BASELESS BALLYHOO

It is a commonplace that Hollywood cannot make any money by devoting itself to pleasing the intelligentsia. Only occasionally de the producers dare to rise above the lowest common denominator of mentality, and discerning picture-patrons have to be thankful for the worth-while films that come their way each year. There is nothing new in this situation; and democracy being what it is, little that can be remedied. Civilized men will continue to find in mass entertainment, whether in the form of movies, magazines, or radio, a continual source of irritation and of misanthropic feelings. Nevertheless, there is a resource open to this small and outnumbered hand, the resource of laughing heartily at all the despicable sham, and of assuming the keen, critical temper that can cut through the blandishments of publicity agents.

On the side of the minority in this crusade for critical integrity stand the dramatic reviewers of the more conservative papers, as well as their colleagues, the book-reviewers. These men generally resist the more rhapsodical advertising and seldom betray their public. From their writings, however, are extracted such fragments as are susceptible of favorable interpretation out of context: and thus the deceit grows apace.

In a like manner those publications that reprint in extensor the naturally biased statements of publishers and producers without so much as casting a critical eye over them are guilty of furthering the designs of prejudiced prophets, it standards of taste are to be elevated to any appreciable degree, the duplicity involved in so playing about on the border-line between truth and falsehood must have an end.