Inside facts of stage and screen (June 7, 1930)

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PAGE FOUR INSIDE FACTS OF STAGE AND SCREEN SATURDAY, JUNE 7. 1930 Picture Reviews Previews Shorts "THE ARIZONA KID'* FOX PICTURE (Reviewed at Loew's State) This is the third in the Cisco Kid series oi Warner Baxter-Fox pictures, though the Kid angle is not maintained. But the costume and the acting are the same. How- ever, they've never been able to again catch the "In Old Arizona" atmosphere, though boxoffices keep at a merry tune from the "Old Arizona" pull and the pictures are above average in actual entertain- ment value. "The Arizona Kid" is the less good of the three to date, due to somewhat of jumpiness in the story and the palpable effort to capture the "Old Arizona" spirit in imitation. The current Baxter film relates the adventures of an Arizona out- law of Mexican blood who is op- erating in the northwest. The mo- tif of a tragic love and unfaithful- ness of the loved one is again brought in. But this time there is another girl upon whom the ban- dit's affection can center when the old love dies, and furthermore the old love does not get killed therein. Which brings a more movie and a less forceful and a less beautiful ending. In this picture the Mexicanized Baxter doesn't actually do but two killings, one of a rival "amateur" holdup man, and the other of the heavy. He derives his income from an abandoned gold mine, and the climax of the story works up to where the heavy, who has killed the gold mine guards, attempts to fasten the crime on Baxter, to- gether with a revelation that he is the wanted "Arizona Kid." Concurrently runs the love inter- est quadrange. Baxter falls in love with a girl (Carol Lombard) who is already married, but who passes off her husband as her brother. A second girl (Mona Maris) loves Baxter and at length reveals the deception of the other lady. So Baxter shoots the husband by beat- ing him to the draw, and rides off to presumable happiness with Mona. EXHIBITORS' VIEWPOINT: With "Old Arizona" and "Romance of the Rio Grande" still in such wide popular favor, this one is a draw. The entertainment is there, and the patrons will not be dis- appointed. PRODUCERS' VIEWPOINT: Alfred Santell did the direction, and did it well. He caught the ro- mance fully in a great many spots, but there are some others where the story interest drops and the well-known ennui is permitted to sink in pro tem. Which probably should be charged to the script. Ralph Block did the story and dia- logue. CASTING DIRECTORS' VIEWPOINT: Warner Baxter still stands unchallenged as the top romantic figure of this type. And he's still good at it in popular ap- peal. He himself loses nothing by this one. Mona Maris is again her distinc- tive self, and -a most pleasing addi- tion to the flavor of the picture. Her casting in "Rio Grande Ro- mance" and "Arizona Kid" was well done, as her appeal is a dis- tinct asset to the searchers after romance. Soledad Jiminez is again in her familiar role as the garrulous and stout elderly Mexican peon woman, and again hits the bullseye with her characterization. But there are frequent passages, particularly be- tween her and Mona, where the dialogue becomes so rapid and gib- bering that it is unintelligible. An occasional understandable English word gives the impression that it is meant to be understood. Carol Lombard is satisfactory in the heavy fem role, while opposite her as the masculine menace is The- odore Von Eltz, palpably hired for as close a likeness as possible to Edmund Lowe. There are times when one might easily be fooled by the resemblance. Due to this, it is hardly likely that Von Eltz will get the full credit due him, as compar- isons always detract, but his work was very good. Others in the cast, all doing good work, included Arthur Stone, Wal ter P. Lewis, Jack Herrick, Wil- fred Lucas, Hank Mann, De Sacia Mooers, Larry McGrath and Jim Gibson. F. A. H. SOLDIERS AND WOMEN' COLUMBIA PICTURE (Reviewed at RKO Theatre) A picture of a stage play, draggy and well nigh ruined by some poor casting. It is sordid in theme, placed in unattractive surround- ings, deals with illicit love, and is