Fathers And Sons
Tr is something of a coincidence that two of the most successful Continental films shown in London recently should have a similar theme. Day of Wrath (Danish) and Symphonic Pastorale, the French production which won the first prize at the Cannes International Film Festival and now being shown at the Curzon, both have as their central figure a Protestant pastor (separated by about 400 years). In each case the son loves fatally and with tragic consequences, the young woman loved by the father. Each story is told against the stark, rigorous, comfortless background of the " Reform " church. with its high pulpit and tense preacher. In each case the home life in the parsonage is depressing, set in a minor key, with not a moment of the lighter human touch that alone makes life on this planet tolerable.
NO FIGURE OF FUN
French films have never been conspicuous for their serious treatment of religion or religious figures. I recall, at random, the ridiculous little curd in La Femme du Boulanger and the hilarious guying of piety in Isidore. But here in Andrd Gidc's story, it is all deadly serious. The little church on the snowy hillside has its full complement of men as well as women worshippers, and they don't seem to be at all ashamed of being seen there, as were the baker and his friends. Don't ask me what this signifies. I don't know.
Symphonic Pastorale, technically, is a superb piece of film-craft. It misses being a great work of art because of its two-dimensional picture of life.
BACK TO THE ARENA And now, after walking in the ranifled atmosphere of the major cinema, let us return to the gas flares and sawdust of the Hollywood arena. Quite the best, because it dares to break new ground, is Boomerang (Tivoli), in which a State Attorney (and we are assured he is drawn from a figure in current American life) refuses to be dictated to by the town's bosses and, instead of working to secure the conviction of a suspected murderer whom he believes to be innocent, actually gets him acquitted. A most welcome frugality has been exercised by the producer, Louis de Rochemont, in the whole treatment, and not the least effective is the hard, uncompromising lines and the sharp light and shade of court-room and prison which form the main setting for the story. Dana Andrews, rugged and forthright, is the Attorney.
Then there is Lover Come Back (Leicester Square Theatre)—a lighthearted argument about the single moral standard in which Hollywood's cleverest comedienne, Lucille Ball, works hard to put over a picture of a woman trying to save her marriage.
Finally. California (Plaza) in technicolor—the roarin' days of pioneers—the mixture very much as before, with Barbara S.anwyck and Ray Milland as the conventional quarreling and finally doting couple.
Best of the releaks, The Kid from Brooklyn — Technicolor musical — Danny Kaye in grand form.