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NEW FILMS. . |
The reconstructions of fifteenth century Flor- ence which Henry King has contrived for "Romoln," are both Interesting and magni- ficent. In fact,' they almost submerge the I Rtory that they were intended to Illustrate and adorn. David Bolasco, the noted Ameri- can producer of, stage plays, used to say that when he had a particularly elaborate set ot scenery he would raise the curtain for a few moments before tho actors carno on, so
that the audience might Inspect It, and then bo able to turn wholo-heartcdly to the drama. Mr. King makes no such concessions to the spectators' limited powers of attention. In fact, he seems deliberately to have changed the scene as often as possible (at leaBt once In fivo seconds), with the result that the beholder spends most of his time compre- hending palaces and cobbled streets. It Is this whirlwind change oí place that makes the characters seem multifarious and super- ficial, when In actual fact they ara not so. In a novel characters can be Introduced with a lavish hand, because the reader can put the book down and take it up again and spend I many hours in making their acquaintance; but in a aim, which runs for only an hour and a
half, they must bo managed with the utmost I discretion. Hence, the difference between the sense of breadth and glamour in George Eliot's book and the breathless, disconnected effect which characterises Mr. King's version of It. Characters pop into tho story for a few minutes, then disappear from it again; and one has almost forgotten their existence when they re-enter it. That is why .Lillian Ciish's RomSla, though ono looks back upon It as a Uno performance, does not show the same force as her acting in "The White Sis- ter," where It was more concentrated and coherent. In the screen version, Indeed, Tessa is the most interesting character, as playod by Dorothy Glsh. William Powell makes a villain ot character, and Ronald Colman makes the most of his slender part as Carlo. It is a tribute to the acting as a whole that It attracts so much notlco to itself in the midst of distractions. Yet "Romola" is not a picture to bo lightly con- demned. As a historical pageant, apart from Its personal theme, It Is at once Impressive and Instructive. Tho custodian of the Lau rentlan Library at Florence certifies that every detail In the production is true to the Renaissance period.
The programme at the Prince Edward Theatre on Saturday Included also a scries of do Forest "plionofllras." These were Interesting as a demonstration of how closely sound can be made to synchronise with ac- tion on the screen: but the best one can say of the process is that considerable improve- ments will have to be made before it is applicable to films with any pretensions to art. In the first place, the screen being so largo, the sound is Imperfectly localised, and so seems unnatural, In the second place, the vocal tones produced have all the
nerve-racking blare and blast of an lmper- ' feet wireless loud Bpeakor. Still, the mo- tion pictures themselves had to go through an experimental stage, when they flickered horribly, and there were long waits while a broken film was mended.
Mr. Alfred O'shea sang in a prologue with an exquisite moonlight setting. ,¡
"THE HOUND OF THE DEEP."
Thursday Island and the Torres Straits form (he background for "The Hound of the Deep," Captain Hurley's new picture, which was released on Snturday at the Lyceum and Haymarket theatres. There are scenes on pearling luggers, on tropical boaches, and on the bottom ot the sea. But one feels that Captain Hurley ought to have made more of his settings than he actually has done, especially as both story and acting are of an extremely crude nature, so that atten- tion wanders away from them. The trouble with the story is that it is padded out with unnecessary detail. If one of the characters has to send a letter one soes him both writing it and licking the envelope to seal it; and then there is a close-up showing him putting, on the stamp. Then the person who receives it is shown self-consciously staring into space as he "registers" some emotion. His principals in this picture are Eric Bransby Williams and Lillian Douglas.