all built around the trick of how to bolt a door from the out- side. Aileen Pringle is presented as an officer's wife, stationed in the smelly tropics, and who has fallen in love with a young officer Grant Withers. The latter, however, has a case on Helen Johnson, wife of Walter McGrail, another ofiicer. McGrail discovers Aileen's infatua- tion and threatens to spread the news, and she tells him of his own wife's affair with Withers. McGrail is found shot and is at first thought a suicide, then sus- picion shifts from an abused pri- vate to Withers and then to Aileen. The play ends uninspir- ingly with tragedy and without a constructive idea in it. EXHIBITORS' VIEWPOINT: Any bill on which this appears needs balancing up Avith some lively comedy and music. It is cer- tainly no fare for yjDung folks; is no inducement for boys to join our military forces nor for women to marry into them, and has no moral significance, even though villain and villainess both die. There is no legitimate exploitation angle. PRODUCERS' VIEWPOINT: Director Edward Sloman carried the tempo entirely too slow for such a sordid theme, and a lot of the general's comedy was in poor taste considering the presence of the body of a murdered man whose death he was investigating. Dorothy Howell's continuity and dialogue adaptation from the stage play of Paul Hervey Fox and George Tilton wa: fair enough, considering the material, but she might have worked in the general's comedy before the murder, unless that was gagged in. CASTING DIRECTORS' VIEWPOINT: Helen Johnson, second female lead, is not favored with an attractive microphone voice unless there was something wrong with the recording, al- though it did not affect the others of the cast. Her work was con- spicuously unconvincing, although apparently sincerely offered. A miscasting. Grant Withers, op- posite her, suffered from com- parison with the veterans of the company. His enunciation indi cated he yet has something to learn. Walter McGrail, also, is a better pantomimist than talker. Aileen Pringle portrayed her role with a fair .measure of con- viction, and was consistently good all through. Emmett Corrigan car- ried off the general role easily and with professional flair, and Ray J. Largay appeared as the butt of his honor, and also as Aileen's in- adequate husband. Blanche Fred- erici. Wade Boteler, William Col- vin and Sam Nelson supported in bit parts with average competence. Yeates, few minutes in a brief exchange of Cabellian lines in the final reel. In point of method in approach- ng the talkification of an operetta, 'Bride of the Regiment" is a dis- inct improvement. It's weakness ies in the handling of the meth- od. In many instances, inexcus- able licenses are taken, as for in- stance when two small coaches produce enough dancing girls to 11 a huge castle. Were it not for these faults and a lack of real un- derstanding of characterization on the part of the story adaptors, the picture might rank as the best example to date of how to make talkie of a musical play. PRODUCERS' VIEWPOINT: Victor Shertzinger's dirction is good for this type of picture, though he didn't have much to work with in the George Marion, Jr.,-Percy Heath story. Dialogue is frequent- ly a long arid desert of disinterest. sighing happily in the knowledge that every once in a while a de- serving fellow gets a break. There was a theme song, duetted for us by Connie and Regis, but it was introduced for us in an unusual way. Instead of a concealed sym- EXHIBITORS' VIEWPOINT: fan enthusiasm, and plays the light This picture is a good booking be- weight role rather disinterestedly cause of its spectacle, excellent and a trifle too cock-surely. Song numbers are done average for phony orchestra, a piano furnished a program picture. j the accompaniment, presumably CASTING DIRECTORS' VIEWPOINT: The highlight of this picture is the wisecracking team of Josephine Dunn and Carol Lombard. Their lines are the best, and also the best delivered. Charles "Buddy" Rogers has not an ideal vehicle either from the standpoint of his possibilities or his color, freedom ©f boring repetition of songs, names in the cast and the association of a very familiar