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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 7, No. 4 June 7, 1944

Screen and Stage

Screen and Stage

Air Power

To evolve a theory, to sell it to Mr. Disney, and to have him film it—that must be the dream of all American propagandists. Mr. Stokowski sold him the idea of good music for the million, Mr. Henry Wallace the idea of "good neighbourhood" (Saludos Amigos), and now comes Major de Seversky with airpower. What next? An Einstein-Disney six-dimentional musical called, perhaps, "It's the Relative Thing to Do?"

Technically the film is very good. The continuity is excellent, the facts are laid before the audience almost In words of one sylable, the cartooning is superb. There is no dialogue merely the voices of Major de Seversky and a commentator running ceaselessly through the film. Thus both theory and film must be good enough to hold the attention of the audience. They are. Music and sound effects are extremely well done—in fact the bombing and earthquake (sequences are a little too effective for comfort.

From a humorised history of aviation, the film passes on to an airpower crusader's view of World War II. de Seversky says categorically—and very plausibly—that the war can be won quickly and cheaply—and only—by heavy bombing. But haven't both the Russians and the British found that the most effective weapon now is massed artillery bombardment? And, no matter what the new and startling method is, the infantryman does the cleaning up.

de Seversky advocates the knocking out first of enemy centres of production. But after months of saturation bombing, after bombing which the Major says will crumble her to the dust, Germany appears to be able to carry on.

The film is well done and plausible. But de Seversky lets his dreams carry him away in one most important feature. Let "Life" say it for me: "Good history, fine entertainment—but when the movie deals with the future, de Seversky's extreme ideas may do airpower a disservice by beguiling a fascinated public into the belief that the war can be won by dream ships which, unfortunately, are not yet a reality."

Well, although this doesn't seem to be a film review of the ordinary type, I do recommend the film strongly. It will stimulate both your imagination and your views on air strategy. And it is very entertaining.


After I had seen a performance of "Love in a Mist," by the Wellington Repertory Theatre a well-known member said to me: "Well, I think we've hit an all-time low with this." And never was a truer word spoken. You would not believe that a play could be so incredibly futile had you not seen it. After its production in London a leading critic claimed that there was enough material in the play to make a good music hall sketch. And here we have it blossoming out as a full length play presented to about five thousand people by an amateur society of some standing. The plot is ancient: two stranded weekend couples, one married, one not: who sleeps with who tonight? The playing was competent in general—the cast did the best it could—but that of Elsie Lloyd and Lesley Jackson was outstanding, and between them they held the show together as it dragged its tortuous way from situation to time-worn situation, from bed to weary bed. The brightest spot of the whole evening for me was the entrance of Elsie Lloyd wearing what appeared to be a daintily trimmed chamberpot.

I wonder whether Repertory will ever dare to do a play "for the good of the theatre?" "The Corn is Green" and "Watch on the Rhine" seem to be its best offerings for a long time. Otherwise we have some footling nonsense like this, or else bad productions of Shakespeare. I'd like to see them accept the challenge of "Our Town" or "Of Mice and Men." But they are far too respectable. I know. I belong to the society.