Motion Picture Herald (May-Jun 1946)

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ing points to a probable marriage between the doctor and the now-chastened girl. Michel Kraike has given the film a fine production, which the use of color vastly enhances. George Sherman directed in his usual smooth style. Seen at the studio. Reviewer's Rating : Good. — T. B. Release date, June 13. 1946. Running time, 87 min. PC A No. 11086. General audience classification. Hannah Brockway Evelyn Keyes Dr. Sam Martin Willard Parker Ben (Taylor) Dembrow Larry Parks Edgar Buchanan, Jim Bannon, Forrest Tucker, Ludwig Donath, Frank Sully, Willard Robertson, Paul E. Burns, Edily Waller. Specter of the Rose Republic — Ballet Madness Ben Hecht's first one-man show for Republic is a bizarre and sometimes exciting melodrama combining three currently popular box office M's — murder, music and madness. He has written, produced and directed "Specter of the Rose" with that same flair for straightforward, singleline story telling that has boosted him to a unique position in the literary field. Yet you wonder again how Mr. Hecht can be so bad and so good at the same time.. The exotic and florid story is an intense study of Sanine, an insane ballet dancer, suspected of murdering his wife. Since the leads, Ivan Kirov and Viola Essen, are unknown to the screen, chosen for their dancing rather than their acting ability, the story and not the stars will have to be sold. However, two of Hollywood's best supporting players, Judith Anderson and Michael Chekhov, take care that the film is well acted. Sanine (Kirov), world-famous ballet "dancer, has retired after the death of his wife and is believed mad. Lured out of retirement by a fly-by-night producer, played by Chekhov, he marries Haidi (Miss Essen), the ballet pupil of La Bel Sylph (Miss Anderson). His mental illness returns and he attempts to kill Haidi. Later, in a hotel room, he tries again. But before he plunges the knife into the throat of his sleeping wife, the voices return and he leaps through a window. There are good characterizations in this story — so good that the few glaringly bad ones are all the more obvious. The producer is excellently conceived and acted to the hilt. Two bit roles, one that of a cloak-and-suit manufacturer, the other the head of a musician's local, are the best touches in the show. But balancing this is Mr. Hecht's poet, played by Lionel Stander, who is called upon to say seriously such things as : "My heart is dancing a minuet in the ash can." The success of the film's climactic scene is questionable since Kirov is called upon to dance a prolonged and wierd death bed scene before making the final leap. This combination of the good and bad has produced an uneven picture in which hollowness and vitality vie for attention. Because of its unusual treatment of a strange and strong theme, "Specter of the Rose" appears to be an exhibi-" tion problem. Seen in a New York projection room. Reviewer's Rating: Uncertain. — Ray Lanning. Release date, not set. Running time, 90 min. PCA No. 11410. Adult classification. La Belle Sylph Judith Anderson Max Polikoff Machael Chekhov Andre Sanine Ivan Kirov Haidi Viola Essen Lionel Stander, Charles Marshall, George Shdanoff, Billy Gray, Juan Panalle, Lou Heam. Larceny in Her Heart P/?C— Detective Story This detetctive film in the Michael Shayne series has a complicated story with Hugh Beaumont as Mike Shayne, the peanut-chewing private detective who skillfully gathers evidence and eventually cracks the case with the help of his secretary, played by Cheryl Walker. Shayne is called on a case to locate a missing step-daughter of Burton Stallings. Just as he accepts the case a girl who had been drugged stumbles into Shayne's office. Shayne leaves her sleeping in his office. When he returns he finds that she has been strangled. The detective does not want the police to find the body in his office so he places it near the Stallings home. However, it is found in the river. Mr. Stallings identifies the body as that of his step-daughter, but Shayne discovers that the girl who had been strangled was not Stallings' step-daughter. Stallings had been mismanaging the girl's money and decided to kill her. The girl who was murdered was a double. Mike Shayne solves the case. Sigmund Neufeld produced and Sam Newfield directed from a screenplay by Raymond L. Schrock, based on the original characters and story by Brett Halliday. Seen at the home office projection room. Reineiver's Rating : Average. — M. R. Y. Release date, July 10, 1946. Running time, 68 min. PCA No. 11546. General audience classification. Michael Shayne Hugh Beaumont Pliyllis Cheryl Walker Ralph Dunn, Paul Bryar, Charles Wilson, Douglas Fowley, Gordon Richards, Charles Quigley, Julia McMillan, Marie Harmon, Lee Bennett, Henry Hall, Milton Kibbee. West of the Alamo Monogram— Jimmy Wakely, et al Mighty purty singin' that thar Wakely boy turns in, Pa'dner, and who cares a hang what else he does in a picture that gives him five chances to loosen his pipes and let go? 