MONTE CASSINO Director : Arturo Gemmiti CONTROVERSY about the
rights or wrongs of bombing Monte Cassino crops up from time to time. Most recent to enter the argument is General Bradley.
Meanwhile. most of us are vague as to what really did happen inside the famous monastery during those terrible weeks when the hill and the village were a kind of "no man's land," with the Germans still milling around and the advancing allies getting ready to bombard it.
Last week Film Traders invited me to the Academy to see a private showing of " Monte Cassino," an Italian film based on the book of the same name by the Benedictine monk Dom Tommaso Lecciosotti and directed by the famous Italian newsreel " ace," Signor Gemtuiti.
The style is documentary, which does not always blend too happily with the superimposed personal stories of those who sought refuge within the monastery walls. But what does emerge—and that with no blurred edges—is the very real problems that the monks had to face during those weeks. People from the village swarmed into hideouts in the hillside, taunting the monks with "having it nice and safe" inside the monastery and yet loath to seek shelter there themselves because the Germans were on the lookout for their menfolk. Eventually, when the waves of planes come over, the sick, the women and the children have stormed the monastery and have been housed in the crypts—with results we all know. It was slaughter. For once in a foreign film we see credible monks and the Abbot is beautifully played by Alberto C. Lolli, " warts and all," • So far, no exhibitors have agreed to show this film. People, they say, arc tired of war themes. But even though it has faults (interposed choirs, for one), it should be seen, for it does clear away a good deal of fog, and it is told detachedly and with no heroics. Perhaps some independent ex hibitors will find room for it. It will do no harm if Catholic filmgoers make a few inquiries,
SHOW BOAT (EMPIRE: Certificate A)
Director : George Sidney THIS modern classic, with its rich, fruity melodies and its richer, fruitier story that gets plumped out further and further with each new production, has almost reached the indigestible stage in its latest Technicolor edition.
All the best tunes get themselves hustled into the early part—and visually as well, this is the best part —with the flambouyant lines of the showboat charging majestically up the Mississippi. Later, on dried land, the eye begins to tire of outsize faces and larynxes in the contortions of song. Ava Gardner's ponderous beauty (she is Julie) in Technicolor tends to knock all competition sideways, including even the beguiling Kathryn Grayson as Magnolia, but Kathryn's voice is her own.
ACE IN THE HOLE (PLAZA: Certificate A)
Director : Billy Wilder
ARE reporters really human or is it ink they have in their veins instead of blood ?
Kirk Douglas plays the part of one who keeps a man buried under a cave-in six days so that he can get back to the New York job for which he was sacked for general turpitude.
I find it hard to believe that the American public could be so heartless as to hold a funfair above ground while a man is lying buried down below—but the film asks you to accept the situation. It is only when the reporter realises that the man will die before he is rescued that he accedes to his request and brings the priest, who administers the holy oils on a piece of cotton wool tied to a stick.
A tense, terrible story, with Kirk Douglas doing a horribly realistic job.
(LEICESTER SQUARE THEATRE'
Director : Pat Jackson
AHOSPITAL, National Health or no National Health, is a little world unto itself. And the one here is no exception.
Nothing that happens outside matters: everything that happens inside, whether it is the love affair of the nurses, the operations, or the lectures from the awesome matron, matter very much and are talked about all the time.
With Miss Googie Withers as a