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It’s A Pleasure (International)

Nothing new has been added to an overly-used plot—the wife who clings to the husband who drinks until the final reel (no pun meant at all)—or to Sonja Henie’s brilliant skating achievements either, but for all that there’s a nice little charm about the picture and some of the loveliest Technicolor imaginable. Especially the finale with rippling blue ice and little blonde Henie skimming o’er its surface like an elf and what’s got into us with all this pixie talk anyway?

Michael O’Shea is believable as the man Sonja loves and marries, but isn’t he a little on the hefty side for an athlete, or are we quibbling again? Anyway, we liked him better in this film than most. Seemed less Jack Londonish and more O’Sheaish for a change.

The scenery, the costumes, the color are first class all the way, but someone permitted Marie McDonald to be cast as a heavy. It didn’t ring true somehow. Frankly we can’t make up our mind about Bill Johnson who played Marie’s jilted husband and manager of the ice show. Why Cheryl Walker has been relegated to a bit we’ll never know. And we could do without that up-se-daisy dancing of Don Loper’s as Sonja’s dancing partner. It’s her first screen dance, by the way, and not bad either.

But enough of that. It’s a cozily beautiful, restful show and our decision is— you’ll be satisfied.

Your Reviewer Says: Relax and enjoy the beauty around you.


It’s In The Bag (Jack Skirball—U.A.)

The funniest thing about this trek down Allen’s Alley with the one and only Fred is his unique announcement before the picture’s beginning concerning the cast and picture credits, to wit: “The associate producer is so called because he’s the only one who would associate with the producer.” And why they didn’t announce the producer as Screwball instead of Skirball we’ll never know.

The comedy for the most part is labored and come to think of it the form is more radio’s than movie’s. But on the whole, it’s amusingly silly and wholly irresponsible so why not forget the weak spots and latch on to the swell Jack Benny episode, with Jack made up like a spring daffodil for some reason, and the really funny sequence in which Don Ameche, Rudy Vallee and Victor Moore take part. Like a customer at a Paris sidewalk cafe, one has the feeling if he just sits there long enough, everyone he knows will pass by and, by George, everyone does, too.

Bill Bendix, John Carradine, Robert Benchley, Jerry Colonna, Gloria Hope, William Terry and Sidney Toler slide in and out with amazing ease. We liked Dickie Tyler as Fred’s precocious son and Binnie Barnes as Fred’s wife hits just the right note—a high brassy ping. And the plot—well, it gets in the way every so often, as plots have a way of doing, and concerns itself with Fred’s amazing legacy from a murdered uncle.

We feel that men, more than women, will enjoy the outlandish goings-on, but even so we honestly wish there were more like it.

Your Reviewer Says: The title is right—It’s really in the bag.


The Enchanted Cottage (RKO)

In a world of ugliness lives beauty if we but hold the magic key that unlocks the door of hope. That key is love—not of self but for another in which self is forgotten. So comes this ray of hope called “Enchanted Cottage,” remade at our own government’s request due to the timeliness of its problem. The picture is exquisitely produced and executed by Harriet Parsons.

About the old cottage there has always lingered a sort of enchantment due, perhaps, to the fact that for several hundred years honeymooners have made it their cottage. In like tradition, Robert Young engages it for his honeymoon but a call to flying duty prevents and later he returns alone, hopelessly disfigured about the face through accident.

Despair fills his heart and soul as his fiancee Hillary Brooke turns from him in weakness. Only the honest love of the homely housemaid Dorothy McGuire saves his balance and gradually he finds himself clinging to it even to suggesting marriage. It’s only after the wedding that he realizes how such a marriage must hurt her and then the enchantment comes—they find themselves in love and through love, healed of disfigurement and ugliness.

Both are wonderful. There’s a reaching out from Young, a youthful wonderfulness about him that’s appealing. More technical, but still terrific, is the performance of Dorothy. Herbert Marshall as the blind friend carries conviction throughout, and Mildred Natwick as the housekeeper rates applause. Spring Byington and Richard Gaines are just right as the misunderstanding parents, and Miss Brooke a delight in her quiet perfection.

