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December 10, 1931 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1931-12-10

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Published every morning except Monday during the University year
the Board in Control of Student Publications.
Member of the Western Conference Editorial Association.
The Associated Press is exclusively entitled to the use forire;
lication of all news dispatches credited to it or not otherwise
lited in this paper and the local news published herein.
Entered at the Post Office at Ann Arbor, Michigan, as second
is matter. Special rate of postage granted by Third Assistant
tmaster General..
Subscription by carrier, $4.00; by mail, $4.59
Offices: Ann Arbor Press Building, Maynard Street, Ann Arbor,
:higan, Phones. Editorial, 49211; Business, 21214.
Telephone 4925
y Editor .......... .... ...........Carl Forsythe
toral Director............................Beach Conger, Jr.
fs Editor ..«........................ David M. Nichol
rta Editor ....................... ..Sheldon Q. Fullerton
men's Editor..........................Margaret M. Thompson,
stant News Editor....... .... c............ Robert L. Pierce

smugglers complicate the plot considerably, as does
the presence of Miss Velez, who later becomes the
wife of the expatriated hero.
The real difficulty comes when friends arrive from
England to take the little son away to be educated,
and we were afraid for awhile that nearly everyone
was going to get shot when the {crooked sheriff and
his gang showed up at the same time, but everybody
is saved except the Indian wife, who was heart-
broken over the loss of her child anyway.
The two lead parts are characterized by unusually
intelligent handling, and, in spite of a rather simper-
ing story, the audience is sympathetic throughout
the picture. Baxter, who has not enjoyed particular
prominence of late, is an extremely forceful hero,
playing successfully a part that few actors could
Charles Bickford, known chiefly for his parts as
a member of racketeering gangs, shows his versatility
by fitting perfectly into the part of the Bad Man of
the Great Western Plains.' He is even better in "The
Squaw Man" than he has been as a gangster.
Raymond Hatton, who virtually dropped out of
pictures when. Wallace Beery stopped being a comic,
comes back with this show and does a small bit,
though bothing to be compared with his past per-

'rank B. Gilbreth'
Boland Goodman
Karl Seifert

(AOulen Senn

nedy. James Inglis
Jerry E. Rosenthal
George A. Stauter
John S. Townsend
Charles A. Sanford

er . .Myers
n Jones

Sports Assista
John W. Thomas

Stanley W. Arnheim
Lawson E. Becker
Edward C. Campbell
. Williams Carpenter
rhomas Connellan
Samuel G. Ellis
Dorothy Brockman
Miriam Carver
Beatrice Collins
Louise Crandall
Elsie Feldman
Prudence Foster

Fred A. Huber
Norman Kraft
Roland Martin
Henry Meyer
Albert H. Newman
E. Jerome Pettit
Georgia Geisman
Alice Gilbert
Martha Littleton
Elizabeth Long
Frances Mrnchester
Elizabeth Mann

John w. Pritchard
Joseph Renihan
C. Hart Schaaf
B~rackley Shaw
Parker R. Snyder
G. R. Winters
Margaret O'Brien
Hillary Rarden
Dorothy Rundell
Elma Wadsworth '
Josephine Woodhams

A Review by, Barbara Wright
It is with an attitude of humility that we attempt

Telephone 21214
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vil Aronson John Keyser Grafton W. Sharp
lbert E. Bursley Arthur F. Kohn Donalo A. Johnston II
len Clark James Lowe Don Lyon
ibert Finn Bernard E. Schnack6 Bernard Ii. Good
inns Becker Anne Harsha May Seefrled
rtha Jane Cisrel Katharine Jackson Minnie Seng
nevieve Field Iorothy Layin Helen Spencer
xine Fischgrund Virginia McComb Kathryn Stork
n Gallmeyer Carolin Mosher Clare Unger
ry Harriman Helen Olsen Mary Elizabeth Watts

