Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 1. Friday, March, 2, 1945
Film and Stage
Film and Stage
This year I intend to review as many films as possible in these pages, but priority in reviewing will go to what I consider the best film screening at the time of issue. I hope there will be few reviews of the ordinary mediocre him (the "Saturday night" affair). The point about having film reviews in "Salient" is twofold: firstly at a band of supposedly intelligent people, we should be interested in seeing, discussing and reading about intelligent films, and in trying in some way to ensure that the extremely low level is raised a little; and, secondly, as film critics see so many bad films that they seek diligently for the good ones, this column might bring to your notice a worth-while film tucked away in some little suburban theatre.
These films warrant chasing, by the way. Hold up hands those who saw The Ox-Bow Incident. Quite a number. And most of you took a tram to Miramar or hitch-hiked to Lower Hutt to see it, didn't you? For my first crit, this year let me say that this is the finest film I have ever seen, and probably the finest that has ever been made.
A grading system will be adopted this year, and, chiefly because the Listener has the perfect method, and anything else would be a poor imitation, we will use stars, viz., ***** the important films;**** worthwhile, but not screen history; *** just plain movies; ** slightly terrible; * Oh, God! No star will signify one of the stinkers of all time. Under the grading it is intended that the type of film will be signified, viz., comedy, drama, melodrama, farce, musical.
I shall also endeavour to have a word to say about all plays, professional and amateur, that appear in Wellington. These will not be graded.
I hope and trust nobody in the college will agree with a word I say, and that correspondence will be brisk.
It's a great pity that the first use of our grading system should involve a low grading, but this is a film of such complete stupidity that it is unavoidable. The story is alleged to be by Tchekov, a statement this gentleman would indignantly deny. The setting is Russian; at least, I gathered so from the beards and ikons and throwings-of-glasses-over-shoulders-into-fireplaces. The acting, apart from that of George Sanders and one or two others, is bad, and. in the case of Edward Everett Horton, simply awful. Apart from all this the actual direction seems somehow wrong. I think this is because there are two climaxes at the end of a long film, and also the full threated passion which is supposed to pulsate through the story just doesn't come off. Keep away from this film.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
I confess this film has me slightly baffled. I'm still not sure what it's all about, but I don't think it's about Colonel Blimp, certainly not the Low character of the same name. Perhaps we can agree that it is far too long, and is inclined to be tedious. The colour doesn't seem quite satisfactory, but the makeup is superb. Acting, in a dignified English way, is good from the men, and rather inadequate from the women. I suppose it is best to put this film down as a sort of propaganda effort about the British character. I certainly do not think that it is the film by which, as the advertising tells us, "all other British films, past present and future, will be judged." The only advice I can give you is for you to make your own judgment. You'll either hate it or admire it tremendeusly.