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The Keys Of The Kingdom (20th Century-Fox)

Powerfully moving and tenderly touching, is A. J. Cronin’s story of the humble and seemingly misfit priest who accepts a post in China and endures through plague and revolution, scorn and isolation, with the combined qualities of the true Christian—strength and humility.

Gregory Peck breathes into Father Francis Chisholm the character and humanness of the priest who renounced all comfort and offers made through false Christianity, all easy detours to a world of ease, to choose the harder, rougher, but truer path. His is a splendid characterization and one that will definitely establish him as an actor, but we sincerely hope that it will not limit his abilities through typing.

The atmosphere of China has seldom been caught so realistically. His first humble abode and later his church and mission, the paths and lanes and village, the people of every type who live there, have been done with a restraining and understanding touch.

The pompous stuffiness of Vincent Price as Rev. Angus Mealy is fitting contrast to the more humble Father Chisholm. Thomas Mitchell as the doctor friend, Rosa Stradner as Mother Maria-Veronica and Edmund Gwenn as Rev. Hamish MacNab, turn in about as fine performances as you’ll see in a long time.

In earlier scenes are glimpsed Roddy McDowall, Peggy Ann Garner, Jane Ball, Ruth Nelson and Edith Barrett who, with Ruth Ford and Sara Allgood as Sisters, Leonard Strong as Chia and Philip Ahn as Mr. Pao, complete a splendid cast that contributes beautifully to a truly beautiful story.

Your Reviewer Says: A spiritual feast of entertainment.


National Velvet (M-G-M)

Here is a magnificent story with heart n appeal, well directed, acted beyond the dreamed-of capabilities of the players and building heartbeat upon heartbeat to the climax.

Here is a picture to be enjoyed by every member of the family, to be talked about, thought about and loved for its hominess and pathos.

And here, too, is one of Mickey Rooney’s outstanding performances. Even those who have never been a Rooney fan will agree that in the role of the groping, rather embittered and homeless kid who finds shelter and hope in the home of a middle-class English family, Mickey is terrific.

Elizabeth Taylor as Velvet, the little girl of the family who wins a horse in a lottery and through the encouragement of her mother enters him in the Grand National, is a wonderfully talented youngster among a whole cast of unusually talented people. Anne Revere as the mother turns in a performance that simply glows in its beauty. Angela Lansbury as the beau-catching oldest daughter is a luscious and delightful actress, while little Jackie Jenkins, the youngest of the family, naturally and with the greatest ease, walks ofî with his every scene.

But it’s in the little homey scenes, conversations and daily events that the picture excels, due undoubtedly to the superb direction of Clarence Brown.

Donald Crisp as the father, Juanita Quigley as Velvet’s sister, along with Arthur Treacher and Reginald Owen, complete the cast of the best pieture of this month.

Your Reviewer Says: Chalk this up as an M-G-M winner.


I’ll Be Seeing You (Selznick International-UA)

The heart will respond to this story with its two-fold purpose—to acquaint us with the care and understanding soon to be needed by our nerve-shattered boys, and to entertain us with one of the sweetest of love stories imaginable.

Ginger Rogers possesses a new depth and sincerity as the girl “on furlough” from prison and Joseph Cotten, the war-shocked soldier, also on furlough, is given a chance to establish two things—the fact that he’s a fine actor in any department, and a sure and definite place in the heart of every feminine fan. In the scene when a recurrence of his neurosis reaches out to encompass him, he more than rates the applause given him.

Shirley Temple seems to have found herself as the daughter of the family that Ginger visits on her Christmas reprieve, and for the first time since her comeback, Shirley achieves a naturalness minus all mannerisms. Or maybe her restrained underplaying is due to the splendid direction of William Dieterle.

Tom Tully is our idea of a real family man. It’s difficult to believe he’s really playacting, and Spring Byington as his wife is equally good. And a salvo of cheers to the sets which keep Tully, the small-town druggist, well within his means.

There’s an appeal about “I’ll Be Seeing You” that’s difficult to describe, but you’ll know, each of you who see it, exactly what we mean.

Your Reviewer Says: A different approach to the heart.

Tomorrow, The World (Lester Cowan-UA)

It takes a child to lead us into full clear vision of what Germany’s tomorrow will be unless drastic measures be taken at peacetime, for in twelve-year-old Skippy Homeier’s interpretation of a Nazi-bred youth, we see clearly the future of the men of Germany.

The story is more of a narrative marching in a straight line from start to finish than a play of unexpected plot development, but as such carries a powerful, cumulative suspense which has you sitting on the edge of your chair once it really gets under way.

Into the home of Fredric March, a professor in an American school, comes his sister’s child, young Homeier from Germany, and with him all the racial hatred, trickery, lying and underhandedness of his Nazi training. Promptly the boy sets out to break up the home and the community.

