COMMENT

Dramatizing the Lyric

"Why didn't I think of that first?" Barrie muttered in chagrin when he learned that a movie magnate had chosen "Male and Female" as the title for a screen version of "The Admirable Crichton." A similar feeling would animate Poe were he alive to learn that Bostonians have been viewing a picture of "Annabel Lee." Poe wrote a passable lyric, but the consensus of opinion among the movie people has been that the six short stanzas are woefully deficient in plot. This has been repaired by the scenario writer, who carries the love story of David and sailor and Annabel through many adventures and vicissitudes for the background provides delightful pictures of villagers and nature on the stormy Massachusetts coast. Beyond doubt a romance between a fisherman and a Martha's Vineyard maiden was just what Poe had in mind. We hope that the field thus opened up will be fruitful. Longfellow's "Excelsior," for example, could be made into a stunning movie of a poor girl working in an excelsior factory and tyrannized over by the brutal factory manager. A rattling picture of Harvard undergraduate life, with the temptations to which college youths are subjected, could be made out of Lowell's "Harvard Commemoration Ode."

Some acid critics accuse the movie writers of lacking imagination. These censorious writers assert that hackneyed types and situations are constantly reused, and that when some one starts an idea like the adventures of a vamp or the mischances of a comedian in a pie shop, for years we have nothing else. This view overlooks the truly startling originality of the profession when it deals with classic literary materials. Then its imagination shows boundless liberty or at least takes boundless liberties. New York Evening Post