16 JANUARY 1948, Page 13



"Fun and Fancy Free." (Odeon.)—" Qua des Orfevres." (Rialto.) WALT DISNEY has divided his new full-length film into two parts, the first of which can be commended, the second deplored. Con- cerning himself with the " life and hard times " of a little circus bear, he leads us into a forest, and there we meet those rotund furry affairs at whose approach the sternest heart melts like mar- garine. As he has often done before, Mr. Disney exploits the lamentable lack of rabbits and chipmunks in our lives, and recaptures for us a breath of our innocence, a breath that gets blown away the moment his animals become too human or, indeed, too large. Bongo, the baby bear, pedalling through the trees on his one-wheel cycle, is as nice a thing as you would find anywhere, but his bigger, grizzlier cousins dancing an ursine version of Sir Roger are neither

endearing nor amusing. • The second half of the film is disrupted by the presence of Mr. Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. He tells the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, and it is acted by Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and a jocular slightly m.d. giant. I can appreciate Mr. Disney's desire to enlarge the field of his genius, but he should believe us when we say that the introduction of the human element into his pictures, whether flesh and blood or pen and paint, seems, on the contrary, to narrow it. Let him seek new ways of expressing himself by all means, but, please, solely in the animal kingdom. It is here, in this childish imaginary world, low down amongst the flowers or against the giant leaves of trees, he casts his spell. Here it is that he unfolds a mystery, whereas the ways of humans are known to us. * * * *

M. Henry-Georges Clouzot, in directing Quai des Orfevres, has concentrated his skill on delineating the background rather than the foreground of a crime. Although he tells the story of two innocent people, who for various reasons not only appear to be guilty of a murder but also feel they are, we are much more interested in the world in which they live, the world of the cheap music-hall. The atmosphere, one might almost say the flavour, of this world is pungent enough to erase all consciousness of being in a cinema. By the same token we inhale the aroma of every-day life at the Paris Sfirete. It is not what M. Louis Jouvet and his minions say with regard to the plot which makes them seem such true beings, but rather the small of-no-account things they do or that happen around them. For one thing, M. Jouvet's office-work is constantly inter- rupted. For another, he blows his nose. In most films this would denote the beginning of some mortal fever ; but M. Jouvet blows his, once, in the middle of a conversation, presumably because he feels he wants to. The effect is strangely exhilarating. There are a thousand such moments, so simple, so ordinary, yet, on the screen, so rare. Come to think of it, one has never heard a man clear his throat in a film unless he were about to make a speech, nor has he ever stooped to tie up a shoe-lace unless he wished to avoid recognition.

Quai des Orfevres provides such detailed observation of the minutiae of daily living that it deserves a second visit to absorb all of them—faces sounds, sights, smells almost ; and though M. Bernard Blier and Mdlle. Suzy Delair may not be particularly appeal- ing or outstandingly talented, M. Jouvet is undeniably both, and he, with a crowded vigorous Paris behind him, provides a feast to delight