The boy gives a wonderful performance. Agnes Moorehead is so good as the aunt. Betty Field and Joan Carroll are excellent. And March, as the liberal American who finally finds murder in his heart, does one of the best jobs of his career.

Your Reviewer Says: Let there be no compromise.

Hollywood Canteen (Warners)

EVERY so of ten Warners splash out with a great big star-studded musical. Everybody, including Trigger the horse, roams through this extravaganza.

The story is more or less a combination history of the Canteen, the adventures of two Purple Hearters who visit there, and the part played by motion-picture celebrities in the propagation of the work. Frankly, we feel all service men who have visited there—and over a million and a half have—will feel that the glamour angle and the overflowing cornucopia of stars milling about is overdone. Newcomers to the Canteen may very well feel an evening that does not present all the stars gathered there for the picture is a dull one.

Dane Clark as the Sergeant and Bob Hutton as the Corporal who meets and falls in love with Joan Leslie are the visiting lads, and both are swell. The natural boyish charm of Hutton is perfectly offset by the brassy comicalness of Clark who is one honey of an actor. Newcomer Janis Paige looks mighty cute to us.

No doubt about it, customers will get their money’s worth so far as a conglomeration of stars is concerned, and maybe that’s what they want every so often.

Your Reviewer Says: Whopping!

Can’t Help Singing (Universal)

Deanna Durbin’s new picture is a great big beautiful Technicolor doll that walks, talks and sings Jerome Kern’s tunes beautifully, but that’s about the sum of it—gorgeous scenery, divine color and an attempt at romance (that we for one didn’t believe) in a picture structurally weak. Why is it this story, good in theme and idea, is so unbelievably executed? Everything that could go into a picture has gone in—but the real story, it seems.

Nevertheless, we urge you to see it, and listen to the music, rejoice in the lavish color and beauty of Deanna. As a dashing romantic hero, Robert Paige is the most harmless individual we’ve ever seen.

Akim Tamiroff and Leonid Kinsky attempt comedy and occasionally achieve it. Andrew Tombes, Ray Collins, June Vincent, David Bruce and Thomas Gomez complete a cast that didn’t even need to be there—so overwhelming are its other attributes. And what a pleasure it is to see a plump heroine again.

Your Reviewer Says: Oh you beautiful doll!

Guest in the House ( Stromberg—UA )

This is the exciting story of a devoted couple who invite an ill, neurotic young girl to be their house guest. Whereupon they learn that there is literally no end to the unhappiness, misunderstanding and destruction that a neurotic can cause—and enjoy it!

Few pictures boast so many fine performances. Anne Baxter as the guest in the house has a haunting quality. Beneath her lovely frailty always you sense her will for power. Ralph Bellamy, the husband who is a magazine illustrator with a studio in his delightful country house, is so darn warm and masculine that you wonder where he’s been hiding his light all this time. Ditto Ruth Warrick as the wife who sees her happy home and family being destroyed and does something about it. There is, also, Aline MacMahon the aunt, Jerome Cowan the family friend and Scott McKay, the young doctor-brother who is in love with the guest. And there is Marie McDonald, eye-filling, gay and laugh provoking, playing the model who lives with the family while she poses for the husband and fills the other house guest’s heart with fearful jealousy.

Your Reviewer Says: Never invite a neurotic for the week end.

Practically Yours (Paramount)

Athoroughly delightful and enjoyable comedy, polka-dotted with rare bits of comedy, reunites Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray for another hit.

The most pleasing thing about it is the newness of the story idea—one that completely departs the tired old path trod by so many former movies.

Fred MacMurray as the returned hero who finds himself, through a misunderstanding, engaged to a girl he isn’t even particularly fond of, gives a bang-up performance. And Claudette seems more at ease and happier than ever in the role of the unwanted fiancee.

Gil Lamb, an adenoidy rival, is a howl and Mikhail Rasumny as the photographer (remember him as the gypsy in “For Whom The Bell Tolls?”) threw us right into the aisle.

Cecil Kellaway, Isabel Randolph, Rosemary DeCamp and Robert Benchley all fit aptly into this happiest of events.

Your Reviewer Says: So good you could eat it with a spoon.

Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (20th Century-Fox)

When “Dinner” finally gets itself on the table, as it were, and ceases its whimsical whirling about, it’s as tender a little thing as you’d hope to be served. John Hodiak’s entrance, somewhat delayed, is signal for the action to get going and merge into the romance that comes as dessert, of sorts.

Anne Baxter is head of a family consisting of an irresponsible old “grand-feathers,” Charles Winninger, two small brothers, Bobby Driscoll and Billy Gummings, and little sister Connie Marshall.

