During the past week the wrappings were taken off four new plays which were then set down for your approval but before theatergoers got a chance to see what was being offered the critics just about took the hide off of three of these productions. “Another Love” a comedy from the French started the procession but was hooted roundly. John Howard Lawson’s “Pure in Heart” was next in line and that piece received little encouragement. The other Lawson opening, “Gentlewoman,” starring Stella Adler, escaped a thorough panning but the notices are not calculated to start the hordes toward the boxoffice. The only play of the week which looks as though it might have a chance is the anti-Nazi play, “The Shatter’d Lamp.” This stirring, brutal drama of life in Germany under the Brown Shirts, rated the admiration and respect of the first nighters who, recognizing it as propaganda, nevertheless gave their verdict that it must be seen.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The week of April 2 looks as though it would be the most active week, theatrically, that we have had this season. No fewer than eight new shows are scheduled to open. To start off the Easter holiday season, the Theatre Guild will present another anti-Nazi play called “Races.” It will have its premier at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on April 2. The other newcomers are; “The House of Remsen” (Henry Miller), a revival of “The Mikado” (Majestic). “Moor Born” (Plymouth), “Wife Insurance” (Longacre), “Furnished Rooms,” “Brain Sweat” and “Are You Decent.”
WILL MAHONEY AT PARAMOUNT
To me the main attraction at the New York Paramount is not the picture “Come On Marines” but the stage show featuring Will Mahoney. This little Irishman, assisted by Grace Hayes and a company of dancers and singers, is still the greatest dancing comedian in show business today, and of course Mahoney is still doing his dance on the xylophone. As long as there are dancers like Mahoney around there will be a demand for stage shows.
FROM THE CINEMA
“Bottoms Up,” the picture at the Music Hall, is another bit of self-castigation for Hollywood. Less subtle than “Once In a Lifetime,” it is still amusing enough to get by. With plenty of lilting tunes and some good dancing it makes an entertaining hour. Spencer Tracy and Pat Harrison play the leads.
The following best selling books will be made into pictures before this year is over: Michel Arlen’s “Green Hat” in which Constance Bennett will star; “British Agent” with Leslie Howard in the feature role; “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “Men Against the Sea” two books by Norhoff and Hall; “The Fountain” in which Ann Harding will play the lead, and Somerset Maughan’s “Of Human Bondage,” a book that was one of the best sellers of the century.
Pictures will also be made from the following plays: “The Barretts of Wimpole Street” with which Katharine Cornell kept a theatre crowded for a full year. In the picture, Charles Laughton, the great English character actor, and Norma Shearer will divide the leading parts; Edwin Justus Mayer’s “The Firebrand,” already completed and starring Frederic March, and Family Man” in which Richard Dix will be the man.