"THE WHITE SISTER."
The acting. In "Tho White Sister" is par- ticularly fine, Its story is vivid, and Its set- tings are picturesque. There Is only ono weakness In It, from a dramatic point of view
-tbo cMcnt to which it has been padded out with Roman Catholic ceremonial. Catholics will no doubt be interested In these cere- monies from motives of devotion, nnd those outside the Catholic Church from motives of curiosity, to see what the taking of monastic vows and mnrriage to the Church In\'Olvo; but the drama stands still until they are past.
After sucing Lillian Glsh as the nun, or White Sister, it is impossible to imagine any other actress playing the part, so exquisitely does she enter into its every mood. In one scene, where sho hears a band of strolling musicians playing outside the palace garden, she dances merrily like a woodland sprite (This, of course, Is In Angela's girlhood, bo fore she takes the voll.) In another, where her father has died and lett her to the mercy of a bitter step-sister, she portrays vvltb In- sight the girl's panic of lousing for love and tenderness. In another, whore her soldlor lover is going In charge of nu expedition to Africa, she moves the heart with n show of childlike grief. Moat stirring of ill Is the intensity of her outburst when bbe lecelves the ncAvs that ho lias been killed, and collnpsos rigid Into the arms of those behind her, fingers outspread In a sort of epileptic cramp. Finally, thcro is the stark horror with which she re- cognises him on his return from captivity to the Arabs, after she has been wedded to tho Church, followed by the freiuy of her pro- testations when he tries to .win her from nl legtance to her vows. Over all this she casts a wIstftilnoBs and fairylike charm that makes the part hers, and hers alone.
But Lillian Glsh's is by no means tho only first-class acting in the film. As a foil to Angela, one cannot help being struck by the character of the stop-sister. Marchosa di Mola, as played by Gall Kane. The Marchesa Is hard and bitter, but she is by no means the conventional villainess. She Is a woman of strong character, who,.must win the respect of cultivated people for her Boclal poise and competence, oven if they disapprove of her treatment of Angela. One can sympathise with her taunt that Angela'"whined her way Into her father's heart. Just OB ber dead mother Avhined ber way into heaven." That is the real secret of Henry King's success as direc- tor-that ho portrays his characters so that one sympathises with all of them, and so makes possible a real conflict In the spectator's mind. Itonald Colman a«? the soldier lover makes his point of view highly appealing, acting nt first Avltb a debonnlr sincerity, at.d after the re- turn from Africa with almost feverish con- centration. Juliette La Violette makes a delightfully Ingenuous governess.
With all sorts of deft touches Mr. King has increased the tension of his story. The do- mestic commotion for Instance when the count is carried In mortally wounded Is epitomised by tivo servants rushing succes- sively down the broad stairs. After the leave taking at the wharf the hackney cab recedes slowly Into the distance, and the last thing ono sees Is Angela's Avhlto face looking fixedly through the little window In the back. Some of the scenes showing A'esuvius and the Bay of Naples are works of art In themselves. The palace interiors arc spacious and dignified, and the whirling dust-storms attendant on yan eruption remarkably convincing. An unusual feature about the picture is its unhappy eod lug. For once the genius of the Americans for lacking wedding bells onto the most un- likely themes seems to have failed them,
As presented at the Crystal Palace Theatre, "The White Sister" has a prologue In five scones. In which Madame Elsa Stralla and Mr, Andre Navarre sing.