Living on a Florida houseboat, the poor but happy family decides it their patriotic duty to give Sunday dinner to a soldier. When the meddlesome widow Anne Revere interferes, the little family, after endless scrimping and planning, find themselves with no soldier, until, wandering up the beach, comes Sgt. Hodiak.

While this is by no means a lavish and imposing film, it is nevertheless important for the tenderness of story and the acting of Anne and John.

Your Reviewer Says: It will charm the heart of you.

Between Two Women (M-G-M)

Well, happy are we to report the Dr. Kildare series are going right on with Van Johnson taking over as Dr. Red Adams, which should be reason enough for the bobby-socks to give up that “apple a day.”

Van’s very likable in the role of the young medico who solves the case of why a healthy girl, Gloria De Haven, a tricky little night club entertainer, can’t eat, which is a new angle on those legendary “hungry blonde” stories.

Melodrama gets its inning when Doc Red performs a serious kidney operation and romance creeps in when luscious Marilyn Maxwell, rich and booful, tries to annex Red for her own. How he can resist her is the “mystery angle,” we presume.

Lionel Barrymore is right in there pitching, of course, as the crusty heart-of-gold Dr. Gillespie. Keenan Wynn is credible as a night club master of ceremonies. Keye Luke, Alma Kruger and Marie Blake are all present and accounted for.

Your Reviewer Says: Good, even though we miss Ayres.

The Three Caballeros (Walt Disney-RKO)

Walt Disney spent five years experimenting in the use of cartooned and actual life characters on the same screen through a photographic process, and we can’t help but feel the astounding result would have been more appreciated in a story of continuity with more concrete plot construction. As it is, we have three Disney characters, American Donald Duck, Brazilian Joe Carioca (the star of “Saludos Amigos”) and newcomer Panchito, a sort of Mexican charro rooster who, through the medium of a flying serape, visit the Latin American countries, meet up with such real-life characters as Aurora Miranda, Carmen Molina, Dora Luz and many other singing and dancing stars.

The color is heavenly, the effects bewildering to the senses and the magic of Disney’s pencil out of this world, but we frankly feel the box-office appeal will be felt more fruitfully below the border.

Your Reviewer Says: A breathtaking novelty.

Here Come The Waves (Paramount)

Well, thank goodness we don’t have to wade through a lot of basic training routine and “buddies-through-it-all” stuff in this happy-as-a-lark story about the girls of the Navy—the Waves.

Rather we have the sailor giriş as sort of background for a lot of musical fun and nonsense with such talent yet! There’s Bing Crosby, for instance, who plays a crooner with a trick voice that the bobby-socks just adore. Now who could that be? And Betty Hutton as twins (imagine two Huttons in one film) one a blonde and one a redhead. And then there’s that big good-natured airedale Sonny Tufts, always around to help the story out when it gets a bit weak in the knees.

The songs are cute, especially that “Accent-chu-ate The Positive” number that Bing and Sonny render in blackface. And a right fair warbler is Sonny even when up against the old maestro.

Betty gives personality to both her characters, looks cute, acts cute, sings cute, is cute. Her number “There’s A Fella Waitin’ In Poughkeepsie” is cute, too. In fact, it all adds up to quite a cute show and one you’ll just naturally want to see.

Your Reviewer Says: So musical.

Experiment Perilous (RKO)

An absorbing psychological drama dealing with a beautiful woman, Hedy Lamarr, who lives in a nightmare of suppressed terror that centers around her small son and her insanely jealous husband, Paul Lukas.

George Brent as a doctor enters the story when he befriends a woman he accidentally meets on a train, who turns out to be a sister to Lukas, and who later mysteriously dies in his home. As physician and amateur detective, Brent meets and falls in love with Hedy and eventually discovers the cause of her terror at the risk of his own life.

Hedy has progressed as an actress, giving a finely shaded performance. Paul Lukas is superb and Brent his usual pleasing self. Albert Dekker, Carl Esmond, Olive Blakeney and Margaret Wycherly take part in this excellent story.

Your Reviewer Says: Fascinating.

Double Exposure (Paramount)

It all begins when Chester Morris, editor of a weekly photographic magazine, finds a new flash bulber, one Nancy Kelly, a member of his staff. But Phillip Terry, her beau from the same small town as Nancy, follows her to New York to see no harm befalls her. He shouldn’t have given it a thought, for Nancy outmaneuvers the clever Mr. Morris professionally and romantically until she suddenly finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery. Then Morris comes to her rescue.

Everyone seems to have a right good time, so why shouldn’t you?

Your Reviewer Says: Fair to middling.

