At the Kenmore
The Kenmore has a double-bill this week a good murder mystery and a new actress named Suzy Delair. Of course, Suzy is also highly involved in the murder mystery, but Suzy's screen personality will demand some attention for its own.
The mystery is not an exceptionally clever or even plausible one, but it is presented in such a turbulent way, with those French (or better 'adult') touches, that the interest never lags. The story is set in that other side of show-business that Betty Grable never sees. A music-hall singer named Jenny Lamour and her piano-playing husband are plugging along in vaudeville when Jenny gets an offer for a contract from a big movie producer who happens also to be an aged, lecherous, hunchback. At a secret rendevous, he makes a pass at Jenny and she breaks a bottle over his head. The police pick up her husband for murder but Jenny decides to keep mum to both her husband and the police, thinking that her confession would destroy his love. Her failure to confess causes much agony, but the film has a neat solution.
One thing the movie points out quite graphically is that the indifferent brutality of police-questioning is a universally-practiced form of inhumanity, and that police frequently become so hardened by their jobs that they will go to any length to finish up a case so that they, too, can go home to supper. "Jenny Lamour" shows how an innocent man can be driven to mental-collapse by the authorized torture methods of the police. In this case, the innocent man would almost have been better off guilty.
Louis Jouvet is the stern detective on the case and is, as always, excellent, stopping just short of underplaying. As Jenny's husband, the producers have cast another fine actor, Bernard Blier, who has the insolence to play the romantic lead with a bald head. Imagine. Other good performers are Simone Renant as the couple's faithful friend, and Charles Dulin as the debauched producer.
This Suzy Delair, mentioned earlier, plays Jenny, and does it well. Her singing of "Avec Son Tra-la-la" (Boom!) left nothing to be desired but more. However there are two things about Mile. Delair that some may find disturbing: (1) her face looks as if it were in the early stages of mumps, and (2) she apparently has no hip-bones. Now everyone knows that the heroines of movies should weigh at most 118 pounds, and should try to have as much bone structure evident as health will permit and Harper's Bazaar will sanction. Suzy Delair breaks those rules and then some. She is as luxurious, as inviting, and as old-fashioned as a feather bed.