Showmen's Trade Review (Apr-Jun 1944)

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April 1, 1944 SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW 7 Detective Kitty O'Day Monogram Comedy 63 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) Whacky comedy that will entertain the family and evoke a few laughs. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Solid fare for the subsequents, and good number for dual bills requiring good support. Cast: Jean Parker, Peter Cookson, Tim Ryan, Veda Ann Borg, Edward Gargan, Douglas Fowley, Herbert Heyes, Pat Gleason, Olaf Hytten. Credits: Directed by William Beaudine. Original story by Victor Hammond. Screenplay by Tim Ryan and Victor Hammond. Director of Photography, Ira Morgan, ASC. Produced by Lindsley Parsons. Plot: An employe in an office where the boss has been slain, undertakes to find the murderer despite the objection of the police. After many hectic and zaney situations the mystery is solved. Comment: A whacky bit of nonsense about the interfering girl, who tries to find a murderer, and the sometimes dumb police. There are lots of laughs — sometimes at the picture itself. It is not intended to be serious at any point, and supported or rather supporting a good feature will make up satisfactory fare in most subsequents. The story tries very hard to be funny, and should get a hilarious reaction from the younger elements of your audiences. Jean Parker's name may help the sale of the picture. Direction by William Beaudine keeps the action moving fast through many silly situations. The outstanding bit of screamery is a spot when three of them chase after each other on the outside ledge of a high floor on a tall building. Here is an opportunity to distribute the old "23 Skidoo'' badges among your audiences, and before the picture opens, with a brass one sprinkled here and there to entitle the wearer to free admission. Tampico 20th Century-Fox Drama 75 mins. Nat'l Release — April) AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) A rather confusing drama of merchant marine and waterfront spies which leaves considerable to be desired. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Cast and appeal of sea stories will measure draw. Offers wartime exploitation possibilities. Cast: Edward G. Robinson, Lynn Bari, Victor McLaglen, Robert Bailey, Marc Lawrence, E. J. Ballantine, Mona Maris, and others. Credits: Produced by Robert Bassler. Directed by Lothar Mendes. Screenplay by Kenneth Garnet, Fred Niblo, Jr. and Richard Macauley. Original story and adaptation by Ladislas Fodor. Photographic direction by Charles Clarke. Plot: Captain of a tanker rescues survivors of a torpedoed ship enroute to Tampico. An attractive showgirl just escaped, is among the survivors and she makes a play for the captain who vouches for her and they marry. When he sails, leaving her .established in a home in Tampico, his ship is torpedoed. The captain is rescued and is cashiered from service due to suspicion that his wife is in league with Nazis. The captain sends her away and, putting on a drunk act, is hired by Nazi to obtain shipping information. He turns in the spys. He is reinstated and he and his wife are reunited. Comment: In certain respects this film shapes up as a rather good sea story. It deals with a phase of the war that will prove interesting to theatre audiences. There are, however, several definite faults which react Legion of Decency Ratings (For Week Ending April 1) SUITABLE FOR GENERAL PATRONAGE Cowboy and the Senorita SUITABLE FOR ADULTS ONLY It Happened Tomorrow Tampico Jam Session Weird Woman OBJECTIONABLE IN PART Moon Over Las Vegas Up in Mabel's Room badly on the credibility of the yarn. First there is no suspicion cast upon the first mate, who turns out to be the prime villain of the piece. The suddenness of this revelation is too abrupt to be convincing. Another flaw is the failure of the authors to give the Nazi agents credit for a little more craftiness. As a matter of fact the handling of all the events leading from the captain's being cashiered to the revelation of his first mate's traitorous association with spies leave the audience in a quandary as to what goes on in Tampico. The acting of a capable cast in tailor-made roles is commendable and there has been no effort to make Robinson into a pretty boy for romantic reasons, even for the morning-after-the-night-before scene in which he discovers he is married. The action scene in which the tanker is sunk has been photographed in a spectacular manner with men swimming through the flaming oil. Naturally the picture will meet the best response in action houses and the exploitation possible will follow that appeal. Law Men Monogram Western 53 mins. (Nat'l Release, Apr. 25th) AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) A slow but suspenseful western. