Inside facts of stage and screen (October 11, 1930)

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PAGE FOUR INSIDE FACTS OF STAGE AND SCREEN OCT. 11, 1930 Pictures — REVIEWS — Legit “SANTA FE TRAIL” PARAMOUNT PICTURE (Reviewed at Paramount Theatre) Old-fashioned western melo- drama, based on Hal G. Evarts’ book, “Spanish Acres,” which sounds like a S.C. sub-division, is the con- ventional tale of sheep herding, In- dians, Spanish dons in early western times with mortgages and crooked brokers scheming to get the land, but frustrated by the handsome hero, for the sake of the gal with an irate father. Nothing new except that it was done with talking device. Nice photography and interesting acting is more important in this picture than the story. EXHIBITOR’S VIEWPOINT: The big outdoors of the sheep coun- try and the everlasting demand of this gentry for grass has an appeal for men, and Richard Arlen must attract the women. There are the two kiddies with their own little love story very interestingly done, so this picture should be pleasing to everybody. PRODUCER’S VIEWPOINT: Otto Brower and Edwin H. Knopf did not do so badly although they showed no new quirks other than substitute dialogue for sub titles. It was just a silent reduced—or per- haps elevated to sound. If it does business, it will open up a whole new cycle of western remaking, which would be a lot better than most of the sophisticated stuff dished up recently. > CASTING DIRECTOR’S VIEWPOINT: Rosita Morena is a charming leading woman but her voice is not quite there, besides the songs were unnecessary here any- way. Her acting was excellent. Richard Arlen, of course, was his usual magnetic self and played the principal male most acceptably. Eugene Palette as his pal was likewise splendid, he gave a very in- teresting performance of a man try- ing to recall a forgotten face, and was a tower of strength to the pic- ture. Much credit must be given to Hooper Atchley, who played the heavy. He was suave and convinc- ing, as well as a sinister menace. His work would be difficult to im- prove upon in these characters. Both Junior Durkin and Mitzi Green almost swiped the picture if they did not entirely do so. Their little love affair was as sweet as a breath of springtime. Luis Alberni as the Spanish Don gave a very fine performance. He knew his character and showed dignity and understanding in every line. Others in the cast were Lee Shumway, Standing Bear, Blue Cloud, Yowlache and Jack Byron. “HEADS UP” PARAMOUNT PICTURE (Reviewed at United Artists Theatre) As a dramatic tale, this . film’s principal excuse for existence is the fact that it gives Buddy Rogers a chance to bud, Helen Kane an op- portunity to boop-a-doop, and the rising generation a slant at Victor Moore, perhaps one of the first of the screen comics, but long missing. Moore is of the Lloyd Hamilton style of fun makers. We put it this way because Hamilton is better known to the film fans, but Moore was a Broadway star before Ham was a kid. It’s a treat to watch him play a sap. We recall one of his early pic- tures of about IS or more years ago, when he played a New York clerk on a camping trip out west, trying to set up a gas stove in the heart of the desert. He has lost none of his knack for fun making and in this, being fed by gun play and hard boiled vil- lainy, he is a scream. Buddy Rogers looks like the ans- wer to a maiden’s prayer, sings and dances a little, and has a little fight but doesn’t get mussed up much. Helen Kane, is sweet with her fetch- ing baby manner and puts over a couple of numbers. The picture is only on for a week to kill time while preparing the opening of “Whoopee.” “BIG BOY” WARNER BROS., Hollywood Reviewed Oct. 3 A1 Jolson is always great enter- tainment and he is none the less satisfying in this play. There is not much else to it, but Al, and you don’t miss anything else. The story of “Big Boy” is the story of any other Kentucky Derby race track play. There is the favorite horse that must win to save the family fortune; the villains who would in- jure the horse or have the famous jockey disposed of, and of course, the race, with the favorite horse winning as usual. You will find a new Al Jolson vocally. Unquestionably, Al has be.en taking vocal lessons from some excellent coach, for he sings in this with the finesse and tech- nique of an opera star. His ren- dering of negro spirituals with a chorus of real darkies is a genuine treat. His voice, always