26 FEBRUARY 1954, Page 11


The Maggie. (Odeon, Marble Arch.) The Island Sinner. (Marble Arch Pavilion.) Hondo. (Warner.)

HURRAY for '‘ another sparkling Ealing comedy! Directed with shrewd humour by. Alexander Mackendrick, The Maggie is concerned with one of the antiquateu puffer boats which work among the Western Isles. Its skipper, an endearing old scoundrel, is played by Alex Mackenzie and he it is who, by foul means, gets a valuable cargo of furniture aboard, property belonging to an American tycoon, Paul Douglas, and sets off with it to the island on which Mr. Douglas has bought a castle. Despite the latter's violent efforts to get the cargo transferred to a more seaworthy vessel— he boards the puffer himself to take charge— the skipper pursues his way undaunted by numerous catastrophes, and sees to it that his wily hand is kept firmly on the helm1of destiny. This is a thoroughly entertaining film, the characters drawn with masterly precision, the situations original, the humour gentle, and Mr. Mackendrick, who directed Whisky Galore, can be complimented on the rare achievenient of following one

success with another. * * ' The Island Sinner is a highly complicated Italian melodrama starring Silvana Pam- pinini, one of those sultry well-developed actresses who seem to grow only in Italy. It all takes place on a bleak island near Sicily, and Miss Pampinini, arriving from Palermo with a black negligee, a bathing dress, irresistible sex appeal and an infinite capacity for being bored, shatters the island from mountain to sea. It is very difficult to keep a grip on the plot, for, when the film opens, the heroine has been found shot in a burned but with a negro, and only by incessant flashbacks, roughly one every two minutes, can the story of her unworthy life be reconstructed and her murderer be brought to justice. So many lustful males with their attendant females in varying stages of despair are involved, and Miss Pampinini, despite her Compelling looks, is so grotesquely vampish that ipterest wanes and the eye is content to rest on the nice photography. In the same programme is a composite edition of newsreels involving Hitler and Eva Braun, the former sur- rounded by his henchmen and his yelling cohorts, still able to chill the heart, the latter sometimes seen swinging on a gate, sometimes being tickled, yet again standing on her head, appearing as the very prototype of the coy soubrette. The editing of this film, supposedly showing how through the war years Hitler and his mistress sported while others died, is poor even if well- intentioned; for it is evident that the Eva sequences were taken with somebody's home-cine on not more, perhaps less, than three occasions, the items being spread through the picture so as to give an impression of Miss Braun's perennial disregard for the world's agony. Had she and her kittenish rompings been expunged this would have been a reasonably guod documentary, at any rate a frightening reminder of what can happen to a nation when it is not, so to speak, looking.