Your Reviewer Says: A beautiful story, beautifully told.

Keep Your Powder Dry (M-G-M)

Here’s that WAC picture you’ve been waiting for and it’s not bad at all—rather entertaining and enlightening for that matter. Frankly, we enjoyed it, trite though it was. But who cares about that with Lana Turner, Laraine Day and Susan Peters—a trio of beauties who enlist together, endure together, work together and finally graduate together.

Lana gives a nicely shaded performance as the wealthy play girl who enlists merely to gain her inheritance but who becomes a woman and a patriot through it all. Susan Peters has a less impressive role as the even-tempered member of the trio who attempts to keep peace between Lana and the overly bumptious Laraine, the all-knowing member of the group who has a thankless role but she turns it into a welcome one through sheer ability.

Agnes Moorehead is good as the commanding officer and Bill Johnson as the flippant captain registers strongly.

The training these girls go through is interesting enough, at least to us, but the added story and added beauty renders it all to the good. We think you’ll agree.

Your Reviewer Says: Good enough.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray (M-G-M)

You will be repelled, mystified, or fascinated—but you will not remain indifferent to this incredible story by Oscar Wilde.

Hurd Hatfield, the beautiful young man whose portrait gradually takes on his complete degradation of body and soul while he himself remains untouched by age and disease throughout the years, gives a finished coldness to his role. People will want to know about this young man.

George Sanders, wit and cynic, mouths his lines, deliciously Wilde-ish, or recites them with such unwarranted rapidity it is almost impossible to understand them. Angela Lansbury haunts the memory with a velvety smooth performance, and Lowell Gilmore is excellent as the painter. Donna Reed is gracious, lovely and charming.

We feel the picture would have been immeasurably improved had the audience been permitted to behold the gradual decadence of young Dorian Gray (Hatfield) on canvas rather than facing the complete and horrifying reflection. Perhaps then the revulsion would not have been so keen.

Your Reviewer Says: Not for the kiddies.

God Is My Co-Pilot (Warners)

The interesting points concerning this picture are these. It’s a factual story based on the life, hopes and ambitions of a real man, Col. Scott Morgan, as written in his book “God Is My Co-Pilot.” It gives Dennis Morgan the chance he deserves. The story is full of action and emotion and gives one the feeling he’s seeing for the first time the inside story of some strictly inside events.

Good performances are the rule not the exception, and next to Morgan we hail Raymond Massey who plays Gen. Chennault, Alan Hale as the priest, “Big Mike,” and Andrea King as Morgan’s wife.

It’s become a fact that when good war pictures are made, Warners makes ’em.

Your Reviewer Says: Action with a heartbeat.

Thunderhead, Son Of Flicka (20th Century-Fox)

Good news we have for those who enjoyed the story of Flicka, for in this sequel we have an even better story, pictorially and dramatically. The white horse Thunderhead, a magnificent and amazingly well-trained animal, all but steals the show from the human actors. Thunderhead’s thrilling battle to death with the white stallion that has been raiding the mares is one of the best of its kind ever seen on the screen.

Roddy McDowall, who owns and loves Thunderhead, and Preston Foster and Rita Johnson as his parents, are swell, but the honors go to the equine performers who give us a truly entertaining show.

Your Reviewer Says: It will hold your interest.

See My Lawyer (Universal)

It was a long dry spell between the laughs, believe us. In fact, one customer went out for a gulp of water and never did come back. Too bad, too, for no one can be funnier than Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson with the right material. But their humor is the madly insane kind and should be written by people wearing straight jackets and not California slacks.

Anyway the thing has to do with the boys trying to antagonize night club patrons to help break their contract to leave for Hollywood, only the boys end up the club owners and the resultant lawsuit is one of those things that happen in nightmares after too many stingers.

Noah Beery Jr., Richard Benedict and Alan Curtis are swell as poor but ambitious lawyers mixed up in the deal. Grace McDonald, Franklin Pangborn and everybody at Universal got into the act but it still remained mediocre stuff.

Your Reviewer Says: Another like this and they’ll see my lawyer.