rich and colorful in the types of songs he has made popular, has a smooth- ness that is truly appealing. He takes no liberties with the music as is his custom, usually half singing, half talking, missing a beat then catching up by speeding his lyrics. In this he sings with sincerity and musicianly skill. Al has much opportunity for pa- thos also. His exhibition of feeling when parting from the horse is largely like his scene with Sonny Boy, for drag at the heart strings. There is novelty at the end of the picture when Al starts to sing Son- ny Boy, and the pictured audi- ence start to walk out on him with" a groan. He halts them with an assurance that he will not sing that again, then turns around and with a gesture (and trick photography) faces them in white face, and sings them the hit song of the play. It is a distinct departure from usual screen fini and was much appreci- ated. EXHIBITOR’S VIEWPOINT: This should prove one of the best of the Al Jolson series. It has all of the appeal of the others, together with a horse race that is a breath taker. Music is not overdone. PRODUCER’S VIEWPOINT. Two outstanding features are the horse race and the singing of the negro songs, both of the highest order. Alan Crosland did a good job in preserving what continuity he could and still disguise a hack- neyed theme entirely unsuited for such a great star. CASTING DIRECTOR’S VIEW- POINT: Little opportunity for the cast to distinguish themselves, be- ing a one-man picture. However, Noah Beery gave his usual strong villain performance for the short time that he appeared. Louise Clos- ser Hale played a grand dame with dignity. Claudia Dell, better known as a singer than an actress, looked very pretty, which was about all she was called upon to do. An uncred- ited role, that of the wife of the character played by Eddie Phillips, was by far the best performance among the women. Too bad her name was omitted. Lloyd Hughes as the brother who was framed, was acceptable. John Harron, Lew Harvey and Franklin Batie also were in the cast. ing, George wins the pink heifer, The story is said to be an adap- tation of Zane Grey’s book, “Lucky Grey in the South Seas.” It bears a resemblance to the book in out- line, that of the last son of a fight- ing family going out to avenge his father’s murder, and accidentally rescuing a girl with whom he has fallen in love, from a desperado. Most of the story is taken up with the escape. EXHIBITOR’S VIEWPOINT: This picture will please the admir- ers of O’Brien of which there are legion. He shows some fine mo- ments of acting and action. The story is old fashioned, of the type of horse opera when pictures were in their infancy, but there is lots of red blood thrill, and will tickle the kids who have long been deprived of their wild west heros. PRODUCER'S VIEWPOINT: Western pictures are coming into vogue again and Alfred L. Werker has done a fairly good job with this. Photography was excellent and the picturesque settings of Arizona were beautiful. CASTING DIRECTOR’S VIEW POINT: Here is an example of a perfectly cast picture. Lucille Brown, the new leading lady, is. very pretty, of the dainty ingenue type. Has an appealing personal- ity. Myrna Loy as the wife of the bandit, who falls in love with the outlaw, gave her usual exotic per- formance. Walter McGrail made a very im- pressive heavy, and played the role with conviction and sincerity. Frank Campeau in the short part of an outlaw, gave a fine perform ance, as did James Bradbury, Jr., in a similar role. Others in the cast who played with fine effect were Nat Pendle- ton, Lloyd Ingraham, James Ma son, Blanche Frederici and Willard Robertson. “LAST OF THE DUANES” FOX PICTURE (Reviewed at Loew’s State) In the days of Tom Mix, this picture would have been a classic for him. With George O’Brien in the role, one can see an attempt by Fox to develop another Mix for western talkies. No better choice could be made. O’Brien has ev- erything that Mix had, plus a more pleasing and youthful appearance which, in this instance, was some- what spoiled by a very ugly shirt that stood out like a sore thumb. But it did not prevent George from showing a lot of these cow- boys some tricks of their trade. For hard riding and fast gun pull- SCHUMM and CLARK SCHOOL OF DRAMATIC EXPRESSION AND THEATRICAL ARTS FLORENCE CLARK Manager HARRY SCHUMM Director Suite 212—Lyric Theatre Bldg. 34 American Ave. Long Beach, Calif. “LEATHERNECKING” RKO PICTURE (Reviewed at