:GRACE CONWAY Looks at the Films
THE GODDESS Certificate A: Curzon Director: John Cromwell WHEN you read about a famous Hollywood"goddess"— multi-husbanded, top-ranking box office, dweller on the " palisades" with their outsize swimming pools — when you read about her being rushed to hospital suffering from a dose of sleeping pills, you may wonder: "Where did the rot set in 1"
You will not be far wrong if you guess: "Several generations back." And so it is with Emily Ann Faulkner, around whom Paddy Chayefsky has written this mournful tale.
When Emily is a little girl of four, she hears her widowed mother say: "I don't want her. I never did want her. .1 have my own life to live l'm still young. I've still got my figure." And so she tries to park the child on her brother.
Fourteen years later Emily is saying exactly the same thing about her child. So, leaving the squealing baby behind, she takes off for Hollywood where she makes her dubious, squalid way " to the stars," taking in a second marriage on the way.
Emily (played by Kim Stanley through the three phases — young girl, young woman, " goddess") keeps her second husband (Lloyd Bridges) in fulminating idleness. (" Back in St. Louis I used to be known as a clean feller — now I don't shave for two days at a time.") Bedroom quarrels following each other thick and fast lead to the inevitable break-up, the gin bottle, the dope, the psychiatrist, the collapse on the set, the picture hold-up, the disappearance of the fair weather friends.
John Cromwell has interpreted Mr. Chayefsky's pitiless probe into the bad side of Hollywood with no compromise. The fadeout finds Emily's first husband — himself beginning as the mixed-up offspring of a male '' star " and responsible in his way for the first stage in Emily's disintegration — now a responsible citizen, doing his best to save their unwanted child from her parents' fate.
So we must be grateful for the constructive note with which the film ends — the rot may now be stopped.
A thoughtful film, often I pedestrian in its determination not to make popular entertainment out of a pretty grim subject.
A CRY FROM THE STREETS Certificate U: Plaza Director: Lewis Gilbert
ELCOME to a sound, honest,
affecting film about a side of London life only welfare officers, newspaper reporters, and the children themselves know about. It is based on the novel " A Friend in Need," by Fleet Street journalist Elizabeth Coxhead, and it is concerned with children who have been brought to a Home because of some crisis in their lives defaulting parents mostly.
But the three children around whom the plot revolves have a bigger tragedy. Their mother has been murdered by their father, and welfare officer Ann Faidie (Barbara Murray) has to bring them out of their squalid, neglected home to the clean impersonality of the reception centre.
Many things combine to make this film a success — sympathetic observance without sentimentality, an acute sense of character, the expert direction of the child actors (two, Dana Wilson and Colin Petersen, came from Australia especially — their native accents a gift to the London scene), and the presence of Max Bygraves as an electrician who not only becomes a friend of the children but marries Ann — thereby saving her from becoming too ardent a director of other people's lives.
1 keenly recommend this for einemagoers of all ages.
VERTIGO Certificate A: Odeon Marble Arch Director: Alfred Hitchcock
A MORE than usually involved " thriller by the master of all film thrillers. Not for the absentminded spectator—I almost missed a vital clue by having to let some late-comer climb in, and I suppose the whole row did too.
James Stewart as a San Francisco detective is the one who suffers from vertigo whenever he goes up high (and that in the land of skyscrapers, which certainly must be awkward).
Kim Novak is the mysterious girl he is sent to trail, and it's Miss Novak you will have to watch like a hawk it you're going to get the hang of the story. She may not be able to act but she has something compelling about her that wizard Hitchcock has used to the full.
A TIME TO LIVE AND A
TIME TO DIE Certificate A: Gaumont Director: Douglas Sirk
pRICH MARIA REMARQUE " has made memorable chronicles of the two world wars that have blighted his generation. " All Quiet " for the first; this for the second. Here he tells the bitter tale of the last phase of Germany on the Russian front and in bombblasted Berlin
John Gavin is the young Ernst Graeber who spends his last leave climbing about the ruins until he meets and marries pretty Elizabeth Kruse (Lilo Pulver). I think Germany in these last days has seldom been more vividly depicted.
The finale, with Ernst dying from the bullet fired by, the Russian he has spared, ends this compassionate essay on a note of near despair. Will man never learn