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Jonathan Swift would blink in wonder to see what the Russians have done to Dr. Gulliver. They have taken all the trenchant satire of that colossus among midgets, and they have revamped it to demonstrate that the organized crime called capitalism is the meanest, most contemptible, most ridiculous abuse known to man.
But the mighty bear has momentarily ceased his savage growls. He is still stalking his rightful prey, but with a sort of grim humor he has reared himself upon his hind legs and is waving his murderous paw with a delicate and artistic grace. To be sure, Gulliver is brutally blunt at times. For example, when he suspects that he is dealing with a species of miniature greed and exploitation, he roars out a stentorian refutation of the whining little fawners' claims, and sends them quaking and tumbling before the blast. There's nothing shilly-shally about "The New Gulliver"; it takes no footnotes to give direction to his barbs.
At the same time, some of the most telling effects are gained through a tongue-in-the-cheek subtlety. When the doddering idiot of a king is told to account for the presence of the soldier class by explaining that they are the conquering subjects, he innocently announces that they conquer the subjects. And when this same monarch is called upon to speak to his pugilistic parliament, his crafty prime minister starts a phonograph going beneath the royal robes. This is quite impressive until the minister in his vehemence breaks the record and the needle keeps repeating in the same rut. And when the august assembly convenes to determine Gulliver's fate, a free-for-all is precipitated by the munitions-makers' insisting that Gulliver be violently destroyed and the food magnates insisting that he be kept alive and forced to eat.
The virtue of "Gulliver's Travels" other than its satire, the meticulous portrayal of doll-house miniatures, is also retained in the picture for its universal appeal. There is an incredible technical skill in the way the tiny putty figures are handled. And the grotesque gesticulations and grimaces with which they express themselves, besides being an artistic triumph in caricature, are powerful agents in satirizing a capitalistic lust and craftiness.
Hors-d'oeuvre and a Concert
Along with this delightful if somewhat disconcerting masterpiece, the Fine Arts is showing Fox-Movietone News; the adventures of Mickey Mouse; Donald Duck, and that horselike person as fire-fighters; and a picture of the Tournament of Roses classic with all its trimmings.
Also beginning this week, Mr. Kraska announces a magnificent innovation in theatre fare. Once every day, including Sunday. at 12.30 o'clock, preceding the first show, concerts will be presented in their entirety, recorded by artists of distinction. This first program is dedicated to Dr. Serge Koussevitzky, whose brilliant rendering of the Sibelius Symphony No. 2 in D Major opens the series. E. H. B.
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