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The blurbs lead one to expect in the "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" something akin to the dawn of a new era in motion pictures. In it Hollywood has made a conscious essay at naturalness and authenticity. "Becky Sharp", they tell us, was nothing more than the first faltering step in Technicolor progress; this version of the Fox romance sees the new photographic technique come of age. These claims are, of course, subject to reservation, for in its very attempt at naturalness the picture is at times so conspicuously natural and self-conscious that one concludes there is still much, to learn in this field. But its colors are subdued and soft, not circus-variety as were those of "Becky Sharp".
"Trail of the Lonesome Pine" has the makings of a superior "Kentucky Beautiful" travelogue (though undoubtedly not photographed in the Blue Grass country); as a feature picture it is entertaining, little more. It is the familiar story of book larnin's invasion of the back woods. The grizzled mountaineers fight and live and love after the fashion of "Esquire's" variety, and are somehow trying to one's credulity. Sylvia Sidney, as the barefoot lass who succumbs to the winning ways of the furriner from the city (Fred MacMurray) and forsakes Mammy and Pappy for the bosoms of the edjicated, is attractive in her round-faced way, but is more in her element when she finally turns to honest-to-goodness pajamas and faithfully intimate frocks. Fred MacMurray, as the engineer who brings civilization to the hills, surpasses himself.
The accompanying piece on the Fenway bill, "F Man", is a pleasingly light tale of the "yokel boy makes good" variety, which managed to evoke even a few belly-laughs. It is shallow and frothy, and knows it. An "F man", incidentally, is the next thing to a "G man". E. H. B.
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