Showmen's Trade Review (Jan-Mar 1945)

Record Details:

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February 17, 1945 SHOWMEN'S TRADE REVIEW 19 source of many a belly laugh. The romance is well taken care of by Bey and Miss Foster, but it is indicated by indirection rather than shown in clinches. Andy Devine and Fuzzy Knight contribute top comedy, and Collette Lyons gags her way merrily throughout the action. "Frisco Sal" may not win any Academy Awards but it is entertaining fare for the masses, and should draw well in average situations. The Enchanted Cottage ground and original music by Roy Webb are important elements in the creation of mood and in the motivation of the picture. The timely rehabilitation slant will cause considerable word-of-mouth advertising and comment, since it hits so close to home these days. The names of Dorothy McGuire, Robert Young and Herbert Marshall on the marquee should prove beneficial. As an entity, "The Enchanted Cottage" has all of the elements that make a superb hour and a half of complete, engrossing entertainment. RKO Radio Drama 91 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) Fascinating, enchanting tale of a couple whose love for each other permits them to see only beauty of face where others see disfigurement and ugliness. Told beautifully, sentimentally and with engrossing entertainment. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Timely rehabilitation-of-injured-soldiers angle, plus marquee names of Dorothy McGuire, Robert Young and Herbert Marshall should prove beneficial to almost any box-office. Cast: Dorothy McGuire, Robert Young, Herbert Marshall, Mildred Natwick, Spring Byington, Hillary Brooke, Richard Gaines, Alec Englander, Mary Worth, Josephine Whittell, Robert Clarke, Eden Nicholas. Credits: Produced by Harriet Parsons. Directed by John Cromwell. Screenplay by De Witt Bedeen and Herman J. Mankiewicz. Based on the play by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero. Photography, Ted Tetzlaff. Special effects, Vernon L. Walker. Music by Roy Webb. Musical director, C. Bakaleinikoff. Plot: Robert Young intends to take his contemplated bride (Hillary Brooke) to the Enchanted Cottage for their honeymoon but receives his orders to go overseas before the marriage takes place. Dorothy McGuire, a plain, if not ugly young woman of the neighboring town, is hired as housemaid for the honeymooners. Imbued with the legend of The Enchanted Cottage, which has been a haven for honeymooners since the 17th century, and conscious of her ugly appearance she remains as companion to the housekeeper , (Mildred Natwick). Young returns from the wars, his face and arm horribly disfigured. He becomes a misanthrope. He arranges a marriage of convenience with Miss McGuire to thwart his family's plan of coming to live with him (for his own good, they think) and comes to love her. She returns his love and both see the other with their hearts, rather than with their eyes. Herbert Marshall, as a blind composer, who lost his sight in the first world war and who, philosophically sees with his heart, too, protects the lovers' seclusion until it is interrupted by the visit of kindly, shallow Spring IByington, as Young's mother. An explanation of the couple's new aspect for each other is given by Marshall and the housekeeper. They start a new life with renewed understanding. Comment: Harriet Parsons has produced and John Cromwell has directed in superb style this beautifully written modern version of the famous play. The mood of enchantment is created almost immediately as Herbert Marshall tells the story of the lovers in flashback. Young's first appearance as the handsome young man he really is and Miss McGuire's initial entrance are in direct contrast. She is made up as a plain, if not ugly girl whose inner beauty promises to become manifest every moment. Young's change, upon returning from action, is startling, almost shocking. He plays with fire and conviction the heart-broken man whose entire life must be changed. Dorothy McGuire has a quality of breathlesstiess and plays her difficult role with a depth of feeling seldom equaled on the screen. Herbert Marshall is restrained, yet convincing as a blind pianistcomposer, and Spring Byington plays the shallow, stupid but loving mother with her usual competence. Mildred Natwick as the housekeeper does an excellent portrayal of a woman whose life has stood still from the death of her husband in the first world war. Other parts are well done. The musical back Bring on the Girls (Color) Paramount Comedy With Music 92 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) A show to bring on happy evenings, matinees too, for the rank and file of moviegoers. It has comedy that's broad enough, and good enough, to register with all types and classes; plenty of eye-appeal and good tunes plus some swell performances by Eddie Bracken, Veronica Lake, Marjorie Reynolds and Sonny Tufts. