26 DECEMBER 1947, Page 12

THE CINEMA "Build My Gallows nigh.- (Odeon, Leicester Square).—" Mrs.

FItzherbert." tEmpire).

To keep us happy over Christmas, the season of meekness and "gentleness in hearts at peace," the Odeon is offering us a film called Build My Gallows High in which there are no fewer than four murders. As an antidote to post-prandial lethargy it will do yeoman service, and I do not doubt that the excitement it generates will stimulate the gastric juices Most beneficially, but no one can say its motif is seasonable.

Mr. Robert Mitcham is extremely good as- an ex-crook turned_ honest who once again is lured on to the shady side of the street by his former employer Mr. Kirk Douglas. He has that sort of hand- some brooding face, unlit by even the ghost of a smile, which implies tremendous internal suffering, of a spiritual nature of course, and every woman is bound to feel it is her privilege to get that look off his face. Miss Jane Greer has an odious part to play, for she cheats, lies and murders alternately, at regular intervals, throughout the whole length and breadth of the picture, apologising feebly every now and then for her deficiencies, but doing nothing to remedy them. For a weak vacillating character she is remarkably quick on the trigger ; indeed her sole method of dealing with life's little problems is to shoot whoever happens to be in the way. It is, of course, a simple method, but there is no future in it, as Miss Greer eventually discovers. Mr. Kirk Douglas and Miss Virginia Huston portray vice and virtue with equal amiability, and the whole thing goes with a swing, the sort of swing you find at the end of a rope.

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It must have taken a thousand men with a thousand toothcombs working day and night to discover, among the male population of Great Britain, anybody quite so unlike the Prince Regent as Mr. Peter Graves. He is very thin with a long handsome face, and, even when with advancing years he is permitted an additional corpu- lence, this all too modest allowance is concentrated in the lower half of his body, so that he looks like a still very thin man with a small drawing-room cushion tucked into his trousers. Which, of course, is what he is. He also wears a white peruque which is utterly at variance with, at any rate, my notions of Prinny's appearance. How- ever, if we can forget that Mr. Graves is the Prince Regent—and really it is quite easy to do—we can can yet praise him for being a good actor atrociously mis-cast. Miss Joyce Howard as Mrs. Fitz- herbert is entirely charming even if her reading of the part lacks depth, her sufferings thus seeming proportionately shallow ; but on the whole this film forfeits our admiration by being a little boring, a little long, a little wrong and somehow strangely inhuman. VIRGINIA GRAHAM. MUSIC