible. In addition to the stars there is Harriet Hilliard, a pretty newcomer who sings some sad little songs in a nice voice, and Randolph Scott, who doesn’t contribute a great deal except his presence and his looks.
There isn’t much story to “Follow the Fleet” and there’s no comedian; and even a Rogers-Astaire film should have one or the other. As long as the producers of “Follow the Fleet” keep their wagon hitched firmly to their two stars, it’s fine. In between times it’s just a wagon and inclined to lumber. However, if the plot isn’t breath-taking the dance sequences are. And the Irving Berlin music is the kind that follows you home and is there in the morning when you wake up.
"PRISCO KID,” starring James Cagney, is one remove from being an effective and original story; the one remove being “Barbary Coast,” which had used up practically all the dramatic material in advance. They are so close, in fact, that one is almost a repetition of the other. There are the same saloons and villainous waterfront scenes, the same gambling hells and gambling-hell hostesses, the same righteous
newspaper proprietors and vigilantes and lamp-post hangings. Even the hero rôles have such a close resemblance that it almost looks as though the screen writers had been copying off each other’s slates.
The repetition, while it makes the Frisco background of ’49 more convincing, unfortunately leaves it only half as interesting. If you didn’t see “Barbary Coast” first, you will find “Frisco Kid” a detailed and exciting description of San Francisco in the bad old days. If you did see the earlier picture, “Frisco Kid” won’t have many surprises for you.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.