Showmen's Trade Review (Jan-Mar 1945)

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February 17, 1945 SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW 15 Having Wonderful Grime RKO Radio Comedy-Mystery 69 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Adult) Zany mystery farce which will entertain patrons who are not too discriminating. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: The names will give this a big pay-off despite its program quality and length. It should be supported by a stronger feature. Cast: Pat O'Brien, George Murphy, Carole Landis, Lenore Aubert, George Zucco, Anje Berens, Richard Martin, Charles D. Brown, William "Wee Willie" Davis, Blanche Ring, Josephine Whittel. Credits: Directed by Eddie Sutherland. Screenplay by Howard J. Green and Stewart Sterling. Original story by Craig Rice. Photography, Frank Redman. Produced by Robert Fellows. Plot: Three amateur sleuths get themselves involved in a murder when they try to help a magician's feminine assistant. They take her and the trunk she's guarding to a lodge some distance from the city where many mysterious happenings have them trying to unravel the mystery, which they accomplish after nabbing the killer. Comment: Placed in any situation with an entertaining picture, this comedy-mystery should be satisfactory at the toll gate for a •feature of its length and calibre of story, as well as its name draw. Many patrons will find entertainment and amusement in the zany run-around of three people who like to play cops and robbers, kid each other and get into obviously contrived difficulties, meanwhile provoking laughter. Nobody suspects the murderer until the denouement. Pat O'Brien is his familiar breezy self, and George Murphy is equally breezy, though he deserves better roles. Carole Landis does a fair job and is as physically attractive as ever. Aside from script weakness, production is quite good. There are splendid backgrounds, a beautiful hotel and swimming pool. There is also a string of bathing beauties for a contest, but they are just flashed through. Direction is swift-paced. Strange Illusion PRC Mystery 86 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) A mystery that will completely satisfy the majority. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Should do exceptionally well in most locations. Cast: James Lydon, Warren William, Sally Eilers, Regis Toomey, Charles Arnt, George H. Reed, Jayiie Hazard, Jimmy Clark, Mary McLeod, Pierre Watkin, John Hamilton, Sonia Sorel, Vic Potel. Credits: Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer. Screenplay by Adele Comandini. Based on an original story by Fritz Rotter. Photography, Philip Tannura. Produced by I.,eon Fromkess. Plot: Upset by a dream depicting liis father's death as murder, a young college student returns home where he finds his mother and sister intrigued by a stranger, whom his mother is planning to marry. The boy delves into his father's locked files, hoping to find some evidence of the crime, but to no avail. He eventually solves the mystery with the help of the family doctor, and thereby saves the family from the man who murdered his father. Comment: A well-constructed story capably performed makes this a completely satisfying mystery to please the majority in most situations. Although it is not a murdermystery in the true sense of the word, for it nivolves the dreams of a youngster and the audience is kept in constant doubt as to whether a murder had actually been com Legion of Decency Ratings (For Week Ending Feb. 17) SUITABLE FOR GENERAL PATRONAGE See My Lawyer SUITABLE FOR ADULTS ONLY Life and Death of Col. Blimp I Love a Mystery Picture of Dorian Gray Flame of Barbary Coast mitted, sufficient suspense is created to hold the interest throughout. This is definitely one for the armchair detectives, for it will keep them mulling over the solution until the final denouement. James Lydon is so convincing in his role of the young man responsible for his mother and sister's welfare, that he will win the sympathy of any audience. Warren William makes a satisfactory villain and Sally Eilers is splendid as Lydon's mother. The outstanding performance, though, is Regis Toomey's interpretation of the doctor. His easy manner and smooth delivery contribute greatly to the general excellence of the picture and help one accept the incidents. Under Edgar Ulmer's direction the story moves along nicely, constantly building to a high |iitch of excitement. Let's Go Steady Fog Island 70 mins. PRC Horror (Nat'l Release, Jan. 31) AUDIENCE SLANT: (Adult) Should satisfy the horror fans. