Cinema: The New Pictures Dec. 17, 1923

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Anna Christie. The fundamental difference in the technique of the screen and of the stage was never more pertinently displayed than in the two productions of Eugene O'Neill's drama. The legitimate version was a burning torch to show other playwrights their way along the indistinct path of progress. The motion picture is—simply another motion picture. The solution seems to lie in the psychological shortcomings of cinema narration. The mind is an inscrutable phenomenon at best. Pantomime does not suffice to render it transparent.

Anna Christie is the story of a Swedish farm girl who has slipped from grace. She meets her old barge captain of a father; she falls in love with an Irish sailor. Both discover the moral wounds scarring her past. Their primitive mental equipment jarred by the discovery, they all but throw her back into the streets. Their final forgiveness is generally regarded as a flabby anticlimax.

Blanche Sweet does an enviable characterization of the title part. George Maron, the barge captain, repeats his memorable performance in the stage version.

Slave of Desire. The scenario is taken from Balzac's The Magic Skin. About half way through Poet Raphael (hero) meets the Magic Skin and things proceed to happen. The latter is one of those skins you love to touch. All you have to do is touch it and make a wish. Liquor, ladies and lullabies come romping in. The only difficulty was that Raphael got only so many wishes to the inch. Each wish shrunk the skin. When it reached the size of his palm he was to be introduced socially to the Grim Reaper. Before that occurred he got religion and went back to his red-lipped maiden of earlier, poorer days.

Our Hospitality. The Keatons, four of them, combine to make this picture highly hilarious. Father Keaton, Mr. and Mrs. Buster and Baby Buster. Buster is, of course, the comic prop sustaining the family fortune. He is a trifle quieter than usual. He invades a Southern town where his ancestors feuded with the Canfields. The latter, unwittingly, invite him to their, house and find themselves in the uncomfortable position of not being able to shoot him owing to their reverence for the traditions of Southern hospitality. Mrs. Buster Keaton was, of course, Natalie Talmadge. She is nearly as exciting as her more famous sisters.