Circumstantial Evidence (20th Century-Fox)

At last Michael O’Shea has a role fit to his particular build, and the results are good. Of course Lloyd Nolan, that ace of performers, doesn’t do any harm to the picture, either, remember—nor does little Billy Cummings whose new gift axe lands his father, O’Shea, in prison. Three persons testify they saw O’Shea wield the murder weapon and only at the very last moment do the witnesses realize they have testified to something they thought they saw.

Trudy Marshall, Ruth Ford, Reed Hadley and John Elderedge bring warmth to the cold gray of the prison story.

Your Reviewer Says: Seeing is not always believing, remember.

The Body Snatcher (RKO)

Brother, check your hair at the door lest it rise right off your head and go sailing away, for here’s a horror number that would scare a totem pole into splinters.

Boris Karloff, who snatches dead bodies (if some aren’t dead Boris sees to it they get that way) for the medical school of Henry Daniell seems to us more horribly wonderful than ever.

Russell Wade turns in a swell performance as the harassed young medical student who eventually gets embroiled in the unholy mess. And, oh yes, Bela Lugosi creeps in and out for a quick boo or two. Edith Atwater, Rita Corday, Sharyn Moffett and Donna Lee are nice people in one heck of a mess. But it’s Karloff and Daniell who really make the picture for our money.

Your Reviewer Says: This is a swell scare ’em show.

Frisco Sal (Universal)

“Frisco Sal” is one of those strange mix-ups mostly about Turhan Bey and ducks stuffed with oranges. Susanna Foster who plays Sal comes to San Francisco’s Barbary Coast in the Nineties in search of a brother she believed killed in Turhan’s cafe. Her persistence finally wins her a place as singer in the cafe of Turhan, who falls in love with her. His rival Alan Curtis is burned up and sets out to kill Bey when—but we leave the climax to you and don’t go trying to give it back to us, either.

What we want to know is—why are excellent performers involved in such stories? Susanna, Turhan, Curtis as well as Andy Devine and Thomas Gomez are better than the material provided, that we promise. Only Bey seems to override the trite story with that certain something the boy definitely has.

Your Reviewer Says: Good music, good food, good feuding.

Docks of New York (Monogram)

The Dead End Kids (who will have us dead on both ends if they don’t stop it) are now known among the landed gentry as the East Side Kids and what’s the difference? Leo Gorcey still talks Tent’ Avenue fish peddler and what’s all this about jools and Bolgarian royalty and canes with daggers?

What romance can leak into the ridiculous plot is carried on by Gloria Pope and Cariyle Blackwell Jr. (his papa was prettier). Betty Blythe is Mrs. Darcy, Huntz Hall is the only member remaining of the original kids besides Gorcey. Billy Benedict and Bud Gorman are the new additions.

Your Reviewer Says: This here pitcher is no good.

Strange Illusion (PRC)

Call it supernatural or call it time in reverse, or what you will, but it does happen to people —warning through dreams, we mean. It happens here to young James Lydon while on vacation, who through a nightmare perceives that something concerning his father’s death was amiss, unnatural, with still more trouble to come.

Returning to his home he finds a man similar to the one of his dreams in his mother’s home and with the warning too strong within to be ignored, he seeks the aid of Regis Toomey, a doctor friend, and step by step the man’s past unfolds for them until finally his scheme of wealth grabbing is laid bare.

Warren William is very good as “the dream man come true,” Regis Toomey splendid as the doctor, Charles Arnt capable as the nasty psychiatrist, Sally Eilers we enjoyed more than we have in a long time. Lydon holds up his end very well, too.

The photographing of a mood, as it were, has been accomplished with fair success, and furnishes some good moments of suspense.

Your Reviewer Says: Not bad at all.

Fog Island (PRC)

An ex-convict, George Zucco to be exact, sits in his lone abode on a fog-bound island and broods on his ex-partners whom he fancied railroaded him to prison. So, to get even, he invites the lot to visit him and each accepts hoping to find the hoard of gold Zucco is thought to have hidden away. So what happens? Panels slide, passages go secret, walls pop open and finally everybody goes down to the cellar and tries to kill each other to death. Some do, too.

