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Fascist Uniforms Replace Roman Tegas in Orsen Welles' Version of "Julius Caesar"

By E. C. B.

There are three ingredients in this fruit cocktail. Take the author of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and her husband, John Emerson, add two parts for movie stars, and mix with a translated Hungarian short story. Throw in a catchy title for seasoning. Shake well before presenting. The audience will add the dash of bitters.

"Cherries are Ripe" purports to be, and who would gainsay it, a risque, but restrained, comedy of sophisticated Budapest as it acts for a day in the country. The only thing jibing with this reviewer's quaint idea of what is Budapestian is Vilma Banky, and she is accordingly honored only because he read in the program that she was born in those parts. Rod La Roque is not quite up to his movie standard, which was unpleasant enough, anyway.

The plot has some such striking motif as this: The husband of Sybil Stereny (Banky) is hesltant in believing in the single blessedness of her love for him. Count Sandor Bathany, a gay dog from Budapest (Mr. La Roque of Duluth, Minnesota) is regarded by Baron Stereny as one-with-a-way, as one who can take seduction or leave it alone, who regards adultery as a fine art, not a plaything for children. So he asks him to practice his wiles on the Baroness and if successful, to wire him "cherries are ripe." If feminine demureness prove the winner, the telegram is to read "cherries are sour." Sandor sets about his caddish work, and with La Roquian aplomb, reduces seduction to an absurdity. It is significant that the climax of the plot is reached only as the final curtain falls, presumably either to keep the audience in their seats, or to protect the actors at the end with the curtain.

Miss Banky, despite the disadvantage of her pronunciation, is fairly effective. There is no reason for Mr. La Roque, whatsoever. His long speeches resemble the monotone of a Fourth of July speaker, minus the relieving pyrotechnics usually associated with that day. Charitably speaking, his tailor may be held to account for his awkwardness in moving, but Mr. La Roque will be held personally responsible for his awkwardness in the fine passion. Ritchle Ling, who plays the husband, was formerly an opera singer. Mr. Ling, it is to be hoped, will soon again be an opera singer.

To the credit of Miss Loos, there are spotty bits of catchy dialogue and even better situation. All in all, however, the subtle lewdness fails to materialize and the promised sophistication degenerates into drivel. There is a preponderance of acidity in the play which would have been expressed only if the other telegram was sent.

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