Inside facts of stage and screen (January 3, 1931)

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Saturday, January 3, 1931 INSIDE FACTS OF STAGE AND SCREEN Page Five .VraWWMWWUWV a W-WWVWWJ ,, LWVVWWWV^^^ iWVVWAVWVVW^VAWWJWV SITTIN’ WITH THE PUBLIC 1 By Ted PRICE REDUCING JLOEW’S STATE Reviewed December 28 Many are familiar •with the Chaplin technique, we presume, but how many recall those deft touches of human weakness and frailty which lifted Chaplin’s art- istry above mediocrity? Strokes of genius are in like degree pres- ent in “Reducing,” and, accord- ingly, lifts this Riesner comedy to a level that distinguishes it as one cf the best comedies of the year. This same artistry was pres- ent in “Caught Short,” one of Biesner’s preceding comedies, but not with the depth and color of this one. He has made the con- flict between the two sisters in this story of a quality and uni- versality of appeal as wide and reaching as that of birth, death and a raise in pay. It stands up under a close analysis. It is encouraging to note oc- casional in this welter anq .con- flict of politics and craftsman- ship called the movie art, a dir- ectioral personality discerning en- ought to see and courageous enough to preserve in his assignment a true balance of far-reaching en- tertainment values. The tempta- tion of extremes is ever present; protagonists of the superiority ol certain forms, patterns and tech- nique of art are fanatically and powerfully insistent in furthering their gestures. If a thing is com- mercially successful, it is not art. The reply is in the work of Nor- man Rockwell, James Branch Ca- bell, Joseph Conrad. They were commercially successful, anq even the most radical proponents of aestheticism agree they will live as long as any of the traditionals. The best tones start from the diaphragm. The best emotions well from the heart. It is from these two sources that Riesner’s comedy surge and reverberate. He knows his sounding board. An- other observation is recorded in this limited space. When action in this comedy becomes ludicrous it does not verge onto the ridicul- ous, which proves that the action is not artifically hoked. And if you feel that this observation is unimportant take time to notice the brand of hysteria that seizes the audience while viewing “Re- ducing.” It is of the uncontrol- lable kind that heaves directly from the torso and disturbs the knap of the seat coverings. Not once but many times I thought lialf of the audience was going nuts. If this isn’t an art then the panties and the shorts in that audience were filled wih very ac- tive feathers. TED PRICE. AV.VAV.V.mSVMW.WAW.VMVWAVmWA'AV.VAVWVV.V. THE RIGHT TO LOVE PARAMOUNT THEATRE Reviewed December 28 After twenty years of reviewing motion pictures that never seem on the whole to make any apprec- iable gain in quality one’s hope of seeing a really fine picture should be at low ebb in the measure of expectation. However, the longer I review ’em the more I find myself subject to a condi- tion opposed to that theory. Kant’s Kritique cn pure, reason may give you the answer. In plain language, understand- able to the purist, esthete and the realist alike, I feel .as the prospector who pans an average of dust that barely sustains life; “Somewhere in the drift and con- volutions of them thar hills lies a pocket of solid nuggets.” Somewhere in them thar movie hills is plenty c-f gold. Encumb- ered by obsolete prospecting and refining methods—which seems to be the equipment in the majority of camps—there is brought forth occasionally with the help of the law of persistence, enough pure metal to sustain hope. A few camps that have installed modern processing of their ores manage to keep this hope above the level of despair. Once in a while some- body hits a pocket full of nug- gets. Two packets of high grade ore, averaging about 90 per cent pure metal to the ton are on display this week. One is “Reducing” at Loew's State (reviewed elsewhere) and the other is “The Right to Love,” showing at the Para- Paramount. This is a superlatively fine pro- duction. I speak highly of it but on the double check “The Right to Love” measures up to the rat- ing. Chatterton’s stiil slightly af- fected accent and a casting mis- take that lasted for cnly a brief sequence is the only thing that keeps this picture from being 100 per cent. As an outright achieve- ment in screen art it ranks along with “Holiday” and “The Di- vorcee.” Credit for excellence here will undoubtedly be apportioned to the same