The world will be a far different place in 1980 than it is now, if one can believe the clairvoyance of "Just Imagine," which is now playing at the University. There will be marriages arranged by the state; there will be resurrections of the dead; there will be an air line to Mars. Only one thing is immutable. The popular songs and the wit and humour of fifty years hence will not have improved any.
The idea of the movie is relatively refreshing and unusual. The conception of New York five decades hence is elaborately executed and extremely well done. Moreover, it is plausible. An opening shot of Fifth Avenue in 1880 and then a brief view of the same street in our own time is quite enough to make the most prosy dullard form lurid conceptions of Fifth Avenue in 1980.
El Brendel, as a member of our own generation, is brought to life in a medical experiment. In his own peculiar dialogue he wanders through reels of wise cracks and sly digs at the Prohibition amendment. His supporting cast is pretty rank with the possible exception of Maureen O'Sullivan. She seems to have forgotten the mannerisms of speech that are current on the "auld sod", and has acquired in their stead a conventional vocabulary that smacks of Hollywood. The only reason for learning the name of the man who played opposite her is to forestall future attendance at movies in which he appears. This precaution was neglected.
Evelyn Brent has a rather dilapidated vehicle in "Madonna of the Streets." The nasty innuendoes of titles about ladies, pavements, cobblestones. Madonnas, and streets is beginning to pall. You will be nauseated by the story, but you can't get sick of Evelyn Brent.