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Critical Moments

The past week on Broadway reminds me of the boy who kept a diary and when Sunday came around wrote as a summation of the day’s activities the following, “Nothing ever happens on Sunday.” About the same thing can be said of Broadway for this June week. Besides the new pictures which arrive weekly regardless of the date or weather, not even one new attraction was presented to theatre-goers. There were, however, a number of closings and but sixteen legitimate and musical shows remain. This coming week only one show “Her Majesty, the Widow” with Pauline Fredericks is on the list of scheduled openings.

PRIVATE SCANDAL

The cinemas save the day. Without Hollywood flickers there would be a dearth of entertainment that would make the current mid-Western drought seem like a tropical rainstorm. At the May-fair “Private Scandal” is the offering and a more confusing picture I haven’t seen in some time. Starring ZaSu Pitts, Phillips Holmes, Ned Sparks, Lew Cody and Mary Brian, this Paramount Picture is listed as a “screen drama.” It contains some of the best humor, sparkling dialogue and lively moments to come from Hollywood, yet it also is inflicted with some of the most gruesome scenes, stilted situations and the dullest ending imaginable.

As far as I could ascertain “Private Scandal” is a murder mystery, the locale of which is the office of a real estate company. It tells of the career of a promoter who is not quite honest. He is interested in a subdivision, but his clients are worried about what he is doing with their money, in fact he has lost most of their cash in his own private stock market transactions. Before the picture has gone very far the promoter is found murdered in his own office, a day after he had received threats that if he did not pay back his investors, he would be killed. The rest of the film is devoted to the unraveling of the mystery of who did the gentleman “in.”

ZaSu Pitts as the not-so-smart stenographer steals the comedy honors and gives a really brilliant performance. The rest of the cast is also far above average and when the script permits are at once entertaining and believable, but the silly ending and synthetic character of the production makes its efforts ineffective. “Private Scandal” might well have been a Grade “A” production. Unfortunately, it rates no better than a “B” minus.

SCREEN AND THEATRICAL NOTES

Jack Haley, one of the stage’s most consistently amusing comedians, and Mary Boland, as funny a lady as the screen possesses, are the stars of “Here Comes the Groom,” which is playing at the Paramount this week.

“Fog Over Frisco” has been held over for a second week at the Strand. Bette Davis and Donald Wood, two names not over-familiar to cinema fans, play the leading roles.

“Little Miss Marker,” with Shirley Temple, will play all the Loew houses throughout the city this week. Don’t miss it.

Henry Hull finally left the cast of “Tobacco Road.” He started for Hollywood yesterday by automobile, where he expects to make pictures for Universal. “Tobacco Road” will continue with James Barton playing Hull’s role.

Barney Ross, the Jewish boy who holds the lightweight and welterweight prize fight titles, is appearing on the stage of the Loew’s State Theatre this week.

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