ME AND THE COLONEL
Certificate U: Odeon, Leicestei Squareu Director: Peter e Glenville HIS is one of the best adaput lions of a play to the screen yet—from Franz Werfel's "Jacob owsky and the Colonel." It has fen its theme race conflict—prejudice. rather—and the people concerned are a Polish colonel, an aristocrat and a strong anti-Semite (played by Curt Jurgens) and a mild, hunted. but resilient Jew (Danny Kaye) The two meet in Paris in 1940 lust as the Germans are about to take possession of the capital. Both are trying to escape — the Pole because he wants to join the allies in England (he has important papers to deliver) and the Jew just to get out of the way of the people who have been on his heels from Warsaw across Europe to Paris.
When I saw the film in a big audience at the National Film 'Theatre (the Odeon was being got ready for the evening visit of the Queen). many seemed to think it was a comedy and laughed whenever Danny Kaye appeared on the scene. And yet Mr Kaye doesn't play it for laughs.
With his own special genius and his own particular "method" whereby he can mould his features into the cast of pale and anxious thought (a quality he shares with Alec Guinness) he suggests sorrow rather than fun.
The two men are thrown together at an otherwise deserted hotel. The rest of the population has already taken to the roads. Jaeobowsky (the Jew) realises that singly they won't gel very far. Together there will be a chance for them.
The Pole makes no attempt to disguise his scorn and contempt for the little man. And yet. they do set off in one of the Polish embassy's discarded Rolls ,Royces —not making a beeline for the coast but making a detour to pick up one of the colonel's girl friends (Nicole Maurey).
What is unusual about the adaptation is that you never get a feeling that the stage is set, or that the curtain is just coming down on a climax. The movement and confusion on the French roads is well suggested.
By the time that the Jew has saved the situation again and again
Looks at the Films fly his indestructibility and his improvisations, the Pole's dislike and contempt has been transformed into something very like affection and respect. So much so that. when the jaws of the Gestapo are about to close once again, it is the military dash and audacity of the colonel that saves the day.
1 can think of a better choice than Curl Jurgens with his 'Teutonic inflexibility for the part of the colonel — he never suggests that devastating Polish "charm." but he seems to be so much in demand these days that the casting is understandable. As for Danny Kaye, he really has created. in Jacobowsky, a character in the round as good as anything he has ever done.
BLITZKRIEG Certificate U: Rialto qiit BRIAN HORROCKS speaks L.' a preliminary commentary to this—the first account of how World War Two hit the Germans to be made by the Germans in Germany. Sit Brian points out one or two inaccuracies in the script. "I know, because I was there."
The theme is most definitely anti-Hitler and the action pictures, taken from newsreels and official records made on the spot, show, among other things, the terrible onslaught first on, and then by, the Russians and the final collapse of Berlin in ruins.
And, as Sir Brian says of it all: " Ob. the terrible waste of war!"
THE MATCHMAKER Certificate lit Plaza Director: Joseph Anthony
SOMETHING quite different—an adaptation of Thornton Wilder's stage play that doesn't attempt to be anything else, even to the point of allowing the characters to come right in front of the camera from time to time to address the audience.
A visit to this is strongly recommended if only because the inimitable Shirley Booth is in the lead— as a wistful but ingenious widow who is determined to hook the miser of the town In competent support are Paul Ford. Shirley Maclaine. Anthony Perkins, and
Wallace Ford, Thornton Wilder's dialogue. too, is a delight.
VIRGIN ISLAND Certificate U: New Victoria Director: Pat Jackson COLOURFUL but somewhat
contrived saga of two young people—an American archaeologist (John Cassavetes) and a Kensington Miss (Virginia Maskell)— who meet. marry, and go to live ,on a minute island within easy reach of civilisation and colonial supervision.
When they unwittingly become accessories after the fact to some neat smuggling activities, international lines are set buzzing and even the United Nations are in danger of being called in to help.
This is escapist entertainment which caused merry gales of laughter from sections of the audience—and is for the unsophisticated and the very young. Sidney Poitier, for once cast as a happy character, adds to the general air of "everything of the best in this Caribbean demi-paradise."