RKO Theatre) “Present 1 Arms” was the original title of the stage play from which Alfred Jackson made up this scenario. It is a picture of alleged life among the marines in Hawaii. One of the privates takes it into his head to represent himself as a captain, to a girl he meets. She comes to camp, to find him doing K-P. He lies out of it and borrows the captain’s uniform to carry out the deception, using it to attend a ball aboard a yacht. A ship wreck occurs and he is discovered. They land on an island and when rescued, the lad is arrested for imperson- ating an officer. Just before court martial, the Colonel gets a notifica- tion from Washington that the boy had been promoted to captaincy, and so he was really not imperson- ating an officer after all. However, the film is distinguished by the clever work of Ken Murray and Eddie Foy Jr., who have a lot of clever lines and much funny bus- iness on display. EXHIBITOR’S VIEWPOINT: This picture can be classified as good entertainment. Its fun is wholesome and depends on funny situations, colored by good gagging. PRODUCER’S VIEWPOINT: Eddie Cline did well with an ordi- nary book. A lot of money was spent on the technicolor sequence of the Hawaiian dance at the finish, which did not add a mite to the pic- ture. The scenes aboard the ship during the wreck were forced, but those on the raft were great. The photography was very good. CASTING DIRECTOR’S VIEWPOINT: Interesting person- alities in this picture, all of whom can bear watching for future oppor- tunities. Irene Dunne as the lead- ing lady was attractive, and while new to the screen, made a verj' favorable impression. Her speak- ing voice was good and her person- ality magnetic. Ken Murray scored the big hit of the picture with his free and easy style. Benny Rubin showed noth- ing new, not even omitting his Yankee Doodle laugh. His giggles were mostly the result of gags, and Artistic Scenic Advertising Curtains By Far the Best in America CURTAIN PRIVILEGES BOUGHT FOR CASH OR SCENERY Chas. F. Thompson Scenic Co. 1215 Bates Avenue Phone OLympia 2914 Hollywood, Calif. his acting as usual. Eddie Foy Jr., was the hero and got a deal of tun out of situations his masquerading as an officer placed him into. His love-making also had a reserve that showed he is not only a comedian, but can act seriously as well. Louise Fazenda as a talkative girl got her share of the smiles. Ned Sparks was one of the boys who added to the discomfiture of Foy’s position. Lilyan Tashman, the perennial vamp, lost no opportunity to display her flair for making love. Looked well and acted very satis- factorily. Baron von Brinken gave a very dignified performance of a noble- man, and although the part was small, played it admirably. Others in the cast were Rita La Roy, Fred Santley and Carl Gerrard. “DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY” BILTMORE THEATRE (Reviewed Oct. 3) Love conquers death, who in the end, wins Love everlasting. That is the symbolic sermon which this play, by Alberto Casella and Wal- ter Ferris, aims to preach. The play is finely written with many bright epigrams and, while very draggy in the telling, due largely through the uncertainty of characterization on the part of the actors, should have an appeal to. the intelligentsia. Excellent performances were given by Henry Daniel, the English star and Alfred Hickman. Also to a somewhat lesser degree, princi- pally because of the smallness of the role, by Crauford Kent. Daniel gave a very impressive portrayal of Prince Sirki, the char- acter assumed by Death. His read- ing and acting was at all times in keeping with his splendid reputa- tion, and will establish him as a fa- vorite with certainty. Alfred Hickman’s performance was a gem. He played the role of a Baron, almost 80, who, through the holiday of Death, finds himself growing young. He falls in love and gads about like a youth. His was a really excellent conception and a high spot of the play. Crauford Kent as a major, ap- pears only in the last act and plays his role with rare intelligence and conviction. Phillip Strange as Duke Lambert, had much to do as the only one to whom Death revealed himself, and who acted as the host, but the role was principally a feeder. Other male roles of more or less consequence were read by Harry J. Leland, Kenneth Treseder and Da- vid Loring. Carmel Myers gave the best per- formance among the women. She was beautifully gowned and played with understanding and