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, IT was inevitable that the magic of Alfred ? Hitchcock and the genius of John Steinbeck
should one day be merged. That 20th Century Fox has finally brought ¡about this combination of two of the screen's greatest talents is a feather in the cap of that studio.
It was equally inevitable that the result-Alfred Hitchcock's production or* "Lifeboat," by John Stein- beck-should, judging by advance reports, prove to be a brilliant new milestone in motion picture entertain- ment. The picture, which stars Tallulah Bankhead and features William Bendix, Walter Slezak, Mary Anderson, John Hodiak, Henry Hull, Heather Angel, Hume Cronyn, and Canada Lee, is set entirely in a lifeboat-the adven- tures of ei$ht people adrift on the ocean.
?yyHEN Hitchcock conceived the
basic idea of a story dealing with eight people who are thrown together in a lifeboat after their ship had been torpedoed in mid Atlantic, he immediately sensed the unlimited dramatic possibilities of the situation. When he began look- ing round for an author who could delineate the richly varied charac- terisations in a truly fascinating manner his path naturally led to tile famous author of the sensation- ally successful "Thc Grapes of Wrath" and "The Moon is Down." Steinbeck was so inspired with the story idea that he accepted the assignment.
Widely regarded as America's foremost author, John Steinbeck has had four of his nb ve ls .dramatised on the screen, but "Lifeboat" marks the first time thal he has worked [or a motion picture studio.
Demonstrating the mutual con- fidence between Steinbeck and
Sunny Tu fla, neda i rued America's I ead int/ Star of
Hie studio, the agreement was entirely mutual and no contract was signed, or terms discussed.
* ii: * +
new suspense saga marks a revo- lutionary step in Hollywood produc- tions by having a total cast of nine players (including a baby). The lifeboat in this powerful story is the only one that gets away from a freighter torpedoed in mid-Atlantic. When, the story opens the boat has only one passenger-a beautiful mink-coated internationally famous newspaper correspondent coolly tak- ing pictures of the sinking of the ship and the debris-littered sea.
For the role of the sophisticated correspondent, "Connie Porter," the studio succeeded in luring the inim- itable Tallulah Bankheaa from an outstandingly successful Broadway stage engagement to Hollywood for what is hailed as her greatest screen
One by one she acquires eight fel- low passengers: "Gus," the jitterbug seaman from Brooklyn, played by William Bendix; the Nazi commander of the sunken submarine, played by Walter Slezak; "Alice Mackenzie," an American nurse, played by Mary An- derson; "Kovac," a handsome mer- chant seaman, played by John Hcd iak; "Ritterhouse," an American businessman-Henry Hull; a crazed Englishwoman-Heather Angel-and her dying child; "Stanley Garrett," an English radio operator-Hume Gron yn; and "Joe." a ship's oiler-Can-
Thus starts the tremendously stirring and suspenseful saga of six men and three women stripped of their veneer of civilisation hy the immencc of death, their lives thrown into intimate and dramatic juxtaposition.
The making of a picture in a small boat, without flashbacks, so that the entire action takes plaoe in a storm tossed boat is a tour dc force never before attempted-reason enough for attracting the master band of Alfred
Hitchcock. He not only overcame the , difficulties-and there were plenty ?but used them to achieve much of the mighty dramatic impact the film
'.Lifeboat" Ls set for an early Tas-
* *. . * *
S uNNY TUFTS has been
elected No. 1 Star of Tomorrow by vote of the combined exhibitors of America in a poll recently conducted by the "Motion Picture Herald" of New York. Circuit exhibitors and independent exhibitors voted simi- larly
Winners of No. 1 position in the three annual pollings "preceding this one were William Bendix. Van Hef lin. and Laraine Day. Their careers,
likf» thnsf» nf thp winTiprs nf sppnnrl
. and subsequent
rankings, attest the accuracy of exhibitor judg-
ment and the immediacy of Hollywood's re- sponse to exhibi- tor prompting.
