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The Moviegoer



"Le Dernier Milliardaire," scheduled to run at the Fine Arts till Christmas, is full enough of barbed satire, but instead of one great big thorn there are lots of little prickles. The trouble seems to be that a Frenchman has no where to aim his darts, and so he scaters them with carefree abandon.

The whole show suffers from this undertone of aimlessness. Suddenly a large globe begins to jerk around on its axis to the tune of some languorous melody, and the audience is borne away to Casinario, a tiny country clinging to the coast of some as yet undiscovered continent. The state is named after its central institution, the Casino. When the roulette wheel stops spinning and depression stalks the land, an S. O. S. is sent to the Last Billionaire, a native son named M. Banco.

From then the show grinds on in dreary monotone. The patient audience is wafted back and forth, back and forth between the fairyland of Casinario and the prosaic world of fact. Of course, M. Banco effects a coup d'etat in the land he has come to rescue. Then he alternates between oppressive sanity and enlightened madness. The queen alternates between resolutions to abdicate and to force her handsome granddaughter into marriage with the tyrant. This princess alternates--but it's even duller in the telling. Climax succeeds anti-climax in rapid succession; tick, took, tick, tock; monotonous alteration in the best soporific.

But there are some brilliant spots along the drab, flat thread. It's fun to have a chuckle at pompous, helpless royalty a is "Jubilee," but nobody gets very excited over royalty now-a-days. It's fun to pursue the intricacies of the barter system; to see a man pay for a meal with a chicken; get two chicks and an egg an change; flip the egg to the waiter for a tip. It's positively delightful to see a Gallic jibe at our own despot: to see all the new hats tossed into the river to improve the bat industry. But it's all so chaotic and aimless. The Russians have a much better chance; they can be consistent and lambante nothing but nasty old capitalism. Hence their effort along the same lines, "The New Gulliver," is an infinitely better picture.

The news is spicy, ranging all the way from Jim Farley loading a big mail plane to floods in Avignon. Then there's some artistic fantasy about a de-petrified statue of Pan romping about the woods with a charming Cinderella. We liked that. But the day is saved by that trustworthy little mammal, Mickey Mouse. A bandmaster this time, with the help of a tornado he sweeps the audience off its feet. Mickey puts one in a good mood, and the Fine Arts is promising better things.

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