"THE SQUATTER'S DAUGHTER"
From one point of view, Cinesound's new production "The Squatter's Daughter" must rouse the admiration of all who see it. For it contains some of most lovely photography that has yet come to the screen. Captain Frank Hurley has seized on the everyday life of a sheep station and has brought forth from it an extraordinary lyrical expressive ness. Australian audiences have already be
come familiar with the great expanses of Texas and of Arizona, Now they see the spreading plains of their own country depicted in the same brilliant manner. It is a rare delight to watch sheep moving to and fro amid an aura of mellow sunshine and to see them coming out of the shearing shed with those athletic little leaps peculiar to animals which have lost their winter clothing. The scenes of riding too are plentiful and stimulating. Towards the end Captain Hurley has intro duced some remarkable pictures of a raging bushfire. The general tone of the screen changes from black and white to a dull reddish brown as soon as the flames begin to dart about among the tree; and the realism thus produccd is accentuated by prodigious roaring and crackling sounds. In a brief per
sonal appearance before the film started, Miss Jocelyn Howarth had remarked on Friday that all the actors and the technical staff suffered from burns during the filming of the fire; and one can well believe it, for people go wandering about apparently within inches of the most appalling spout of flame. As a piece of spectacle these incidents will be able to hold their own in any part of the
Turning now to the dramatic side of affairs, one cannot write with an equal enthusiasm. It would be unreasonable to expect perfection in the first serious film which the Cinesound studio has put forth in a community thousands of miles from the great centres of cinemato
graphic production. Considered as a first effort outside the realm of farce, "The Squat
ter's Daughter" can be accepted without pessimism, as auguring well for the future. Still, for the good of the activities which that future holds it must be stated that a higher standard in scenarios is urgently neccesary. Wonderful photography will carry one or two films to financial success, but to build on this alone would be fatal. Where additional scenario writers are to come from is a matter which Mr. Ken G Hall, the general manager of Cinesound Ltd., has aheady referred to as providing a difficult problem. But there are surely people in this country capable of improving on the puerilities that occur in "The Squatters Daughter." One does not quarrel with the fact that the film is a melo drama. The directors consider that melo drama is good box office tactics, and they may be right. What one does deplore is the poorness of the dialogue and the uninspired way in which the incidents mingle conven tional cattle runner doings in the American West with reminiscences of popular successes during the nineties.
The acting might be better; but on the other hand it might easily have failed to reach its present level. As the hero and hero ine, Mr. Grant Lyndsay and Miss Howarth reach no heights of dramatic expression, They do succeed, however, in being reposeful and fairly natural. Mr John Warwick is capable as usual, in the part of a sub-villian, who later repents and becomes a sub-hero (He and the hero-in-chief, it appears, have been exchanged in their cradles after the manner of the Admiral and Ralph Rackstraw in "H.M.S. Pinafore," except that the Afghan hawker has replaced the amiable Buttercup.) Mr. W. Lane-Baycliff is pleasantly assured, though rather artificial in voice in the part of a man who succeeds for many weeks in passing himself off as blind, though in truth he can see perfectly. Mr Owen Ainley plays the part of a cripple-a distressingly craven creature who persists in shouting that "he is only half a man" and ends by marrying the daughter of the Afghan hawker. Others In the cast include Messrs Les Warton, Fred McDonald and Claude Turton; Miss Dorothy Dunckley, and Miss Katie Towers. "The Squat
ter's Daughter was directed by Mr. Hall. It is being screened at the Civic Theatre.
' WHEN LADIES MEET "
Rachel Crothers stare play When Ladle Meet was received with great enthusiasm both in New York (\ here it first appeared) and in London but when Miss Isobel Elsom presented it in Melbourne a few weeks ago neither the critics noi the public seemed very keen about it On seeing the film version which has just appeared at the St James Theatre one can quite °co why The Melbourne performance was no doubt a clever one but it could not possibly have reached the standard of acting lavished on the play abroad In London the ca t included Marie Tempest Marj Newcomb Ann Todd Robert Donnt and Owen Naics And When Ladies Meet Is the sort of play which stands or falls by the brilliance 01 less than brilllanre of the actors Were It presented by indifferent amateurs the effect might be borinp beyond belief Mi s Crother., has built up her dialopue with a queer mix ture of worldly wisdom and ingenuousness There is some exceedinrly plain speaking in the discussion of moral and immoral situa
