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Critical Moments

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Broadway ran into a nice batch of pictures this week. In fact the week’s crop struck such a responsive chord with audiences that most of last week’s cinemas will be held over for another run. At the Roxy, Shirley Temple, in an ordinary story, again packed the big house and will stay until Thursday or Friday in “Baby, Take A Bow,” the review with Eddie Peabody, Dorothy Johnson et al, will be the stage attraction.

Leslie Howard and Bette Davis in “Of Human Bondage” at the Radio City Music Hall also clicked and convinced even the skeptical that given the right kind of material, a competent cast and a good director, Hollywood can turn out a product that does not insult the intelligence. The public showed its approval in the usual manner, by going to the Music Hall. If you missed it, now is your chance. The stage presentation is one of those elaborately conceived spectacles called “The Magazine Rack,” in which the inevitable line of girls do the inevitable high kicks.

Music Hall stage shows to me are remarkable, ingeniously conceived mechanically, they delight the eye but are hard on the ears. Filled with action they have no meaning and where, oh, where, do they get the singers and who chooses the music? Erno Rapee’s alleged symphony orchestra adds nothing to the spectacle.

Another picture to stay is “The Thin Man,” made from Dashiell Hammett’s detective story. With William Powell and Myrna Loy in the cast this fast-moving, cleverly dialogued film is in Class A. Duke Ellington and his orchestra are on the stage and prove again that they are best Negro band in the business, even though the Capitol audience hissed them on opening day, but that was because Ellington was trying to make people believe he was conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, When he got around to jazz he was again in his element.

At the Criterion Fox continues with its super-film, “The World Moves On,” but so far there has been little audience interest. It is too much of a hodge podge and a trifle preachy, especially since its message is so childish.

The new pictures sound promising. “Shoot The Works,” with Jack Oakie, Ben Bernie and band and Dorothy Dell, is being featured at the Paramount. Jimmy Durante and Lupe Velez in “Strictly Dynamite” opened the Rialto and will probably stay on for a time. At the Strand “Midnight Alibi,” with Richard Barthelmess, is the attraction.


Last week’s hot spell just about melted the legitimate theater away. By actual count there are but nine shows open and of these four threaten to close before another week rolls around. Nevertheless the press agents are undaunted and daily from their desks comes announcements of forthcoming productions which point to a very active fall season.

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