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Satisfactory fare in the spots where westerns are the order of the day. Cast: Johnny Mack Brown, Raymond Hatton, Jan Wiley, Kirby Grant, Robert Frazer, Edmund Cobb, Art Fowler, Harry F. P^ice, Marshall Reed. Isabel Withers, Ben Corbett, Ted Mapes, Steve Clark, Bud Osborne. Credits: Directed by Lambert Hillyer. Original story and screenplay by Glenn Tryon. Director of Photography, Harry Neumann. Produced by Charles J. Bigelow. , Plot: Two U. S. Marshals arrive secretly to investigate various bank and stage holdups in a frontier town. One represents himself as a shoemaker and the other manages to join a gang of outlaws. They meet secretly and work out a plan whereby the townspeople help them make the proper arrests. Comment: As a followup in the Johnny Mack Brown and Raymond Hatton series, this western attempts to mix more than the usual amount of dialogue with the action and in the process the story slows up. This is not to say it is an unsatisfactory galloper, but simply slower than it might have been. The injection of the extra dialogue creates some suspense, which in part compensates for the reduction of the action. Other than that it is a standard oater. Production is by Charles J. Bigelow and direction by Lambert Hillj-er. Tlie Chinese Gat Monogram Mystery 65 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) Fine family entertainment now that mysteries are vogue. Will be well received by the armchair detectives. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Support to a stronger feature, and will pull its own following in addition. Cast: Sidney Toler, Benson Fong, Mantan Moreland, Weldon Heyburn, Joan Woodbury, Sam Flint, Cy Kendall, Anthony Warde, Dewey Robinson, John Davidson, Ian Keith, Betty Blythe, I. Stanford Jolley, Jack Norton, Luke Chan. Credits: Directed by Phil Rosen. Original screenplay by George Callahan (suggested by Earl Derr Biggers character). Director of Photography Ira Morgan. Produced by Philip N. Krasne and James S. Burkett. Plot: Toler is called in to investigate a mystery that has baffled the police. With only three days in which to work, he manages to solve the mystery, clear up several murders and uncover the workings of an international jewel smuggling gang. Comment: Continuing in the pattern of its predecessors, this is good program fare, and will supplement the draw of its companion in a dual spot. The Charlie Chan following will be quite pleased with this neatly worked out mystery, which starts from a seemingly insoluble crime. It is both entertaining and suspenseful and Producers Philip N. Krasne and James S. iBurkett have gone to great pains to retain all the flavor attaching to the adventures of the popular Chinese detective. Sidney Toler maintains that high standard for which he has become known in the role of Chan, tossing off the Oriental's vaunted epigrams with suavity and canniness. There is much comedy; the result of spotting Mantan Moreland in funny situations and giving him gag lines. All the other players merely make their appearances to people the surroundings in which Chan works. Direction by Phil Rosen points up the interest and develops the story to a natural climax. The title gives many facets for exploitation; see sections 714 and 975 of the Showmen's Encyclopedia for suggested details. Cowboy and the Senorita Republic Musical Western 78 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) Some nice songs and an easy-going plot provide a good time for any average audience plus, of course, the Rogers fans. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Make a try at getting extra patronage by plugging the songs — they'll stand up to your promises. Cast: Roy Rogers, Mary Lee, Dale Evans, John Hubbard, Guinn Williams, Fuzzy Knight, Dorothy Christy. Lucien Littlefield, Hal Taliaferro, Jack Kirk, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. Credits: Assoc. Producer, Harry Grey. Director, Joseph Kane. Screenplay by Gordon Kahn from original by Bradford Ropes. Original songs by Ned Washington and Phil Ohman. Musical director, Walter Scharf. Photography, Reggie Lanning. Plot: Rogers and Williams, hungry and looking for work, find a bracelet on the way to the rancho of Mary Lee and Dale Evans. This causes them to be held for kidnapping, and later robbery. Mary's old man had playfully left heaps of $800-a-ton gold ore hidden in his mine before d3-ing. The bracelet is the clue. John Hubbard (hiss!) wants the mine and Dale. The boys get Alary's confidence, and between the three of them Hubbard is exposed and the gold ore found. Comment: The plot in tiiis Rogers release {Continued on Page 30)