No, we’re not kidding. It happened, we’re sorry to report, before our very eyes.

Lionel Atwill, Jerome Cowan, Veda Ann Borg, Sharon Douglas, Ian Keith and Jacqueline DeWitt are in it too.

Your Reviewer Says: Why weren’t the writers killed, too?

The Man Who Walked Alone (PRC)

Not too hard to take is this story of a discharged overseas veteran who thumbs a ride into the town he adopted through a buddy overseas. The ride lands him, and the girl who gives him a lift, in jail on a stolen car charge and later back they go to the hoosegow for breaking into a mansion.

Of course it turns out that the car and the mansion really belong to his jail buddy, Kay Aldridge, who not only has a pretty face but a pretty sense of humor, let it be noted. The lad, David O’Brien, looked good to us too. What do you think?

Isobel Randolph, Ruth Lee, Guinn Williams and several others cover the plot territory and very nicely at that.

Your Reviewer Says: Good-natured little thing.

The Chicago Kid (Republic)

With Red Barry, crime becomes a habit, and even after the reasons for his rebellion against society have been proven false, he keeps right on going in the direction of the hot seat which makes us rise to ask—was that trip necessary?

You see, Red believed his father was railroaded into prison by Otto Kruger. So, in order to seek revenge, he worms his way into Kruger’s accounting firm, joins some gangsters, wins the love of Kruger’s daughter Lynne Roberts, gets Kruger in a nasty fix and then learns his daddy was a bad number after all. So, as twilight creeps over the distant hills we bid good-by to Red and sail off into the sunset hoping never to land on these shores again.

Your Reviewer Says: What went on there behind us?

Crime, Inc. (PRC)

Tom Neal is the wonder boy of this wonder story (wonder how it got on the screen?) whose book exposing a crime Corporation eventually breaks up the gang and gets the girl in his arms. Which is the hard way to get a woman, methinks. Whistling is simpler—ask any sailor.

Based on experiences of Martin Mooney, a crime reporter, the story has too many ins and outs and, it seems to us, gangsters are a bit old hat these days. For some reason we can’t get our mind off boys who tote guns through jungles and foreign lands to care about these social misfits.

Martha Tilton sings right through this shooting epic which seems so—well, there’s a time for everything, isn’t there?

Your Reviewer Says: Too many gangsters.

Delightfully Dangerous (Rogers-U.A.)

This is neither too delightful nor too dangerous, but it’s good in spots if you like spots. It tells the story of youthful Jane Powell who is kept in an exclusive boarding school by her burlesque performer sister, Constance Moore.

When Jane, who believes her sister a big Broadway star, discovers the truth, she turns to Ralph Bellamy, Broadway producer, for help. She gets it, he gets trouble and before it’s over the stripper gets him.

Arthur Treacher and Louise Beavers attempt to inject a little life into the tale. Morton Gould and his band offer several good numbers, Jane sings rather well and Miss Moore does a good burley bump.

Your Reviewer Says: From Burley to B’way.

A Song For Miss Julie (Republic)

Not so good, peoples, not so good. It tells the story of two New York play-wrights who invade an old Southern manse in order to get material on its former song-writer occupant for a play.

What the Southern ancestors keep from the Northerners is the fact that the old boy was quite a cut-up in his day, but you know how news like that gets about.

Shirley Ross plays an ex-fan dancer, wife of Barton Hepburn, one of the writers. The other is played by Roger Clark. Cheryl Walker, Elizabeth Risdon and Jane Farrar have good roles. But even the dancing of Alicia Markova and Anton Dolin fail to give it a lift.

Your Reviewer Says: Wish it were better.

G.I. Honeymoon (Monogram)

It’s the old story of the bride and groom who can’t get together for that honeymoon, due to circumstances brought on when the groom has to report to camp immediately after the ceremony. The train sequences are funny in spots with most of the happy yappiness provided by Frank Jenks, to our mind, a very funny man.

Gale Storm is the pretty bride and Peter Cookson the frightfully frustrated groom.

Your Reviewer Says: Familiar story.


It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE MAY 1945

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