tions nnd it is apparent that the polish and wit of the treatmc it have induced the censor many a time to stay his hand where other wise he would Implacably have wielded the scissors As far as plot is concerned the play is of the slenderest The only really dramatic situation Is that which occurs toward the end when the ladies meet One is the wife of a publisher the other a young novelist whom the publisher is trying to lure Into an affair But neither knows the identity of the other Each confesses her difficult situation the novelist under the guise of a plot for her latest book and the wife by way of protest and Illustration Then the man enters and in a flash the truth dawns on both The men that had been talked about as two persons are a staple individual Anne Harding In the part of the wife presents a magnificent piece of acting throughout this scene Ex- tremely lovely in face and form she has a personality of peculiar charm quiet yet richly eloquent of experience and of finely tempered emotion Every passing mood is registered with such sincerity that It ceases to seem a piece of acting, and gives a poignant feeling of reality Since Miss Harding made her screen debut In Holiday she has played mnnv effective parts but this one Is decidedly the finest of all The fact that she so dominates the film while she Is involved in the action savs much for her powers for she has as competitors Alice Brady Robeit Mont Romery and Frank Morpan (Myrna Loy stands in the rearguard She te a competent actress but not at her best amid thpse vivacious excursions of wit ) Miss Brady comes back to the screen after a lone; absence spent on the theatrical boards Until last year she had the misfortune to be cast in a scries of plays which failed disastrously at the box
office but Eugene O Neill s Mourning Becomes Electra established her once more amid theatrical prosperity There could be no finer proof of her versatility than her \ onderful playing of that sombre part ns compared with the humour she lavishes on feather headed Bridget In When Ladles Meet , Clinging to her Stage technique she over-plays this latter lole but allowing for the defect the réalisa Mon Í3 full of exquisite comedy Mr Mont
pomery rings the changes on his limited ranpe of expressions with that whimsical grace which causes him in many quarters to be regarded as a brilliant actor
"KISS ME AGAIN"
There Is a singular emptiness of thoufht and feeling about Kiss Me Again which is being screened this week at the State Theatre This musical play of Victor Herberts is a i eversión to an earlier period when audiences were prepared to accept the most conventional
stereotyped mnteiial that an author cared to give them provided only that thLs material was adorned by the addition of a few pretty tunes The hero was always a military officer or something equally dashlnp and he always wanted to marry below his station and was threatened with di Inheritance by an alisto eratic and pouty old father The father in his turn always tried to buv tbe girl off but his offers were repulsed with contumely bv the hone t maiden who lo\ed the dashing hero for himself alone All these things come to pass in Ki s Me Again But times have changed In these democratic davs and especially in this dcmociatii. country the idea of a hero marrj Ing ry neath his «tallon Is honele sly artificial The only gleam of in tercst which redeems the film from utter bore dom Is the lovely singing of Bernice Claire as a little messenger pirl called rill who leaves the Parisian modiste s salon which has sheltered her humble beginnings and becomes a famous opera singer called Madame Bellini The play has been photographed entirely in colour-not with great success howevei for the recurrence of dull green and pale reddish
brown which form the dominant tints becomes a weariness to the eyes long before the film is over This It Is which depilves the ballets near the end of that grace and charm which they would have conveyed if presented at an earlier stage Besides Miss Claire the cast
Includes Walter Pidgeon Edward Everett Hor- ton June Collyer and Claude Gllllngwater the last In a brilliant character study, which
deserved livelier environment
In its general outline the story of ' Girl Missing is quite preposterous but authors director and cast have combined to fill in the incidents with such fast-rushing Impudent humour that the general effect Is entertain- ing A murder mysteiy comes into the film about halfway through its course but no one will pay much attention to that The central feature is the career of two utterly brazen young creatures who describe themselves in good American as gold diggers and live up to this description with a will Glenda Far ícll rcpiesentlng the more enterprising of the pair extracts the utmost of humour which tile port will afford her The other is played by Mary Brian who not so long ago was appear- ing régulai ly as a sweet naive heroine Others in the cn st include Ben Lyon Peggy Shannon Lj le Talbot Guy Kibbee, Ferdinand Gotts chalk and Helen Ware Girl MLsslng a Warner Brothers First National flm was screened on Saturday at the State Theatre
'THE KING OF JAZZ"
After spending some time as a home for British films the Plaza Theatre devoted Itself on Satuiday to a reva al of that notable Ameri- can success Ihe King of Jazz It Is three years now since The King of Jazs first burst upon the Sydney public at the Regent Theatre replete with attractive and extiemely spacious settings in colour with clever ballets and with pay music includinp Gershwins fimous Rhapsody in Blue It is an e\tremely clever production full of imaginative zest in its own downright spectacular \ aj John Boles Bing Crosby and Paul Whiteman (at that time extremely stout) are in the coot
The title of this buoyant and briskly movlnc comedy gives a fairly cleai indication of its character The scene of most of the action L, a liner engaged in a pleasure cruise and during a treat part of the film melody has been synchionised with dialogue and action in the style elaborated in Hallelujah Ima Ti amp
which is aUo being showm this week The film is adorned also with a dazzling variety of laboratory tricks the aim of which is to con ceal the Joints that must exist in a film be
tween the changing scenes In almost every new film that has come forward recently there has been a new method of peeling off one scene to make room for another but in this picture dozens of such devices are used Some of them are cleverly chosen to suit the situation Others are merely dLtractinp as when the image on the scieen is turned over to display a new imape on the back as though it were a postcard being spun round by hnlslble fingers Charles Rugples has his usual role as a ner- vous harassed bibulous man about town He has been provided with some really amusing speeches and flung into some uproariously funny situations The main theme has been handled mast vivaciously and there is a gener- ous supply of opulent dancing and musical interludes One of these-a ballet danced by si aters-is both original and picturesque Phil Han is who is in the cast croons a few songs Melody Cruise an RICO picture Is being shown at the Regent Theatre
