With ill-Concealed it’s true, Broadway is ###season since that eventf### bored with its lofty existence, Beware”, “Men in White”, “The###ness”, “As Thousands Cheer”, ###others are all firmly entrenched.
The latest show to break into the hit column is “She Loves Me Not”, now current at the Forty-sixth Street Theatre. Written by Howard Lindsay, it is based on the novel of the same title by Edward Hope. After magazine serialization Bobbs, Merrill published it and offered the moving picture rights for $5,000 but no company expressed any interest. Now, I understand, two of the companies who couldn’t see it when it was a novel are bidding furiously for the movie rights. At this writing the offer is hovering around the $75,000 mark and rising rapidly. Mr. Hope is both amused and gratified.
Another opening this past week was Richard Maibaum’s play about some of the ramifications of the Hitler regime which he calls “Birthright”. (49th Street Theatre. A distinguished first night audience, among which were some of the town’s most prominent Jews, turned out for the premiere and seemed to be very much impressed with what went on. The critics, however, gave the play only a faintly enthusiastic send-off, and chances for a long run are dubious. Mixing propaganda and art in the wrong proportions is still a bad formula. Percy Hammond suggested that the play might have been more convincing had its company of good actors been less obviously Aryan. The cast, with one or two exceptions, is patently Gentile.
Monday night the Theatre Guild will throw open its impressive portals to a new play by Maxwell Anderson called “Mary of Scotland.” You will remember that this is the lady who lost her head when Queen Elizabeth finally decided to make a martyr out of Mary. Helen Hayes will play the lead. The Guild also announces that it has bought another play by Claire and Paul Sifton, “Blood on the Moon.” It will deal with conditions in present-day Germany. Sifton was once Sunday editor of the now defunct New York World. He has been writing plays ever since the demise of that great paper.
Molly Picon’s new play, “Birdie”, may be seen by residents of Brooklyn if they will step into the Majestic any night during the week of December 11th. On the 20th of the same month it opens at the Selwyn. It is Molly’s first play in English.
The picture fare for the coming week is varied enough to satisfy all tastes. If it is sentiment you want, try and get into the Music Hall to see “Little Women”. For those who like to laugh aloud there is “Duck Soup” at the Rivoli with the four Marx brothers. The sophisticates will find Noel Coward’s “Design for Living” at the Criterion well worth their time. If there are any among you who like good tunes, snappy dancing and a minimum of plot, wander into the Paramount, where “Take a Chance” is being shown. This is a more or less verbatim edition of the musical comedy of the same name that bought its producer, Laurence Schwab, a new yacht. And then there is always the greatest actor of them all, Paul Muni, His The World Changes” (Hollywood) is an intelligent presentation of the American business man during the past fifty years. Muni plays a multitude of parts and does them convincingly. The picture will also be on display next week at the Strand in Brooklyn.
And speaking of Paul Muni re ######hopes to uncover material that will increase the authenticity of his story.
Mark Hellinger, who not too many years back was a student at Commerce High School and who has since pushed his way into the ranks of those known as “big timers”, through his ability to sob in print daily for a tabloid, has added another sizeable chunk to the family fortune. He has sold a story called “Strictly Confidential” to Columbia Pictures.
But getting back to the legitimate stage againâ€”George Sklar and Albert Maltz will have their “Peace on Earth” produced by the Theatre Union on Wednesday evening at the Civic Repertory Theatre. These some authors, who were responsible for “Merry Go Round”, have this time looked into the future and written a play about what might happen if another world war was imminent. It sounds a trifle pacifistic…
THE SHOLOM ALEICHEM FILM
At the Acme Theatre on 14th Street is to be found the latest Soviet film importation, “Laughter Through Tears”, based on the work of the great Jewish humorist, Sholom Aleichem, pen-name of the late S. Rabinowitz.
The film based on Sholom Aleichem’s work known as “Mottel Pescia dem Chazan’s”. concerns itself with adventures of three partners in a Jewish village, who set out to become millionaires, through a book which tells how to earn the staggering sum of one hundred rubles a month; what happened to a Jewish tailor whose wife nagged him into buying a nanny-goat, and the part the orphan “Mottele” played in all these episodes.
A rich amalgam of humor and pathos, the film is further enhanced by the running narrative, based on Sholom Aleichem’s text recited by Michael Rosenberg, well-known American Jewish actor.
Certain of the scenes, in the “cheder” or Hebrew school, where “Mottele received his education and beatings from the “melamed” or teacher; and many others are exceedingly well done. By all means a picture to see.