factors that popularly gave “Holiday” and “Divorcee” their standing. This means, c-f course, that the elements that make “The Right to Love” a success will probably take a vacation lasting as long as that taken by the “lucky eombiantion” boosting “Holiday” and “Divorcee” into the hit class. Chatterton’s genius, the dialogue, etc., etc., deserve mush credit. This department invites an analys- is fom the learned ones, in and ut, as to who deserves the most. TED PRICE. SEASON’S GREETINGS JACI4 SP nice And His RKO-LIANS SAN FRANCISCO ORPHEUM m Joaquin Garay Extends Greetings NOW TWENTY-FIFTH WEEK FEATURED VOCALIST WITH WALT ROESNER’S ORCHESTRA FOX . . SAN FRANCISCO EX-FLAME RKQ ORPHEUM Reviewed Dec.- 22 Being of sound mind — I hope— I herewith give my hand and S3al to this pronuneiamento in all sin- cerity, to-wit: That without “ifs” “buts” or conjecture of any na- ture whatsoever, “Ex-Flame” for two-thirds of its journey across the screen promised to be a hot runner-up for high entertainment honors. And I say this despite the gross blunder in casting Mar- ion Nixon as a Lady of the Eng- lish peerage. Believe me, my peers—referring' to the American vintage this time—this picture built audience interest and sym- pathy as unaffectedly as “Holiday” and “The Divor-ce” at their artistic best, that is, for two-thirds of its going hut from then on. . . . Well, its too late now to help matters. The dirt . is done and no broom or dustpan of analysis is going to clean it up, but there is no haling back a curiosity to know just what happened from two-thirds of the way on. Right at that point did the director fall off of his chair and hit his head on an old fashioned effect machine or what? Did the writ- ing staff become suddenly seized with the virus cf kaleidoscope gone coo-coo and an uncontrol- lable desire for noise anq increas- ed tempo regardless of its rela- tive value? Or what? Two-thirds of the way up, and we say “UP” advisedly because this opus traveled a satisfying angle for that period the female lead began to carry on as con- trary to her conduct in the earher sequences of tho story as a “liquored blonde” and I am quite sure, I am almost positive, in fact I wc-uld swear to it that Nixon was not justifiably bickered. Listen, my children, and gather near; it wasn’t the influence of light wine or beer that caused that sudden departure from the path of consistency. It was some- thing else brought on the distor- tion. Come, ye wise men of the fold, give ns a lift; lend a hand in this mystery. There was a certain splendid dignity in Nixcn’s -earlier char- acterization. She displayed admir- able fortitude in accepting and abiding by her husband’s obvious pleasure at being with his ex- flame. Self respect stood out in her acceptance and tolerance such as one would expect from a lady of the peerage. Even free to ac- cept the attentions of a man who offered her a L-vo as exclusively hers as her cwn forefinger there wasn’t the slightest tendency to ignore the conventions. She was the embodiment and personifica- tion of self respect anq then two- thirds of the way, blooie — it goes ga-ga. Respect for herself, re- spect for the child she has lost, respect for everything goes up in a barrage of abandon. From watering place to pleasure resort in grim resignation to the fates, from .chap to chap and lap to lap showing as little discrimi-. nation and taste as a (censored). It wouldn’t have looked so badly if the personality of her par- amours had warranted it. Not one of these gentlemen bore the marks of blood anq lineage one would imagine playing house with a lady of the peerage. Did she cheapen herself or depreciate audi- ence sypathy? Would she? Visu- alize Marion Nixon and write your answer on the left hand corner of the page. Anq the first part of this picture was a gem out of the teasuro box of treatment and direction. What happened two- thirds of the way along? TED PRICE. ONE HEAVENLY NIGHT UNITED ARTISTS Reviewed December 27 Many pictures offer themselves to the public under definite tag such as drama, comedy, melo- drama or whatever those who de- termine the label intend them to be. Intentions are of the best but (Continued on Page Seventeen) ® SR i i Just a Musical Holiday Geeting from JACK SOCCERS MASTER OF CEREMONIES Fox California SAN JOSE I I I mmmmmmsmmsmmmmmmmmmmm 1 Holiday Greetings I i from the MUSICAL and THEATRICAL NEWS Official Organ of the MUSICIANS’ UNION Local 6, A. F. of M. SAN FRANCISCO ALBERT GREENBAUM Editor HARRY STRELITZ Business Manager mmmmm i