s., Homage Mighty i
. and Miniature i
By GRACE CONWAY
Finiiiiiintnintiomiti 'Catholic Herald' Film critic
THE ROYAL TOUR IN CINEMASCOPE
UNDER the romantic-sounding title of "The Flight of the White Heron" (inspired by the Maori greeting to the Queen), the Commonwealth Tour has been filmed in CinemaScope under the direction of Sir Gordon Craig, managing director of British Movietone News. Seven reels were shown to the Press last week. The completed film goes into the Carlton and the Odeon, Marble Arch, at Whits= and afterwards will be shown at all other cinemas throughout the country equipped with CinemaScope.
Responsible for what must have
been a pretty exacting assignment— for this is the first time a docu mentary has been filmed in the new medium—was Paul Wyand assisted by sound engineer Reginald Sutton who was looking after the stereophonic sound recording.
Although the magnificent wide vistas are there—and these we would
expect it is surprising how MT. Wyand has also captured the occasional vignette, the intimate moment, of this epoch-making journey,
So while we remember the majestic setting of the New Zealand landscape and the limitless horizons of Australia, and, of course, the colourful cheering crowds, we carry away with us the little human incidents—the picture of a tiny Fijian girl, her black skin glowing against her stiff white muslin dress as she advances with childish solemnity and grace, handing her bouquet and then, in accordance with the Fijian rite, sitting down and clapping her hands three times before bowing and going away. A beautiful study in youthful poise. Nor amid the pageantry, the inspection, the formality, will I forget the Queen, searching in her handbag like any other woman, until she found her sun glasses. Yes, when "The Flight of the White Heron" is complete it is going to make a picture In the round—one of grandeur— and of simplicity as well.
"GO, MAN, GO !" London Pavilion: Certificate U Director: James Wong Howe
EVER heard of the Harlem Globetrotters? They arc a Negro team of basketball players who began in a very humble way years ago in Chicago. Their trainer, their promoter, and their inspiration was a young Jew called Abe Saperstein. This is the story of their rise, their struggles, their failures and their final setting out on the road to world success.
Even if you know nothing about basketball you'll find your interest engaged as match succeeds match, especially when the Globetrotters put on their brilliant clowning acts— when they seem to be more like a set of jugglers than anything else.
Dane Clark gives a realistic portrait of the dynamic little man who steered the team to fame.
CARNIVAL STOW: Leicester Square Theatre: Certificate A Director: Kurt Neumann
A FREAK circus—i.e., one whose rimain attractions are bearded ladies, dwarfs, giants, etc.—having failed to bring the customers in back in the United States, try their luck in Germany where they appear to be a great success.
The only turn that seems to be worth the money is a high diver (Lyle Bettger). He trains and then marries a blonde German pickpocket to act as his partner in the high dive, but all the time she is in thrall to the bad man of the circus (Steve Cochran).
The girl is Anne Baxter, and she takes whatever opportunities the script gives her to act. But all that it amounts to is that she goes into one clinch after another in rather stickily coloured close-up, so that towards the end it hardly seems to matter what happens to her.
I should add that her third and final clinch is with a photographer from Life.
KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE Empire: Certificate U Director: Richard Thorpe
A FTER the comic strip. the serif-1ms approach.... Still in CinemaScope, this is everything that "Prince Valiant" is not.
Accent is on Sir Modred and his wife, Mogan le Fay (a venomous Stanley Baker and an acidulated Anne Crawford) on Sir Lancelot (a scarlet-plumed Robert Taylor), Guinevere (who better to explain Lancelot's obseSsion than Ava Gardner?),
a gentle King Arthur—who gets a dreamy interpretation at the hands of Mel Ferrer.
Why is it that in all the stories of King Arthur he emerges as the least positive of all the Knights? Location was established in England and Ireland and the cast included 500 horses, which in their battle cloaks wear a slightly surprised air.
If you are interested in statistics here are some more: 6,000 costumes, 10,000 arrows and 10 trained falcons, jockeys of international fame and 100 shock riders were used to portray the hard-riding Knights,
The enormous battle sequences were filmed not far from Dublin.
The catholic love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere is kept strictly within the U certificate orbit —none of the "faith unfaithful kept him falsely tine" nonsense.
SEE 7HEM BOTH
The settings are splendid—not least the actual hall of the Round Table—and there is a brilliant little sequence at the revels when a jester dances the length of a refectory table among lines of broken eggs.
Felix Aylmer as Merlin is rather like an elderly statesman of the Victorian school.
Elaine surprisingly becomes the mother of Galahad; and in the final sequence, heralded by heavenly voices, Percival (Gabriel Woolf) sees the vision of the Holy Grail.
What you do not see is the "hand clad in white samite, mystic and wonderful," rising out of the water to clutch Excalibur, and this was a wise move.
All those who tremble for the scholarship of their children and what impression they might bring away from "Prince Valiant" may feel happier now. Myself, I would let them see both—and all the others that are coming after. They can then take up their Sir Thomas Malory and get down to the subject seriously.