Cinema: The New Pictures, may 19, 1958

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Too Much, Too Soon (Warner), a sort of woman-on-the-rocks chaser to I'll Cry Tomorrow, may make a lot of moviegoers feel that they have had one too many. The film is based on the best-selling autobiography (TIME, April 15, 1957) in which Actress Diana Barrymore (skillfully assisted by Author Gerold Frank) told in embarrassing detail about her troubles with booze and men. In the movie the booze flows a good deal more freely than the narrative, which reels along like a drunken monologue with a familiar moral: weak people should avoid strong drink.

"The marriage of the century" between Actor-Painter John Barrymore and Socialite-Poetaster Blanche Oelrichs (who wrote and kept a salon as Michael Strange) was fondly expected to produce a great work of art, but all that ever came of it was Diana, "a fat little girl [with] straight black hair cut in stringy bangs." When Diana was four, Mother loosed her wedlock on Father, who went west to make movies and whoopee—a disappearance disastrous to Diana, or so the picture suggests. At any rate, when Diana was 20, she made her Broadway debut to impressive reviews, and went west to make movies and whoopee.

At 21, according to the film, Diana (Dorothy Malone) married a Broadway actor who came home from work one day to find her drunk and in bed with the man who later became Husband No. 2, a "tennis bum" who refused to work for fear he might "use the wrong muscles," and who took sadistic pleasure in driving tennis balls at Diana's face. Husband No. 3 was almost as big a lush as Diana, and together they rapidly drank up all the money she had made and inherited. According to the script, she wound up doing take-offs (including clothes) in a Manhattan dive, and one night she ran amuck and wound up in the alcoholic ward. That's where the "unholy ghost" (as Author Frank is known on Publisher's Row) caught up with her and invited her to take the bestseller cure.

In the book Author Frank proved himself a competent amateur head-shrinker. But in the movie the psychologizing is vulgarly done, and every possible appeal is made to the sort of customer who likes to rub his nose in other people's business. Those who do not can only sadly agree with Diana, who at one point remarks that there is no sense in telling her story. "Living it was bad enough."

Gigi (M-G-M), 14 years and three versions ago, was a dainty Colette novelette. Once a French movie, once a Broadway play, the spicy little tidbit is now a full-course feast for eyes and ears, an extravagant $3,000,000 cinemusical with four bright stars (Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Eva Gabor), a strong supporting cast, a topnotch director (Vincente Minnelli). words and music by My Fair Lady's Lerner and Loewe,* and some flooringly flamboyant sets and costumes by Cecil Beaton.

When Director Minnelli showed them his rough cut, the boys in the front office decided they had something special, and announced that the show would open like a Broadway play—white tie and hard ticket. The public seemed to like the idea. Despite advanced prices ($3 top), more than $40,000 worth of tickets were mail-ordered before the box office opened.

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