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The Crimson Moviegoer

"Loyalties," from Galsworthy's Play, Pits Basil Rathbone Against a Hostile Corporation

By E. C. B.

"Loyalties" is the name of one of the lesser-known plays of John Galsworthy, now a movie, and it means the esprit de corps that binds together the gentlemen of England, in addition to another loyalty that tends to disrupt that union.

In this case the well-lubricated and almost irresistible power of the amalgamated gentlemen swings into action against a rich English Jew, accepted by society for his money. This lonely individual, sympathetically and brilliantly played by Basil Rathbone, incurs the united wrath by accusing a ne'erdo-well army captain of having stolen from him a thousand pounds. Having detected the wastrel's guilt with that incredible acumen found only in investigators who have their authors on their side, he fights a lone and losing battle for his money, even though at least one of the captain's friends, the most influential, is convinced of the theft.

Various leverages are applied against Basil with more or less telling effects. He is induced to abandon his charges by the lure of admission into an even more exclusive club than that to which he belongs, until the shimmering promise perforce collapses. Cutting remarks are made on all sides concerning his mercenary motives and his racial vindictiveness. This bitter resolve, however, carries him through to the point where another loyalty steps in, that of a lawyer for the law, and condemns the thief. For disputable reasons the Jew then abandons the fight, but it is too late to save his enemy.

In spite of the change of form, it is clearly Galsworthy that we see, for the completely impartial presentation has sure earmarks of that placid soul. The favor of the spectator is skillfully kept hanging in the balance, and the genius of the conceiving spirit makes amends for the occasional crudity of the production, such as the very drab courtroom scenes. Mr. Rathbone's support is good but not notable.

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