Critical Moments by George Joel
Menu JTA Search

Critical Moments by George Joel

Download PDF for this date

I shouldn’t like to create the idea that I am forward or the kind of person who insists upon impressing his view upon one, but I must say that the weather last weekend was a trifle warm. In fact, some of my friends were brutally frank in expressing their opinion of the temperature. Gentlemen whose livelihood comes from the theatre were most active in their disgust with the weather and after visiting some of Broadway’s picture houses I can’t blame them. However, there was one house, to wit—The Roxy, which seemed not at all affected by the humidity, and the reason was a little five-year-old actress named Shirley Temple, whose latest picture, “Baby Take a Bow,” is playing at that over-decorated and very gilted barn.


After the success of Shirley Temple’s “Little Miss Marker,” it was expected that film fans should express interest in the work of this young star, and although the present picture is silly, sentimental and almost unbelievable, the charm, naturalness and sheer beauty of this little actress not only carries the picture but makes it actually enjoyable.

The plot concerns Shirley Temple, daughter of a reformed crook who has gone one step more down the ladder and become a dancer, but the world will not let Daddy (James Dunn) alone and a scheme is afoot whereby he is to be framed by a detective (Alan Dinehart). This funny business all revolves around the alleged theft of a necklace. Shirley, of course, is the medium whereby her innocent daddy is finally cleared of the charges and the real thief apprehended, but that doesn’t come until you have seen and heard Shirley sing, dance, talk and act, all of which she does with great skill.

“Baby Take A Bow” is not as good a picture as “Little Miss Marker,” and this perturbs me no little. Shirley Temple is without doubt the most personable thing to come out of Hollywood since Mary Pickford cut off her curls and finally grew up. If Fox Films cannot get better stories for Shirley they had best give the child a rest. Two or three out-and-out average pictures and the youngster is finished.


It does seem that in writing about the new pictures of the week I overlooked “The Circus Clown,” in which Joe E. Brown stars at the Mayfair. Perhaps it was intentional, because this is definitely inferior film fodder. As the title indicates it tells of the semi-comic story of the misunderstood soulful circus clown who starts off by washing elephants and ends up, but not until he has gone through enough adversity to earn the “Job Medal,” as a star performer. The only interesting matter in the picture is the unrelated scenes of the circus performers at work. If you have never been to a circus this may interest you.


Mrs. Ben Hecht, who says she prefers to be known as Rose Caylor, has decided to help husband Ben by writing the script for the second picture which he and Charles MacArthur will produce for Paramount and in which Jimmy Savo, the comedian will star. Rose Caylor has written two novels which, although not “best sellers,” were received with some critical approval.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund