Motion Picture Herald (Jul-Sep 1931)

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July 11, 19 3 1 MOTION PICTURE HERALD 35 M. Parshley, professor of zoology at Smith college. In endeavoring to prove the theory of evolution, many scenes in the film are devoted to comparisons of the framework of the lower forms of animal life and man. All the forms of life from the lowest to the highest, as we know them today — the jelly fish, reptiles, mammals, man — are presented in this treatise on this widely discussed subject, which first was expounded by Darwin, and since has aroused controversy throughout the world. "The Mystery of Life" has been playing at the Cameo Theatre in 42nd Street, just off Broadway, in New York. This small house has been pretty well filled during the run of the attraction. A pedestrian, on seeing the marquee sign, was heard to comment : "What is that, a 'Men only' picture?" Produced by Classic Productions, Inc. Distributed by Universal. Directed by George Cochrane. Edited by W. W. Young. Maciste in Hell (Excelsior Picture Corp.) Drama Based on the epic Inferno of Dante, the Warner in New York is showing "Maciste in Hell," produced several years ago by Pittalugia Studos of Turin, Italy, and now synchronized with operatic score and appropriate sound effects at the Metropolitan Studios in New Jersey. The New York audience sat fascinated through the picturization of what the Inferno, pictured in words by Dante, might well have looked like. A blazing furnace-like labrynth of caves and deep caverns, in which men, who looked like beasts, and are meant to be the devil subjects of Pluto, the king, and Lucifer, the emperor of the kingdom of darkness, is fantastically displayed on the screen. The story concerns Maciste, virtuous and unusually strong physically, who is the worst enemy, in his righteousness, with which the denizens of the nether-world have to contend. Pluto dispatches one of his chief devils to the Earth to garner new subjects for his kingdom and at the same time, to attempt the capture of Maciste. The devil is thwarted in his ef¥orts to take Rosabelle, whom Maciste loves, despite the fact that she has permitted herself to sin, and has a child by a prince, with whom she had fallen in love. The devil, does however, capture Maciste, and he is taken to Hell. There he displays his great strength, and for a while, resists the wiles of Prosperpine, unfaithful wife of Pluto, and the daughter, Luciferine. Unaware of the danger, he succumbs and kisses Prosperpine, which act automatically condemns him to live in Hell forever. But in the course of a rebellion against Pluto, instigated by the chief devil, Barbarici, Maciste, whose strength is great, takes the side of the king and aids in vanquishing the rebels. Given his choice, he asks to be set free, but is trapped by Prosperpine. Meanwhile, the prince returns to Rosabelle, and the prayer of their child on Christmas Eve is sufficient to set Maciste free from the chains which bind him in Hell. Photographic effects were generally commented upon as perhaps the most striking feature of the unusual screen offering, with considerable praise for the manner in which the sound effects and operatic score have enhanced the film as a whole. General reaction was to the effect that "Maciste in Hell" was a film unusual in its theme, interesting in its portrayal and striking in the matter of settings and photographic presentation. Produced by Pittalugia Studios of Turin, Italy. Distributed by Olympia Macri Excelsior Pictures Corp. Based on the Inferno of Dante. Directed by Guide Brignone. Settings by Jules Lombardozzi. Cameramen, Ubaldo Arata and Massimo Terzano. CAST Maciste Bartolomeo Pagano Prosperpine Mario Sale Luciferine Pauline Polaire Barbarici Domenicco Serra Pluto Umberto Guarracino Gerion Helene Sangro Rosabelle Lucie Zanussi George Franz Sala Son of the Plains (Syndicate) Western A newly appointed deputy sheriff goes after the notorious Polka Dot Bandit against a background of what was generally conceded to be most interesting and striking Western scenic effects, in this film of the old West. The bandit, Eddie Hearn, has held up the express office, shot the agent and run for it, dropping the money on the way. J. P. MacGowan, as the father of the heroine, retrieves it, and is about to pursue the bandit when he is shot. Wounded, he returns home, and suspicion, even that of his daughter, falls upon him. But the deputy learns the real identity of the bandit, and sets out after him. Of course, he succeeds in capturing him after much hard riding and a good deal of shooting. Incidentally, and romantically, the daughter, played by Doris Phillips, is equally successful in capturing the deputy, Bob Custer. Robert