Double Feature Tyranny
ONE day last week I sat next to MT. John Baxter at a luncheon party, Mr. Baxter is one of the enterprising, independent and most original of British film makers and he dares to make pictures that don't conform to the arbitrary time-table approved by the commercial cinema. You may have seen The Song of the Plough or The Doss House—two memorable Baxter productions. 'But I'm afraid they were only played at cinemas that dared to depart from the rigid two fiction feature programme. Recently we have had an example of the cornmercial cinema refusing to accept another fine British documentary, The Way We Live, made by Jill Craigie. It only runs an hour and would disturb the time-table.
" 1-think," Mr. Baxter said, "that instead of two long fiction features, in a programme that runs three and a half hours, we should give the public something to bite on as well. And, contrary to the under-estimation of public taste on the part of exhibitors, I believe the public appreciate the compliment."
NO STIFLED SOBS
When. Sam Goldwyn was over here just before Christmas be told me he was a bitter opponent of the double-feature programme. But he doesn't mind making a picture that lasts nearlg three hours, like The
Best Years Of Our Lives (LEICESTERSQUARE THEATRE). I confess I went to the Press show of this, stiffening up the sinews and summoning up the blood for the exhausting marathon 1 expected. But, on the contrary, the time passed quite pleasantly. Nor did the sobs and muffled cries of the returned (l.I.s, which have defaced too many of the " rehabilitation " pictures sent to us from Hollywood, materialise. Mr. Goldwyn has told his story of the three ex-Servicemen in simple, straightforward, human fashion, depicting the American scene in its least pretentious and most appealing aspect.
I've never seen Frederic March act so well as he .does in the part of the sergeant bank official. I liked, too. the disciplined charm of Myrna Loy as his wife, and the unaffected and sincere work of Harold Russell, who portrays a man like himself—a man without hands who courageously faces his affliction. The casting all through is as good as it can be. .
As this is an American picture, divorce has to come into it — this time it is used as the solution to a war-tangle which somehow had managed to get the stamp of legality upon it.
If you saw While the Sun Shines (Pisan) on the stage, you will knosts' what to expect because it. is more or less the play photographed. Ronald Howard, making his debut, takes kindly to the camera. The Arnelo Affair 4.Emrian) has a stock murder plot that might have been quite exciting if it were not for the immobility of its heroine, Frances Giffard. They've given the poor girl scarcely any dialogue. and she has about as much animation as a marionette.