THE musical-show race is getting to be almost as stupendous as the armament race. When one producer builds a picture big, another immediately builds one bigger. If it goes much farther the boys may have to call a limitation conference—possibly even decide on the scrapping of musical shows and universal peace. However, that time hasn’t quite come yet. For “The Goldwyn Follies,’’ latest and most lavish of the specialtyand-spectacle shows, is, in spite of its colossal scale, wonderfully smooth and pleasurable entertainment. Talent ranges from the Ritz Brothers to Shakespearean
ballet, from Metropolitan opera to Charlie McCarthy. It’s all whipped together with remarkable dexterity. Ben Hecht wrote the story—one of those tales of Hollywood from the inside which are the modern equivalent to attending the circus and going round to see the animals at the same time. There are capable performances by Adolphe Menjou, and Andrea Leeds, and the whole thing is resplendent in technicolor. There are several distinguished performers, including Zorina, who leads the ballet, and Helen Jepson, who sings excerpts from “La Traviata.” But the one most likely to please everybody is Charlie McCarthy.
The Baroness and the Butler
' I 'HINGS have been happening to the lovely Annabella since she got off to such a good start in “Wings of the Morn-
ing.” They’ve been “beautifying” her in I Iollywood softening thesharp attractiveness of her features and doing unnatural things to her hair. And in “The Baroness and the Butler” she is made to talk and talk, in spite of the fact that she still speaks English a little as though she were holding a marble under her tongue. In addition to all this she is badly miscast in her latest film, in an overserious, overbearing part that rules out most of her natural vivacity and charm.
William Powell gives her capable support. but even so the backstairs romance of the baroness and the butler doesn’t come off very convincingly. There are good things in the film—a lively comedy
performance by the veteran Helen Westley, and some amusing Parliamentary passages between the butler and his employer, the Prime Minister (Henry Stephenson). But what the picture chiefly seems to call for is a new deal for Annabella.
I Met My Love Again
AMPUS love ten years after, is the subject of Joan Bennett’s latest picture. Julie (Joan Bennett) marries the wrong man, returning to her own true love (Henry Fonda) in a Vermont college town, a decade later. Henry is still smoldering. He is a rather surly professor of biology, and to complicate things one of his students (Louise Platt) has set herself to marry him. This is a situation that is usually handled from the comedy angle, but Producer Walter Wanger has concentrated on the more serious aspects of the
problem, which is mulled over at some length. It’s probably too much to ask that every college picture should have the Ritz hoys in the undergraduate class, or at least Hugh Herbert on the faculty. Still a little more comedy of the haywire variety would have made “I Met My Love Again” more fun to watch.
Gold Is Where You Find It
THIS picture is a brilliant technicolor description of the feud between mining promoters and the California farmers of the Sacramento Valley in 1870. George
Brent is the hero, an engineer backed by the cutthroat mining promoters in San Francisco. Gold sluicing threatens the fruit farms in the valley with muck and silt—especially the family holding of gentleman-farmer Claude Rains and his daughter (Olivia de Havilland). In the conflict that follows, the fruit farm lands are almost washed away, and so is the romance between Farmerette de Havilland and Engineer Brent.
Action sequences include a community uprising, a battle in the courts, the blasting of a dam, and a flood which finally sweeps the intruders out of their camp and thehero and heroine into each other’s arms. It’s a vigorous and exciting film which manages to present a great deal of technical and historical detail without crippling the narrative. The technicolor isn't just gorgeous here—it’s sharpand firm and well balanced.
It’s gorgeous, too, of course, especially in I the San Francisco bar scenes. Technicolor g seems very much at home in fancy bars. I
INTERNATIONAL Settlement” takes I us to the Sino-Japanese war front. Not I the war front of the newsreels of course, but I the behind-the-scenes drama of intrigue I and armament peddling. There is a beautiI ful and mysterious café singer (Dolores Del I Rio), a cool, adventurous Englishman P (George Sanders), a number of Europeans I with assorted accents, and—except for an I occasional rickshaw porter or hotel busboy I —scarcely a Chinaman in sight. Everyone | is out to outwit and, if necessary, murder I everyone else; sometimes even to murder | when it isn’t quite necessary but just part 1 of the fun. When the heroine steps quietly I into the hero’s room and takes a shot at I him, he merely finishes knotting his tie and | invites her to dinner.
It’s routine dead-pan melodrama, with1 out being by any means dull, since some9 thing happens every minute. The last | thing to happen was an air-bombing, with I Dolores Del Rio rushing distractedly about 3 among the debris in a noncrushable white § linen suit. “International Settlement” is I certainly not a good picture, but it’s fairly 1 lively entertainment.
Love is a Headache
LOVE is a Headache” brings us Gladys I 1 George as a Broadway star with four g successive flops to her credit; or rather to I the credit of a newspaper man (Franchot I Tone) who writes jeering comments about I her shows. He does this because he really I loves her and wants to help her, but she I won’t believe him and is furious. Then she I adopts a couple of orphans in whom he is 1 interested; and he is furious and won’t I believe her when she tells him it’s because I she loves them and wants to help them— I he thinks she is trying to get publicity.
It’s the sort of film Miss George always I seems to get involved in, since the proI ducers have made up their minds that in I spite of her rather hardboiled apj>earance I she is really the motherly type at heart. I Mickey Rooney gives one of his good perI formances as the tougher of the two orI phans, and Miss George works hard to I make her attachment to her two charges I seem plausible. But “Love is a Headache” I hardly seems worth her time—or yours 9 and mine.
The Sign Post
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.—The
first full-length Disney, and magnificent. For tots of all ages.
Man Proof.—Troubles of the married and unmarried thoroughly discussed. With Myrna Loy, Franchot Tone, Rosalind Russell. The season’s talkingest picture.
Big Broadcast of 193«.—Elaborate musical show, describing, among other things, the maiden voyage of a streamlined steamer across the Atlantic. Since W. C. Fields heads the passenger list, there’s plenty of excitement.
Bad Man of Brimstone. — Old-fashioned Western, with Wallace Beery being as bad as he can be; which isn't so very bad. A family film.
I’ll Take Romance.—Another Grace Moore song cycle. Plenty of romance, plenty of Puccini, and a good cast, including Melvyn Douglas and Helen Westley. The Moore following will enjoy it.
The Buccaneer.—Latest Cecil de Mille epic, with Fredric March as the bold privateer who saved New Orleans from the English. Exciting and well handled. A family film.
Hurricane.—Samuel Goldwyn’s hurricane, and the very best money could buy. A story of love and adventure in the South Seas goes with it. With Jon Hall, Dorothy Lamour. Exciting entertainment.
Mannequin.—Joan Crawford as a poor but noble girl who marries a millionaire. For love, of course. With Spencer Tracy. The usual Crawford fare.
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