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THE F.B.I. STORY Certificate A: Warners Director: Mervyn LeRoy
FB.I." and the name "J. Edgar Hoover " have become so much part of the international vocabulary that it is interesting to learn from this semi-fiction semidocumentary how the whole thing began.
Like so many worthwhile institutions in the democracies, it began as the idea of one man: it was beset by all sorts of handicaps --stinginess from official sources and downright neglect in its early years—and it eventually survived and succeeded because of the faith and enthusiasm of its handful of pioneers.
I don't know, from reading the synopsis, whether the man. Chips Hardesty (played with all his usual appeal by James Stewart), was GRACE CONWAY Looks at the Films
really one of these pioneers or whether he is just a typical member of the struggling F.B.I. in the year 1924 when the story begins.
But it is through Chips Hardesty that we watch the early beginnings of the Federal Bureau of Investigation developing alongside the domestic life of Chips himself: his marriage, the growth of his family, and his final appointment to a top desk in the bureau itself—the next in importance, it would seem, to J. Edgar Hoover himself.
The first big assignment of the Bureau is the tackling of the terrible white-hooded Ku Klux Klan setting fire to everything in sight and armed with fiery crosses. Next Chips and his colleagues move into the Indian concessions of Oklahoma where murders of Indians owning oil-bearing land arc baffling the police.
With that little problem neatly solved, off goes the F.B.I. to tackle the hoodlums — Dillinger, " Baby Face " Nelson, and Co. By this time the F.B.I. are armed —and able to shoot it out with the thugs.
Final job—at the time of the story—is the tracking down of " Red " agents in World War Two. This sequence is just a bit too long, but all in all, what with watching Chips living his own life at home and the panoramic account of America's crime life, the time passes quickly enough.
Vera Miles is the wife, and has one testing scene—when news comes of the death of their son in the Pacific—which she passes with distinction.
THAT KIND OF WOMAN Certificate A: Metropole, Victoria Director: Sidney Lumet THIS one really baffled me. It's one of these dishonest Hollywood pictures that refuses to call a spade a spade.
Sophia Loren plays the part of an Italian emigree who has come from poverty to riches, by being kept in luxury by a war-equipment tycoon (George Sanders), who also seems to do a bit of "procuring" on the side, supplying ageing generals with blondes.
For some reason not explained. instead of keeping Miss Loren in the house he has supplied, she is sent around the country. Why, we are never told.
Anyway, on one of her journeys (a troop train) she meets one of these starry-eyed clean-cut American boys (Tab Hunter). He wants to marry her and show her to his folks back home. We never know what they said—for the finale comes as the leaps on to join him in the train just moving out on the way to the folks back in Vermont.
The two girls (Barbara Nichols is the blonde) are just prostitutes —but the whole issue is wrapped in a rosy miasma, like something that rises from a stagnant marsh.
CHARMANTS GARCONS Certificate A: Academy Director: Henri Decoin
THIS one is honest enough—a French musical in colour. Zizi Jeamnaire (a ballet dancer before she became a film actress) appears as one of those Colette types—a cabaret artiste, amoral, hard-working, and just unlucky in her search for a husband and/or a lover who will Ise faithful to her.
We watch her attempts and failures — married men, gross millionaires, boxers (the episode in which one young god's features are beaten to a pulp as she watches it all on television is really funny), and, yes. even the men who "don't like women ". All is touched in with subtlety and wit. The ballets are the angular " beatnik " types which don't begin to hint at the considerable talent of this most attractive French girl.
THE SAVAGE EVE Certificate X: Curzon Director: Joseph Strick
(7, K. CHESTERTON said some's" where that the city, the work of man, is a great achievement. and more to he venerated than those uncultivated parts of the world where the spirit of man is not in evidence.
And yet. it is the urbanised world that produces juvenile de linquents, thugs, smash and grabbers, and the unsavoury types we meet in this 70-minute essay on what one American city has to offer to the human heart. A horrible scum is taken off the cauldron—and I found too much of this concentrate packed into too short a time. And no relief.
A woman just divorced goes on a tour of the town to see what solace it has to offer. She finds depravity of both contestants and spectators in a wrestling booth; women being oiled, boiled. battered in beauty parlours; lewd men watching strip-tease shows; perverts, men and women, abounding; a blood-chilling session at an assembly-line faith-healing service; horrors everywhere.
She flies in disgust and ends up in a car smash. Final horror: she has a blood . transfusion—possibly blood from the human beings she has now come to loathe.
A contemporary document that follows the popular pattern of successful fiction writers: 99 per cent. concentration on sin, one per cent. moral But it could never have been done without Chesterton's city—the only thing is that it is only one aspect of the city: the urban hell upon earth.