The Crimson Playgoer
Stuart Erwin Discovers the Poignant Values of the Life--Match King Flames at University.
It is about time that much of the supercilious and nasty comments of the too effete, too well-bred gentry were answered. These gentlemen assert, with a mildly bored, slightly patronizing, very assured air, that all movies are bad, and the sooner one learns it the better. That is a great deal less than true, and it should be crushed with the ineluctable persistency of Mr. Theodore Dreiser pursuing a liberal idea. The "Match King" and "He Learned About Women" are two of two-hundred-and-eight movies which will be produced at the University Theater in the year beginning January ninth, nineteen-hundred-and-thirty-three. If one were, in a moment of fancy, to imagine Terence and O'Neil, Goethe and Shakespeare, Sophocles and Dion Boucicault, together with half-a-hundred other master playwrights, scribbling off the output of Hollywood consumed in one year by the University Theater, it would still be hard to believe that all of the production would be absolutely tip-top. The fallacy, by which the effete critics are snared, is the idea that the cinema is solely a medium of art. Granted, it is that, but like a piano or a jew's harp, it is a great deal more, it is a medium of amusement. Amusement, as in the case of a poker game, often falls very, very, far short of art, and yet is, as amusement, very, very, good pastime for the reading period. As for the art the cinema turns out a fair proportion of it, considering what a strain it must be on the intellects of the movie magnates.
With that off, there is yet space to deal with the "Match King." This is sordid, romantic, inaccurate transcription of the newspaper accounts of the life and death of Mr. Ivar Krenger, the man who embarrassed Lee, Higginson. The detail is very lurid and satisfying. "He Learned About Women" (which did nearly get squeezed out of this) is an amusing farce, with Alison Skipworth and Stuart Erwin overacting no more than is humanly possible.