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The Moviegoer

The Wandering Jew Settles Down in "The Land of Promise"; Austria in a Travelogue


"The Land of Promise" almost deceives one into believing that the World War was worth fighting. It shows the eager and powerful strides of the Jews to renew the contract between Jehovah and the patriarchs: to take advantage of the British mandatory over Palestine and to reassert their nationality geographically as well as spiritually.

This is, of course, an exaggeration. But is the delusion that naturally arises from the primitive power of this picture. One sees the Jews abandoning ghettoes and launching into robust pioneering, and one forgets that there are still throngs of them in homelessness and persecution. One forgets, that is, until reminded that the picture is produced by Leo Herman for the Palestine Foundation Fund, largely to allow Jews to escape from Germany. If the facts do not substantiate the impression given of a great folk migration, still it is true that the last two decades have seen inspiring fruits of an inspired determination to break away from the sackcloth and ashes.

The critics have made much of the throbbing drama of "The Land of Promise." Whatever there is is unintentional, and derives from the romance of the achievement itself rather than of the presentation. For the picture is as baldly concrete as one could imagine. There is no symbolism or dramatization. It is merely an excellently photographed and skillfully edited portrayal of the pioneer camps, the new cities, the struggle with the neglected soil turned desert, the new industries, and the new emotional and artistic outlets. But it is almost inevitable that the reader sublimate all this in his own thinking to something idealistic.

An equally earthy glimpse of Austria, March's March of Time, a Silly Symphony, Fox Movistone News, and at 12.45 the Bruch violin Concerto in G Minor, played by Yehudi Menuhin and the London Symphony fill the bill.

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