idge or

E are reminded, as we write, of the song en-
.. titled, "Gee, But It's Great to be Crazy."
very once in a while some person gets a foolish
otion and attempts to play it before the public's
res, meanwhile calling into being the corps of
iblic relations experts-the ballyhoo artists-as
ey are called. First, we think of Mah Jong, then
Tom Thumb golf, and again of Eugenie hats.
ow it's bridge. Not that we object to bridge; we,
ke the game. What we object to is the limit to
hich it is being carried.
In particular we refer to the contest between
ie Culbertsons, on the one hand, and Mr. Sidney
enz and Mr. Oswald Jacoby, on the other. The
atch is to be 150 rubbers, nine of which so far
ave been played. The Culbertsons have wagered
,000 to the $1,000 put up by Mr. Lenz that their
ethod of play-the approach-forcing system-is
etter than the 1-2-3 system developed by Mr.
enz. The losers are to give the sum they put
; to charity. Which is all very nice. Football
imes have been held for charity, too.
The point is this: Is there any great difference
the rival systems? The contest is being held, it
said, to decide this issue. But after thinking
rer the subject, we fail to see where the differ-
ice exists. Both, obviously, attempt to attain one
>al-the defeat of your opponents. But back of
.is, it seems, is something more. Both the Cul-'
rtsons and Lenz are experts, we will admit.
hey also have books on bridge. The publicity
ists nothing. Therefore, why not resort to an
d American custom and put one over on the

adequate criticism of the Abbey Players' matinee per-
formance of "The Far-Off Hills." To witness a per-
formance so near the ultimate in artistic perfection
is to experience first an indefinable satisfaction, and
then a feeling awe. -In this mood, to praise is to risk
being fulsome, and to risk heaping the stigma of
amateurism on the critic's head; but any hesitation
on this score to remark the unalloyed magnificence
of yesterday's performance would leave the critic
open to the charge of consummate triviality.
It is seldom vouchsafed one to witness a drama
perfect from every viewpoint. Especially is this true
of comedy where the slightest degree of over- or
under-emphasis may throw the entire play out of
focus. But it may be said without danger of exagger-
ation that "The Far-Off Hills" maintained this finely
modulated tenor throughout, which extended from
the larger effects to the minutest detail. The play
was so well balanced that even this perfection of
detail, which in itself is not uncommon, did not dis-
tract attention from the whole; detail was a factor
of the play and attuned to it rather than having
central importance, which latter so often occurs when
a play is over-directed.
The play itself is a lovely, delicate thing that not
only credits the author with a sense of fine distinc-
tions, but indicates him a master of stage technique.
The humor is the whimsical irony of culture and
restraint. Light and airy, it is of the quiet, effective
sort characteristic of Irish and English people. The
action is unified and extremely lucid, the characters
distinctly individuals, convincing with but one ex-
ception. Marian undergoes a complete transforma-
tion that is bewilderingly sudden. There is perhaps
too slight motivation and explanation of this abrupt
Mr. S. Lennox Robinson is noted for his excellent
dialogue, which reputation is completely substantiat-
ed by this play. It has not the brilliance of super-
sophistication, but is written with a sure, swift stroke,
having at the same time the charm of simplicity. Mr.
Robinson hates sham, has discarded all stage tricks,
which he considers essentially artificial. In this re-
spect he has invested drama with a new vitality, lost
in recent years through excessive use of the tradi-
tional artifices that are the property of ,the play-
wright, and have become sterile. This play, delight-
ful though it is, would be completely ineffective if
handled by an unsympathetic cast; its very highly
tempered qualities make it incumbent on the cast
presenting it to treat the play with as great, if not
greater delicacy, shading, and nuance than did the
author in writing it.
And this is precisely twhere the Abbey Players'
artistry lay. Finished actors as they are, they have
been allowed the greatest lattitude in the interpreta-
tion of their characters according to the traditional
policy of the company inaugurated by Mr. Yeats.
Each member of the cast was sensitively aware of his
part, which he enacted with the dignity it deserved.
This approach to the piece with a feeling for its
harmcly and lightness is remarkable; in this the
players have evidenced their histrionic skill as well
as their intelligence. A cast automatically following
direction could never have maintained this even,
farcical vein.
Neither vehicle nor sympathetic interpretation of
it, however, can have much significance without a
third element, direction. And it is through fine di-
recting that the ultimate perfection of the play was
reached. Mr. Robinson has skillfully emphasized
main currents of interest, and brought out innuen-
does of meaning. Technical elements of the directing
were excellent. Exits and entrances, for instance,;
were managed vWith a smoothness and unobtrusive-
ness that was no less than astounding; characters
were dispersed and assembled to meet the demands-
.of the action with no straining of the audience'sE
credulity. These were in marked contrast to theE
awkward and noticeably manipulated exits and en-
trances in "Juno and the Paycock," which were at
times painfully self-conscious. In tribute to Mr.
Robinson, he has trained to finished, subtle acting, a
cast accustomed to portraying the awkward and
obvious motions of the Irish peasant. This is their
forte, for the Abbey Players choose their actors and
actresses for ability to imitate the peasant. However,r
in this play we have them producing an entirelyp
different sort of effect, and doing it as ably as they
take their more accustomed roles. Both actor andc
director exhibit versatility in this respect.

