Page 8, 28th August 1959

28th August 1959
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Page 8, 28th August 1959 — Teenagers reap • a bitter harvest
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Teenagers reap • a bitter harvest

BLUE JEANS

Certificate X: Rialto (August 31) Director: Philip Dunne

ANYONE who is familiar with a. the giant de luxe type of American woman's magazine will not be surprised at the theme of this film which has gained an certificate from the British censor. Which, in a way. is a pity, for it contains a salutary lesson for teenagers.

If there is one thing the Americans can never be accused of, it is hiding their faults under a oloak of self-righteousness. Only a couple of months ago I was learning from one of the above-mentioned journals that illegitimate births and

GRACE CONWAY

Looks at the Films

abortions are far too common among college girls according to a recent survey — in spite of sex instruction. alleged sophistication. and early maturity.

Here we are concerned with a school-age trio: Janet (Carol Lynley), daughter of a college professor; Art (Brandon de Wilde). son of an ex-Army officer; and Art's friend Ernie (Warren Berlinger). Between them the sins of fornication, forgery, and lies are blithely committed, and a pretty bitter harvest they reap.

Age of reason

What never ceases to surprise me in these days of "It's not their fault. it's their parents' obtuseness, negligence, or what-you-will" is that children are not supposed to come to the age of reason at the age of seven or any other age, and that it never occurs to anyone to ask them if they can distinguish right from wrong. These three never do—they are juvenile delinquents from nice, comfortable homes with all labour-saving devices and good engravings on the walls.

Bet, down in the cellar where the two boys say they have gone to do their homework, they play poker, drink beer, and smoke. This is harmless fun, and Ernie, the extrovert and the forger is quite a likeable chap.

He knows . .

But the cellar (with the parents trustingly going out and leaving them to it) provides a shelter for the sins. When Janet finds she is pregnant, Art remembers that Ernie has boasted that he could get any girl out of trouble. "A doctor he knows . . ."

Well, that is the set-up for a very well-made film with its neo-pagan situation finally resolved in a Christian way. Nor is there any spurious happy ending. For the boy's career is wrecked and the girl has forfeited her youth, and they will just have to make the best of it.

The competent and highly talented youthful team are wellsupported by Macdonald Carey, Marsha Hunt, and Vaughn Taylor as the three parents involved in this "trial by offspring"—for that's what it is

THE NAKED MAJA Certificate U: Empire Director: Henry Koster

THOSE of you who have been to • Madrid and spent any time in the Prado will know that the title here is that of Goya's famous painting of the 13th Duchess of Alba. The companion picture is of the Maio Vest Ada—the same lady in the' same pose with her clothes on.

Legend has cooked up a story about Goya and the Duchess—and what legend has left out the producers of the film (it's an AmericanItalian amalgam) have supplied.

Ave Gardner has been brought along to bring the Duchess to life. This,.I am afraid. she does not do. What she does is to look statuesquely beautiful in a wonderful succession of period gowns, but it is not enough.

Goya, who lived till he was 82, Spent his youth in riotous living, but he painted like mad even then. He was still young when he became

stone deal'. His really genuine mad period came later, but there were already indications.

What he did for Spanish painting was to realise that it had reached its peak in Velazquez and that a transfusion was needed. That transfusion Goya supplied. and that's why he has two rooms to himself in the Prado today.

Although Anthony Franciosa has quite a marked physical resemblance to Goya (see Goya's self portrait as a youngish man), this celluloid artist is only mildly dissolute—and he is confined within the limitations of the unconvincing script.

Inquisition

Two sequences deal with the Spanish Inquisition; one when d woman is driven away to be burned at the stake; and the second where Goya is arraigned before the tribunal, where he is confronted with the painting of the Naked Maja and his notorious Caprichos—the series of cartoons in which he included some pretty fierce anticlerical cartoons.

From this court he was rescued by the King, Charles IV (a genial portrait by the Italian actor Gina Cervi of a man described in the synopsis as a "tyrant"). In this connection it is interesting to remember that after 1480 the Spanish Inquisition passed from Vatican to royal control—and so the king was allpowerful.

Unlike the Van Gogh film, we are not given close-ups of Goya's works except for a brief look at his great picture of the Spanish royal family. What shook me rather was that some "shots" of his masterpieces are shown but used for a background for the credit titles at the beginning.

The film was made in Italy in both English and Italian, and the actors are nearly all Italian. If there are awards to be made I would give them to the director of photography Giuseppe Rotunno and art director Piero Filipponiand their able team. Grouping, colour, and costumes are compensation in what otherwise must be described as a disappointment.




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