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Maxwell Anderson's "Star Wagon" is a shuttle-train in time, allowing its drivers to ignore the usual chronological conventions and to travel in any direction and at any speed in the fourth dimension as well as in the other three. Joining J. M. Barrie, H. G. Wells, and a number of others in this favorite form of fantasy, Mr. Anderson goes in for character analysis and nostalgic reminiscence in the field of Victorian sweetness and propriety.
The sentimentality in this play is effective, and is likely to appeal to most of those who are not still in the throes of anti-Victorian reaction. The metaphysics in it, however, will not stand much inspection. The idea seems to be that if you had your life to live over and took the wrong course in an effort to be different from what you had been, you could see how wrong the wrong course was, and then go back to your real life and discern the merits of the right course, which you took in the first place. But the utility of the marvelous machine that permits all this depends on the shaky assumption that everybody takes the right course the first time.
Burgess Meredith and Lillian Gish portray quite sympathetically the couple who do well in poverty without knowing it but ruin themselves when they join the moneyed interests. Russell Collins is excellent as the uncouth fellow who remains fanatically honest, no matter where he finds himself.
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