Critical Moments

“The Milky Way” which the young Messrs. Harmon and Ullman presented at the Cort Theatre on Tuesday night is nearly as funny as the advance notices of the show promised. For a week this column has been unstinting with space devoted to preliminary comments about the piece by Lynn Root and Harry Clark and now having seen the play I wonder whether I was not a bit overcome by the ballyhoo.

Hugh O’Connell as skillful a comedian as Broadway can produce, plays the title role of a milkman, somewhat of a sap, who through a series of utterly impossible situations becomes middle weight champion of the world. He is ably aided by Leo Donnelly, the conniving fight manager who is so foxy that he even out-foxes himself; Gladys George, as the manager’s very hard boiled lady friend who has the funniest lines in the play; William Foran, in a character part as a trainer, and Brian Donlevy, as the very good looking prize fighter. There are also six or seven huge Saint Bernard dogs.

DOESN’T STAND ANALYSIS

If you delve too deeply into the mechanics of “The Milky Way” you must discover that it is pretty shallow stuff. The plot has some of the most impossible situations I’ve seen in weeks but the direction is intelligent and the dialogue is unusually bright. There are many hearty laughs in the lines and the cast does make the most of them. “The Milky Way” is a farce, a fantastic conglomeration of slap-stick comedy that will please you, if you are in the right frame of mind. It is at best light weight entertainment.

TO BE IRREVELANT

Perhaps I have taken too literally some of the press material that comes through the mail. I was informed that since the success of “Men In White” which they produced, Harmon and Ullman have been overwhelmed with play scripts and only after much cogitation did they pick “The Milky Way” If this is true the young Jewish producers either received very feeble stuff or they just wanted something that would keep a group of ushers working for a month or so.

NOTES AND COMMENTS

Lillian Hellman has sold her play. She attended the opening of “The Milky Way” and her escort was her ex-husband Arthur Kober who is in town after a session in Hollywood…. Aben Kandel whose new play will be produced in August has left the city with his family for a vacation; while away he will finish a novel…. You can now, that is if you are a relative of the treasurer of the Winter Garden, buy best seats for the Follies at $3.00 per ducet…. A cast of Negro dancers and singers are giving at the Unity Theatre on East Twenty-third street “Kykunkor,” an African opera…. Jerome Rosenberg has leased, after a great deal of bargaining, the Manhattan Opera House from the Ancient Order of Scottish Rite Masons. Mr. Rosenberg who is a nephew of Oscar Hammerstein, builder of the theatre, intends to use the famous structure as a moving picture house…. Frank Moulan one of the perennial Gilbert and Sullivan performers will join the current company on May 21 when “The Mikado” is given. He will of course play the role of Ko-Ko…. Tomorrow night “The Friars” will formally open their new clubrooms atop the Hollywood Theatre with an impromptu entertainment.

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