"Legong begins where Sally Rand leaves off," said a New York columnist, stating a half-truth. For the current film at the Fine Arts is scarcely reminiscent of Sally Rand, despite the abbreviated native costumes.
Legong is a romance that takes place on the island of Bali. The actors are natives and the story is a simple one--about a charming Balinese who falls in love with a musician only to lose him to her sister.
To say that the acting is undistinguished would be to miss the point of the film--the chief feature of which is the superb photography. Bali is, of course, a paradise for workers in color, and the cameraman for Legong made the most of his opportunities. Maidens bathing at dawn in pale green pools, beats putting out to sea at dusk, cockfights, dances and gaudy funerals appear in all their natural beauty of color and action.
So much for pictorial excellence. There is also, as we have intimated, quite a promising plot. It has love and jealousy and suicide, (even a dance-though-your-heart-be-breaking sequence), but all on a rather simple scale. Or, to put it in a nutshell, we don't find the Balinese very stimulating mentally. Go expecting beautiful Bali girls and breathtaking photography and you will not be disapponted. That's quite a lot, after all.
Another feature, called Wings Over Ethiopia, is the only really fascinating travelogue we've ever seen. It covers everything from the debtors' prison in Addis Ababa to a tribe out in the back country where ever wife has five lovers and the babies are ornamented with razor wounds.
This is a good week at the Fine Arts.