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At the H.D.C. Court Theatre

By Edmond A. Levy

This latest in the line of "interventionist" plays put out by the Playwrights' Company is extremely disappointing. Maxwell Anderson has done better than "Candle in the Wind"--far, far better.

This time the Nazi horror chamber competes with the forceful love of an American actress for the possession of Raoul St. Cloud, whose only crime against Germany is that he wrote a too critical review of "Mein Kampf," in 1931. For three acts and a period of twelve months love fights courageously, and--guess what?--finally prevails. But there is a twist to the ending: Raoul escapes from the concentration camp but the actress is seized by the Nazis with every indication that she will be held till he is recaptured.

Miss Helen Hayes plays Madeline guest, the American actress who preserves her Hattie Carnegie clothes throughout the German occupation of France. An actress of great warmth and emotion, her Madeline Guest, however, tends to become a cross between John's Other Wife and Mary Marlin, the result, no doubt, of Miss Hayes' extensive radio appearances in recent years. In her love scenes she is hungrily abetted by Stanio Braggiotti, who does his best with the colorless Raoul. The Nazi officers, particularly John Wengraf and Tonio Selwart, are excellent and do their best to maintain the high degree of bestiality that is the stage and screen trademark of the Dirty Hun.

"Candle in the Wind" is not a good anti-Nazi play; it is not even good drama. Possibly because it is such an isolated instance in the greater drama of the fall of France, possibly because Mr. Anderson thinks that a vivid setting and screams of anguish from off-stage are all that are necessary to denote Nazi barbarity, but whatever the cause, "Candle in the Wind" is due for quick snuffing in New York.

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