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October 03, 1954 - Image 4

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PAGE FOrR

THE IIC 'IGA T IIAILY'

SUNDAY, OCTOBERS. 19541

PAGE FOUR TIlE MICHIGAN DAILY

vUNaY .a. OCTVORs ]1,iJ1 2 A. UNL

F

IT SEEMS TO ME
By NAN SWINEHART
Daily Associate Editor
NOW THAT another season of sorority rushing
is over, it seems that an evaluation of the past
two weeks is in order.
Although this year's rushing program was
handled quite fairly and efficiently by Panhel-
lenic officials, the whole plan of rushing used
by sororities has been some twenty years obso-
lete. The system in use now was quite adequate
when one fifth the number rushing today sought
Greek membership.
But twelve hundred women rushing at one time
is far too great a number to permit fairness either
to the rushee or the sorority. Cutting after mixers
from 1200 to perhaps 300 rushees necessarily causes
sororities to eliminate women whom they would
like to ask back. To meet 1200 people in three day
and then be able to judge them fairly - ridiculous.
Rushing is too long. The argument justifying a
party every single night, except one, for two
weeks, is that rushees and sororities should "get
to know each other." Does anyone honestly be-
lieve that acquaintances made throughout rush-
ing are any more than superficial? Couldn't the
same superficial judgement be made in less time
and the health, morale and scholastic standing
of all involved be preserved?
From the sororities standpoint rushing is con-
sidered "successful" if quota is made. No doubt this
year most sororities will proclaim a very "success-
ful" rushing season. And then next spring, they
can count up pledges lost for academic and other
reasons. Not being an authority on rushing, other
than having just completed my fourth season of it,
I cannot propose any new plan. I do feel very
strongly that a new system is definitely in order
very soon. The present rat race cannot go on to
the advantage of rushees or sororities. If panhel-
lenic groups wish to remain strong on campus,
some move must be made now toward the study
and formation of a new system.
This is not something that can be accom-
plished with anything less than a great amount
of study and work by a group of interested peo-
ple who know what they are doing. Such a group
would necessarily have to include alumni and
undergraduate members of panhellenic.
Before the year is out, let there be action on this
matter of rushing, the basis of the sorority system.
Driving Me
Crazy
7RAN INTO a guy planning to buy a new car the
other day. What really upset me was that he
had a European make in mind.
"No!" I cried. "Whatever you do, don't buy
a European car!" He looked surprised. "Why
not?
"Don't you know?" I asked incredulously, "The
next step in the security program is labeling all
drivers of foreign made vehicles as subversive."
"You're crazy."
"Think so? Well, a state senator, through his
own unique system of private investigation, has
discovered a subversive in the state department of
the state. His function, says the senator, was to
issue certain license plate numbers to, foreign car
owners, in order that Party members could be
identified on the run. The senator claims to have
broken up the most vicious ring of subversives ever
organized for quick communication among sub-
versives."
"Sounds silly."
"Ha. Every party member was required to drive
a foreign car. The system was perfect. But the
senator is a senator."
"So what?"
"Sb don't buy a foreign car." - Jim Dygert

