10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 13


" Look Before You Love." (Gaumont.)—" Mother Wore Tights." (New Gallery and Tivoli.)—" Man-Eater of Kumaon." (Astoria, December 12th.) Miss MARGARET LOCKWOOD has changed, and as far as I am con- cerned it is for the better. In the past, for all her good looks, she has lacked fire and has given the impression of a genteel and slightly sorrowing governess ; but in Look Before You Love she is not only carefree and even on occasions joyful, but she contrives at times to look like Miss Myrna Loy, which is a charming thing to do. The film starts reasonably well with Miss Lockwood, a secretary at the British Embassy in Rio de Janeiro, falling in love with and marrying a confidence trickster, Mr. Griffith Jones, whom she tries without success to reform. On the way home to England (she has lost her job because of him) they meet a millionaire, Mr. Norman Wooland. Unlike Miss Lockwood Mr. Wooland has not changed in the least, and still resembles a genteel and slightly sorrowing clergyman. After being cheated at cards and blackmailed by Mr. Jones, Mr. Wooland, roughly speaking, buys Miss Lockwood from him for £io,000, and from then on the film deteriorates rapidly. Not only are the situa- tions improbable but the dialogue becomes heavily perforated with clichés, and if, admittedly, nobody says, " I never knew you cared," it is undoubtedly on the tip of somebody's- tongue.

Mr. Jones is excellent as the charming cad, and Miss Phyllis Stanley eggs him on with sophisticated blandness. It is a mortal pity that this picture could not maintain the vigour and plausibility w:th which it started, for Miss Lockwood has never been better, and it is cruel that she is often served with unintentionally funny lines. Mr. Harold Huth's direction is able if unadventurous, but just by the way I would like to ask him whethir two English people, however bedizened with love, would hold each other quite so close and quite so lovingly when on a raft in the middle of a busy swim- ming pool.

Doubtless it is narrow-minded of me, but although Miss Betty Grable is connected in my mind with many things, maternity is * * * * not one of them. However, in Mother Wore Tights she has

daughters and worries a great deal about their upbringing, goingtwA far as to send them to a chic finishing school where the eldest learns to despise her parents because they are in vaudeville. Although Miss Grable and Mr. Dan Dailey have nothing to be ashamed of fundamentally, they are consistently and violently merry, and in the scene where they try to jolly along the stodgy guests at a smart country hotel I felt so .sorry for the peacefully knitting old ladies and the retired bankers playing picquet I had to shut my eyes with embarrassment. The film is in Technicolor, and there is a lot of singing and dancing of average ability. I think, however, that the most this film has to offer by way of entertainment is Miss Grable's torso, an offering I can forgo without any great sense of loss.

* * * *

The passages devoted to the tiger and its dirty deeds in Man-Eater of Kumaon are extremely effective, and never has there been a more glorious beast more beautifully photographed. Its roars, too, are like thunder, and its palpably authentic rage puts the M.G.M. lion far into the shade. By what tricks and subterfuges the animal sequences are achieved I know not, but they are magnificently terrifying and have a naturalness about them that is most convincing. The human element, however, could hardly be less so. The white hunter, Mr. Wendell Corey, bearing an astonishing resemblance to our own Mr. James Donald, alone strikes a note of probability, as the Indians, whether real or painted brown, all converse with each other in American. I feel that in a small village in Northern India this is unlikely. I can understand and sympathise with the producer, seeing that he was so set on having an Indian romance between Sabu and Miss Joanne Page, but personally I prefer not to understand a word of what anyone is saying to listening to such a travesty of