Page 3, 16th September 1949

16th September 1949
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Page 3, 16th September 1949 — Hunger On The Campus
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Hunger On The Campus

1 Mother Knows Best—Top 0' The Mr. Prohack MAKING one of its routine visits to our screens this week is the American university film, complete with adolescent " crushes," the college dance and, indeed. anything but the functional side of a university. The variant this time is called Mother Knows Best ((iAUNtoNT). It is in Technicolor. which brings out the lovely green of the lawns, the mellow weathering of the stone and the enchanting reds, browus and other shades of frocks worn by Loretta Young, not forgetting Van Johnson's ginger hair. Everything in this happy world looks bright, active, carefree and gives no hint at all of the true state of affairs that operates in the average place of education here depicted.

It provides a pleasant bit of entertainment about a mother who, like Mr. Belvedere before her. goes to college to get a money grant. With Mr. Johnson as the " professor in English literature" and Miss Young as the late girl graduate you don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to know the formula which is faithfully followed and developed to its inevitable conclusion,

NO BU'TTER FOR THE PROFESSOR

It was just a coincidence that the day after seeing the film I picked up an American magazine and read a scarifying attack by an ex-professor on the status of his former profession and giving the reasons why he " quit " after six years of poverty in favour of a non-academic job that gave him a living wage. The writer states in uncompromising words that behind the ivied walls and academic ritual of even the maturest institutions lurk hungry professors and their wives who can't afford to send their children to the very places in which they teach. He talks of " frayed cuffs", dilapidated jalopies parked among the sleek, expensive cars of the students, no butter on the breakfast table, no meat, professors collecting rolls and butter left over in the community canteen---in short. if not actual hunger. then certainly a high degree of malnutrition. " I quit." says this

disillusioned man, " because I haven't enough taste for martyrdom."

On second thoughts, perhaps this latest film of life on the campus

does cover itself in a way. For, although it shows " Professor" Van Johnson living in apparent affluence, with a luxurious looking house, a coloured cook. and lots of martinis in the shaker, it does make him a clandestine writer of best-seller thrillers with titles like " Death and the Chambermaid ". Also he doesn't believe in working himself to death as a lecturer as he opens the term by reading "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" dismissing the class and spending the rest of the time in an opening gambit with his glamorous new pupil.

One of these days Hollywood may give us an honest picture of what is happening to the poor professors.

IRELAND CAN TAKE IT

Ireland is on the cinema map again before it has had time to recover from Saints and Sinners. But I think it can well take the sort of punishing it gets in Top the Mornin' (Cseuross) for it is harmless stuff. no more than the flicking of a feather duster. It has Bing Crosby in it and I consider his presence in any film is as good as a rest cure. He refuses to exert himself in any way and, because he makes time his servant and not his master, he fits very well into the Irish scene. Poor Ann Blyth. very welcome as a harbinger of the new Hollywood " natural " type of girl, is given some pretty frightful alimsicalities to put across but her Irish accent is charming and she manages to make us forget the studio.

Where this trip to Ireland goes wrong is that it begins as a comedy (all about the blarney stone being stolen) and then deteriorates into a senseless murder plot, all mixed up with the bletherings of the village " wise woman ". However, I liked the way in which Director David Miller kept the children in their proper place and the way in which one gets sat on when he tries to join in with his elders and betters singing Down at Donovans.

Tf you are a regular cinema goer (Continued frost) preceding column) mil-able as the old man's opposition. Miss Adienne Corn i and Mr. John Westbrook, young players, whose work is new to me, were good as the younger defenders of the older England.

The sad, gallant tale of a King gives Mr. Douglas Home, that industrious young man, the theme for The Thistle and the Rose (BouroNs). It opens with the death of James the Third, Stewart King of Scotland, and closes as his son James kneels to pray on the night before Flodden while the pipes cry out for The Flowers of the Forest. Mr. Home's chronicle makes attractive theatre even if it is remote from the savagery, squalor and brutality of the period he has chosen. 1-Es work is lively and it sparkles with brave romance. His play is pleasant and enjoyable. Among the large cast of actors Mr. Maurice Browning as Dunbar the poet, Mr. Hugh Morton as Lord Angus, and Mr. Raymond Westwell as the younger King were outstanding.

Miss Diana Morgan set herself an impossible and fatuous task in Rain Before Seven (EMBASSY) when she tried to create characters who exchange spouses between tea and dinner, and gain sympathy for them. To write truly of such little beasts, to dissect their motives and expose their mucky little minds, would make the resultant work entirely unfit for human consumption. Despite the pathetic industry and good taste of Miss Marian Spencer. Miss Joan Hickson, Mr. Ronald Ward and Miss Jill Raymond, Rain Before Seven remained Morally fog-bound and dramatically muscle-bound until too long after ten.

W.J.I.

you will have noted that among the better type of film. the " falsie" brigade is on the wane. By that is meant the girls who get on by an artificial build up from eyelashes to chests. Hollywood has been forced to take stock of itself during the past year or two because the American public are staying away in increasing numbers from the cinema and the false female form has outstayed its welcome. I like this summing-up by Howard Whitman, writing in Colliers: "Hollywood has used every skill and ruse to create a kind of woman who never is, never was and never could be. She is a model of tinhorn perfection. the product of an infantile belief that the studios can go one better than God."

THE TREASURY HAS NO FRIEND

British studios have had their lesson and learned it fairly quickly. That is why Glynis Johns, who dares to be herself, gets one good part

after another. She is an original and entirely natural sort of girl in the British film of the week Dear Prohack (NEW GALLERY and TIV01.1). Ian Dalrymple and Donald Bull have adapted this amusing Arnold Bennett story with considerable success, Mr. Dalrymple directing and Cecil Parker giving one of his usual efficient performances in the title role. How we love to see our senior civil service officials under the microscope--and when it is someone in the Treasury—Public Enemy No. 1. it is best of all. For the Treasury has no friend. Apart front Mr. Parker and Hertnione Baddeley (Mrs. Prohack) a good deal of the entertainment value of this witty piece derives from the way in which the director gives small part players their head: Charles Goldner as a butler, Judith Purse as a bossy stage producer and Ada Reeve as an office cleaner—one of the warrior band to whom the highest official in the country is just one more person to tidy up after.

Faith and Love through Christ. by the Rev. W. J. Hayward (7s.. Catholic Deaf and Dumb Mission, Manchester), is a book packed with simple advice, given in one-syllable words wherever possible, which has already been eagerly received by the author's nation-wide congregation of deaf

and dumb Catholics. It is catechism, prayer book, New Testament, Church history, and Lives of Saints, all in one. A boon to the deaf and dumb, because big words are avoided, it is for that reason the ordinary parent's beat gift to his child up to ten.

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