Etched in Acid
HUGH Walpole, in his novel, Mr. Perrin and Mr. Trail' (film version now at (jAumorrr and M ARM F. ARCH PAVILION), although setting his story in a boys' school, is concerned with one thing only-to show us the picture of an educated cad. The cad is the headmaster, Moy-Thompson. Like all she heads of any concern, this educated bully sets the tone for the establishment under his care. The poison he exudes percolates through his staff, becoming transmuted according to the soil it reaches into surface lick-spittle submissiveness and under-surface hatred of the man himself, or a " kick-theoffice-boy " technique as a vent to the rebellion they dare not express. The longer and more conscientious the service which these masters have given, the more contempt for them does Moy-Thompson show. He is quick with the taunt " if you don't like it go elsewhere " adding, " that is, if anyone will have you now." So he trades on their fear of insecurity and, indeed, derives a sadistic joy from it.
THE VICTIM DIES
Chief target for the head's sadism is Mr. Perrin-with 21 years' service to the school. Poor man. He is the material on which bullies feed and he only keeps a spurious selfrespect by turning into a pompous martinet as soon as he leaves the head's study This is the setting into which the young, just-demobilised Mr. Traill crashes, like a door suddenly blown open by a gust of wind. Although used as a pawn to make the rest of the staff suffer, Mr. Trani sees no good in this sadist.
All unwittingly he ruins Mr. Perrin's fife by robbing him of the girl he hopes to marry, and witnessing a humiliating scene between him and the head, and this is the hinge on which Walpole hangs the climax of his story. Ahnost deranged, Mt. Perrin tries to stab Mr. Traill on the edge of a cliff-and then loses his life trying to save him from drowning..
TRIUMPH OF MAKE-UP
As you see, this is not so much of a story as a study of men, and producer Alexander Galperson and director Lawrence Huntington have gone all out to make it so. With that reliable thin-lipped portrayer of super-cads, Raymond Huntley, they could not go wrong with MoyThompson. In young Meatus Goring (wearing a make-up that must be described as a triumph for Toni Sforini-make-up supervisor), we are given a cbaracter study of the middle-aged Mr. Perrin that is
nothing short of brilliant. David Farrar is quite successful in the more forthright part of Traill and the only other member who really " registers " is Edward Chapman as one of the masters.
Action I found jerky too episodic-but you can't have everything. The film can be exonerated on that score for it gives you a great deal on Which to ponder and shake your head.
Latest This Modern Age-Shadow on the Ruhr-which should he appearing in most Rank-owned cinemas soon (Now GALLERY now) is a seasonable reminder of many things-notably of what scarifying ruin has come to Germany and most of all to this region 'which has been Germany's arsenal of war for a hundred years. The film runs 20 minutes. Sixty would not have been too long.