The Week
In Review
Local*..*.
RE-EMPLOYMENT: Former faculty member Dr.
Mark Nickerson last week found himself with a new
appointment to the faculty of the University of
Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Nickerson, a phar.
macology professor here, was dismissed August 26
by the Board of Regents following proceedings lead-
ing back to his refusal to answer questions about al-
leged Communist affiliations before the Clardy com-
mittee last May.
PROTEST: The Student Legislature Wednesday
went on record as opposed to the firing of Nickerson
on grounds that the dismissal resulted from his
political beliefs and not because of academic in-
competency.
EXCHANGE STUDENT: This year's exchange
student from the University of Berlin, Heinz Kohler,
arrived on campus with no place to live. As of
today, the economics and political science student
is still living at the Union.
RALLY: Ann Arbor weather Friday night pro-
vided just the wrong setting for some 2,000 pep-
rallyers intent on whipping up spirit for yester-
day's game. A few drops sounded the warning,
then came the downpour to drown the cheers
of all but the most loyal who concluded their ac-
tivities in Yost Field House.
Yesterday's "rain" was the team from West
Point, New York.
* * *
In~tern~ational...
LONDON: The London Conference held the in-
ternational limelight last week as nine powers met
to attempt a solution of the tricky German prob-
lem. Finding the answer to the apparently defunct
European Defense Community was optimistically
hoped for by leading members of the conference.
After two days, a decision was reached to end
the occupation of West Germany, permit German
rearmament and entrance into NATO, and to
expand the Brussels Pact to include Italy.
The following day France unexpectedly vetoed
the proposals leaving the German question as "rie-
sent" as before.
N* * *
National...
CENSURE? The Watkins Committee investi-
gating charges against Sen. Joseph McCarthy
(R-Wis.) found the Senator guilty on two of
five charges last week. A special meeting of
the Senate early next month will listen to the
Committee findings and decide upon the censure.
The junior Senator from Wisconsin has prom-
ised a fight.
SEGREGATION: Carrying out the Supreme
Court rulings against segregation in public schools
has hit many snags, one of the worst in the town
of Milford, Delaware.
Following the enrollment of 11 Negroes in the
Milford school, most of the white children of the
town failed to show up for classes. Irate parents met
to fight the "mixing" and shortly after the school
board resigned. A new board replaced the old
and with it came segregation.
SENATE DEATH: Sen. Pat McCarran (D-Nev.)
died suddenly Tuesday after 22 years in the Con-
gress. The 78-year-old senator was sponsor of the
McCarren Act dealing with immigration into the
United States.
His death precipitated a fight over who (that is
what party) is to fill his vacant seat.
SPORTS: Clevelanders who had been preparing a
royal demonstration for their "unbeatable" Indians
for weeks were pitched into gloom yesterday as the
underdog Giants won the last game of the World
Series seven to four.
-Harry Strauss

Whodunnits
As Art
Foremost a m o n g the names
of American writers who have
made monumental contributions to
the development of the detective
story are those of Edgar Allen Poe
and Ellery Queen. It was Poe who,
in 1841 as editor of a Philadelphia
magazine, Graham's, offered to the
light of day his own story, "The
Murders in the Rue Morgue," and
thereby created the genre. Also,
the United States can lay claim to
the versatile and prolific cousins,
Frederic Dannay and Manfred B.
Lee, who, collaborating under the
justly famous "E.Q." pen name
have devoted much of their efforts
over the past twenty-five years to
the raising of the standards (and
consequently, the public opinion)
of the detective story.
The Queens recently published
their 80th book, a nove.l And it
is the attainment of this land-
mark in that brilliant series of
adventures in detection which
gives us reason to pause for an
examination of the reputation of
the American detective story to-
day.
The detective story, using the
popular blanket expression, is
much maligned. When induced to
confess their affection for the mur-
der story, its readers must fight to
conceal feelings of guilt and in-
feriority. Its critics call it trash,
sensationalism and, more recently
pornography. Its kindest judge
will perhaps classify it simply as
'escape literature.'
The legitimate detective story
will deny it deserves any of the
first three labels, and it can justify
its stand. But it will permit it-
self, most graciously, to be includ-
ed under the last category; for in
complete honesty, that's what it
is.
Let us continue to be honest.
There is a tradition which runs
through all detective fiction, start-
ing with Poe, touching Gaboriau,
Doyle, Van Dine and and contin-
uing into the present with Christie
and Carr.
This is the tradition of "fair
play", wihch makes of the de-
tective novel - simply -- a puz-
zle, a chess problem, a challenge
to the intellect. In the fair play
novel, .the reader progresses
throughhthe investigation on
even terms with the fictional puz-
zle solver, in possession of (if he
is perceptive enough) the same
data and clues that the detective
is amassing.
This, we repeat, is detective fic-
tion at its purest-the way it was
first conceived, and the way it is
happily continuing at the present
in works such as the Messrs. Queen
are producing.
Now, there are certain other
types of mystery fiction which slip
in under the title of "detective
story" that are something quite
different. The extremely popular
feminine school characterized by
an intuitive, haphazard style of
detection does not belong. This
has come to be recognized gener-
ally as the H.I.B.K. (Had - I - But
Known) class of detection: "Had
I but known that by mentioning the
footsteps in the hall to Inspector
Finch, I could have prevented the
eight murders that followed, etc."
Discerning critics will realize this
distinction.
The most important thing which
has happened in modern American
detective fiction is the mass es-
pousement by millions of readers
of the ultra-hard-boiled detective
story. And this suggests the se-
cond main category which does not

