Critical Moments

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The Broadway cinema has been relatively quiet these past few weeks, which, strangely enough, is a very good sign. It means that the current films have met with the approval of movie fans. “David Copperfield” at the Capitol is finishing its second week tonight and little Freddie Bartholemew is appearing at the house in person. At the Paramount, “Lives of a Bengal Lancer” is in its third week with the possibility that it might stay on for a fortnight more. Paul Muni and Bette Davis in “Bordertown” at the Strand are also in their second week and going strong. “Clive of India” at the Rivoli has lasted through its second week and is scheduled to remain a third. Tonight will end the two week run of “Charlie Chan in Paris” at the Astor and at the Cameo the great Russian film “Chapayev” is playing its third very big week and looks set for an indefinite run.

Only two pictures failed to attract enough attention this week to stay over—”The Iron Duke” at the Music Hall and “Sing Sing Nights” at the Mayfair. “The Iron Duke” will be replaced, beginning tomorrow morning with “The Good Fairy,” in which Margaret Sullavan and Herbert Marshall are starred. This is an adaptation of Molnar’s stage play. The new picture at the Mayfair, which also commences tomorrow will be “The Marines Are Coming,” featuring William Haines and Conrad Nagel. Another new arrival tomorrow will be “Under Pressure” with Edmund Lowe and Victor McLaglen (Astor). This team of hard-boiled hellions appears in a new role—ground-hogs in a tunnel construction. Those who have seen the preview say it is an extremely exciting picture.

Tonight aboard the very elegant S.S. Rex, First Division Exchanges will give a preview of “Hei Tiki” (Love Charm), a picture made on the Isle of Ghosts in New Zealand. It is called “a weird Maori drama.” Admittance is by invitation only.

PRISONERS OF WAR

It was the intention of this column to devote all of its allotted space to a detailed report of J. R. Ackerley’s play “Prisoners of War” which opened at the Ritz Theatre the other night. Not a little fuss was kicked up about its impending arrival and our expectations were high. This play about a group of English army officers who find themselves interned in Switzerland during the World War was first shown in London about ten years ago, at which time it was considered very startling indeed. The subject of neuroses, homosexuality and kindred borrowings from the text books of the psycho-analyists were once juicy theatrical fare, but such things are no longer new to us. We have been drenched with the theories promulgated by the masters of our sub-conscious minds. We have all become quite glib about our suppressed desires, libido, and complexes.

A playwright, if he expects to keep our interest aroused, must do a great deal more than merely use these psychiatric catchwords as a theme for his drama, otherwise he will find he has done nothing but resurrect a relic from a past which is not dim enough so that we might find pleasure or exhilaration in rediscovering it. That is one of the things very much the matter with “Prisoners of War.” It now all seems so sophomoric and just a trifle stale.

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