I ON- h\ M S.RY '
Mrs Wiggs o£ the Cabbago Pitch whoso name used to 1 o a household work among readers of light fiction is ono oí the princi pal figures in Lovey Miry a new Metro Coldwyn film screened at the Haymarket and Rialto theatres on Siturda> Not onl> Mrs Wiggs soul of I indllness and com petonco but her son William WIggi and the neighbourly spinster Miss Ha« appear to tthoir old admirers-Vi illlam Vi Iggs now grown to manhood and about to take charge of no less a responsibility thin a milk route and Miss Hary still raising her pliin the cr> ot Miz Wiggs \\hcne\cr an>thing has to bo settled or done The part of Mrs Wlggs ii taken bj Mary Alden that of William Wiggs by V, illiam Haines and that oí Miss Hazy by Viv H Ogden Then there is Bessie Love natural and ilvicious as usual as Lovey Mir> It is a child role and she plajs It with all childhoods ibin don alike In her scenes of michle\ous giiet> and in those whero she blades into a white heat of anger Martha Mattox is e\col
lent as the statuesque but human keeper of the orphanage To the producer also (King Biggot) Is duo a tribute for the sjmpa thetic way in which he has »omíii together the Btrinds ot this delightful little comed>
which must appeal to over} one with the slightest Eenso of the humorous
HIE SU V&E
An audience of bo} s would probably Hugh heartily at Tho Sivage but adults whose mental de\elopment has ad\nnced with their jeais will find it tedious The humour which adorns it has dono service in comic papers and firces foi a long long time There Is the rennrk nbout evolution for Instance Men and womon ha\e both sprung from monkojs but the women sprung further - which has become a chestnut in the wiy of schoolbo) howlers One had suppobod jokeB about the Darwinian thoory to have died a natural death b> this time vet here is a picturo whose whole existence turns on them To see the absurd side of familiar things Is enjojablo If that side be cleverl} and sym patheticall} presented but mere blind Jours will arouse among thinking people nothing but aversion Ben Lyon Maj MacAvoj
and Phllo McCulou are the principals In this wlldb fantastic film It was released by rirst Natljnal on Saturday at the Hay market and Strand theatres
IIS HIL 01 D VRM_ GUIE"
Mans responsible people advocate that cer tain films should be shown to adults only 1 here are times w hen one feels Inclined to reverse this formuli and advocate that cer tain other films should perforce bear a cer tlficato sajiug that they arc suited only to Immaturo minds and that adults may not look foi much entertainment from them Such a thought arises after ono has seen It s tho Old Arm> Game Paramount s latest release at the Piccadilly and Ho>ts theatres The principal comedian ia it Vi C t ields (who appeared here at the Tivoli some vcirs ago in a freak juggling act) relies for his effects on such stupidities and tumblings as our fathers laughed at "when as small children thej were talen to seo the clr cus and the clown came on to fall with re
sounding thumps upon the sawdust The narrative of this picture Is almost as dlscon nected as tbo tale ot tho clowns woes Apropos of nothing in particular a cocoa nut falls on the comedliu s head and stuns him Next wo find him putting his finger in his mouth with a huge pile of crackers ho Is t iking bites at and closing his teeth lestfullj upon It The Incident so alarms him that in future he holds one corner of a biscuit with great circumspection and snatches his hand away at ever) movement of his Jaws as though he were if raid they might get out of control and attack the fin
ger again He moves his cigar about in his mouth and ho has |to gropo after It Ho takes off his hat takes a step and then cannot find lils hoad to put the bat on again Of such primitive fooling Is the pic ture constructed The love element In which Loulso Brooks plajs a part Is almost as impossible as tho humour
Prince Ed rard TI atre Komola
Crvi-tal lalace Tie Hid i(,ht Sun
Ha} market The Hound of the Dee» Lovey
Io «um The Hound of the Ddp The Dancer Girl ( riscilla Den )
Ljrlo The Danger CIrl The "vsvtgc
liojti It i tie Old Innr Game, .So Han« Gold (Toni Mix)
Piccadilly H s the Old Armv Game Teril» of the Cast Guard (tullin Lal dis)
kmiw-ss Her Big Mjrht (Laura La Dante) 1 erlU of the Co»« Guard
Strand lit Salai» No Man * Poid Klalto Jlcr Dig Night *Lmev Mar}