Next in order to Tufts arc James Craig,
¡ Gloria de Haven, Roddy McDowall. 1 June Allyson, Barry Fitzgerald. ?- Marsha Hunt. Sydney Greenstreet, . Turban Bey, and Helmut Dnntine.
Tufts had appeared in "So Proudly ' We Hail" and "Government Girl" : when the vote was taken. Since t then he has completed "I Love a ; Soldier," "Bring On the Girls," and < "Here Comes the Waves." and is : scheduled Cor "Miss Susie Slagle"
and "The Virginian."
I James Craig, runner-up, had ; been seen by exhibitor-voters and
their customers in "Lost Angel" and "HeaveuUy Body." He will : be seen presently in "A Marriage i Is a Private Affair" and "Kismet,"
v both of which arc completed films,
and he is cast for a principal role in "Gentle Annie."
G-loria De Haven was voted No. 3 Star of Tomorrow on the basis of her performances in "Two Girls and a Sailor," "Broadway Rhythm," "Best Foot Forward," and "Thous- and's Cheer." She is on the nation's screens now in "Step Lively," has completed a role in the forthcoming "Thin Man Goes Home," and is at work in "Dr Red Adams."
* * . * *
R. ODDY MCDOWALL,
acquiring a following as he gathered maturity through juvenile perform- ances in pictures like "How . Green Was Mv Vnllf»v" "Mv Tfriónrl
Flicka" an d "Pied Piper," was voted into
fourth place this year on the strength of ap- pearances in "Lassie Come Home" and "White Cliffs of Dover." He will be on the screen
again with release of "The Keys of thc Kingdom." and he is at work now in "Thunderhead, Son of
June Allyson, taking fifth place, was elected on practically the same ticket at Miss De Haven. They were co-leads in "Two Girls and a Sailor" and they worked together in "Broad- way Rhythm," "Thousands Cheer." and "Best Foot Forward." Shelis at work nov/ in "Music for Mil- lions."
Barry Fitzgerald, seen in pictures like "Dawn Patrol," "Sea Wolf," and "How Green Was My Valley," was on the screens during the voting "period in "The Amazing Mrs Haili , day," "Two Tickets to London," and
His portrayal of thc aged priest in "Going My Way," hailed tty Press and profession as an Aca- demy Award performance, was responsible for his election to the ranks of the top ten. He will be appearing shortly in "I Love a Soldier" and "Incendiary Blonde*" and a little later in "Two Years Before tile Mast."
Marsha Hunt's election to seventh place won favour for her perform- ances in ^Lost Angel," "The Human Comedy," "Seven Sweethearts," and "Cry Havoc." Miss Hunt is before the cameras now in "Music for Mil- lions."
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OY D N E Y Greenstreet, .
whose screen career dates from "Maltese Falcon," won his election by a string of impressive perfoi nu- ances in "Casablanca," "Mask of Dimitrjos," "Between Two Worlds." "Passage to Marseilles." and ''Back- ground to Danger." Greenstreet has four- more appearances completed "Devotion," "Christmas in Connecti- cut," "Conflict," and 'The Conspira-
Turban Bey took ninth place in this year's poll. He is on the screens now as co-lead in "Dragon Seed" and has completed roles in the un- released "Bowery to Broadway." "Queen of the Nile," and "Climax."* He is scheduled to appear next in "Frisco Sal" and 'The Return of the Sheik."
Helmut Dantine, voted 10th posi- tion in the poll, presents a contra- diction of the theory that villains do not make box office. Since his first appearance as the Nazi aviator ia "Mr-: Miniver," Dantine has stuck closely to that type of portrayal. He has played similar melodramatic roles in "Passage to Marseilles." "Northern Pursuit," "Edge of Dark- ness." and "Mission to Moscow." and he will be seen again in "Characteris- tic role in "Strangers in Our Midst," completed but unreleased. .