Bradbury, who handled the story and produced the film, has, in the opinion of many, done well in bringing in snow-capped Western mountains with splendid effect. Al St. John, in the comedy role, drew laughs from the audience at a New York house. Produced and adapted by Robert Bradbury, under the supervision of Trem Carr. Photographed by Archie Stout. Recording by Balsley and Phillips. Release date. May, 1, 1931. Running time, 61 minutes. CAST: Tom Brent Bob Custer Ann Farrell Doris Phillips Dan Farrell J. P. MacGowan "Drunk" Al St. John Brokaw Eddie ISearn Sheriff Gordon DeMain Money-Makers of Manhattan (Educational) Novelty One of the Lyman H. Howe "Hodge Podge" numbers, in which is shown the many and diversified ways in which New Yorkers in various stations of life earn their livelihoods. The majority of the shorts are taken in the lower East Side, with window washers at work on the new Empire State building to conclude the short. — Running time, 7 minutes. Hello Napoleon (Universal) Comedy Lloyd Hamilton, in a lunatic asylum, is the subject of the none too gentle medical attention of four prize lunatics. Harry Edwards was responsible for the direction. — Running time, 17 minutes. Strange As It Seems — No. 10 (Universal) Novelty Oddities in the world are, as usual, pictured in this number of the series. Probably the most outstanding of the subjects featured is that picturing a Hawaiian catching an octopus and then eating the fish. — Running time, 10 minutes. North Woods (Universal) Cartoon This number of the Oswald animated cartoon series pictures the rabbit as a member of the Northwest Mounted Police out to "get his man." He does it, but covers a good bit of ground in the attempt. — Running time, 6 minutes. A Contrast in Screen Music (Continued from page 25) Willy Schmidt-Gentner, who also wrote the music of "I Sing You a Love Song," one of the striking numbers in the production. What might be called the musical theme of the picture is a song entitled "Ich Bin Ya So Vergniigt ("I Am So Happy"). This rollicking ditty is sung first in the be* garden in the opening scenes by the irrepressible tenor, surrounded by his heroworshippers — mostly women — who join in the refrain with lusty lungs and much sonority. A free translation of the refrain is : "I am so happy, am so gay ! Just like a lark in sunny May, that sings and flies away. An inn with good old beer to drink — and pretty maids that kiss and sing. This is my favor'd place to stay. The world is glorious and gay — Hooray !" The significance of this unpremeditated lay is emphasized later when, his voice apparently gone (although he, himself, is tht only one who realizes it) Winkelmann is urged by the opera director to return to Vienna and resume his career. But the great singer, always the actor, pretends to be happy on his little farm and scoffs at the idea of again being the paid slave of the masses. He wouldn't even consider it ! He is contented where he is, with his garden, his cows and his pigs. He is playing the comedy to the end, and as he plays he unconsciously begins to hum his favorite song, "I'm so happy, I'm so gay." As he hums his voice acquires its old resonance; it grows in volume and rises in a mighty crescendo. His glorious voice has come back and he will sing again ! And so — on to Vienna and his triumphal return to the stage in "Lohengrin." The opera scenes are extraordinarily well done. Evaristo Signorini, who plays the part of the singer who substitutes for Winkelmann in the South American opera house, has a brilliant voice. His number, "Pierrot's Love" is an original song written for the production by Willy Schmidt-Gentner. The records synchronized with Jannings' singing as Winkelmann are those recorded by Marcel Witrisch, noted tenor of the Berlin Staats Opera, one of Germany's most gifted singers, and reveal a noble voice in the singing of Lohengrin's "Farewell to the Swan." There are several other foreign films now showing in New York which deserve the serious consideration of our picture makers. Notable among these are "Zwei Herzen im H Takt" at the Europa theatre, and "Le Million" at the Little Carnegie Playhouse. These pictures demonstrate what can be accomplished when musical intelligence is made to foregather with other intelligences of motion picture production. Headline Film Finished "Women Men Marry," Headline picture, has been booked into the New York Beacon week of July 10. M. D. Sikawitt, president, has announced from Hollywood the completion of "A Private Scandal," next production at the Tec-Art studios. Marion Nixon is featured with Lloyd Hughes. Charles Hutchison directed. Theodore Von Eltz, Walter Hiers, Lucille Powers, Edward Phillips and others are in the support.