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Glads Swarthout's film, "Rose of the Rancho", now playing at the Met, provides restful relaxation during this bookish time. Its locale is old California, just after the United States annexed it, and the story is a highly romanticized version of the conflict between the old Spanish inhabitants and the land-greedy newcomers. In good musical comedy vein, if not with great historical accuracy, Miss Swarthout takes the part of the highly decorative leader of the Spanish "vigilantes" and John Boles the part of a "federal agent" who is out to see that justice is done.
The plot, of course, is neither novel nor amazing, but it does provide a convenient framework for much villainy, horseback-riding, and signing. Unfortunately the songs, although pleasing, are not noteworthy. Miss Swarthout and for that matter, even John Boles deserves better treatment However, Miss Swarthout is thoroughly charming throughout whether singing or acting, and the movie seems to have recorded her voice with considerable fidelity. Charles Bedford as usual makes a disagreeable villain, and Willie Howard and Herb Williams carry off the straight comedy parts with a great mastery and gust.
The Met's stage show is one of the best and most varied that the Moviegoer has seen in many a moon. Credit for this is largely due the three Wiere Brothers, although the program as a whole is remarkably free from marring episodes, with the exception of the fact that the song is still going round and round at the end of the show. No mistake will be made if one tosses side one's books and pays a visit to the Met this week.
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