Cinema: The New Pictures: Mar. 13, 1933

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Clear All Wires (Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer) shows a clownish foreign correspondent misbehaving and manipulating news in Moscow. Buckley Joyce Thomas spends part of his time composing highly personalized dispatches for the Chicago Globe, more of it in making love to his employer's mistress, stealing press passes that belong to his confreres, badgering a forlorn cousin of the Romanovs who happens into his office. His amorous intrigues lose him his job; he gets it back by writing a lively account of an attempted assassination staged by having his secretary fire on a Soviet Commissar of police.

The stage version of Clear All Wires, by Samuel and Bella Spewack, ended with an alliance between Buckley Joyce Thomas and a pretty female correspondent. The cinema makes this more effective by showing a newspaper headline—"Mrs. Buckley Joyce Thomas captured by China bandits''—which shows that Thomas is still up to his trick of faking stories. A more important change—making Buckley Joyce Thomas the hero of a farce instead of the butt of a satire—is less fortunate but three crack performances (Lee Tracy as Thomas, James Gleason as his secretary, Eugene Sigaloff as Prince Alexander) help make the picture briskly entertaining.

King Kong (RKO). A cinema producer (Robert Armstrong), his leading lady (Fay Wray), his first mate (Bruce Cabot) and their entourage visit a remote Pacific island to make a nature picture. The natives seize Fay Wray, tie her up as a sacrifice to their god, King Kong. Presently the producer and his associates catch their first glimpse of King Kong. He is a gigantic whatnot resembling an ape, 50 feet tall, equipped with large teeth and a thunderous snarl. He picks up Fay Wray in one hand as though she were a frog and shuffles off through the jungle, breaking trees and grunting.

The producer, the first mate and several companions set off after Kong. They soon discover that the jungle is full of antediluvian hobgoblins. They try to cross a lake on a raft and a snake-necked brontosaurus dumps them in the water, bites some of them dead. Finally they catch up with Kong. He flicks all except the producer and first mate into a crevasse, puts Fay Wray on top of a dead tree while he wins a wrestling match with a tyrannosaurus. Thumping his chest in horrid triumph he then carries Miss Wray to his mountain eyrie. The first mate finally rescues Fay Wray while Kong is pulling the wings off a pterodactyl.

The second part of King Kong shows Kong transplanted to Manhattan. The producer has brought him back alive and fastened him in a theatre with gyves which you rightly suspect will not be strong enough. Kong breaks them in full view of a first night audience, pushes down the side of the theatre, wrecks an elevated train, climbs up the side of a hotel as though it were a ladder. When he finds Miss Wray he climbs, with her in his fist, up the outside of the Empire State Building. He sits down on the mooring mast, disgusted by his surroundings. A squad of airplanes finally shoot him down.

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