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If "The Awful Truth," current attraction at Loew's State and Orpheum, is good comedy, it is thanks to a couple of gag-writers and not to the creative genius of Hollywood producers. The acting abilities of Irene Dunn have been sorely limited by one of the worst scenarios she has ever been given, and as staunch admirers of Miss Dunn's we are thoroughly incensed.
"The Awful Truth" is that our heroine has been forced to spend the night with her music teacher in a wayside inn under perfectly honorable circumstances, but can't convince her husband of just how honorable it all was. In fact, she has a hard time convincing the audience. As a result she has to sue for divorce, and play the old, old role of the woman who wins her man by telling him how much she hates him.
It is here that the picture falls down, because artifice doesn't become Irene Dunn. She is best at good, clean kidding, and only when she breaks through with her own personality does the picture reach a high level of entertainment. Too often it tends to be vulgar, with a clumsy, unamusing vulgarity. In the last sequence, which would never have taken place if Cary Grant hadn't kept opening the door of their adjoining bed-rooms, Miss Dunn looks decidedly uncomfortable, as though she were wishing the picture would hurry up and end.
But we wouldn't have minded that bed, or any bed, when "The Game That Kills" came on. In this picture, which seemed to have been whipped together on a rainy Sunday afternoon, Rita Haywood, a little girl with a Simone Simon complex, saves a professional hockey team from the clutches of a gambling concern. After watching the team play for about an hour, we wondered if it was really worth her while.
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