THIS IS the screen version of the stage hit that is still running happily on Broadway. It's about the Sycamores, a nice affectionate lunatic family headed by Grandfather Sycamore (Lionel Barrymore), who believes people should do what they enjoy doing. So his daughter writes plays because someone left a typewriter at the house by mistake, his son-in-law makes fireworks in the basement, his granddaughter practices adagio dancing, his granddaughter’s husband practices the xylophone, etc. The only Sycamore with a sensible job is Alice (Jean Arthur), who works as a banker’s secretary.
When the banker’s son (James Stewart) falls in love with Alice and tries to bring the two families together, there is a collision that starts all the fireworks popping in the Sycamore cellar. So many things happen in this picture that it’s impossible to give even a rough outline of the action. “You Can’t Take It With You’’ is well up among the ten funniest pictures of the year.
Three Loves Has Nancy
TF YOU like screwball comedy you’ll enjoy “Three Loves Has Nancy.” If you don’t, you’ll find it just another whoop of laughing hysteria from the studios. It’s about a terribly terribly ingenuous little girl from the country (Janet Gaynor) and her adventures with two wild city boys, an author and a publisher (Robert Montgomery and Franchot Tone).
Half a dozen authors, including the Spewacks, Bella and Sam. had a hand in the script. The six collaborators have taken a simple situation, added every gag and whimsey they could lay hands on,
and apparently tossed the whole thing together lightly in a blanket. The result is a wildly scrambled hut often very funny comedy. As the rural heroine. Janet Gaynor gives an innocent straight-faced performance that is in nice contrast to the furious clowning of her two admirers. Recommended to those who don’t like to take their movies too seriously.
My Lucky Star
'"THE problem of Sonja Henie’s producers how to keep Sonja on ice has been worked out successfully once more in “My Lucky Star.” She attends college here— the kind of college that goes in for mighty ice carnivals rather than scholarship—and since she’s been sent there to represent the sports-wear department of a large departmental store, Sonja’s clothes are as dazzling an outfit as ever took a co-ed’s mind off her Latin conjugations.
The plot allows generously for three big ice carnival sequences, and includes four Gordon and Revel songs. Skater Henie, as usual, comes off with high honors, the comedy team of Buddy Ebsen and Joan Davis gets a good pass mark, and Richard Greene, handsome newcomer from England. just manages to scrape through on his good looks. Thöre’s nothing particularly new about “My Lucky Star,” but since Sonja Henie’s skating still provides one of the major pleasures of the screen, what does it matter?
rT'HE screen’s recent preoccupation with problem boys takes a new turn in “Boys’ Town.” which is the. story of Father Flanagan’s struggle to form a boys’ home, then a boys’ community, in Neb-
raska. Father Flanagan (Spencer Tracy) believes that every boy is good at heart, but his theory gets some rough testing when an embryo gangster, Whitey Marsh (Mickey Rooney), is admitted to the community. For a time it looks as though Whitey might tear Boys’ Town apart, but in the end he becomes its leading and most respected citizen.
Whitey’s reformation is worked out logically and movingly. “Boys’ Town” isn’t just a case study for social service groups. It’s a genuine human story, dramatically handled and finely acted. Spencer Tracy gives a sincere and tender performance as Father Flanagan, but it is Mickey Rooney who, as usual, puts the picture in his pocket and walks away with it. If Mickey keeps on at his present rate he’ll be putting the Academy Award in his pocket by the end of the year.
Tetter of Introduction
A SAD story, “Letter of Introduction,” of a famous screen lover (Adolphe Menjou) who discovers late in life that he has a grown-up daughter (Andrea
Leeds). His problem, not a new one to the screen, is how to enjoy his daughter’s society without acknowledging her to his public. It would be a low-keyed and— since it ends with the father’s suicide— rather depressing picture, if it weren’t for the exhilarating presence of Charlie McCarthy. George Murphy and Ann Sheridan are involved in the plot along with Mr. Menjou and Miss Leeds. They’re all talented jxjople, hut the uncanny Charlie still manages to get away most of the interest and concentrate it on himself.
AS LONG as Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire are together again, dancing beautifully to Irving Berlin's music, nobody is going to worry much about the circumstances that bring them together. The circumstances here, it must be admitted, are rather peculiar. Fred Astaire is a psychoanalyst and his business is to probe Miss Rogers’ unconscious mind to find out why she doesn't love her fiancé (Ralph Bellamy). Ginger’s mind yields up a lot of wild subconscious fancies, including a desire to smash plate-glass windows,
make faces, and kick policemen in the rear. It's slapstick but funny.
The dance sequences are. if possible, better than ever. Fred Astaire does a remarkable solo number, knocking off a dozen golf balls in rhythm, and there is a meltingly beautiful dream dance sequence in slow motion. “Carefree” depends almost entirely on its stars Ginger Rogers manages the comedy singlehanded, without even the aid of a funny butler. Most of “Carefree” is funny and bright, but in the early sequences, where we are being introduced to the principles of psychoanalysis, a funny butler would have been a help.
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