rightly' belong to the realm of pure
detective fiction.
Once upon a time, in the late
1920'sand early '30's, the hardboil-
ed detective novel was important
and significant. In 1930 Dashiell
Hammett wrote The Maltese Fal-
con, and its appearance signalled
the recapturing of the international
initiative in detective fiction which,
soon after Poe, had passed into
the hands of the English (Doyle, et
al) and had remained there ever
since. Prior to the Falcon, we had
been borrowing heavily from the
British for criminal inspiration. So,
The Maltest Falcon remains the
first truly American detective novel
in history.
Hammett, with his hard-boiled
detective, brought realism to de-
tective fiction which had until
his time existed in a sort of
make-believe world of paper pas-
sions and ratiocinative prowess.
His contributions are now class-
ic. But the inevitable imitators
followed -- exaggerating, distort-
ing, even unconsciously burles-
queing the hard-boiled style and
..material. Of these, one of the
latest is Spillane.
By association, the legitimate de-
tective story has suffered a
"roughing-up" of its reputation.
The tough, resilient, hard-living,
hard-d r i n k i n g, leather-knuckled
hero of the "realism-plus" thriller
has given the genre a black eye.
Needless to say, the horror story.

"Hold Everything, Fellows"
-
I.,

II

DAILY OFFICIAL BULLETIN

ON THE
WASHINGTON
MERRY-GO-ROUND
WITH DREW PEARSON

WASHINGTON-It's been a long
time since the nation's capital saw
a real, honest-to-goodness rock-bot-
tom probe of the biggest lobby in
Washington, namely the public util-
ity lobby, which, according to the
official records filed in the House
of Representatives, spends more
than any other pressure group.
However, as a result of the Dixon-
Yates deal, such a probe is now
being discussed.
Two members of Congress would
like to conduct it. They are: Sen.
William Langer of North Dakota,
nominal Republican, and Congress-
man Sterling Cole of New York, 100
per cent Republican.
Senator Langer, who is head of
the Senate Judiciary Committee,
has already tried to stage an in-
vestigation. He persuaded Sidney
Davis, former assistant to Justice
Hugo Black, to leave a lucrative
law practice in New York and un-
dertake a monopoly investigation.
But from that point on, Langer
found himself stymied. Senator
Jenner of Indiana who, as chair-
man of the Rules Committee, con-
trols the purse strings of all Senate
investigations, would not let Lang-
er have a red cent to probe the
utilities or any mnonopoly. Davis
ended up paying his own expenses,
and even those of witnesses, while
Senator Langer finally decided to
take three big law cases in order
to finance his investigation.
. * *
Friend of Utilities
The other solon, Congressman
Sterling Cole, who would like to
probe the Dixon-Yates utility situ-
ation, is chairman of the Joint
Committee on Atomic Energy and
already has a certain amount of
investigative money at his disposal.
However, he smiles so benignly on
the big utility-atomic combines that
any probe conducted by him would
mean little.
Congressman Cole even tried to
wipe out the Eisenhower proposal
to let all private companies share
in a five-year pool of new atomic
patents. The original Eisenhower
atomic bill provided for such a pool
because some big companies which
have been favored by the Atomic
EnergyCommission have the in-
side track on new atomic patents,
and it was considered only fair to
let less-favored companies have a
chance to catch up.
Democratic leaders amended the
bill in the Senate to make it a ten-
year instead of a five-year pool,
but when the bill got back to the
House, Congressman Cole knocked
out the patent pool altogether-
despite pleas of fellow Republican
Senator Hickenlooper of Iowa to
stand by the Eisenhower program.
The debate illustrated how far
Cole leans over on the side of the
big atomic-power combines. A lot
terature". Man has long entertain-
ed himself by torturing his mind
with puzzles, riddles, mazes and
imaginary problems such as the
murder mystery. But, good liter-
ature?
Yes and no. Until public and
critical opinion is reformed, no-
thing acknowledged as good lit-
erature can be written within the
genre. Witness the classic novel,
The Moonstone, written by Wilkie
Collins in 1868. A remarkably
well-plotted and well written de-
tective story, it is regarded by
critics as "serious literature"
because it is "too good" to be
a detective novel. Perhaps some