title. PRODUCERS' VIEWPOINT: Execs should look this one over as a manner of treating an oper- etta without driving the customers mad with senseless outbursts into song and as an example of how a Kathryn Crawford does well in her leading fem role assignment, and manages to radiate appeal that gets over. But for real appeal, Virginia Bruce, with only a couple of sequences to do, gets over a world of it. There's a real bet. Roscoe Karns steals the broad comedy honors in a semi-burlesque good technique can be depreciated taxicab driver part. He manages by inept characterizations by the Uu his chances neatly, with a full writers and weak attempts at so- account of laughs the final result phisticated dialogue. Francis MacDonald comes across CASTING DIRECTORS' in his usual capable style as a VIEWPOINT: Walter Pidgeon mustachioed heav3% and Geneva comes through with an approach Mitchell is very good as the vamp, to a role that should have been a Good in their respective roles are sparkling masterpiece of a richly Richard Tucker, Raoul Caloi and duped bombastic and amorous Louise Beavers, the latter doing a colonel. Pidgeon has an impres- comedy colored maid that gets her sive manly appearance, a rich a more than fair share of the laughs baritone and big possibilities. He | Grimes. deserved a better break on the lines, that final sparkling bit giv-pRICH PEOPLE' ing an indication of how the entire PATHE PICTURE thing might have been done. (Reviewed at RKO Theatre) Vivienne Segal was satisfactory A tale proving there is nothing as the Countess but suffers from sensible about love, regardless of the photography, being topped by the "head lines" in a fellow's hand, a snappy characterization of the and delightfully flavored by the opera dancer, given by Myrna Loy. forthright depiction by Constance Miss Loy copped the feminine act- Bennett of the character of a rich ing honors. Allen Prior's fine voice im- pressed in his work as the Count, but he had little opportunity to show his real possibilities. girl who knew what she wanted when she wanted it, even when it was a Ford-driving clerk. It seems that Regis Toomey was driving home in his flivver one idly played by a guest in the draw- ing room, its strains reaching to the garden and inspiring the lovers to song and precipitating the first declaration. EXHIBITORS' VIEWPOINT: Very fair entertainment, lots of love interest, touching the spicy, and quite a few laughs. Constance Bennett will make a lot of friends with this. Toomey's steady ability is some draw. A good program booking for all ages. PRODUCERS' VIEWPOINT: A workmanlike job by Director Edward H. Griffith, in good tempo and with interest well sustained. Adapted by A. A. Kline from the original story by Jay Getzer, with all angles of pictorial value exploit- ed without exaggeration. The singing couple of players burst out into song with a reasonable excuse and without stopping plot develop- ment. And a nice little inverse Cinderella story is told with con- viction. CASTING DIRECTORS' VIEWPOINT: Constance Ben- nett is top-hole in this and gets everw ounce of value out of it. Regis Toomey also is an excellent casting, and he turns in one of his best performances. Robert Ames wrinkles his brow through his scenes in his usual manner, and John Loder's enunciation is still as woolly as ever. Mahlon Hamilton, veteran of the silents, appeared as Connie's father and was ill at ease. He needs more practice at speaking lines. Ilka Chase and Polly Ann Young contributed color in small roles and handled them capably. Yeates, Ford Sterling, Louise Fazenda P^^ht (it was raining cats and dogs, and Lupino Lane handled the "?y hearties) when he came across comedy assignments up to a fairly Connie by the roadside, out of gas good standard, and Claude Flem- ing played an army captain in superior and interesting fashion. E, H. G. "SAFETY IN NUMBERS" PARAMOUNT PICTURE (Reviewed at Paramount Theatre) and being annoyed by a pair of in- gagies who mean no good. With the moral aid of a monkey wrench, Regis dismissed the gorillas and took Connie to his bachelor home, conveniently close by, to dry her clothes. She undressed, but nobody broke in to cause a misunderstanding. This IS just another one of these ^^^^^ ^ . screen niusical comedy plays, fol- ^^j^^j ^^^^^^^^ ^^^^ j^.