Cinema: The New Pictures: Feb. 14, 1938

  • Share
  • Read Later

The Kid Comes Back (Warner Bros.). Sock for sock, the prize ring cannot compare with its cinema counterpart for fury, excitement, sustained pace; this, in spite of the fact that few actors are natural sockers. Newest and most natural of the cinema sockers is rangy, 190-pound, six-footer Wayne Morris. Socker Morris, turning 24 this week, lashes out with the unrepressed indignation of a small boy fighting over a marble game. And he really knows something about boxing. In the course of training for his Warner Bros. career, he has K.O.'d a whole row of professional roughnecks.

Warner scouts discovered him acting in the Pasadena Community Playhouse two years ago. After small parts in China clipper (TIME, Aug. 24, 1936) and a few minor films, he was cast as a boxer with Barton MacLane in a routine picture, first called Trial Horse, then Don't Pull Your Punches. The Warner wisemen looked at the rushes, rubbed their hands. Shelving the picture for the time being, they rushed Morris into Francis Wallace's Kid Galahad, surrounding him with such sure-fire stars as Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart. The cinemaudience, just as the Warner wiseacres figured they would, took to Morris as the 90s did to John L. Sullivan.

When Kid Galahad had run its course, Don't Pull Your Punches was taken off the shelf, dusted off, released under its third title, The Kid Comes Back. Less realistic than Kid Galahad, which focused on the chicanery of the fight racket, The Kid Comes Back concerns itself with an aging trial horse of the ring (Barton MacLane), whose sole remaining barrier to the championship is his own protégé (Actor Morris). In setting the stage for the old trial horse to have his day at last, the story permits itself a few trenchant observations about heavyweight champions who retire to Connecticut farms to read Shakespeare, titled Hollywood hangers-on, and wrestlers—who, in the gruff MacLane lingo, are nothing but a lot of humpty dumpties. What dates The Kid Comes Back even more surely than its two-year-old automobile models is the anachronistic quip: "This time I'm right. . . ." "Oh yeah! So was the Literary Digest."

The Girl Was Young (Gaumont British). Cinema's top man for melodrama is England's roly-poly, impish-eyed Director Alfred Hitchcock (The 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Secret Agent). Last year, flushed with cinema success and much hearty beef-eating, Director Hitchcock decided to try one of his thrillers against the placid background of the English countryside. Said he: "I want to commit murder amid babbling brooks." The result teams 18-year-old Nova Pilbeam and Play Actor Derrick de Marney in a melodramatic hodge-podge that lacks the vivid outlines and clear characterizations of previous Hitchcock films, but is, nevertheless, a fair sample of Hitchcock devices.

  1. Previous Page
  2. 1
  3. 2