AT THE UNIVERSITY
If Deanna Durbin should turn up at a Leverett House cocktail party about six years from now, she will probably get credit for cheering herself hoarse at Soldier's Field, but the real culprits will be the people who made her sing La Traviata way back in 1937 when she was only fourteen. In "100 Men and a Girl," now playing at the University, Deanna turns in a perfectly splendid performance in spite of the supporting cast of Adolphe Menjou, Eugene Pallette and Mischa Auer.
She is not so sugary as Shirley, and has more to offer than a round face and big eyes. Her voice, accompanied by the muscular hands, waving mane, and symphonic orchestra of Leopold Stowkowski, is at times actually thrilling, but always tried a little beyond its range. Her acting, when she isn't singing, compares favorably with that of her Hollywood contemporaries, although little "nous ne savons quois" here and there point to over directing.
You have to be a confirmed red to be impressed by the stark contrast introduced by Alice Brady's portrayal of the thoughtless millionairess, blissfully unaware of the poverty around her. This note was further impaired by Deanna herself. Our heroine was supposed to complete the contrast, playing the party of a starving musician's daughter, but she was evidently too young to realize that the role was a nasty thrust at the whole frame-work of Capitalist America, and so played the part of the well-fed child she is.
The picture is Hollywood's idea of a painless way to present good music to the great American public, but it just doesn't pan out that way. Only those who are sufficiently fond of classical music to sit through some pretty poor sequences are advised to go. We submit the same advice to lovers of more popular music, for Bing Crosby's "Double or Nothing" is far from the ideal musical comedy.
Like "Artists and Models," Crosby's new picture is burdened with a plot that takes a brave man to follow. A number of people are given $5,000 apiece and the one who can double it in a month is to receive a million more. The plot which made "If I Had A Million" extremely good entertainment many years ago falls down here partly because of the niggardly sum that is to be invested, and partly because of the uninteresting people who are to invest it. Crosby sings songs that we vaguely remember hearing a few months ago, and wins the coveted fortune by the most preposterous "deus ex machina" we have seen in some time. The picture is hardly to be recommended on its own merits, but those who sit through it will be interested by Fox Movietone's All-American selections. We can hardly believe that Clint Frank is such a good player.