ANN ROSS March 15 1938


ANN ROSS March 15 1938



Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

SNOW WHITE and the Seven Dwarfs” took three years to make and cost $1,600,000, and this time the producers have given us a picture which is worth every cent of the money and every minute of the time put into it. It’s a combination of the best of Grimm, the best of Hollywood and the best of Walt Disney, with something over that can’t he explained any more than the happiness of childhood can be explained or the fun of believing in Santa Claus.

with wild eyes watching her and nightmare shapes clutching at her skirts; or the Wicked Queen turning herself into a witch, with eyes like the Big Bad Wolf’s and a great carbuncle on her hooked nose; or the final terrifying chase over the mountains —since this is a scenario as well as a fairy tale.

To counteract these, there are of course the virtuous characters and the friendly birds and animals of the forest, the gayest and most enchanting creatures that Disney has ever given us. It’s a question whether you should deny your child the sight of these endearing creations, or take him along anyway and risk screaming fits in the middle of the night. Better see “Snow

The original fairy tale held all the elements of wonder and fantasy that children love. The astonishing thing about the Disney production, however, is that Walt Disney, without losing any of the story’s fairy-tale quality, has made it into a picture that can turn the most casehardened adult into a wide-eyed four-year-old. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” has the pace and suspense of a superthriller, it is {»eked with comedy and absurdity, and the adventures, difficulties and even personalities of its characters are as real as though Disney, instead of manipulating colored drawings, had directed a set of flesh and blood actors. Actually the Disney creatures are much more charming than human actors, and the Seven Dwarfs are so endearing that any normal child will probably want to take the whole set home to bed with him.

Like all fairy tales, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” has its terrifying moments. and conscientious parents may take exception to these. The huntsman’s approach toward Snow White, for instance, with the sun blazing on the point of his dagger; or Snow White alone in the forest

White” first yourself before you take the three-year-olds. You’ll want to see it twice in any case.

I’ll Take Romance

T’LL TAKE ROMANCE” brings us -*■ Grace Moore in a lot of familiar Puccini opera and quantities of strange new clothes. Miss Moore’s voice and the sound equipment have always been on good terms, but her singing and its recording have never been more brilliant than they are here. It seemed too bad, however, that she had to wear that distracting little pincushion on her head through one of her best numbers; it spoiled her looks and took one’s attention from her singing.

Melvyn Douglas is the hero, an opera manager from Buenos Aires; and Miss Moore, though she has contracted to go to Buenos Aires, changes her mind because she prefers Paris and thinks a contract just an old scrap of paper anyway. In the end of course she goes to Buenos Aires and sings “Madame Butterfly “ravishingly, and everybody is crazy about her. including Mr. Douglas. “I’ll Take Romance” is

lively and bright, and seems to indicate that while the screen opera formula seems to be worked out for everybody else, Miss Moore can still put it over effectively.

Bad Man of Brimstone

rT'HE STORY of “Bad Man of Brimstone” belongs to the days when we used to sit on kitchen chairs in the movies, and a tired pianist beat out galloping passages from memory on a tin piano. Except for its elaborate production it’s an oldtype Western, all swagger, speed and sentiment. Wallace Beery heads the cast, and here he is a tough old homicide who holds up stage coaches, shooting first and taking up any explanations later.

However, this is just his manner. Underneath he is a man of sentiment, capable of being moved by the difficulties of young lovers. It’s a typical Beery role, loutish and exaggerated with a sort of sheepish appeal. “Bad Man of Brimstone” is

large-scale hokum, but there are moments when you can’t help liking it.

The Buccaneer

CECIL DE MILLE is always best on his own home ground. When he gets into Scriptural times and faraway parts, he tends to tum his pictures into unconvincing circus parades. But his American history always looks like the real thing. “The Plainsman” did, and so does “The Buccaneer.” I don’t know whether the latter is more remarkable as a masterly

spectacle-narrative or as an example of consummate international tact. Certainly the final big climax—the advance of the Highland regiment at the siege of New Orleans—almost had the audience cheering for both sides at once.

Fredric March gives a vigorous and effective performance as theoutlaw LaFitte, but I thought his foreign accent a mistake. In fact he seemed to have more trouble with his accent than he did in saving America from the British. “The Buccaneer” is one of the season’s best historical films, boldly and convincingly handled and wonderfully entertaining.

Thrill of a Lifetime

"P\OROTHY LAMOUR gets top billing in “Thrill of a Lifetime,” but actually appears only once, in a brief song number. The rest of the picture is devoted to the antics of the Yacht Club Boys, glimpses of Betty Grable, the screen’s most perfectly proportioned blonde, and the good-natured clowning of Judy Canova, who doesn’t mind exhibiting herself as the screen’s most peculiarly proportioned brunette. Judy’s performance is amusing, but the picture as a whole is routine musical show and not very good routine.

The Sign Post

Happy Landing.—Sonja Henie, her loves and her figure skating. With Don Ameche. Cesar Romero. Rough-and-tumble in spots, but pleasant to watch. A family film.

Every Day’s a Holiday.—Mac West in another of her peculiar surveys of the Nineties. For West fans.

Hollywood Hotel. — Another musical romance, with Dick Powell as the hero. Hollywood as the villain. Some fine swing music by Benny Goodman’s orchestra, and an elaborate production. Good entertainment.

The Perfect Specimen.—All about a young man (Errol Flynn) who was reared to be the perfect human being and how love (Joan Blondell) came along in time to save him from being the perfect human sap. Fair.

Mannequin.—Joan Crawford gets married twice in this film, the second time to Spencer Tracy. Apart from this, it's much like the other Crawford pictures. Feminine moviegoers will appreciate Joan’s clothes, especially after her second marriage.

Rosalie.—Nelson Eddy, Eleanor Powell and a million dollars worth of production. I still think the producer could have made a better picture by spending a little less money.

Hurricane.—People who enjoy large-scale screen disasters will find this the year’s most impressive picture. With Jon Hall, Dorothy Lamour. It’s stupendous.

Stage Door.—Screen version of the Broadway success about life in a girls’ theatrical boarding house. With Ginger Rogers. Katharine Hepburn, Adolphe Menjou. Recommended.

Live, Love and Learn.—Troubles of love, money and the artistic life. With Robert Montgomery, Robert Benchley, Rosalind Russell. Very bright comedy.

True Confession.—Amusing comedy about a husband who couldn’t tell a lie and a wife who told whoppers. With Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray. Often very funny.

Damsel In Distress.—Fred Astaire, Burns and Allen, Reginald Gardiner and a lot of other funny people in P. G. Wodehouse’s amusing comedy. With music by the late George Gershwin. Highly recommended for the entire family.

Love and Hisses. — More of the Walter Winchell-Ben Bernie feud, which should convince most people that it’s time the boys fought it out in their own backyard. Simone Simon is present and sings and is generally very helpful.

Nothing Sacred.—How a beautiful doomed girl came to New York and what the big city did for her and what she did to the big city. With Carole Lombard, Fredric March. Very funny. For adults.

Wells Fargo.—Another screen epic, describing the introduction of a pony express service across America. Interesting but loosely put j together. With Joel McCrea, Frances Dee. A family film.