Motion Picture Reviews (1943)

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Eight MOTION PICTURE REVIEWS story by Gordon McDonell. Direction by Alfred Hitchcock. Original musical score by Dimitri Tiomkin. Produced by Jack H. Skirball. Universal Pictures. In telling this amazing drama of a homi- cidal misanthrope, the writers and Mr. Hitchcock have handled it with such fine discrimination and subtle nuances that for onlookers there is actually “the shadow of a doubt” of the man’s guilt up to the end. Against the background of a small Califor- nia city with its familiar people, the action becomes terrifyingly realistic, building up suspense to strong emotional climaxes. A fine musical score heightens the effectiveness of the film. The scoundrel is the charming and almost mythical hero of a family which has not seen him for many years. He unexpectedly arrives to join their simple monotonous life, announcing that he intends to settle down with them. His namesake, an adoring niece, is the only one of the family who finally be- gins to feel intuitively that he is not what he seems and between the two grows a fright- ful tension. Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright are exceptionally fine in their roles, both per- formances being delicately shaded. Macdon- ald Carey deliberately underplays his part and is excellent. Patricia Collinge is very capable and Edna May Wonacott adds what- ever comedy there is. The supporting roles are unusually good. It is a powerful drama, sinister but fascinating. Adolescents, 12 to 16 Children, 8 to 12 Mature but Unsuitable uninteresting ❖ SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SECRET WEAPON O O Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Kaaren Verne, Lionel Atwill, Dennis Hoey, Harold De- Becker, Wm. Post, Jr., Mary Gordon, Paul Fix, Robert 0. Davis. Direction by Howard Benedict. Universal. Basil Rathbone seems to be lacking in his usual zest in this latest Sherlock Holmes picture, possibly because the plot is full of unnecessary complications and seems a great to-do about nothing. A Swiss inventor is menaced by Nazi agents when he refuses to entrust his bomb-sight to the English gov- ernment and when he does not furnish Sherlock Holmes with vital evidence in the case. Again the detective tangles with his old enemy, Moriarity. Adolescents, 12 to 16 Children, 8 to 12 Only fair No ♦ SILVER SKATES O O Kenny Baker, Patricia Morison, Frank Fay- len, Joyce Compton, Paul McVey, Donald Kerr, Belita, Irene Dare, Danny Shaw, Frick and Frack, Eugene Turner, George Stewart, Jo Ann Dean, Ted Fio Rito and his Orches- tra. Direction by Leslie Goodwins, Para- mount. Like many musi-comedies, this skating novelty has a sketchy plot: the costumes of a show are not paid for, the star performer is about to wed and render the production unfit for big-time booking, a handsome singer tries to hold her by half-hearted romancing, and eventually a child prodigy saves the day. However, it is a buoyant, tuneful picture with excellent skating by fairy-light Belita, Frick and Frack, the inimitable clowns, two skillful children, Irene Dare and Danny Shaw, and a host of well-trained performers in individual acts and the beautiful ensem- bles. Aside from the brilliant skating ex- hibitions, the film is one to be enjoyed for the time being and easily forgotten, but it will give many people a lift, a favor not to be discounted in days of stress. Adolescents, 12 to 16 Children, 8 to 12 Entertaining Yes SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT O O Don Ameche, Janet Blair, Jack Oakie, Wm. Gaxton, Cobina Wright, Jr., Veda Ann Borg, Hazel Scott. Jaye Martin, Lily Nor- wood, Jas. "Chuckles" Walker. Songs by Cole Porter. Musical direction by M. W. Stoloff. Direction by Gregory Ratoff. Co- lumbia. The formula for backstage comedy is var- ied when a show is put on a financial basis by a reversion to old-time vaudeville, really top class vaudeville with a bang-up dog act and good specialty performances. All this occurs after a producer (William Gaxton) and his press agent (Don Ameche) have used every imaginable device to shelve an ex-show girl millionairess, desirous of stardom, (Co- bina Wright, Jr.) and supplant her by a vivacious young lady from the country (Janet Blair), who can sing and dance and write melodious song hits. The Cole Porter songs used in this connection are naturally most successful. Jack Oakie plays the manager of a theatrical boarding house filled with penni- less but talented aspirants for fame. The first part of the film contains some elaborate and unusual dance ensembles. Adolescents, 12 to 16 Children, 8 to 12 Lively and funny Too mature ❖ STAR SPANGLED RHYTHM O O Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Fred MacMurray, Franchot Tone, Ray Milland, Victor Moore, Dorothy Lamour, Paulette Goddard, Vera Zorina, Mary Martin, Dick Powell, Betty Hutton, Eddie Bracken, Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, Rochester, Jerry Colonna, Walter Abel, Lynne Overman, etc. Original screen play by Harry Tugend. Music by Harold Arlen. Lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Direction by George Marshall. Paramount. “Star Spangled Rhythm” is glorified vaude- ville in which most of the Paramount head- liners take part. They all enter into the fun with zest and contribute singing, danc- ing, wise-cracking, many clever skits. Even the slapstick is hilariously funny. This kind