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At Keith-Memorial


Plays and best-sellers of recent months have restored the integrated scoundrel to literary popularity. We don't think the Scarlett O'Haras and Sammy Glicks are sound characters from the standpoint of credibility; nor do we agree they are sufficiently rounded to be hailed the modern counterparts of Lady Macbeth. We do admit they make entertaining movie-copy, and--it may be added--plenty of it. In the same vogue are "The Little Foxes," three thorough-going heels now transposed to the screen for one price of admission.

This picture is one of Hollywood's better jobs, but its plot is not the reason. The real heroes of the production are Cameraman Gregg Toland, who recreates his subtle photographic touches of "Citizen Kane," and Patricia Collinge, who, as the garrulous and persecuted Birdie, gives to Miss Hellman's only real character-study, the same spirited portrayal that made it live on the stage. Always the artist, Mr. Toland makes brilliant use of the shadow and heightens the power of the climactic staircase scenes by shooting from unique angles.

In the play, the whole action was compressed in a single setting: the rich and somberly draped living-room of the Giddons plantation. The effect was an intense feeling of constriction which perfectly reflected the emotional repressions of its characters. Walter Wanger's movie loses much of this feeling; its scenarists have weakened the impression by grafting on all the conventional trappings of Southern plantation life. The twi-light spirituals of darkies--as well as the added love-interest--are pleasant enough, but superfluous.

Bette Davis is no Tallulah Bankhead as the lead-villainess, "Regina Giddons," probably because it's impossible to play essentially the same role in a dozen movies without some decline of conviction and zest. The supporting parts are superbly rendered, many by members of the original Broadway company. Herbert Marshall is, for once, not miscast, and performs admirably as the tragic dying husband and prey of "Regina" and her brother-vultures.

On the same bill, "Unexpected Uncle" is just what we expected, except that Ann Shirley is now a big girl.

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