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It is also excitingbecause the screen is so unaccustomed to plain talkto see and hear the angry discussion of postwar prospects which Scripter Albert Maltz has written for the hospitalized marines. Effectively outspoken, too, is Lee Diamond's reminder, to Al, that blindness gives him no monopoly on job handicapsthat Diamond himself has been plentifully handicapped all his life because he is a Jew.
But Pride of the Marines is more than a rostrum for liberal polemics. It is a good hard-hitting movie.
Lady on a Train (Universal) sets out to elicit chills and chuckles, but never quite reaches its modest destination.
Soon after seeing murder done through a bleak window, Deanna Durbin (the lady) gets off the train, and begins a half-farcical, half-melodramatic hunt for the killer. She is variously helped and hin dered by assorted menaces, red herrings and foozlebrains like Ralph Bellamy and Dan Duryea (as two brothers who loathe each other), George Coulouris (a devilish butler), Allen Jenkins (a sinister chauffeur), David Bruce (a mystery author), and Edward Everett Horton (Edward Everett Horton).
The lady, of course, takes time out to sing. Her Gimme a Little Kiss, Will Ya, Huh? feels like fingers teasing the ribs. Lolling on a bed, she sings Silent Night to her father by long-distance telephone, while the camera treats her the way John Gilbert used to treat Garbo, in a manner that must be seen to be believed. For fanciers of the strange and terrible, Miss Durbin's quietly orgiastic salute to the Nativity is a must.
Bewitched (M.G.M.) is a double-personality melodrama with double-medium antecedents. Directed by radio's Arch Oboler, who adapted it from his own "best original air drama of 1938," the picture both gains and loses by its crossbreeding : the dialogue and sound track are so urgent and explicit, and what transpires on the screen so comparatively conventional, that you could get the whole show with your eyes shut. Even so, it makes a rather interesting movie. The story:
A gentle young woman (played with great charm by Phyllis Thaxter) begins to be tortured by an ever more insistent inner voice, which urges her to throw over her fiance (Henry H. Daniels Jr.), leave her parents, and disappear. The voice wins. By the time her fiance finds her, a young lawyer (Horace McNally) is in love with her, and the inner voice has revealed itself as an industrious natural force whose components are lust and murder.
At the behest of this alter ego, the girl kills her fiance. Then she goes toward the chair almost eagerly, in her desire to liquidate her inner devilwhile the lawyer-lover, an ingenious psychiatrist (Edmund Gwenn), and the governor of the state stand by, wondering what to do. The psychiatrist finally does plenty.
By giving the inner voice (and numerous subsidiary mental voices) unusual expressiveness, Arch Oboler has, at best, achieved cinema's first really effective use of internal monologue. At worst, he goes so far with the trick of building intensity through reiteration that it recalls Fred Allen's parody of Norman Corwin: a poetic drama about Jack & Jill in which a cheering section of inner voices, in accelerating crescendo, badger the heroine with "Jill Jacobowsky, Jill-Jacobowsky Jill-Jacobowsky JILL-JACOBOWSKY!"