Never Take No For An Answer
At the Majectic
American G.I.'s apparently left behind more than 16-year-old mothers, orphaned shoe-shine boys, and mud splattered monasteries when they pulled out of Italy. Never Take No For An Answer shows how one G.I. at least planted the idea of free enterprise and open competition in the minds of Italian youth.
The title is the G.I.'s final word of advice to his chubby war-time friend, Peppino, a seven year old short-hauler who owns a donkey. The story is Paul Gallico's now well-known tale of how a humble son of Assisi got to see the Pope and saved his donkey.
Photographic technique, with clever use of black and white contrast, keeps up one's interest in the drama, even though the conclusion is obvious. Transitions between scenes are poor, however, and the projector is often ouf of focus. These were the only flaws.
The director made use of the fact that Italian children are among the world's most charming and filled the screen with them. He drew on a universal sympathy for the underdog and respect, if not reverence, for priests, bishops, and popes. He wove these around a chubby cherub and a scrawny donkey and released a picture that one can only call effective. It is neither good nor bad, but merely a well-illustrated sermon.
One more criticism--the climax of the picture is buried under a weak, melodramatic ending which knots a tenuous thread that had been unravelled at the beginning of the story and which only spoils an otherwise well made tapestry. In all, only a hate of animals, an abhorrence of children, or a disgust for faith will ensure you a completely miserable evening.