poise. Her singing in the second act was very effective. Betty Ross Clarke, billed as the star, had perhaps the least to do among the women. She played her part with poor charac- terization, in a colorless, monoton- ous rhythm. Her work was far from stellar quality. Helene Sullivan as a Princess was very good, playing the charac- ter with distinction. Brenda Forbes as a younger daughter, played the noblewoman much with the same voice and manner as she does, maids. Her gown worn in the first and second acts showed bad taste to say the least. Nan Harper as the Duchess, was well cast, as was Nora Gardiner, whose one big scene was excel- lently done. Direction spoiled much of the play, principally because the group- ings were too far up stage, cutting off the central figures from the side seats. Keeping the backs of the act- ors to the audience made hearing difficult, also. Then, too, the music off stage was entirely too loud, fre- quently drowning the voices, to the point of annoyance. Also the light- ing was not as well considered as it should have been. With these defects remedied, and a faster tem- po set for the whole, a great im- provement would be made. The play was presented and directed by Arthur Greville Collins. SHRINE OPERA AND ‘MANON’ (Reviewed Oct. 6) The musically elite, screenlands’ celebrities, students of the opera, and music lovers in general, all were at Shrine Auditorium to wel- come the hero, heroine and support- ing cast of one of our most popular musical creations, the opera! Society matrons and debutantes, and dainty favorites of the screen presented colorful feminine lovli- ness in their long willowy gowns of soft velvets, clinging satins and old laces. What an atmosphere for the Los Angeles debut of beautiful Hope Hampton in the fascinating role of Manon! The Overture of a Massenet opera gives even the layman a vis- ion of what is to follow, and when Armando Agnini directs the stage setting one is assured of that highly artistic background, which is so necessary to an operatic perfor- mance. Hampton, Gigli and Gimini shared in graceful manner, round after round of spontaneous applause. Miss Hampton’s interpretation was consistent and her lights and shades revealed an admirable con- ception of the part. Dramatically, she was mistress throughout; ten- derly touched by the charm and gentleness of Des Grieux, swayed by the butterfly dream that M. de Bretigny painted for her, penitent and again persuasive in the Semi- nary, abandoning herself to the gaiety of the card rooms and finally the changed Manon who meets the man whose life she has ruined by her worldly desires. Who could have given us a more repentant Manon than Hope Hamp- ton? When the dream had vanished and the passion flower had drooped, what a pathetic little figure was Hope Hampton as Manon, as she died in the arms of the faithful Des Grieux. Miss Hampton seems to be seek- ing a tone production that will co- ordinate more completely with her graded emotions, and it is natural to predict, that so sincere an artist will soon take her place in the front ranks of young singers of to-day. The role of Des Grieux was the usual triumph for Gigli. Who could say more for this great artist than has already been said? Gigli is always finding new places in his in- terpretations for tenderness. His consummate skill enables him to do all the things that the voice is called upon to do. The purity of his dic- tion and the sonorous beauty of his tone should linger with aspirants for the career, until he comes again. Millo Picco was in good voice and enacted the role of Lescaut with extreme good taste. D’angelo as the count did a superb and con- vincing bit. The opera as a whole was well cast, and the remaining artists did bits which deserve honorable praise as did the ensemble, which was well balanced in voice, beauty and cos- tuming. Cimini conducted with masterly skill, and the response from the orchestra was what one naturally expects when a conductor with so wide a vision is standing before so able an organization as the orches- tra of the L. A. Grand Opera Asso- ciation. Looking back a few seasons, one is reminded of the courage and un- tiring effort of Gaetano Merola, who has been instrumental in mak- ing L. A. opera a permanent insti- tution. (Continued on Page 5) RAY COFFIN INTERNATIONAL PUBLICITY 6607 Sunset Blvd. Hollywood, Calif. Phone GLadstone 3201 Behrendt-Levy-Rosen Co., Ltd. General Insurance Insurance Exchange Building VA 1261