Beau Brummell. (Empire.)----Broken Lance. (Carlton.)--Souls in Conflict. (Stoll, November 22nd.)
EVERYONE knows that Beau Brummell was a fop and became the arbiter elegantiarum of society at the time of the Prince Regent. The fact that lie was the first gentleman to wash daily and that he took three hours to dress is, curiously enough, not mentioned in the film; indeed, his preoccupation with clothes is lightly dismissed. He was also a wit, and probably this, more than the tying of a cravat, gained him the friendship of his illustrious patron. His wittiness has also been omitted in favour of insolence, and we arc given a hero whose claim to fame is that he intrigued politically and was con- sistently rude. Brummell was rude and eventually paid dearly for being so, but he had more engaging characteristics as well. In this magnificently tailored, historically inaccurate picture Stewart Granger is certainly beau, but he is never allowed for one moment to be Brummell. Peter Ustinov, as the Prince Regent, however, though bearing no resemblance whatever to that baby-faced rotunda, manages to convey an impression of authenticity. His is far the best performance, sensitive and touching, and is only matched by Robert Morley's brief but memorable sketch of poor mad George III. Beside them the inevitable period pieces such as Pitt, Fox, Burlk Byron, Mrs. Fitzherbert and a mythical heroine in the shape of Elizabeth Taylor appear painfully fictional. There are two good scenes, when the King and the Prince meet and when Prinny visits the disgraced Brummell on his deathbed in a Calais lodging house—actually he died in an asylum at Caen. The others, though well directed by Curtis ' Bernhardt, accompanied by Richard Addinsell's music, and lovely to look at, are of medium quality only. sullen sons, an arrogant cheerful bully of man who sets fire to a copper mine becau it is polluting his cattle stream, and brought to law, a stroke, and impoten Mr. Tracy has to be tough, quizzi puzzled and pathetic, and of course he does it on his head, that weather-beaten wryly wrinkled head which has beamed intelligence across the dimness of many a picture. Nof that Broken Lance is dim. Although its theme is not original, harsh fathers, rebelliouS sons and cattle troubles being old familiars, Edward Dmytryk, aided by the broad length of CinemaScope not to mention a triumph of suppressed vindictiveness by Richard Widmark, has made his copy-book characters as fresh as his panoramas. This is a psycho.' logical rather than a shooting drama, and for those who like a massacre it will be a disappointment. To appease them Mr. Dmytryk has provided a few off-smell corpses and the villain's spectacular death.
Souls in Conflict is a film built round Billy Graham's recent evangelical crusade is London. It tells the stories of three people, a dissatisfied actress, a factory hand with a nagging wife, and a test pilot who feels there is `something more.' Beautifully photographed and very badly acted, this. sincere little picture is trite, sentimental and embarrassing, a muted record of sin and suffering which marks time, for far too long, waiting for Mr. Graham's trumpet call to repentance at the end. It was a mistake to stress the obvious, that man is unhappy The remedy for his ills is what is interesting and this is summarily dealt with. Mr. Graham, preceded by a choir, sledge- hammers his age-old message into the ears of all and the hearts of many, but though we know he has redeemed thousands he comes too late to redeem his film.