POLYGAMY AND SPIRITUALISM
Robert Hugh Benson novel filmed Brigham Young
EVEN in the insect world film fame
is an ephemeral thing. The locusts have now been deposed by crickets who appear in their millions in
Hollywood's film adaptation of Brigham Young (author Louis Brom
field). They swarm all over the crops and the grain on which the Mormons are counting to see them through the winter, and more than hold their own with any competitive locusts.
Unfairly enough a huge host of hungry seagulls come along almost immediately and steal the scene right under the crickets' probosces. Nature red in tooth and claw in search of its breakfast !
This sequence is founded on fact and the Mormons, in gratitude, adopted the emblem of the seagull ever after.
POLYGAMY. which is only one of the tenets of the Mormon religion, is touched on merely en puissant. Rather is emphasis laid on the struggle that the sect put up against persecution and on the Utopian goal towards which they struggle in the best covered-wagon style until they finally come to rest on the shores of Salt La
Cavalcade and tick are on the fine, sweeping scale and the film is always good " cinema." There are some shots of extreme beauty. One moment fairly quivers with poetry. This is when a thoroughbred horse with Tyrone Power " up," tentatively steps on to the frozen Mississippi to test the strength of the ice for the heavy wagons that are to follow.
Curiously enough there is a strange dearth of children. Since to increase and multiply was the reason given by Founder and Martyr Joseph Smith for his institution of polygamy, we might reasonably expect to see a small army of children. Indeed, the only baby that Is given any prominence is one belonging to Tyrone Power's film mother. Jane Danvell, who is made up to look about seventy and whom the Soviet would have retired long ago to a home for the aged.
The film runs for two hours, but is never tedious. Henry Hathaway makes a fine job of the direction. a.
Dean Jagger, an American stage star, gets his first really big film chance here. With his forceful personality and resonant voice, he brings Brigham Young vividly to life. Mary Astor (favourite wife) retains a suburban neatness of hair and apparel in the rough-and-tumble of the prairie and Linda Darnell keeps " glamour " well under control. Incidentally, it is she who (being the only non-Mormon) puts the case against polygamy into a few but forceful words when Tyrone Power proposes to her. But though he listens courteously enough he gives no guarantee that she is not to be one of thirty!