Cinema: The New Pictures, Jul. 13, 1942

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Tulips Shall Grow (Pak; Paramount) is Puppetoonist George Pal's (TIME, March 9) prediction of the fate awaiting the armored Nazi legions which overran Holland. Ninth of his series of cartoon shorts (substituting carved puppets and miniature three-dimensional sets for the drawn figures and flat backgrounds of the usual animated cartoon), it succeeds in making the war a fairy-tale fantasy without making it silly.

Pal's grotesque puppet tanks and Wehrtnacht churn the Technicolored Netherlands landscape to mud as they advance, crushing the tulips and separating a little Dutch boy from his sweetheart. The little boy prays for rain, which falls and rusts the joints of the mechanical men and their mechanical weapons. The Luftwaffe planes crash to earth. In the sky appears, not a rainbow, but the words: "Tulips will always grow."

Even Disney might learn something from the smooth blending of animation and music in this short. For half of Tulip's charm and zip is its clever use of a beautifully orchestrated background score and a toe-thumping tune called Jump in' Jeep Polka, as yet unpublished.

Crossroads (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) gives William Powell and the audience 82 minutes to find out who he is: David Talbot, suave French Foreign Office diplomat, or Jean Pelletier, notorious footpad and murderer. William Powell, an old hand at both cinemavocations, ramblingly unravels his identity in the course of a reasonably good, hot-weather whodunit.

Diplomat Talbot falls into his predicament at a peculiarly unfortunate time-the 91st day of his marriage to Hedy Lamarr. Forced to postpone domestic felicity while he defends himself in court against a man (Vladimir Sokoloff) who claims that he is not Talbot but Pelletier, puzzled Defendant Powell reveals that he is a victim of complete amnesia. He had once been in a train wreck, does not remember who he used to be, cannot be sure who he is.

Baleful Basil Rathbone, a petty crook, proves that Pelletier is dead and wins Powell's case for him. Then he blackmails him. Menaced by the imminent loss of his bank account and also of Hedy Lamarr, William Powell wonders how he will get out of that one, and so does everybody else.

Crossroads is a reasonable facsimile of a French movie of the same name, which emigrated to the U.S. three years ago. Johannes Kafka-wrote the French import, and John Kafka (the same writer with his first name Americanized) co-authored the M.G.M. "original." It is still a good story, and Cinemactors Powell, Lamarr and a first-rate cast make the most of it, despite some rather leisurely directing and a Grand Guignol ending.

Eagle Squadron (Wanger; Universal) combines some of the British Air Ministry's best photographic work to date (a wealth of fine combat shots made over England, France and the Channel, some excellent documentary film of ground activities on the flying fields of Britain), with a sticky, talky, Hollywood plot which most film fans know by heart.

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