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Take It Or Leave It (20th Century-Fox) is easy to take as light summer's entertainment. Seaman Eddie Collins (Edward Ryan) returns to Brooklyn and his lovely and expectant wife Kate (Marjorie Massow). For her confinement she wants the services of eminent Dr. Preston, whose fee is $1,000 and who has no time for the case anyway. Determined to by pass these difficulties, the expectant couple go to a broadcast of Phil Baker's Take It Or Leave It program. Eddie succeeds in answering not one but six $64 questions in the breathless interval before Kate leaves the radio audience for the delivery room, while Phil Baker (himself) halts the program to page Dr. Preston over the air. The six questions and one extra try answered by Eddie deal exclusively with the movies, giving 20th Century-Fox a thrifty opportunity to trot out Betty Grable, Alice Faye, Shirley Temple, Jack Oakie, Sonja Henie, George Montgomery and other high spots clipped from 20th Century-Fox films. Like the picture's obstetrical exigencies, the pace is brisk. Benjamin Stoloff's direction is gingersnappy.
Step Lively (RKO-Radio), Frank Sinatra's second picture, converts the hit stage play Room Service into a black & white musical which spoofs the show business, itself and its hero.
Story: 22 hungry actors are interned in a Manhattan hotel by a large unpaid bill. A backer appears with a check (rubber) and a protégée (Anne Jeffreys) who falls for The Voice. Even Sinatraddicts may gasp at the shots in which reluctant Mr. Sinatra and enthusiastic Miss Jeffreys practically reenact the Fall of Man in a telephone booth.
Soon the check bounces. So does the bobbysock idol, who is tossed about by accelerated slapstick like a Boy Scout in a blanket. In less tumultuous moments he sings, dances, makes love simply, smiles. These accomplishments are more or less superfluous. As shuddering exhibitors remember from his first picture, Sinatra's name on the marquee is sufficient to guarantee lipsticky posters on the outside, moaning galleryites within.
Americans All (MARCH OF TIME) probes gingerly into the open sore of racial and religious intolerance in the U.S. One of its first scenes shows young hoodlums stoning a Jewish tailor shop. Then, abruptly, the film shifts to the less inflammatory medium of newspaper headlines and pictures, passes tactfully on to speeches for tolerance by representatives of press, church and government. Almost one-third of the picture's 20 minutes is devoted to the Negro in the South and his gradual economic emancipation. Climax is an analysis of the famous Springfield (Mass.) Plan for fostering community action through public and parochial schools.