The Film Daily (1942)

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Monday, August 17, 1942 :< :< Reviews of the new f urns & * "Now, Voyager" with Bette Davis, Paul Henreid Warner 117 Mins. NEW DAVIS STARRER, SUPERIOR ENTERTAINMENT ON ALL COUNTS, SHOULD PROVE BIG MONEY-MAKER. Exhibitors will be happy to know that Bette Davis returns to the portrayal of a sympathetic character in her latest picture for Warners, "Now, Voyager," a quality production bearing the Hal B. Wallis stamp. A magnificent job of film-making, the picture provides superior entertainment in which Miss Davis gives a smash performance classed with her finest screen work if not exceeding it. Every evidence sets the film down as a solid boxoffice attraction. "Now, Voyager" is a film of great emotional power with a wealth of dramatic incidents which supply Miss Davis with golden opportunities to give play to her stunning talents as an actress. Women will accept the picture unconditionally. They will find it worth every tear that will moisten their eyes under the assault of the profound and sincere feelings engendered by the potent screenplay which Casey Robinson has devised for the star from the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty. The story reaches into the field of psychiatry for its material. Films finding their inspiration in fixations and phobias too often have just enough morbidity and unpleasantness about them to jeopardize their chances of popularity with the public which keeps the film business a paying proposition. In the current instance there can be little peril on this score. The story of "Now, Voyager" is told so engrossingly and with such spellbinding interest and such expertness that its theme will not work to the picture's harm at the boxoffice. Miss Davis plays the unwanted daughter of an exclusive Boston family of wealth. Completely under the dominance of her bigoted, straightlaced mother since her birth, her personality has been tragically warped, causing her to become dangerously introvert. A doctor of psychiatry helps her to find herself by advising her to get out into the world away from the depressing and soul-destroying atmosphere of her home and interest herself in people and things. What follows is a metamorphosis that amazes everyone — including the audience, so excellent is Miss Davis' makeup as the plain and sexless daughter we see at the start of the film. Miss Davis takes a sea voyage on which one of her fellow passengers is a man who has a daughter experiencing a childhood similar to her own. The two fall passionately in love. At last Miss Davis has really found herself. Although the romance seems hopeless because of the man's wife, it does serve to bring a measure of happiness to each of the lovers. When Miss Davis falls heir to the family fortune upon her mother's death, she repays the man by taking care of his youngster and restoring her to normal childhood. Paul Henreid is the lover; Claude Rains, the doctor; Gladys Cooper, the mother. They all turn in superb performances. Rains plays the doctor with a dry humor that often helps relieve the dramatic mood of the story. Henreid gives a portrayal that makes the scenes between him and "Berlin Correspondent" with Dana Andrews, Virginia Giimore 20th-Fox 70 Mins. SUSPENSE AND EXCITEMENT, PLUS GOOD ACTING, MAKE THIS GOOD PROGRAM FILM. Audiences will find plenty of suspense and excitement in this effective though unpretentious story of an American radio correspondent placed in Berlin before our declaration of war against the Axis. They will also find plenty of good acting by a wellrounded cast headed by Virginia Giimore and Dana Andrews. The film possesses many exploitable angles that should help its drawing power. The picture has been directed splendidly by Eugene Forde, who has succeeded extraordinarily well in highlighting the dramatic situations with which the screenplay of Steve Fisher and Jack Andrews is so richly stocked. The film represents a smart production job by Bryan Foy. The story traces the efforts of the Gestapo to discover the means by which the radio correspondent (Andrews) is able to get his hands on Nazi news and relay it out of the country. The Gestapo chief (Martin Kosleck) sets his fiancee (Virginia Giimore) to spy on the American. She discovers Andrews' secret and reports him to the Gestapo, unwittingly involving her own father, who has been helping the American out of hatred for the Nazi cause. Andrews, who has fallen in love with the girl, saves her father from death before he himself is caught by the Nazis and thrown into a concentration camp. He escapes and is reunited with the repentant Miss Giimore, who has given the Gestapo chief the air. The end finds the lovers on a plane headed for a safe refuge outside Germany. Andrews and Miss Giimore turn in swell performances as the lovers. Andrews is outstanding in a portrayal that is natural and effortless. There are good performances also by Mona Maris, Kosleck, Sig Rumann and others. CAST: Virginia Giimore, Dana Andrews, Mona Maris, Martin Kosleck, Sig Rumann, Kurt Katch, Erwin Kaiser, Torben Meyer, William Edmunds, Hans Schumm, Leonard Mudie, Hans Von Morhart, Curt Furberg, Henry Rowland, Christian Rub. CREDITS: Producer, Bryan Foy; Director, Eugene Forde; Screenplay, Steve Fisher, Jack Andrews; Cameraman, Virgil Miller; Art Directors, Richard Day, Lewis Creber; Film Editor, Fred Allen; Musical Director, Emil Newman. DIRECTION, Good. PHOTOGRAPHY, Good. Miss Davis emotional dynamite. Other fine performances are given by Bonita Granville, Ilka Chase, Janice Wilson, John Loder, Lee Patrick, Frank Puglia, Franklin Pangborn. Wallis has given the film a superlative production. Irving Rapper's sensitive and understanding work raises