Cinema: The New Pictures, Jan. 12, 1953

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Never Wave at a WAC (Independent Artists; RKO Radio) suggests that the ladies of the Women's Army Corps, like the Northwest Mounties, always get their man. The heroines of this romantic recruiting poster are a spoiled Washington hostess (Rosalind Russell) and a stripteaser named Danger O'Dowd (Marie Wilson). Enlistment in the WAC does both of them good. Haughty Rosalind Russell becomes simple and sincere and is reunited with her ex-husband (Paul Douglas). The stripteaser finds true love with a quartermaster sergeant (Leif Erickson).

Besides romance, Never Wave at a WAC offers some wacky comedy. The society girl is assigned as a guinea pig to rigorous tests of arctic uniforms supervised by her ex-husband. The not-too-bright stripteaser, who wants to be a Mata Hari, finally gets a job as a chauffeur for intelligence.

Because many of the scenes were photographed at the WAC Training Center in Fort Lee, Va., the movie is generally diverting. But at times the proceedings are somewhat less than sprightly, e.g., Textile Expert Douglas commenting patriotically on the stripteaser's engagement: "It's unions like this that keep our Union in business."

Interesting shot: General Omar Bradley playing himself in a brief sequence.

The Bad and the Beautiful (MGM) are a gaudy assortment of film folk in a movie about the movies. There is a ruthless Hollywood producer (Kirk Douglas), who is bad; an alcoholic actress (Lana Turner), who is beautiful; a hard-working director (Barry Sullivan) and a Pulitzer Prizewinning author (Dick Powell), who are neither bad nor beautiful.

The picture poses a problem: Will the actress, director and writer forgive the double-crossing producer for picking their brains and help him make a Hollywood comeback? As each of the trio speculates on the past in flashback, he gradually comes to realize that the producer is not entirely a heel; in fact, he is sort of lovable, for is he not responsible for the swimming pools and the Oscars they have accumulated? Inevitably, the fadeout finds them again throwing in their lot with him.

The Bad and the Beautiful is a big, glossily wrapped package that contains a little bit of almost everything: a Hollywood funeral, party and premiere, a plane crash, a dramatic drunk scene, a seething love scene. The picture presents some standard Hollywood types, e.g., a yes-man (Paul Stewart), a small-time agent (Sammy White), a money-minded tycoon (Walter Pidgeon), a sexy bit-girl (Elaine Stewart). But, though some of the characters may be bad and others beautiful, few are either real or believable. As the actress, Lana Turner looks lushly beautiful. As the author, Dick Powell bases his characterization on tweedy suits and a pipe. The most convincing character in the picture is not a Hollywood type, but a fluttery Southern belle, smartly played by Gloria Grahame.

Androcles and the Lion (Gabriel Pascal; RKO Radio) is the first of George Bernard Shaw's plays to be filmed in Hollywood.* The result is a melancholy triumph of Hollywood spectacle and showmanship over Shavian satire and style.

Written in 1912, Androcles and the Lion tells of a mild little Greek tailor (Alan Young) who befriends a wounded lion. Later the lion saves the tailor from Christian martyrdom in the Colosseum.

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