20 MARCH 1942, Page 11


All That Money Can Buy." At the RegaL " Keep 'Em Flying." At the Leicester Square.

All That Money Can Buy is a film version of Stephen Vincent Benet's novel The Devil and Daniel Webster, and the main qualities of the film clearly reflect the virtues of a simple and a kindly piece of writing. Here is a film blessed with a good story --that rarest of screen attributes—and with a sufficient sense of the power of the camera and the microphone to be able to tell it well. All That Money Can Buy has been called a " morality film," but it is important to remember that practically nothing else ever comes out of Hollywood. Hollywood is so obsessed with the idea of selling souls to the Devil that the hackneyed penalties of vice and the equally hackneyed rewards of virtue are the sole stock-in-trade of the serious scenario-writer. His task is merely to deck out those two old protagonists Good and cil in new raiment and to meditate, if he must, upon the fact that the two old troupers become less and less distinguishable as their apparel becomes more and more novel. Yet, beneath the disguises, Good versus Evil remains the sole dramatic ssue, and it is a relief to see a film which makes no bones about t and in which Old Nick himself appears in the shape of a foxy Id reprobate with a winning sense of humour. In All That oney Can Buy he is assisted in his soul-buying by a curious he-devil who becomes maid and mistress to his victim Jabez tone, and when it proves necessary for Mr. Snatch (as the Devil refers to be called) to establish in court his right to the soul he has purchased he summons from the nether regions a jury onsisting of the most notorious ghosts in all American history. e is worsted, however, by the eloquence of that great American wyer and politician, f3aniel Webster, and Jabez Stone returns stened to the poverty of his New Hampshire farm, fully awake o the perils of the seven years of luxury which we have seen im enjoy as his share of the dread bargain.

All That Money Can Buy is an extraordinary mixture of

ealism, fantasy, horror and comedy—with a final and an unfor- tunate dash of topical propaganda ; but the film is deeply moving the picture it presents of Me simple virtues of the hard-working

arming people of New Hampshire. The legend, set in its mid- ineteenth-century period and its beautiful New England atmo- here does, with all its extravagances of fancy, make an important ntribution to history on the screen: For this happy result e must first thank director William Dieterle for his admirably strive exploitation and disciplined control of recent advances deep-focus photography, expressionistic lighting and distorted

sets. The opening sequence which establishes the poverty of- e Stone farm and the constant struggle against bad weather d ill-luck is one of the most sensitively observed, richly photo- graphed and invigoratingly edited sequences we have seen for y a long day. The sudden cut to a big, significant close-up frequently used throughout the film with great dramatic power. Joseph August's photography is outstanding and a remarkable usical score by Bernard Herrmann contributes vitally to the changing moods of the film. As the mephistophelian Snatch, alter Huston gives a hypnotic performance, Edward Arnold warms the heart as Daniel Webster and Jane floarwell as Farmer one's mother personifies the indomitable spirit of all women ho live humbly and bravely by the land.

Abbott and Costello are to be seen this week in Keep 'Em ing. There are good songs and some spectacular U.S. Army Corps scenes, but for the most part the film is concerned th variants of the problem of how long it will be before cello reacts to some new peril at his elbow and how much still his resultant terror will keep him rooted in writhing