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For the returning student who wishes to case himself gently into the rut of academic life, the University's current program is warmly endorsed. The two attractions are excellently balanced, and if "The Awful Truth" has fared better at the box office, Marlene Dietrich's "Angel" still carries off many of the honors.
"The Awful Truth" depicts Irene Dunne's futile attempt to divorce Cary Grant and win the custody of "Mr. Smith," a canine known as "Skippy" in private life. The interlocutory decree is granted, and "Mr. Smith" is treated with all the consideration recently shown Miss Gloria Vanderbilt, but Cupid has ninety days to make a comeback. These are packed into sixty minutes of hilarious entertainment, thanks chiefly to the dialogue and the capable acting of Miss Dunne and her four-legged friend. "Skippy," who appears more at home before the camera than when he played in "The Thin Man" and its sequel, surpasses himself and brings up the ticklish question of whether a quadruped is eligible for the Academy Award.
The acting of "Angel" is never brilliant, the story is improbable, and the conclusion not wholly convincing; but sheer technique has raised it above the common run. The photography, particularly in the close-ups of Miss Dietrich, the skillful contrast of the gowns she wears as Angel and Maria's tailored English costumes, the detail of the sets, the handling of suspense, the clever way in which the telephone is twice used to advance the plot, scraps of dialogue which show, a little satirically perhaps, the social structure of "this Sacred Plot," these and a score of other subtleties prove Mr. Lubitsch master of his art.
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