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: It will get by where this type of film is liked. Cast: George Zucco, Lionel Atwill, Jerome Cowan, Sharon Douglas, Veda Ann Borg, John Whitney, Jacqueline DeWit, Ian Keith, George Lloyd. Credits: Directed by Terry Morse. Screenplay by Pierre Gendron. Based on an original story by Bernardine Angus. Photography, ira Morgan. Produced by Leon Fromkess. Plot: After having served a prison term for embezzlement, an innocent man retires to a remote island. Embittered, he plans revenge on the associates who framed him, and then invites them to visit him. His plans work, for in their greed they destroy each other, but not before they learn that he never did any looting and that there was no fortune cached by liim. Comment: This is a programmer of the old "open sesame" variety, where trick and trap doors are much in use and the whole thingis physical action rather than mental tension. The psychological trend of the day is put aside and a field day declared for straight killing. Backgrounded on an island, the story polishes off tiie entire cast in one good night's work, with the exception of the romantic couple, who find the jewels and leave the seven dead bodies and a skeleton for a happy ending. Satisfactory fare in situations where horror films make up the program, it should be topped by one with a psychological buildup to appeal to the trend for such pictures. Cast is good and struggle valiantly with the melodramatic dialog and sequences. Production was in the hands of Leon Fromkess. Terry Morse diixcted. Columbia ComedyWith-Music 60 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) Talented youngsters are gathered together in this film filled with good song numbers and featuring the music of Skinnay Ennis and his band. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Good program musical which can top the bill in situations where cast names are not too important. Cast: Pat Parrish, Jackie Moran, June Preisser, Jimmy Lloyd, Arnold Strang, Mel Torme and the Meltones, Skinnay Ennis and his orchestra, William Moss, Byron Foulger, Gladys Blake, Eddie Bruce, William Frambes. Credits: Directed by Del Lord. Screenplay by Erna Lazarus. Story by William B. Sackheim. Photography, Benjamin Kline. Produced by Ted Richmond. Plot: Two aspiring songwriters, their hopes pinned on a song they had sent to a publisher, arrive in New York to find everything in chaos because the publisher was a crook. They arrange to help the young lady who inherited the business and thereby help themselves and others. Comment: Pictures of this type always make good program material, especially if they are entertaining and filled with good song numbers like this one. By taking a talented bunch of youngsters and putting them together, which gives each an opportunity to show what he's got to offer, Columbia has turned out a film which, if it had top names, could be a leader in most situations. For those houses where the picture itself counts and cast names are not all important, this can top the bill and bring in satisfactory returns. The direction of Del Lord is smooth and properly-paced. Fine work is turned in by most of the cast, among whom are June Preisser, Jackie A/foran, Pat Parrish and Mel Torme of the Meltones. Hit numbers like I Don't Want to Love You Like I Do and Snoqualmie Jo-Jo are just two of the songs the film features, with Skinnay Ennis and his orchestra taking care of the musical interludes. Ted Richmond produced. Keep Your Powder Dry MGM Drama 93 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) Timely, entertaining story of the Women's Army Corps will please all types of audiences. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Three of MGM's top feminine players should add appeal to any marquee and prove to be box-office magnets. Cast: Lana Turner, Laraine Day, Susan Peters, AgiK-s Mooreliead, Bill Johnson, Natalie Schafer, Lee r.ilrick, Jess Barker, June Lockhart, Marta Linden, Tini Murdock. Credits: Directed by Edward Biizzell. I'rcidiiced l)y George Haight. Original screenplay by Mary McCall, Jr. and George Bruce. Technical advisor, I si Lt. Louise V. White, Women's Army Corps. Plot: Three pretty girls from widely differrnt social spheres join the Wac. Lana Turner, wnilthy socialite, wants to establish a good cliaracter so that she may inherit a large rslate. Laraine Day, daughter of a general, joins for patriotic reasons and to make her dad proud of her. Susan Peters joins because licr An Force husband has gone overseas aiul she believes the Wac the best place she can aid in the war effort. Lana and Laraine are contemptuous of each other and battle throughout their training. They become fast friends and are commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants at graduation from Officer Candidate bchool when they are confronted with Susan ieters' self-sacrificing efforts to bring them [Contimicd on Page 18)