Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 3. April 13, 1946

Film and Stage

page break

Film and Stage

In They were Sisters there are some human beings who show how desirable life can be, and not how the film-makers think it should be. And there it a play on at the Opera House entitled Accent on Youth which is at least a respite from movies.

All that is likely or moving in They were Sisters I have summarised in the headline; but the sense of real life drama is not sustained, and very often the reality rests mainly on the dim and Inexpensive, though factual, settings which exist in most British films. All of the characters, save James Mason, the nasty husband, are taken from stock, and the juveniles give the impression of having rehearsed the life out of their lines, There is a general impression of woodenness about this vague plot; one never feels curious about the end, because there is a sense that no one has enough fire to bother much, anyway.

* * *

In the build-up on the sixpenny programme, Accent on Youth is said to say something; but if this is not made clear in the build-up, it is even less clear in the Repertory Theatre's presentation. The theme is love, American love, couched in the customary phrases of physical praise in the second person but in this case there is a quadrilateral instead of the normal triangle. To use the words of the programme reviewer, Anderson, the play proves that "there is no fool like an old fool in love"; it also proves says he, "that youth as youth is no better than age as age," which are both parts of that stern doctrine "if it's not one thing, then It's another." Besides the first two quotations above it is also demonstrated that "youth can't have its cake and eat it." By this, Raphaelson, the author, means that if you want a young body you must put up with inexperience and crudity of mind; whereas you find the reverse in an old body. The young body representative in the play is created with sufficient lack of intelligence to force the conclusion in favour of the old body cum intelligence. The theme lacks conviction because the young body is altogether too young, I'd say about eleven; and because the æsthetic level never ascends past the physical. And you can't deceive the young that the experience of the old body will compensate for the power of youth, when the choice is made on such a level. The acting was not very polished, there being too much gesture and voice dropping for punctuation purposes. Another defect lay in the peculiar incongruity of racy American patois on the bloodless lips of semi-cultured New Zealand accents.

* * *

"A Place of One's Own"

Having been treated to a cycle of ghost and horror stories it is not to be expected that you will find this Gainsborough production very entertaining. Even the connoisseur of "ghoulies and ghosties" will find little that is original except, perhaps, an artistic use of sound-effects' that compares favourably with the riotous clashing of doors, sobbing, and sea-surge of "The Uninvited." The ghost in "A Place of One's Own" is a whisperer-down-speaking-tubes and an accomplished pianist.

The story opens in 1900 when [unclear: Sraedhurst], a retired city business man, buys a rare old house in the country and employs the beautiful Miss Annette (Margaret Lockwood) as a companion for his wife. In the process of falling in love with the handaome local doctor, Miss Annette is possessed by the shade of a former inhabitant, a lovelorn wench, whose ghostly activities cause Annette to pine away through several unconvincing scenes. (In this respect I think "The Uninvited" was tar more satisfying with its mad young lady's trance-ecstacies and mad dashes for the cliff's edge.) Miss Lockwood is too near thirty to portray well the distracted visions of adolescence.

But if the plot is threadbare, the film has saving graces. Osbert Sitwell's novel, from which it is adapted, provided material for excellent minor characterisations. The camera frequently leaves Miss Lockwood's troubled form to introduce a range of people from the sarcastic cook to neighbour Major Manning Tuthorn, all equally well presented.

Also, for the film-fan who is interested in technique, there is some fine camera and art work. The detail of the Smedhurst mansion is truly beautiful. And the general camera-work is very satisfying, particularly the use of the close-up to open scenes. I noted one simple startling allot of a police helmet and cloak thrown over a chair, used to add to the tense atmosphere and introduce a new character.

* * *

Drama Club AGM

In contrast to the rather unusual meeting held last year, the Annual General Meeting of the Drama Club held on Friday passed off very smoothly, and if the attendance was small, the Hockey Ball can be blamed.

The minutes, financial report and a programme for the year drawn tip by the outgoing committee, was taken as read. The annual report showed spasmodic activity during 1945 but indicated a good start to 1946 with "Mr. Bolfrey," which is to be played in town early in April. The proceeds of these performances are to go to the Building Fund.

The highlight of the meeting was the introduction of a new constitution by the president, which, after the discussion was adopted.—(The old constitution had unfortunately been burnt.)
  • Committee, 1946,—
  • President: Mr. B Mason.
  • Committee: Misses E. Arya. M. Beaglehole, C. Cross. Messrs. G. Datson, P. Hurrell. H. Williamson.