From Iris Conlay
CATHOLIC HERALD Film Critic
Forty Mammoth Revivals But No " Great" Production
T. look at the cinema advertisements in London now makes one's time sense dizzy. All the old posters of old films are out having an airing, and it's impossible to tell whether we're living in the 1920's or the 1930's. The biggest season of revivals that London has ever seen is upon us now,
See last week's London programmes. for instance, Showing round town were It Happened One Night. with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable.
The Sheik, with Rudolph Valentino.
Son of the Sheik, with Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Banky.
Oh, Mr. Porter, with Will Hay.
Romeo and Juliet, with Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard.
Little Lord Fauntleroy, with Freddie Bartholomew.
Design for Living, with Gary Cooper. Kid from Spain, with Eddie Cantor.
Hollywood's lull in production has accounted for this not altogether undesirable state of affairs. Are These Our This breathless turn " Classics " ? out of half-a-dozen new films a week throughout the year makes it hard to find time to sit hack and consider the general trend of films, and presumably those we are now being offered are considered "classics," having borne the test of time. Adding to last week's programme list, we append the general revival suggestions for this year. They include:
Lives of a Bengal Lancer, with Gary Cooper.
Dandy Dick, with Will Hay.
Those Were the Days, with Will Hay. Scarface, with Paul Muni.
Count of Monte Cristo, with Robert Donat.
The Barrett., of Wimpole Street. with Norma Shearer, Charles Laughton, and Fredric March.
Manhattan Melodrama, with Clark Gable, William Powell, and Myrna Loy.
Mater Hari, with Greta Garbo and Ramon Novarro.
Fraternally Yours, with Laurel and Hardy.
City Streets, with Gary Cooper and Sylvia Sidney.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with Fredric March and Miriam Hopkins.
A Man of the World, with William Powell and Carole Lombard.
Ladies' Man, with Powell, Lombard, and Kay Francis.
Sky Devils, with Spencer Tracy and William Boyd.
Hell's Angels, with Jean Harlow and Ben Lyon.
The Honourable Mr. Wong, with Edward Cl. Robinson and Loretta Young.
Two Seconds, with Edward G. Robinson and Preston Foster.
Captain Blood, with Erroll Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.
Man's Castle, with Loretta .Young and Spencer Tracy.
The Front Page, with Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien.
Lorna Doone, with Victoria Hopper and John Loder.
Back Street, with Irene Dunne and John Boles.
Carnival, with Matheson Lang and Chili Bouchicr.
The Blue Danube, with Brigitte Helm and Joseph Schildkraut.
The King's Cup, with Rene Ray and Chili Bouchier.
The Love Contract, with Owen Nares and Winifred Shotter.
The Speckled Band, with Raymond Massey as Sherlock Holmes.
Before all else we are reassured by such a list that the cinema is " popular " stuff. It is without much No Hierarchy hierarchy of taste.
of Taste In this it has only one serious rival—the Press. Numbers of those listed films are pretty terrible (but no more terrible than the new films we have been led to expect in August). the most we can say for them is that we have the interest in seeing our favourite stars before they were " built-up " into the present bigger, better productions that they are today.
There are undeniably a few memorable films among the entries. The Barretts of Wimpole Street i m mea late ' y commends itself. City Streets, too, is very real sociological material. Lorna Doane is none so good as it should have been, nevertheless. it remains in the menzory whereas a few dozen others have left it. And that seems the highest test of these " classics "—do you remember anything about them at all? Left they any imprint on your memory? But where are the " great"?
For yourself, what would you care to see again of the old productions? My list is short a n d rather What Would unpatriotic. As far You Like to back as I can collect See Again ? my memories of the film there is The Blue Light (German), which is constant inspiration; Winterset (American), with Burgess Meredith; Kameradschaft (German); Man of Aran (British); Sous les Toils de Paris (French), produced by Rene Clair; (in some moods) Duck Soup (American), with the Marx Brothers.
There will be many more that I shall think of after this paper goes to press, but my opinion that the film is not yet " great " and has no claim to " classics " cannot possibly alter within one week. Of that you may be sure.