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Critical Moments

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Big-hearted Earl Carroll finally gave in. For the past decade or so he has been presenting each year in this city a sumptuous girl, leg, and musical review. Naturally if you were not in New York you couldn’t see one of these speeches but now that Carroll has relented the entire population of the United States, regardless of where they live may, if there is a movie house in the vicinity, see an Earl Carroll show.

You’ve probably guessed the answer-he has had a talkie made out of his latest concoction, “Murder at the Vanities.” Paramount transcribed a version of the show to the screen and it may be seen at the Rivoli daily.


“Murder At the Vanities” is unlike any one of the previous Carroll’s in but a single respect-it has a plot and on the screen it is better to see than to hear. The elaborate stage sets, the involved chorus maneuvers, and a cast among whom are Victor McLaglen, Jack Oakie, Carl Brisson and Kitty Carlisle, tend to blend for a rather entertaining exhibit of talent. The story concerns the dastardly happenings that occur back stage during the opening night of the show. There is a murder, a display of death dealing weapons, a few incidents pointing to dirty work and a solution supplied by Victor McLaglen who plays the part of a police detective who has come to see the performance on his night off.

This framework has given Mitchell Leisen, the director, a chance to show a typical Vanities show in action both in front and behind the footlights but I must admit that the plot itself is only incidental. However, the tunes althought not distinguished, are lilting and the dancing is better than average. Jack Oakie as the harassed stage manager is his usual amusing self. McLaglen as a loud flat-foot adds to the gaiety and the minor roles are adequately performed.”

“Murder At the Vanities” is nearly Grad “A” entertainment.


The other day it was announced in this column that Maude Adams would return to the stage again. Last winter the venerable lady made a few appearances but she refused to cross the Hudson with her troupe stating that she did not think the New York critics should be permitted to see her. I learn that during the summer she will do “Twelfth Night” and in this Shakespearean vehicle will play the part of Maria. Her tour will be confined to the summer theatres in the country…

“Moor Born” one of the many, many plays about the Bronte sisters, which has been doing fair business at the Playhouse will end its New York run Saturday and will fold up for the summer. However, the producers promise to reopen it in the Fall for the benefit of the inhabitants of Boston who at this point are completely innocent about it…

Tonight the radio and stage rodeo for the benefit of the Actors Dinner Club will take place at the Vanderbilt Theater. It was originally scheduled to be held at the 71st Regiment Armory. A large number of radio and stage stars will entertain….

The opening of the Friars Club last Sunday night grossed $6,500. This sum was realized from a benefit performance held at the Forty-fourth Street Theatre.

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