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The Crimson Moviegoer

Tracy and Harlow Love and Fight in "Riffraff"; Music and Gunfire in "Rose of the Rancho"

By E. C. B.

"Riffraff," Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy in the title role, is an expert melodrama of bombs, brains, brute stupidity, strike agitation, and escape from prison. The director makes use of every stock situation known to cinema, from the working girl sweetheart and the caveman boyfriend with neolithic brawn and paleolithic brains, to the sirens and flying bullets that scream after the escaped prisoner. But from beginning to end there is not one single cliche. In addition to this remarkable achievement, the picture tells a passionate love story without one word of love. Spencer Tracy, the tough guy who may be the best damned tuna fisherman on the coast, but certainly not the leader of men he thought he was, sheds his egotism and becomes completely lovable in the last scene.

The escape from the woman's prison is perhaps the most remarkable accomplishment in the whole picture. It takes place during a scream-jag riot fomented by a rat released from its cage, which is a device we should not have thought of ourselves. Instead of jumping into the ocean, as most escape heroines do, Jean Harlow crawls with her two companions through a drainage pipe. And when one of them is shot by a guard, she does not murmur with her last breath, "Good luck, Jean." "Riffraff" is worthy of the highest compliment a critic can give; it is not over done.

A Musical Western

Gladys Swarthout sings her way through every vicissitude in "Rose of the Rancho," an outdoor action romance with music and John Boles. Gladys' voice is so accurately and truthfully recorded that no one much cares that her acting is superficial, operatic, and unconvincing. She plays the role of the aristocratic Rosita Castro, a wisp of a girl who, under the pseudonym of Don Carlos, leads the vigilantes in their fight against the land-stealing Yankee foreigners. Like Joan of Arc, this murder-minded maiden defends her countrymen from their enemies. This is a very thrilling Wild West, made especially for grownups.

Be sure to see the newsreel of the homework pother in British schools. Parliament disapproves of it, and one bright little boy suggests that there ought to be more time for football.

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