Raymond Longford's latest Australian pro- duction, "The Pioneers," is a distinct advance on his last picture, "The Bushwhackers." Its photography and settings are equal to the best American, and a vein of natural sincerity runs right through its acting. The story, too, is more definite. In fact, from the state of having practically no story at all, Mr. Long- ford has run to the other extreme and tried to bring in too much story, so that after one has been looking at the picture for nearly two hours new issues are still coming in, which would need still another half hour for their adequate solution. These issues run on more and more old-fashioned and worn-out melodramatic lines, and at length from ap- preciating the film as a touching epic of the Australian bush one passes to a mood where it does not matter much whether the villain triumphs or is vanquished, nor whether the hero marries the heroine or dies. Mr. Long ford himself seems to have realised that his spectators' patience must be at an end here; for he has suddenly brought the play to a close and left all sorts of important things un- explained. The heroine's fnther, for instance, an escaped convict who during the 20 years of his freedom has lived a noble life, has just been detected by the authorities and arrested; and one would like to know how he fares. If only "The Pioneers" could be wound up about half-way or two-thirds of the way through, so as to obviate all this trite melodrama, which has been put in obviously as a sap to the populace, it would stand as a landmark In the history of Australian motion pictures. People in other countries, seeing this earlier part would realise what the Australian bush was really like, with all its wild yet homely charm and its open-hearted people. Instead of con- juring it up as the abode of bad men and "wild western" heroics. The cast of the pic- ture (which has been adapted from a novel by Katherine Susannah Prichard) includes Robert Purdie and Augustus Neville, both familiar to Sydney audiences of the Shakespearean plays of Mr. Allan Wilkie. "The Pioneers" was shown on Saturday at the Lyceum and Hay-
One can go to all Johny Hines' pictures with full confidence that thcro will not be a dull moment in them. It Is really extraordinary how he embroiders every Incident vvilh humour In his latest vehicle, "Rainbow Riley," ho plays au all-round athlete out of a job, who has an overpowering ambition to become a newspaper reporter. We see him first wait- ing for the lift to the "Louisville Courier" office and nonchalantly cracking walnuts. Then a downward sweep of the camera discloses that the black surface he Is using for the latter operation is not made of wood or Iron, but is the head of a negro boy who Is blacking bis shoes. There aro some hilarious incidents connected with the taking of the elevator; and now begins the siege of the city editor, an entertainingly temperamental person as actod by Herbert Standing.
Later, the story shifts to the Kentucky Hills, whore a feud Is being carried on. The basis of the film is a play by Thompsou Buchanan, tho last stage play In which Douglas Fairbanks appeared before ho passed over to the screen. "Rainbow Riley" was released I y First National on Saturday at the Lyric and Strand theatres.
"The Midshipman" Is primarily a glorifica- tion of tho United States Navy, moro especially of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; aud only secondarily a drama. The humour nilh which it is Interlarded would raise shouts frcmi an audience of boys; but ii leaves adults somewhat cold. Probably the produeei (Christy Cnbnnne) deliberately sot out to tri fiuence"boys, as a piece of skilful propaganda lor the academy. Ramon Navan o Is the principal figure, looking youthful but not as handsome as usual in the part of tho mid- shipman who becomes Involved In violent !f rather uncouvlncing emotional storms. Wosley Barry is also in the cast. "The Midshipman'' was released by Metro-Goldwyii on Saturday at the Lyceum and Haymarket montres.
Gloria Swanson is a distinctive and original actress, but whllo her last picture, "The Coast of Folly," showed her In a not very favour- able role, "Stage Struck" takes her back to her old slapstick farce dayB. The style does no1 become her. This cheap humour may have been well enough In the early days ot moving plctuios, but audiences have been educated beyond that Btago now. Children may roa i at "Stage Struck," but even the least sophist - ' catod of adults will lind its Incidents thread-
bare. One enn seo every luughler-raisin« device In It long before the lim« to laugh actually arrives. Wheu Jenny, the three quarter-witted servant girl, leaves ber Iron
lug to posture In front of the mirror It -Is quite obvious that she will presently find A hole in the Bhlrl she is Ironing. Wlien ford Sterling, as a cheupjack showman, shows tru
mondous (»rldo In his "B «Ijum. It comes ?. no surprise to see bim shatter It by Bltllna In It. The boxing bout nour the end, where Miss Swanson and Octtrude Aslor contend tor the championship of the Ohio River, Is no calculated to raise anyone's reverence tot American womanhood. The story, however, s preceded by a reel of coloured scenes vvhU-n fas a wonderful beauty about it. The natural oofourinB exactly suits Miss Swanson's typ* Sr beauty, her dark yet glowing complexion. palo blue eyes and raven hair, nnd she weais some gorgeous costumes to set herbelf off. The 'rainfit two of the gowns alone are works of art. The dramatic ideas expressed in this section are hi_1i1y fantastic-BO much like « rnn-v "ale. in fact, that even before the main Dirt beg?« one suspects that they w111 turo out io ¿0 a servant girl's dream. ''Slag« Struck" A-'HB released by Paramount on Satur- day at the Piccadilly and Hoyt's theatres.
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