Gentle Annie (M-G-M)

Gentle Annie is gentle, we suppose, in comparison to the rough and tough days in Oklahoma in 1901, but to us she seemed quite a gal condoning train robberies by her sons because the money was stolen from Yankees. But nevertheless Annie, as played by Marjorie Main, is a likable character and provides some really good moments of entertainment.

Half the romance comes in when Donna Reed, a girl who finds herself stranded out west, seeks shelter with Marjorie and her two sons, Henry Morgan and Paul Langton, who just love their ma.

The other romantic half enters the picture with the arrival of James Craig who pretends to be a wanderer, but is really a government detective sent to search out the guilty train robbers.

Barton MacLane is the sheriff and John Philliber a greedy old photographer.

Your Reviewer Says: It’s unique anyway.

Dangerous Passage (Paramount)

Now here’s a guy that has more trouble than a homeless rat, and it’s all wrapped up in the double-trouble story of one Robert Lowery who hopes to evade enemies seeking his inherited fortune by boarding a slow and moth-eaten steamer only to run into a whole new pot of stew all about a night club entertainer and a secret agent attempting to stall the ship owner’s phoney insurance plot and we’re all out of breath and so will you be too, if you bother about it.

We liked Phyllis Brooks and Robert Lowery, but we wish they’d stay home and keep out of trouble.

Your Reviewer Says: Anybody got a match?

The Suspect (Universal)

“The Suspect” is a pip of a story concerning a murderer, Charles Laughton, with whom one completely sympathizes, which is a cunning device of the writer, for we, rather than the murderer, suffer as the suspense mounts.

You’ll like Charles Laughton and approve his work. Ella Raines as the girl he loves and marries gives such a fine performance it adds up to the fact that here is an actress that must not be ignored by Hollywood.

Stanley C. Ridges as the relentless inspector is a one, let us tell you. Henry Daniell gives us the shivers and Dean Harens as Laughton’s son is a likable kid. Rosalind Ivan, Molly Lamont, Eve Amber and Maude Eburne aid in making this a really swell story.

Your Reviewer Says: It will clutch the interest and hold on.

House Of Frankenstein (Universal)

It’s unbelievable! Here we have the Undying Monster playing patty cake with Dracula (who takes, instead of gives, a pint of blood) while the Wolf Man skips rope with that dear divine old darling, the mad scientist. There’s all sorts of sticky goings-on among these reprobates, which leaves one in such a fog of bewilderment and embarrassment that anyone could even dream up such a thing let alone make it into a picture that—oh, for heavens sake, what ails Universal anyway?

Boris Karloff is the scientist (that makes a nice little change) and Lon Chaney the Wolf Man. John Carradine is Dracula and looks hungry enough for the role we must say. J. Carrol Naish is the deformed and nasty Monster and get this: Anne Gwynne is the girl in love with the Wolf Man. Next they’ll have her going steady with that snappy old character—the Frozen Mummy. Elena Verdugo, Sig Ruman, Lionel Atwell and Peter Coe have the misfortune to know all these unattractive people.

Your Reviewer Says: What more do you want—egg in your beer?

Destiny (Universal)

In a picture called “Flesh And Fantasy” produced by one Charles Boyer, there was an episode so clever it found its way to the screen as a picture on its own. And a strange and very entertaining film it is, based on the story of an ex-convict who finds himself innocently involved in another crime which sends him into hiding.

Into the hillside farm of Frank Craven and his blind daughter Gloria Jean, stumbles this man. Thawed by their unquestioning friendliness, the man wages within his own battle—crime against decency—until another catastrophe plunges him into a headlong decision.

Alan Curtis does his best work as the convict, and Gloria Jean is splendid as the blind girl. Strange to find her all grown up to romantic roles. Splendid support is offered by Grace McDonald, Vivian Austin, Frank Fenton and Minna Gombell.

Your Reviewer Says: A very odd but interesting tale.

They Shall Have Faith (Monogram)

It was inevitable that a story on the dread disease polio, or infantile paralysis, should be made—and it seems while various factors huddled and muddled over the Sister Kenny story designed for Rosalind Russell who wanted so badly to play it, Monogram stepped in and intelligently stole the thunder.

Timely, too, is its theme, dealing with the work of Army doctors in connection with this work as applied to soldiers on battle fronts. Gale Storm, young, vivacious and athletic, is the heroine suddenly stricken with the disease, and John Mack Brown the Army major who helps her regain her health.

The cast is splendid, offering Conrad Nagel as Gale’s father, Sir Aubrey Smith as the crusty grandfather, Mary Boland and Frank Craven as the uncle and aunt, Johnny Downs as her fiance and Catherine McLeod as her secretary.

Your Reviewer Says: Drumbeats for the March of Dimes.



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