Page 7, 13th March 1953

13th March 1953
Page 7
Page 7, 13th March 1953 — From the ridiculous to the colourful sublime

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From the ridiculous to the colourful sublime

MOULIN ROUGE (Carlton: Certificate A) Director: John Huston 0 one will ever want to marry you, Henri, you're too ugly! Do you hear me? No one!"

With these words ringing in his cars, Henri de ToulouseLautrec, the tragic cripple painter of Montmartre, stumbled back to his studio to face a life without women-and to paint those living pictures for which he is famous, studies of the streetwomen and singers and the Can-Can dancers of the Moulin Rouge.

Jose Ferrer-who played the name part in Cyrano de Bergerac, the man whose life was blighted by the length of his nose-succeeds superbly as Toulouse-Lautrec, the man whose legs never grew, who painted to forget his horror of his deformity, and found with supreme irony that when. after a succession of women had mocked and betrayed him, true love came his way along with fame, he was too cynical and drink-sodden to believe in them. In short. a part needing a skilful balance between the tragic and the ridiculous, not to speak of the sheer physical difficulty.

Jose Ferrer-who, incidentally, plays the part of the painter's father in the film as well-had to rest every few minutes while making the film to take off the straps which bound his legs back and enabled him to play the part of the cripple on his knees.. The women in Toulouse-Lautrec's life are played by Zsa Zsa Gabor, Suzanne Mon and Colette Marchand, looking colourful and fetching in the billowing skirts of the period.

This is a film devoted to the picturesque aspect of the artistic life rather than the sordid or technical; I can imagine the guffaws of the professional faced by the pastel sketches dreamed up by the producers of a painter's playtime. But even the professional could not take exception to the glowing mauves and acid greens with which a softer Technicolor has outimpressionisted the Impressionists.

MARY (Vincent Films) Director: Emile Cordero AGENUINE black "king" was imported from North Africa for the Epiphany scene of "Mary." a full-length film on the life of Our Lady made in Italy in 1951 and now brought to England, where it is being shown privately, with English dialogue, in churches and schools.

"We believe this film would do a great deal of good if it were publicly shown," Bro. Benedict, of the Society of St. Paul, which made the film, told me. "But unfortunately your censorship rules. which forbid Our Lord's speaking on the screen. put a stop to that. It would be possible to get individual councils to approve it and show it in their districts if the demand were big enough," he added.

"Mary." which begins at the Creation and tells the part played by Our Lady in the life of Our Lord, together with an explanation of the importance of Our Lady in the life of the Church, is a simple, reverent and factual film.

The parts of Our Lord and Our Lady are played by Italians and the crowd scenes anti disciples are taken care of by priests of the society.

The dialogue was dubbed in Can

ada and the film. which is in colour, is reminiscent of thc restrained glow of old Italian paintings; it is underrather than over-acted, and rich with entertaining and realistic detail.

"We had to get those camels from the Rome zoo." Bro. Benedict pointed out proudly. "They cost rather a lot of money but I think they were worth it."

ONE SUMMER OF HAPPINESS (Curzon: Certificate A Director: Am Mattsson THISplacid story of uneasy adolescence in a lyrical setting of Swedish farmlands is animated by the performance of a girl in a cotton dress with untidy hair and an air of pathetic innocence that many a star twice her age is still trying to pin down.

Ulla Jacobsson was 18 when she made this film; coming from the race which produced Bergman a n d Garbo. it is touch and go whether it is natural or acquired. is she just a pretty girl with some talent caught by an astute producer at the poignant moment before she finally grows up? Or will she. in 20 years. be able to act this strangely moving simplicity?

Whichever it is, her performance here gives colour and life to a film which badly needs it.

"One Summer of Happiness" is a story of young love in conflict with harsh puritan traditions. Goran Stendal, the gay and handsome student from the city, comes to day on his uncle's farm, where he meets Kerstin, the girl-child who has been brought up by a crowd of blacksuited relatives and a grim pastor to see human love as degrading and evil. Inevitably, the fascinating Goran triumphs.

There's not much drama in the story as such. Kerstin and Goran wander hand in hand through varying landscapes, beautifully photographed,of woods and farm buildings and lakesides.

In the story, which has depended for a good deal of its publicity on one particularly "daring" scene. there is nothing intrinsically offensive. It is an accepted thing for children to bathe naked in Sweden: in England this scene has been misunderstood and should have been omitted. To do so in no way damages the film as a whole.

But though there is nothing to shock in the story of (loran and Kerstin, there is a good deal, in the way of long drawn out funerals, to depress. For, following the pattern of the best stories about young love, there is only one ending for this Nordic Juliet. The audience is left to draw the moral for itself.

STREET CORNER (Odeon, Leicester Square : Certificate U) Director : Muriel Box A DARK street lit bs a single lamp, lAthe thud of running feet, a sinister splash in the river. whistles blowing -and another Cop-the-cosh-man drama is under way, with Peggy Cumniins as the girl who goes wrong and Terence Morgan as coshman, complete with spiv's tie and fake American accent.

But the real heroines of the story are the Metropolitan Women's Police Force, the "coppers in skirts." This is a documentary film with all the dramatic stories which really do come into police work brought to some sort of conclusion : The erring wives restored to their dull and faithful husbands, the coshman standing gloomily in the criminal court, charged with robbery with violence, car stealing, and a murder or two.

If you saw "High Treason," there is the same entertaining mixture of comedy and pathos, of brutality and good-heartedness in "Street Corner." The moment when the tense chase down echoing streets breaks off to let you see an uproarious and completely irrelevant incident at the police station; the moving moment in the ambulance when female police sergeant and male police sergeant, both swathed in bandages, after the fight, look into each other's eyes....

It was all summed up in the words of one of the flighty female characters I Rosamund John). who, after going to the station to he congratulated on an act of bravery. and staying there charged with desertion from the Army and with bigamy. said : "Well, next time I see a kid drowning in the river, he can ruddy well stay there."

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