Cinema: New Picture, Feb. 2, 1948

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In Mexico City's Reforma Hotel, one day, a frail little man in faded khaki, his shirt held together with a cheap gold pin, presented to Huston a card: Hal Croves, Translator. Traven, Croves explained, couldn't come; but as Traven's old friend and translator, he, Croves, knew the author and his work better even than Traven himself did. Huston hired Croves at $150 a week as technical adviser. By the time Croves had done his job and disappeared, Huston was pretty certain that uneasy little Mr. Croves was Traven himself.

Huston has no truck with theories of esthetics or questions of style; his sharp directing is intuitive. He has a coldly intelligent knowledge of how much to leave free within the frame, and the born artist's passion for the possibilities of his medium. "In a given scene," he says, "I have an idea what should happen, but I don't tell the actors. Instead I tell them to go ahead and do it. Sometimes they do it better. Sometimes they do something accidentally which is effective and true. I jump on the accident."

Does he think Treasure is his best work to date? The question is virtually meaningless to him. He says, drily and without self-consciousness: "It is as a picturemaker would have it."

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