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Should prove a very strong number everywhere. Cast: Veronica Lake, Sonny Tufts, Eddie Bracken, Marjorie Reynolds, Grant Mitchell, Johnnie Coy, Peter Whitney, Alan Mowbray, Porter Hall, Thurston Hall, Lloyd Corrigan, Sig Arno, Joan Woodbury, Andrew Tombes, Frank Faylen, Huntz Hall, William Moss, Norma Varden, Spike Jones and His Orchestra. Credits: Fred Kohlmar, associate producer. Directed by Sidney Lanfield. Screenplay by Karl Tunberg and Darrell Ware. From a story by Pierre Wolff. Musical direction, Robert Emmett Dolan. New songs by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson. Director of photography, Karl Struss. Technicolor director, Natalie Kalmus. Plot: Eddie Bracken, very rich, gets his lawyers' permission to join the Navy as an unknown because he's tired of having girls fall in love with him only because of his money. The lawyers insist that Sonny Tufts join with him and act as sort of guardian. Eddie slips away for one great evening during which he meets Veronica Lake, a cigaret girl at a night club — ^but who is tipped off that Eddie is the very rich J. Newport Bates. She makes a play for him and hooks Eddie — who believes it's real love. Sonny meets the "dream girl" Eddie has been talking about and finds she's his former flame who ran out on him under circumstances that make it look as though she was merely a gold digger. Eventually Eddie tries to test Veronica by pretending he has become deaf — but she sees through that, and her conversation convinces him it's really love. However, another girl — rich and seeking a career by singing in the night club — enters the picture and it's found out that she and Eddie are made for each other; which is good, because Sonny has succeeded in winning back Veronica, whom he has learned was on the level with him and still loves him. Comment: A corking good comedy with music, dance numbers, good tunes and a quite good and serviceable story as a vehicle for Eddie Bracken, Veronica Lake and Sonny Tufts. It will get laughs and bring in the crowds of entertainment-seekers in every class of theatre situation. There's no war background— only that perennially amusing part of the boot-training stuf? which has entertained people in the past and will do it again. Bracken wraps up his part and delivers it as a package of amusement that will more than please the fans. He appears as a somewhat shy and awkward fellow who is no dope — but only seems that way as he strives to find a girl w'ho will love him for himself, and not all those millions he has inherited. Miss Lake realizes the best her good opportunities afford for a portrayal of a girl who knows her way around and is suspected of being an adventuress, at the same time contributing adroitly to the comedy situations which dominate this pleasing, tuneful and attractive show. Sonny Tufts turns in a good job as the fellow who is kept busy chasing Eddie around to keep him out of trouble and also chasing Veronica to persuade her to have him back as her sweetheart. Marjorie Reynolds proves an additional attraction of no little glamor and grace in dance numbers. The Technicolor photography has been employed to advantage in all parts and portions of the show — from the scenes at training "camp" for sailors in Miami to the dance numbers at the night club. This is a show to sell as bang-up entertainment— with girls, tunes, comedy and swell acting. The M Who Wallced Alone PRC Comedy 73 mins. (Nat'l Release, Feb. 15) AUDIENCE SLANT: (Family) A fair comedy that will satisfy the less-discriminating audiences. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Average supporting fare. Cast: David O'Brien, Kay Aldridge, Walter Catlett, Guinn (Big Boy) Williams, Isabel Randolph, Smith Ballew, Nancy June Robinson, Ruth Lee, Chester Clute, Vivien Oakland, Vicki Saunders, Robert Hartzell, Charles Williams, Frank Melton, Donald Kerr, Eddy Waller, Don Brodie, Tom Dugan, William B. Davidson, Dick Elliott, Jack Raymond, Jack Mulhall, Charles Jordan, Tom Kennedy, Paul Newlan, Lloyd Ingrahara, Elmo Lincoln. Credits: Associate Producer and Director, Christy Cabanne. Screenplay by Robert Lee Johnson. Original story by Christy Cabanne. Photography, James Brown. Produced by Leon Fromkess. Plot: A society girl, running out on her rich fiance, gives a discharged soldier a lift. She takes him home where her family tries to break up the attraction. They give their blessing to the union after they discover that he is a popular and much-decorated hero. Comment: Geared as a feature comedy, this is satisfactory program fare. Most of the dialog lacks subtlety. The expert comedian's touch noticeable in the work of Walter Catlett and Dave O'Brien only tends to sharpen the difference in delivery by the others whose timing usually misses the beat. Isabel Randolph gives an amusing delineation of a female "stuffed shirt," while Kay Aldridge looks pretty, but is only adequate as an actress. As a whole, the picture has some entertaining spots and lines to amuse the lessdiscriminating. The Body Snatcher RKO Radio Horror-Drama 77 mins. AUDIENCE SLANT: (Adult) One of the best made horror-dramas. Too gruesome for small children. Class treatment of a rip-roaring spine chiller. Well written, finely acted and superbly directed. BOX-OFFICE SLANT: Here is a real exploitation natural for mystery-action-horror fans. Karloff, Lugosi for the marquee, Robert Louis Stevenson story for school-library plugs, "see it from beginning" and "we dare you" copy for ads. Perfect for action houses and good for 50/ SO billing in double-bill situations. Cast: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell, Edith Atwater, Russell Wade, Rita Corday, Sharyn Moffett and Donna Lee. Credits: Produced by Val Lewton. Directed by Robert Wise. Screenplay by Philip MacDonald and Carlos Keith. Photographic direction, Robert De Grasse. Plot: Henry Daniell, eminent surgeon and teacher of Scotland in 1831, is dependent upon Boris Karloff, cabman, for cadavers stolen from graveyards for his anatomy class work. Lugosi, houseman for the doctor, discovers that Karloff is murdering innocents to get specimens and is killed for seeking blackmail. Karloff torments the doctor with threats and taunts until the doctor kills him, but Karloff's threats lead the doctor to a horrible death. Comment: This is one of the best made horror-dramas in the many years of the Karloff-Lugosi teamwork. The story is credible, coherently told, and contains some excellent characterizations. The cast is well {Continued on Page 35)