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The Beacon Hill Theatre took a chance when it booked Ivy Films' two productions, "Much Ado About Studying" and "A Touch of the Times" to run with the 1949 Newspaper Guild Award winner, "The Quiet One." While the two College Films are an amazing achievement for a young, penny-pinched undergraduates group, they can hardly be expected to equal professional production standards. The audience expects just his, unfortunately, after kicking in 90 cents a head.
"Much Ado About Studying" is an amusing cross between a Robert, Benchley narrative and a Pete Smith short. It presents the difficulties of a freshman putting in a full evening of study. By professional standards, the photography is dull and the narrative is occasionally repetitive; by undergraduate standards, the short has local interest, includes several ingenious touches, and is 15 minutes of good entertainment.
"A touch of the Times," admittedly an "experimental film," is a silent Chaplin-type full length "fantasy" about a kite-flying fad among a group of tin workers. The same double standard applies here, too. The script drags in places, and the unusual musical score starts to grate after a half hour of it. This, if you expect a full-fledged Charlie Chaplin job. But the many clever scenes redeem the whole job if you judge "A Touch of the Times" for what it is--the surprisingly competent first effort of a new undergraduate group.
By contrast, "The Quiet One" is one of the best recent products of the movie industry--the documented story of rehabilitating a lonely, frustrated Harlem boy. This one shouldn't be missed.
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