his stock as a director sky high. The photography of Sol Polito and the art direction of Robert Haas are a tremendous asset to the production. CAST: Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Bonita Granville, Ilka Chase, Gladys Cooper, Janice Wilson, John Loder, Lee "Sweetheart of the Fleet" with Joan Davis, Jinx Falkenburg Columbia 65 Mins. PLENTY OF GOOD COMEDY MAKES THIS NICE ATTRACTION FOR MAJORITY OF POLICIES. "Sweetheart of the Fleet" contains entertainment out of all proportion to the modesty of the production. With Joan Davis and Brenda and Cobina mixed up in it, it is bound to have plenty of laughs and a fair share of insanity. Some of the comedy is surprisingly good, and the story has a number of clever twists. The masculine customers will find the presence in the cast of Jinx Falkenburg and Joan Woodbury an additional lure. Both gals are extremely easy on the optics. Brenda and Cobina, known as "The Blind Dates," are a radio song team highly popular with Uncle Sam's gobs. Miss Davis, publicist for their agents, conceives the bright idea of having them "unveiled" at a monster Navy recruiting rally. What Miss Davis does not know is that the two gals scarcely represent a sailor's idea of beauty. When she sees what they look like, she is forced to resort to a hoax to put over her publicity stunt. She has the Misses Falkenburg and Woodbury, models who are pals of hers, appear before the crowd and go through the motion of singing while Brenda and Cobina warble into a mike behind the scenes — but not before the singers have staged a bit of a rebellion. Miss Davis smooths things nicely. The models wind up as the sweethearts of the fleet. In the end the hoax is brought to light. The Misses Davis, Falkenburg and Woodbury and the Brenda-Cobina twosome handle their assignments well. They get good support from William Wright, Robert Stevens, Tim Ryan, George McKaye and Walter Sande. Producer Jack Fier reveals a good grasp of the popular taste with this film, which was directed snappily by Charles Barton from a smartly-contrived screenplay by Albert Duffy and Maurice Tombragel. CAST: Joan Davis, Jinx Falkenburg, Joan Woodbury, Brenda and Cobina, William Wright, Robert Stevens, Tim Ryan, George McKay, Walter Sande, Dick Elliott, Charles Trowbridge, Tom Seidel. CREDITS: Producer, Jack Fier; Director, Charles Barton; Screenplay, Albert Duffy, Maurice Tombragel; Based on Story by Albert Duffy; Cameraman, Philip Tannura; Film Editor, Richard Fantl; Musical Director, M. W. Stoloff. DIRECTION, Good. PHOTOGRAPHY, Good. Patrick, Franklin Pangborn, Michael Ames, Charles Drake, Mary Wickes, James Rennie, David Clyde, Frank Puglia. CREDITS: Producer, Hall B. Wallis; Director, Irving Rapper; Screenplay, Casey Robinson; Based on novel by Olive Higgins Prouty; Cameraman, Sol Polito; Film Editor, Warren Low; Art Director, Robert Haas. DIRECTION, Superb. PHOTOGRAPHY, Superb. "A Yank at Eton" with Mickey Rooney M-G-M 88 Mins. COMBINATION OF COMEDY AND SENTIMENT PROVIDES ROONEY WITH GENERALLY ACCEPTABLE VEHICLE. The cocky, brash, irreverent Mi Jj Rooney in the staid halls of Eton! The i y idea should be intriguing enough to bring the Rooney fans to the box-office in droves. And Mickey, with the aid of a sound script and excellent direction, doesn't let his public down. He carries on in his usual chipon-the-shoulder manner, violating all the rules at Eton, flouting the tradition which is that English school's richest heritage and making himself generally disliked. Rooney is an American school boy who finds himself at Eton as the result of his mother's marriage to an English gentleman of leisure. The boy doesn't like the idea and doesn't relish the thought of going to school abroad. Once he lands in Eton he gives expression to his hatred by rebelling at the routine and strictures placed upon him by the life there. He is constantly getting into trouble with his fellow students and with the school authorities. As the film nears its end the lad is made to see the light as the result of several dramatic situations which bring home to him the significance of the tradition upon which the British so pride themselves. Chiefly responsible for his change of heart is repentance over the death of his stepfather's champion horse — a tragedy for which he is directly to blame. Rooney is properly sensitive or bold as the occasion demands. Ian Hunter plays the stepfather; Marta Linden, the mother. Both are excellent. Other fine performances are contributed by Juanita Quigley, as Rooney's kid sister; Freddie Bartholomew and Raymond Severn, as schoolmates; Edmund Gwenn, as the schoolmaster. Also worthy of mention are Alan Mowbray, Peter Lawford, Alan Napier, Tina Thayer. In his direction of the film, which was produced handsomely by John W. Considine, Jr., Norman Taurog has lost no opportunity for bold humor or touching sentiment. He keeps the interest constantly alive and the action always lively. The screenplay, written by George Oppenheimer, Lionel Houser and Thomas Phipps from an original by the first-named, is a crackerjack job which gives Rooney a chance to romp to his heart's content. A bow goes to Karl Freund and Charles Lawton for the fine photography. CAST: Mickey Rooney, Edmund Gwenn, Ian Hunter, Freddie Bartholomew, Marta Linden, Juanita Quigley, Alan Mowbray, Peter Lawford, Raymond Severn, Tina Thayer, Minna Phillips, Alan Napier, Terry Kilburn. CREDITS: Producer, John W. Considine, Jr.; Director, Norman Taurog; Screenplay, George Oppenheimer, Lionel Houser, Thomas Phipps; Based on story by George Oppenheimer; Cameramen, Karl Freund, Charles Lawton; Art Director, Cedric Gibbons; Special Effects, Warren Newcombe; Film Editor, Albert Akst. DIRECTION, Excellent. PHOTOGRAPHY, Excellent. U