"HALLELUJAH, I M A TRAMP "
Hallelujah Ima Tramp is described as introducing the New Rhythmic Dialogue
Ho\ ever the device of chanting dialogue to music and airanginp the actions of the charac- ters so that they 1 cop time with the chant or with music provided by a concealed orchestra is not entirely new though perhaps it has never been used so elaborately as it is in this film Tor example lhere is a ceremony of laying a foundation stone in which nil the speeches are chanted and arc in rhyme Later when A1 Jo!i.on (as a philosophical tramp) picks up a 1000 dollar note and a post- card indicating the owner he sings the mes=nfe on the card intones the addiess in eccle iastlcal style and then conducts a long arpument with his fellow tramps in chanted doggeiel The director (Lewis Milestone) has also enlivened thp film with some extremely quick cutting When a choir of schoolchildren is slngin^ an nnthem for example the head of a different wide mouthed singer is thrown on the screen as each noto is sung It is almost too fast for the eye to follow Gene- rally speaklnp the film is an entertaining mix- ture of extravagant farce and sentiment and the technical acrobatics are always interestinp though not alwnjs complptely successful The cast includes the ubiquitous Frank Morgan and two comedians who were well known in the days of the silent film namely Harry Langdon and Chester Conklin The film is a United Artists production and is being shown at the Ctpitol Theatre
* DON T BET ON LOVE "
This Is one of those low toned pictures of the life of the lower middle olpsscs which the American studios do so well ai d so seldom It tells the story of the lise and fall of a plumber who becomes a professional racecourse bettor In the course of his e\entful career the plumber makes excursions amonp
racketeers and expensive places of amuse ment but for the most part the film deals with moie humble people Even the racketeer.,
are more credible than usual and throughout there is a conscientious avoidance of conven tion in the treatment both of plot and char acter The manner of telling the story too is refreshingly straightforward Experiments in film technique are inevitable and often com mendable but they often give artificiality to a film play In many Instances they become an end in themselves instead of being a means to an end and it is pleasant to come across a picture in which the direction is austere and simple Lew Ayres gives a splendidly viporous and precise portrait of a pert self assured young tradesman who has a period of good luck on the racecourse and the characteis that occupy the backpround are drawn with careful attention to detail and with a praise
worthy effort to vary them from the stock figures of the screen Don t Bet On Love
Is a Universal picture and is being shown at
the Plaza Theatre
' CENTRAL AIRPORT "
The flying scenes in Central Airport are worthy of a better story than the one pro vlded which tel)3 how an aviator (Richard Barthelmess) postponed marrying the girl he loved so lonp that his younger brother stepped in before him thus condemning the elder man to the caiecr of a wandering aviator adven turer The producers have avoided uslnp more than a minimum of the usual clce up glimpses of the cockpits of planes and have substituted what are obviously genuine flying scenes with machines and parachutes moving against backgrounds of remarkably beautiful cloud Sometimes the planes are viewed from above with patterned landscapes below Generally the machines are comparatively small objects in the carefully arranged pictures One chapter of the film is an Intilligently con trived essay in realism The elder aviator travels from one country aerodrome to an other flying a machine from which his partner a girl gives exhibitions of parachute Jumpinp The dreariness of this itinerant life particu larly from the girl s point of view Is su"gcsted by means of a number of unusually subtle touches The rest of the film follows some what obvious lines Sally Eilers is the hero ine and Tom Brown has the part of one of those excessively naive and effusive boys who are fortunately becominp rarer in American films Central Airport is a Warner Bros production and is being shown at the Regent
.I LOVE THAT MAN"
As the list of authors players and tech nicUns who have contributed to the making of I Love That Man is being thrown on the screen an invisible orchestra plays the air of the song Can t Help Loving That Man
from Show Boat and the same tune is repeated at intervals throughout the film The picture is an exposition of the theme of the song The heroine (Nancy Carroll) loves an Incorrigible but fascinating confidence man (Edmund Lowe) who acquires wealth by a variety of dishonest tricks and lases it by gambling He deceives her and disappoints her ogain and again but still she loves him dearly He is as she explains more than once her man Out of this mateiial Mr Lowe and Misj Carroll have i lanaped to create two cred ible and entertaining characters Their net
inp is delightfully crisp and well balanced If the film had been allowed to remain a comedj
instead of relapsing towal ds the end into tearful melodrama it mlpht have been pleas
antly brisk and sharp but the inter scenes are merely commonplace Producers of pic tures concerning the American underworld are apparently realising that the vocabulary of their characters has become too technical for the general public and this film opens with a scene in which Mr Lowe is heard defining such terms as front sucker set up and mooch I Love That Man a Paramount picture Is being shown at the Capitol Theatre