^ ^J^^ lowing Hollywood s idea of what ^^^j^^^^ ^^^^^^ musical shows on the screen should I "production peaks" came in be like and with a plot that is too j^^^^ ^j^^ ^^^^ forcedtobe wholly funny and g^^^ The unwinding reels developed era ly played stiffly. Charles Bud- Lj^^^ ^^^^^^ was engaged to marry dy Rogers has a voice which is r^j^^^^ ^ ^j^^ f^*^^^^^^ ^ not whoi y displeasing, and also ^^^^ jj^^j ^^.^ ^ . finds another chance to show his I ^.^^^ ^.^^ musical versatility. Bu the P^c- Lgo she had been genuinely in love, ture IS no clicker for those who ^^^^^ marriage because ike the convincing style of enter-Lj^^ ^^^^ (English Johnny Loder) ainment. ^^^^^^ p^^j.^ Loder turned up in The plot opens with Buddy about the fifth reel and told her that love to come into a lot of money—sev- was everything, and that if she .eral millions, at least—and being ever encountered love again she sent by his guardian-uncle to New should hang onto it. York with a few thousands to be- So she took the advice. She beat come accustomed to the big city it back to Regis' cottage, some- rackets so he won't be a sucker where about dawn this was, got when he inherits the big sum.' him out of bed and cooked break- HOWE TO N. Y. "Doc" Howe is on the way. to New York to install the Fanchon and Marco system in the metro- politan headquarters. "Doc" will spend six or eight weeks on the task and in the future will divide his time between New York and Los Angeles' offices. JOHN BOLES BACK 'BRIDE OF THE REGIMENP FIRST NATIONAL PICTURE (Reviewed at W. B. Hollywood) "The Lady in Ermine" appears with a new title in the talkies all- technicolor photography and enough dancing beauties to make your head swim. As spectacle, the picture is very lavishly done. It's an optical treat. But despite more of an attempt to tell a story than in previous musical shows done into talkers, despite a judicious pruning to faster running time, and an elimi- nation of boring repetitions of songs, the picture fails of being a superior product. To the dialogue and the treat- ment, its failure must be laid The sophisticated conceit on which "The Lady in Ermine" is based is only permitted to gleam for Guardian-uncle arranges to have as his social sponsors three ladies from the Follies. Now, if you can believe that, you'll have a bit of entertainment when Rogers discov- ers the plans made for him, but then the story becomes very trite. There is the chosen one of the trio who really learns to love Rogers, and who in turn learns to love; there is the vamp who threatens to destroy the romance, and there is the happy ending. Which sum totals to the fact that the only high point from a story angle is Buddy's awakening to the fact that he is to be shown New York life by three chorus adies, and his chagrin at some things that happen. EXHIBITORS' VIEWPOINT: This one will have to depend solely upon Charles Rogers' name for its drawing power. The entertainment is not there sufficiently to click on its own merits. A LOT OF liAUaHS ON EVERY PAGE—JUST OFF THE PRESS ««SPEAKING OF HAMS By RICHARD F. MANN A HUMOROUS AND INTIMATE STORY OF TWO FEMALE TROUPERS On sale at New8 Stands where INSIDE FACTS Is sold. Or order direct from Jester Pub. Co., 405 Kress Bldg., San Francisco 50c A COPY fast for the one she loved. Regis struggled and things went on and on, with further complications, but finally she left Ames waiting at the church, went to Regis in her bridal costume, and the fadeout left us John Boles, Universal star, has returned to Hollywood after an ex- tended trip to New York City, and is preparing to start work on his new schedule of pictures for the studio. Boles will shortly begin work in "Gypsy Love Song," writ- ten by Konrad Bercovici, Lupe Velez and Jeanette Loff in the cast. FOR RENT STUDIO RESIDENCE (FURNISHED) 6 Rooms and Sleeping Porch (8x20); Double Garage; Near Motion Picture Studios* OWNER GOiNG EAST 132 No. Waton Place Phone HEmpstead 0376 HERBERTS Good Food With Courtesy OPEN ALL NIGHT 745-749 South HiU Street Los Angeles Bachelor Hotel & Grill 151-159 PoweU Street San Francisco