Page 8, 15th January 1954

15th January 1954
Page 8
Page 8, 15th January 1954 — Conversion to I

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Locations: New York


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Conversion to I

EZ s


By GRACE CONWAY 'Catholic Herald' Film Critic


Certificate U Director : lean Negulesco

WHEN I saw the trailer at' this last June 1 thought it was going to be terrible. The three girls, Lauren Bacall, Betty Grablc and Marilyn Monroe. seemed to loom out of the vast Cinemascope screen like young giantesses against an acreage of stone and cement.

After seeing the whole film and after the apprenticeship served while watching "The Robe." I am wholly converted to Cinemascope.

To begin with, when you tire of a human face and torso, you can look beyond them to the scenery. The muscles of the eye, so long confined to the smaller screen, can now relax.

Of course, in this case, we are dealing with even interior shots of some magnitude—like the luxury apartment the three girls take to trap their millionaires.

What Cinemascope is going to do when the story deals with claustrophic hovels is another matter.

But if we can delay coming to the human for a moment longer, let us pay tribute to the thrilling shots of the New York waterfront. of the snowscapcs of Maine. of the frighteningly lovely sight of a sky-liner coming at you head-on, and of the pilot's view of landing which ordinarysttravellers never see—coming at speed on to the tarmac.

The stereophonic sound is still not perfect. At times it is uneven, and sometimes even half sentences arc


The stereophonic sound is still not perfect. At times it is uneven, and sometimes even half sentences arc


An old theme. the search of poor girls for rich husbands, has been given a new top dressing of witty dialogue. with many a comic situation thrown in.

Marilyn Monroe as the dumb blonde who is "as blind as a bat" but is terrified of wearing glasses because of that well-known deadly couplet, "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses," gives a very diverting performance.

Go and see this and have fun.

HELL BELOW ZERO Plaza: Certificate U Director: Mark Robson

THE excellence of the scenes in the

Antarctic. which could have made a brilliant documentary on their own, shows up by contrast the banality of the script.

The whaling fleet anchored in the cold steely waters, the factory ship where the harpooned whales are brought alongside for dissection (decks awash with blood). and two ships colliding in the ice-floes--these are magnificently presented in credible colour, and if only the rest of the film were on the same level "Hell Below Zero" could have been quite a picture.

But much of the realism even of these location shots is lessened because of the heavy orchestration. Not since the Captain Scott film has music been written that really suggests icy wastes and deserts of snow.

Alan Ladd is once more the superman—ready of fist and quick on the draw. He sails as first mate on a whale catcher because Joan Tetzel (as the daughter of a former captain) is on board off to the Antarctic to investi gate mysterious death of her f gate mysterious death of her f When Mr. Ladd is not laying out all and sundry, he is asking Miss Tetzel, who is never far away from a scrap: "Are you all right?"

"Yes. I'm all right," she answers, and this happens so often that it becomes ludicrous.

A final showdown on the ice is just the old routine we have seen so often in Westerns, only the shooting comes from behind a bank of frozen snow instead of a rock in'the Arizona desert. and when the last bullet has been fired there is the usual hand-tohand struggle in which you may be sure Mr. Ladd is not the one to end up with his head in the Antarctic.

Jill Bennett, making her first important appearance on the screen, scores a big success in the part of a Norwegian girl harpooner—a rather cheeky little figure wearing a red tarn above her shiny, unglamorous face. She shows up the artificialities of the girl Miss Tetzel has to play, who remains glamorous and unruffled in every situation.

In the supporting cast are a sinisterlooking Stanley Baker (who partners Alan Ladd in the snow scrap); Niall MacGinnis, as the drunken ship's doctor, and Joseph Tomelty as a tough old captain who disappears from the cast all too soon for my

FORBIDDEN FRUIT Cameo Polytechnic: Certificate X Director: L. Goulian

r ERNANDEL, France's first player of comedy roles, makes an excursion into the field of serious drama.

He plays the part of that pathetic type of man who, by taking the line of least resistance all his life. ends up by building up a mountain of

frustration and unhappiness for himself.

What is worse, the people he has been unable to stand up against are all women. His strong-minded mother (played by Sylvie with her usual un canny insight) has compelled him to become a doctor; she engineered his first marriage: when his wife died another managing woman comes

along and marries him; and on a visit to Marseilles he is finally captured

by a very naughty floozie who involves him in a highly emotional affair which nearly wrecks his life.

The X certificate covers the usual frankness and wealth of detail with which the French studios like to tell this type of tale.

Acting and character study throughout are in the best French tradition.

I hope after this excursion into the sordid and drab. Fernandel will return to his own territory—and make us laugh again,

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