'Bout the singin'est Western goin' the rounds jest now, seems like, even givin' Lee "Lasses" White a turn at the warblin' for extra measure. Yessiree, she's okay for sound, this 58-minute jobbie, and she's got ridin' and shootin', too. Oliver Drake produced and directed this item, using a script by Louise Rousseau, and there's quite a story in it, too, although it would have benefited by a little more bearing down by the actors. They take it pretty much in stride, notwithstanding the fact that it concerns a girl bandit (actually no bandit at all, of course) and a killing committed under circumstances extraordinary enough to have warranted more painstaking development. Some outfits have made upper-bracket Westerns in color with less promising material than this, but that's a parenthetical observation. Anyway, the town banker turns out to be the baddie, and is dealt with appropriately. Revieived at the Hitching Post theatre, Hollywood, where the afternoon turnout of addicts to W estcrns appeared satisfied. Reviewer's Ruling : Average. — William R. Weaver. Release date, April 20, 1946. Running time, 58 min. PCA No. 11476. General audience classification. Jimmy Jimmy Wakely Lasses Lee '"Lasses" White Tris Clive, Jack Ingram, Red Holton, Budd Buster, Eddie Majors, Ray Whitley. Galloping Thunder Columbia — Western To his customary dual characterization, Charles Starrett, in his latest adventure, adds a third. He appears first as Steve Reynolds, investigator for the Arizona Stockmen's Syndicate, whose herds have been consistently stampeded by outlaws. Next, he is the Durango Kid, mysterious rider of the western plains. Last of all, he's Buck McCloud, a hardened and vicious lead-slinger. It is to Starrett's credit that he makes all three characterizations convincing. Assuming each personality in turn, he is able to expose the town banker who has instigated the stampedes, and to send several outlaws to an early grave. Adelle Roberts, as the banker's loyal fiancee, who refuses to believe anything but the best of him, is charming. Richard Bailey, as the banker, is not happily cast. He does not appear to possess those qualities requisite in a villain of such stripe. Smiley Burnette provides the comedy, which is not sufficiently funny to warrant the footage given it. Merle Travis and his Bronco Busters accompany Smiley in several western songs. Colbert Clark's production is not exceptional. Ray Nazarro directed at a speedy clip. The original screenplay, which is somewhat better than average, was written by Ed Earl Repp. Seen at the Hitching Post theatre, Hollywood, where the audience seemed satisfied. Reviewer's Rating : Average. — T. B. Release date, April 25, 1946. Running time, 54 min, PCA No. 11037. General audience classification. Steve \ Charles Starrett Uurango ) Smiley Burnette, Adelle Roberts, Richard Bailey, Kermit Maynard, Ed. Cobb, Ray Bennett, Curt Barrett, John Merton. The French Key Republic — ^Murder Mystery Albert Dekker, a private detective, and his ape-like sidekick, Mike Mazurki, go through a series of melodramatic adventures before they clear themselves of a murder charge. With chuckles thrown in liberally, the film, patterned in the usual murder-mystery formula, makes for agreeable entertainment. The title is derived from a soft-metal key, which, when inserted in a lock, can easily be broken off^. Not having paid their hotel rent, the boys find themselves the victims of this embarrassing predicament, and, to complicate matters, with a corpse in their room. The final solution of the mystery entails an involvement with a night club performer, Evelyn Ankers, an 1832 gold coin, a foray into a deserted mine, and three bronze bears. In one scene, Mazurki comes to grips with Sammy Stein, noted wrestler of another day, with all surrounding poolroom furniture soon coming to ruin. Walter Colmes was associate producer, also directing, from a screenplay and novel by Frank Gruber. Seen at the home office projection. Reviewer's Rating : Fair. — Mandel Herbstman. Release date, May 18, 1946. Running time, 67 min. PCA No. 19303. General audience classification. Johnny Fletcher Albert Dekker Sam Cragg Mike Mazurki Janet Morgan Evelyn Ankers John Eldridge, Frank Fenton, Selmer Jackson, Byron Foulger, Joe DeRita, Marjorie Manners, David Gorcey, Michael Branden, Sammy Stein, Alan Ward, Walter Soderling, Emmett Vogan. Quiet Weekend Associated British-Pathe — Polished Wit Despite the absence of star names, discriminating showmen over here will make rich play with this piece of diverting, comely nonsense; as should their American counterparts. It's adapted with discretion from a stage play which lived lucratively through the worst of the London bombings ; no mean merit that. But director Harold French — experienced hand at this kind of trick — doesn't slavishly follow the stage play formula. He lets his cameras rove over a politely pleasant English countryside, pointing the original's wit with new polish, evoking at proper intervals sly chuckles and sudden guffaws. One of those comfortable, but not-so-welloff English families goes down to its rustic retreat where plumbing is non-existent and whose Tudored thatched roof seems perilously near final collapse. But it's a not so quiet weekend that the well-bred bunch experiences. Papa gets into trouble on a midnight salmonpoaching escapade ; mama has to cope with a glamour gal who comes in chase of the slightly brash son of the house ; adorant young cousin of that same young man does a little weeping on account of the sweetheart she appears to be losing thereby. It's all nicely mannered, told with easy grace, diverting to the connoisseur of wit's nicer points, evoking gusty laughter among other persons. In other words, a gem of a picture for the slightly-above-the-usual audience. The acting is of a pattern with the piece ; accomplished, gay, easy. Also — though she's no star yet — there's a young woman, Barbara White, who puts across 3006 PRODUCT DIGEST SECTION, MAY 25, 1946