Stage Takes Up the Cudgels with Screen in Amusing Satire on Art as Hollywood Does it.
While Mr. Carl Laemmle, as council lot the defense has been presenting the case for the movies each week in the Saturday Evening Post. Messieurs Kauffman and Hart, the district attorneys, have offered their brief rebuttal in "Once in A Lifetime" on 401 consecutive nights at New York. The districts attorneys' case has at last reached the Majestic in Boston. The decision rests with a jury a the people who will undoubtedly offer a satisfactory compromise by applauding the Schubert's latest production and lending financial support to the movies.
Be this as it may Messieurs Kauffman and Hart have written a highly amusing and penetrating satire on art as Hollywood does it. The play has to do with a group of vaudeville actors who find themselves stranded in the big city on the eve of the Vitaphone's first great practical success. There are three of them. May Daniels a wise cracking campaigner Jerry Highland who must have been the interlocutor for the skit, and George Lewis, a mental inferior who diets on Indian nuts. The girl, played by Jean Dixon, conceives the idea that Hollywood needs a school of vocal culture and that she is willing to play the adept pedagogue with the support of Jerry and George. They all go out to the land of plenty and for the remainder of the piece the playwrights thumb their noses at America's greatest industry. It is the story of the rise of George, the dull, to Hollywoods greatest and most well known producer and director, a rise founded upon a series of the most gigantic and glaring blunders that the mind can conjure. At one time, for example, he buys "a few airplanes" which upon closer inspection prove to be 2000 planes. His only excuse is "that the man must have been a salesman," and that he got one free by purchasing in gross. He is immediately promoted because he has cornered the airplane market and prevented the production of air pictures by rivals. This is the trend of the show. Nothing in Hollywood is left sacred. The treatment of playwrights, whom they ship in from New York by the carlond, and of the critics, the producers, the spendthriftyness, the empty dolls that are actresses,--all these evils fall beneath the trenchancy of Messieurs Kauffman and Hart.
The humor lies largely in the excellent situations developed. The quips are obvious, occasionally cumbrous, and, except when Jean Dixon handles them rather unconvincing. But the authors were quick to realize that the real wit lay in their subject, in their caustic satire. If at times this becomes rather broad and slapstick, they may be excused by the fact that as a rule they stick to their knitting and produce what is a very necessary douche for America's most chronic, most virulent ailment.