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The Stage in Review

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Escape Me Never, an adaptation of the play by Margaret Kennedy; screen play by Carl Zuckmayer; directed by Dr. Paul Czinner; produced for British and Dominions by Herbert Wilcox; released through United Artists. At the Radio City Music Hall.

Gemma Elisabeth Bergner

Sebastian Hugh Sinclair

Caryl Grif##th Jones

Lady McLean Irene Vanbrugh

Fenella McLean Penelope Dudley-Ward

Herr Heinrich Lyn Harding

Terem#cherva Rosalinde Fuller

Is Elizabeth Bergner better in “Escape Me Never” on the stage or in the movies?

This question was asked by many at the opening of “Escape Me Never” in the film version at the Radio City Music Hall.

The majority of those who came to see the film, witnessed the same performance on the stage, and the majority seemed to agree that the film version provides a better opportunity for Miss Bergner to show her talents than in the stage version.

Under the direction of Dr. Paul Czinner, Miss Bergner’s husband, the film production of “Escape Me Never” is much more appealing than any of the other films in which Miss Bergner has starred. I have seen Miss Bergner as “Catherine the Great.” I have seen her in her German films. She is at her best in “Escape Me Never” because here she has a better chance to display her emotions.

The criticism voiced against the play as being of minor literary value when Miss Bergner appeared in it on the stage, will doutless not be applied to the film version. The screen effects cover up a good many of the defects which the play suffers from a literary viewpoint. Some of the scenes poorly produced on the stage because of technical limitations, are spectacular on the screen where these limitations are readily overcome.

Hubh Sinclair and Griffith Jones, who played with Miss Bergner in “Escape Me Never” on that stage are exceptionally good also in the film. Mr. Sinclair in the role of Sebastian displays brilliant talent.

“Escape Me Never” is made up of an all-British cast with the exception of Miss Bergner.

B. S.

“Menachem Mendel,” the hero of Sholom Aleichem’s works, came to life this week in a Yiddish talkie now being shown at the Yiddish Folk Theatre on Second Avenue.

The film was released several years ago in America as a silent movie. Mr. Burstyn, an enterprising young American Jew, conceived the idea that this film would be a success as a talkie. He therefore adapated it to sound.

The film was produced in Soviet Russia under the directorship of the well known Granofsky. Despite the fact that the leading role there is played by Michoels, the finest Jewish artist in Soviet Russia, it made no impression as a silent picture. This has been changed now that “Menachem Mendel” has been made into a talkie.

Michael Rosenberg, a New York Jewish actor, deserves great praise for his synchronization. He is the voice of Menachem Mendel in the synchronized version, and he makes a good job of it. His dialogue fits perfectly the action of the picture and adds humor to the entire film. It actually invests it with life.

A prelude to the movie, portraying Sholom Aleichem in conversation with his two heroes, Menachem Mendel and Sheine Sheindel, is well done. This prelude was made in America and added as an introduction to the talkie.

The Folks Theatre also features, in addition to “Menachem Mendel” a marionette show in Yiddish. While some of the marionettes are well operated, others are very poorly controlled. One can easily see the difference between the marionettes operated by Yosl Cutler, their creator, and those operated by his associates.

Still another feature of the program is a talking film portraying the examination of artists in the Hebrew Actors Union before accepting them for membership. This feature should be eliminated because it does justice neither to the actors nor to the public.

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