SHORT TAKES

Tommy KellyGallant Sons     George B. Seitz     1940

Gallant Sons is a dumb, implausible story in which a bunch of school kids perform a play  —  “like Hamlet” !  —  in hopes of entrapping a murderer and freeing the imprisoned innocent father of one of the group.  One mystery is that MGM decided tocast stars of the magnitude of Ian Hunter and Jackie Cooper in this shoddy material.  Another is the studio’s expending its usual production values on the tawdry script.

It is always good to see Tommy Kelly, even in his thankless role here.  He has plenty of screen time but is principally assigned to listen to others talking. He listens like the pro he is.

Atlantic Ferry (American title Sons of the Sea)     Wallace Forde     1941

A studio-bound, miniature-filled but well-paced story of the transAtlantic struggle between sail and steam, Atlantic Ferry features a charming and vivacious Valerie Hobson as well as a very young and absolutely beautiful Michael Redgrave.  Felix Aylmer has one scene as a bank president.  What a pleasure it is when an actor’s diction makes his every word accessible, as opposed to thee others in a rapid-talking, not always understandable cast.  The film is of interest today for the performances of two bright stars and for its early look at the patriarch to-be.

Kill the Messenger    Michael Cuesta    2014

This is an ugly story with no likeable characters.  The always-interesting Renner is admirable in his journalistic struggle; but the script gives his character little depth and the actor a corresponding lack of opportunity.  It is shocking to learn of the injustices and crimes of which our own government is capable but gratifying to realize that this film could be made here and distributed nationwide.

NEXT POST FRIDAY June 26

Until then,
See you at the movies,
Rick

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