Days of Glory (RKO-Radio). Towards the end of Days of Glory, when Nazi tankmen are about to wipe out a band of Russian guerrillas while the guerrillas defend themselves tooth & nail, the heroine (Tamara Toumanova) disconcertingly takes time off. Getting her highly literary words in edgewise between battle noises (Bang! Ouch!), she tells the hero (Zoop! Gregory Peck) that she is more than pleased (ratatatatatat) to have made (Bong!) his acquaintance. To a similar deafening obbligato, they then repeat the guerrilla oath.
Somehow it all seems rather silly. So does the rest of Days of Glory, which is written and produced in the most ardent imitation-Russian manner by R.K.O.'s Casey Robinson. In its course, guerrillas pot Germans in some nice landscapes; a blonde, experienced in killing, becomes jealous of the city-soft heroine; a little girl pours scalding water on a Nazi; a beardless youth, smiling, dies rather than divulge the names of his comrades. But none of it is any nearer the Russian war than the lobby of an "art" movie theater. Saving graces are two newcomers to films, Broadway's Gregory Peck, who suggests a Marxian Gary Cooper, and lush-lipped Ballerina Toumanova.
Bathing Beauty (M.G.M.) plunges streamlined swimming Champion Esther ("Prettiest Girl in Hollywood") Williams into her first starring role. The splash is celebrated in Technicolor, to the music of Harry James and Xavier Cugat. Red Skelton lends the show comedic water wings. A song writer preparing a score for a water pageant, he falls in love with Miss Williams, crashes a girls' college where she teaches. There, with the help of numerous undergraduate cuties (notably pert, pint-sized Jean Porter), he revolutionizes the music department and, in wrinkled pink tights and a tutu as graceless as the hind elevation of an underprivileged hen, turns a class in eurythmics into the picture's funniest scene.
Miss Williams, a pretty young woman in the pink of condition, should have a pleasant and pleasing career on the screen. Dry and dressed, she suggests Ginger Rogers. Wet and peeled, as she slithers her subaqueous charms before underwater cameras, she suggests a porpoise amused by its own sex appeal.
Christmas Holiday (Universal], a Somerset Maugham story transferred from prewar Paris to war-preoccupied New Orleans, serves as a vehicle for Deanna Durbin in her most dramatic role, for Gene Kelly's least dramatic.
A young U.S. officer (Dean Harens), grounded over Christmas in New Orleans, picks up with a Vieux Carré cabaret singer (Deanna Durbin), takes her to midnight Mass, hears her sad autobiography in flash back. Her husband (Gene Kelly), a mother-complicated patrician with a weakness for low company, has gone at long last where he can find plenty of itto jail, as a lifer, for murder. As the flash back ends, he breaks jail, returns to New Orleans to kill Miss Durbin, whom he wrongly assumes is unfaithful to him. Instead, he gets killed himself, and his widow and the officer face the New Year with memories of sudden death and thoughts of matrimony.