" WAILING about lost babies" —the phrase that hit the headlines fast week might have been mistaken for a ianient tor the falling birthrate. Tied up with " the caterwauling of an inebriated cockatoo" it could only refer to one thing —crooning.
But Earl Winterton surely realises by now that hitting at crooners is as effective as punching a piece of putty. We who think it a form of purgatory can either switch off or on to another station. It's sheer bad management if the B.B.C. has two programmes of this type running simultaneously. If they conscientiously believe that the boys in the Forces want to he wailed at, then they should give us something entirely different on the Home Wavelength. Otherwise well he driven over to the Germans.
On the other 'and, T wonder if it's our secret weapon. Don't forget that Goebbels uses this Allied Nations' mania for mush as proof that we are all decadent. So it may just be one glorious bluff.
L00K out for a film called The Sullivans when it comes your way. I saw it last week at the Tivoli (having missed the press show), and found it the best story of family life to be screened yet. Not the Andy Hardy type. The eSullivatis are a Catholic family—five boys and a girl. Father is a conductor on a freight car —mother is worn but gallant. The shabby house is a home—full of nd1se and arguing and life. The breakfast table is a social forum with mother arbitrating and father laying the law down. When the five boys really overstep the fine they are packed off to the parish priest to be talked to.
There's one gem of a sequence
" Small change," the youngest boy, is in church going to Confession prior to making his First Communion the next day. He goes in the altar rails to say his penance when he hears the war cry of his four brothers who are having a battle outside. He rushes down the church. makes for the door. pulls up suddenly and goes back to the holy water font ; a rapid sign of the Cross and another rush for the door ; another sharp pull-up and back again to genuflect. Then out to join the Sullivan clan and a dusty and savage fight!
It's this interweaving of the Catholic background in their lives—the christenings, the mother going to light a candle for her friend's son who is in Pearl Harbour, the school children going up to the Communion rails—that puts the whole • story of Catholic fiunily Life " on the map."
And I like, too, the way in which the one girl's character is drawn—just what you'd expect in a family of wild boys—having to throw her weight in with the mother, be deputy scolder, trouser-presser and assistant bottle washer.
The story is a true one. The Suittvans were a real American family. All the five boys joined the Navy. All were lost in an engagement off the Solomons. That part comes at the end. But this is not just another war picture. It is a slice of real, pulsating life and is a fine piece a screencraft.
* * NI BRIDGE!' Boland. who was doing so well on the script writing side of British films before she joined up, is now in charge of all the educational side of the A.T.S. in Northern Ireland —and Tikes her work very much. Her father, Mr. John Bohm& told me this and said that she finds very little time for writing. Bridget had a very early success with her first novel, Wild Geese, written white still at Oxford. It was in the form of a series of letters. The theme of the Irish who fought in foreign legions has appealed to musicians as well as novelists. Sir Hamilton Harty is a notable example His symphonic poem describing the return to their native land of the souls of the dead warriors is a great piece of programme music.
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SAY. " Jotter," that most be some child of yours who wants 150 coupons a year! Must be a pistol packin' momma in embryo!