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"Moana' is a Picture of Rare Pictorial Beauty Filled With the Charm of the South Seas, Now at the Fenway.


"Moana" was produced by those two intrepid explorers, the Flahertys, who startled the world with "Nanook of the North", a short time ago. In a way "Moana" is like its predecessor, for it tells a simple story simply, chooses its settings carefully, and lends to both the aid of superb photography. But unlike the cold North, Polynesia has always seemed to us full of haunting fascinating images, suggested by Robert Louis Stevenson and vivified by Mr. O'Brien's delightful book, "White Shadows in the South Seas". The Flahertys have been merely concerned in adjusting those impressions of warm passive beauty to the screen.

In doing it they have inserted no forced plot to carry the audience off on a false scent. Usually plot is an excellent thing in itself for it makes up for any deficiencies of setting. But where atmosphere and setting are sufficiently powerful to reach the imagination of the audience, then it is better to tell the tale without flourishes. "Moana" gives each person in the audience a chance to slip down in his chair and dream his own dreams, with Polynesia unrolling a fairy land before his eyes.

Not once through the picture does one feel that the wind-machines, the smoke-bombs, and the Kleig lights are lurking just around the corner. The sky has an odd opaque quality, unknown to this climate. The shallow waters shimmer with reflections from the clean sands below, and the proas of the natives sweep through the surf, like birds skimming the clouds. The cocoanut trees wave to and from against a high sky-line. No tricks, no artifice, no sham appears in "Moana", but only the peaceful glory of the South Seas.

There is no sign of play-acting in the graceful movements of the Polynesians. Their skins are brown and smooth; litheness and strength and daring. The shutter has caught them working, laughing, and idling the sunny hours away. One feels somehow that they have never known dissatisfaction and worry, that they have never grown up. But see the picture, before we tell you too much about it.

On the same bill is "Hogan's Alley", which takes another crack at Irish mickfighting in New York. When we were very small indeed, there was a little boy named Oscar who lived beside a vegetable garden. Every Fall when Jack Frost got in his dirty work on the vegetables, we got in ours on Oscar. Overripe tomatoes made such an excellent missive that Oscar's mother soon complained to the proper authorities, and the game was off. We spent the rest of the day in bed.

Mary Pickford, Marion Davies, and now Patsy Ruth Miller have all been caught throwing ripe tomatoes, and as yet they haven't been punished for it. What we did wasn't nearly so bad anyway, because it never found its way into the movies. If it happens again we shall take the whole matter up with Will Hays.

"Hogan's Alley" eventually shakes off the rotten tomatoes and turns out to be a pretty self-respecting picture after all. Incidentally Patsy Ruth Miller has never been better. We realize that this statement may not create much of a sensation, but we wanted to put it in anyway. The truth of the matter is that Miss Miller bears a most striking resemblance to the first girl we ever fell for. And if that isn't just cause for liking her, what is?

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