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Critical Moments

A few years B. H., when Germany was still civilized, Vicki Baum, who does not have to climb very far up her family tree to find a few Jewish ancestors, was very popular with the German masses. German literary critics considered her as belonging to the Laura Jane Libby school of fiction but her first book, “Grand Hotel,” when it was translated into English, was greeted over here with prolonged cheers by the American literati who should have known better. Hollywood soon took Miss Baum to its bosom and she has been turning out scenarios in great numbers ever since. Her latest is called “I Give My Love” and if you should be so unfortunate as to find yourself in the Mayfair Theatre tied to a seat, you will see what the cinema can really do when sacred Motherhood is the theme of a picture.

Universal is responsible for “I Give My Love” and that company will have to make its own apologies. I have seen more pictures than I like to remember but I do not recall having sat through one with so few moments of entertainment. “I Give My Love” is the story of a wife and mother (Wynne Gibson) who is married to a wretch who deserts her while she is awaiting the birth of a child. She is rescued from her plight by a kind artist (Paul Lukas) who of course secretly but honorably loves her. He takes her into his home. After the child is born (it’s a boy) her husband, for no reason but to keep the story going, returns. An argument ensues and our heroine neatly bashes in friend hubby’s skull with a piece of statuary which happens to be at hand and is promptly sent off to jail for ten years.

MOTHER’S OUT

Mother gets out and returns to the home of Paul Lukas only to find out that her son thinks that she is dead. Of course Ma wouldn’t think of making her offspring change his mind so she tearfully but bravely departs for spots unknown. The next sequence finds Ma years later ekeing out a bare existence as flower girl on the streets of Paris. The old gal has taken to drink and you are shown this wonderful Mother in various states of intoxication and pretty much down in the mouth but wait —things happen! A strange manly handsome young man enters the scene. He is a painter studying in Paris and looking for a model. Whom does he choose? You’ve guessed it—Ma—she’s just the type. Who do you think this young man is? I can’t tell you. Rule 4 of the Movie Critics Code prevents me from disclosing the identity of this personable fellow. But I might say that if you can’t guess then your mental age is less than six.

TEARS IN PROFUSION

“I Give My Love” is an attempted tear jerker. It is filled with scenes calculated to bring tears to your eyes in profusion and snuffles to your nose but the audience at the Mayfair greeted the performance with an aplomb and calmness that was chilling but the actors had a swell time. They cried, and cried and cried and after all, Motherhood was triumphant.

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