A Review by William J. Gorman
With a problem of the Christian
conscience-Job's problem-as his
focus, St. John Ervine wrote in his
"John Ferguson" a forceful tragedy,
rich in implications, ruthless in its
bare presentation, yet complete in
understanding. The struggle to ac-
cept human suffering; the effort to
think destruction the will of God,
to avoid' the temptation to usurp
the privilege of judgment, to refuse
the dictates of human passions;
the struggle to be humble-these
are as rich tragic issues as the tra-
gic issues of either the Greek or
Humanistic world. St. John Er-
vine's play proves that, I think. It
would prove it more clearly if it
were a poetic tragedy-that is, if
it were less brutally plain and rep-
resentative, emotionally and intel-
lectually more explicit, emotional-
ly and intellectually more height-
ened and less oppressive. If these
characters were given poetic speech
-that is, if thy were presented as
capable from moment to moment
of magnificent expression of their
experience-"JohnFerguson" would
be a great tragedy. The sonorous
statement of their own complete
self-awareness would mitigate for
us their suffering and our experi-
ence of the play would be less over-
whelming. I mean to say that ca-
tharsis wasn't achieved by last
night's tremendous performance of
"John Ferguson" not because it is
a Christian tragedy, but because it
is a naturalistic, not a poetic, trag-
The performances last night of
'he Abbey players -as they have
all been, with two minor exceptions
Tuesday night-were splendid.
F. J. McCormick-George, Joxer,
ind Harold in previous appearances
-played John Ferguson with extra-
>rdinary sympathy and tat. The
>id man's patience and charity had
i tinge .of fanaticism in them (just
as, under another system, there was
fanatacism in Electra's desire to
preserve her response to a horrible
leed until the Gods, by a deed of
revenge, should purge her of it).
rhe old man insisted the more on
mis faith aid his certainty, the
more the world seemed to deny
them. Mr. McCormick's slow, care-
ful approach to the part gave real
power to that moment when John
Ferguson, stricken by a father's
ove for his son, denied his princi-
:ples; in this, his hardest moment,
he talked and acted excitably and
violently. The slow, level tone of
Mr. McCormick's address was John
Ferguson's certainty.
Barry Fitzgerald (perhaps the
"star" in a company so uniformly
good and mutually sympathetic as
uo make that vicious term less so)
gave the fine performance of James
caesar. St. John Ervine, in this
part, had a rough, understanding
grasp on cowardice. Mr. Fitzgerald
gave every impulse in the weak-
ling's petty emotions reality.
Michael J. Dolan -quite badly
miscast as Charlie Bentham the
evening before - gave an intense,
rendering of "Clutie"-an interest-

ing variation on that familiar fig-
ure in all literatures-the wise fool.
The loss of his "wits" sharpened
Clutie's intuitions;and his cruel
play with the mind of Andrew
:nade a notable scene.
The two children-resenting their
father's religion, impulsively hu-
man, unwilling to negate them-
selves, making their own the task
of revenge and atonement-were
sensitively done by Kate Curling
and Arthur Shields. The wonder-
ful tact of Mr. Robinson's direction
became most clear when these play-
3rs were allowed to do full justice
to their parts, while keeping John
Ferguson all-important. That last
scene threatens to be Andrew's; Mr.
Shields kept his attention fixed on
his father all during it, reminding
as that the youth's decision should
oe seen as the climactic event in
'he father's life.
Maureen Delaney-for all her
richness as Aunt Ellen, the least
flexible actress in the company-
gave the mother's puzzled simpli-
city quite adequately.
The visit of the Abbey Players,
I think all agree, has been the
most exciting theatrical event in
recent years. As a company of play-
ers; they have reaffirmed what the
existence of our own Theatre Guild
constantly affirms-'repertory's the
thing.' The quality of their plays
("Juno and the Pavcock" is cer-,


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"The Squaw Man," with Warner Baxter, Lupe
Telez, and some other people, brings back the old-
ype western to the screen with a bang; for those
vho like two-gun bad men,-and who doesn't-this
how offers something that has been missing from
iictures almost since sound came in.
Warner Baxter's nerformance is flawless through-

It is just possible that Senator Moses is getting
a lot of fun over all the row about keeping him or
firing him as president pro tem. George may be
cheerful and affable, but he is deliciously hard boiled.
Down in Galesburg, Ohio, they have sold two
eighteen-vear-old zoo bears to the butcher because



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