I Am Suzanne (Fox), is the third U. S. film made by Lilian Harvey, small, slim English-born actress who made her reputation in a German film, Congress Dances. Like most of Jesse L. Lasky's productions for Fox, it is aimed at what Hollywood calls "class" audiences. Partly a masterpiece and partly a mess, I Am Suzanne is unique among this season's musical pictures because it strives for satiric fantasy instead of a high-priced combination of pornography and farce. Its most important actors are not humans but the Piccoli puppets (TIME, Jan. 22).
When Suzanne (Lilian Harvey) breaks a leg dancing, her rascally stage manager loses all interest in her welfare. A group of puppeteers take care of her and the scion (Gene Raymond) of the chief puppeteer falls in love with her. The rest of I Am Suzanne deals with Suzanne's uneasy feeling that Tony is really in love not with her but with a puppet portrait he has made of her. The mocking dances of his marionettes and her fiancé's dreamy affinity with them first confuse, then anger her. When her leg has mended enough for her to dance again, she shoots the tiny effigy of Suzanne through the heart. Finally it appears that Tony prefers the real Suzanne to the one that works on strings.
The charm of I Am Suzanne lies in the way it tells a light love story and at the same time gently parodies it. Where the mood of the picture collapses is in such scenes as the one showing the puppet of Suzanne turning ridiculously into the real Suzanne on the stage of a theatre, the one of a heavy-handed adagio dance in which pretty little Lilian Harvey is tossed about like a beanbag by chorus boys. Good sequence: Suzanne's night mare, when she is dozing in her theatre dressing room, of her trial for murder by a court of furious, scornful puppets.
Miss Fane's Baby is Stolen (Paramount). Taken from a story by Rupert Hughes, this picture harks back to the Lindbergh kidnapping. Miss Fane (Dorothea Wieck) is a widowed cinemactress wrapped up in her child (Baby LeRoy). Agonized when she finds him missing from his crib, she refrains for a time from telling the police. She arranges a rendezvous with the kidnappers but they are frightened off by the appearance of some casual motorcyclists. Miss Fane appeals for help by press and radio, even talks through amplifiers while flying over the length & breadth of California. Her words are heard by a hearty, featherbrained shack-dweller (Alice Brady) who grows suspicious of some mean-looking people who have moved in nearby with a baby. She sells them milk, gabbles at them. They are on the verge of killing the baby when the shack woman snatches it away, eludes their shots, escapes in a battered auto mobile to return the child to its mother.
A topical film which draws tears with out half trying.
Miss Fane's Baby is Stolen is notable for expert work by Alice Brady and by Jack LaRue who plays the smallest, meanest and most jittery of the kidnappers.