So Big. The cinemedition of Novelist Edna Ferbeer's recent opus suggests four things: that no amount of grease paint will make Colleen Moore look very much older than, say, 30; that Ben Lyon and Phyllis Haver are both of the genus stuffed shirt and may as well resign themselves to that fate; that Wallace Beery can play a stolid soil-tiller to the last grunt; that Director Charles Brabin bent carefully over his knitting of deft acting into homely, racy atmosphere, until the final quarter of this film; then Director Brabin dropped the needles and cried: "Paste up the rest!"
The story goes: Selina Peake, sprite of poverty, married Pervus De Jong, Illinois potato man. No amount of grubbing could deaden Selina. After years of it, she could still stick radishes behind her ear and dance for Dirk, her boy, only "so big." Dirk grew up and trailed off into a dull love-jam involving a nice girl and a naughtyish one. Also, Selina, old and bent, peddled her potatoes on Prairie Avenue, Chicago.
The Wife of the Centaur. A centaur was half a man, half a beast. Author Cyril Hume knew that when he named his book. The producers forgot it when they cast sleek John Gilbert for exuberant Jeffrey Dwyer, taut poet, who loved one girl (Aileen Pringle) and married another (Eleanor Boardman). The producers also overlooked the fact that the one girl, who had later to cope with an idiot husband, furnished well over a third of the tale's power. Cheers for this film, if any, should be dedicated to Miss Boardman, the one able performer.
East of Suez. Pola Negri has a new coif, and no becoming one at that. Much less inflaming than usual, she writhes her way through W. Somerset Maugham's play about a Eurasienne, who was shanghaied, in the city of that name, by a yellow gentleman with enormous talons and discomfiting eyes. Before that she had planned to marry a young Britisher (Edmund Lowe). Afterwards she married her rescuer (Rockcliffe Fellows). There are sentiment, sobs, horror, passiont close-upsfar east of Suez; too far.
The Narrow Street. Quiet, light comedy. Matt Moore, as a muddler, is unmuddled by Dorothy Devore, waif. Conventional but commendable.