of people wondered why, and this
may be the explanation.
Cole's Background
Mrs. Cole, the former Dorothy
Thomas, is the daughter of the
secretary of the Corning Glass
Company of Corning, N.Y. Cole is
also a great friend of Amory
Houghtongchairman of Corning
Glass. Houghton and the Corning
Glass crowd are Cole's best
backers.
Corning Glass, in turn, manu-
factures glass bulbs for General
Electric, has close ties with G.E.
And General Electric, of course,
is one of the biggest companies al-
ready having a foot in the atomic-
energy industrial door and want-
ing to get in further. It is among
the companies which might not
wish to pool its atomic patents
with other companies.
Congressman Cole has announced
that he will probe the Dixon-Yates
contract. Senator Langer has an-
nounced that he will do likewise.
It will be interesting to see who
gets the investigation money from
GOP leaders.
Mystery Man Gives
If you look over the private rec-
ords of mystery-man Henry Grune-
wald it's easy to understand why
certain people would like to get
him behind bars on a perjury
charge. First, they would like to
impeach his veracity; second, they
doubtless would like to get him in
a place where he has less chance
to talk.
In talking to Grunewald myself
I found that he had receipts to
show that he had contributed heav-
ily to the Democratic National
Committee, plus canceled checks
from ex-Sen. Owen Brewster of
Maine, Republican, plus an ac-
count of cash contributions to Gov-
ernor Dewey and Herbert Brow-
nell totaling $13,000 when Dewey
ran for president in 1944 and 1948.
"To be fair to Mr. Dewey," said
Grunewald, "he said, 'is this
cash?' I said yes. 'Well,' he says,
'I can't handle that, but I'll in-
troduce you to a fellow whom you
can give this money to.' "
Grunewald then was introduced
to a man he later found was Her-
bert Brownell, now attorney gen-
eral, then Dewey's campaign man-
ager. The amount then contributed
was $3,000. Later Grunewald said
he gave Brownell another $5,000 in
cash "in the presence of Gene Tun-
ney," and, in 1948, another $5,000.
Grunewald said he had given
$1,700 to the Truman campaign in
1948, and he produced a letter from
President Truman thanking him.
He also produced a receipt signed
by Howard McGrath, chairman of
the Democratic National Commit-
tee, for $500; another signed by
Joe Blythe, Democratic treasurer,
for $500; another for $1,000 signed
by Blythe; a receipt for $500 signed
by Sidney Solomon, a St. Louis
friend of Truman's. These contri-
butions were given during several
campaigns.
Grunewald produced a canceled
check to ex-Senator Brewster of
Maine dated 1941 for $2,500. This
was in addition to the $10,000 he
advanced Brewster in 1950-$5,000
each on behalf of Vice President
Nixon and Sen. Milton Young of
North Dakota.
"Did Nixon ever thank you for
that?" Grunewald was asked.
"No," he replied.
"Has he ever helped' you in your
present troubles?"
"No.i
"Did Nixon record that $5,000 In

The Daily Official Bulletin is an
official publication of the University
of Michigan for which the Michigan
Daily assumes no editorial responsi-
bility. Publication in it is construe-
tive notice to all members of the
University. Notices should be sent in
TYPEWRITTEN form to Room 3553
Administration Building before 2 p.m.
the day preceding publication (be..
fore 10 a.m. on Saturday).
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 1954
Vol. LXV, No. 12
Notices
Freshman Testing Program: Make-up
sessions for Freshmen who missed any
of the Aptitude tests given during Ori-
entation week wili be held on Tues.,
Oct. 5 and Thurs., Oct. 7. Please report
to Room 130, Business Administration
promptly at 7:00 p.m. For further infor-
mation call ext. 2297.
Late permission for women students
who attend the second performance of
"Al Star Jazz a the Philharmonic" on
wed., Oct. 13, at Hill Auditorium, will
be no later than 45 minutes after the
end of the performance.
The Art Print Loan Collection, 510
Administration. All prints that have
not been picked up by students will
be available next week for rental to
students, members of the faculty, and
employees. About 200 prints will be
available. Office Hours: Mon., Wed.,
Thurs., Fri. 1-5. Sat. 8-12.
The October meeting of the Faculty
of the College of Literature, Science,
and the Arts will be held Mon., Oct. 4,
1954, at 4:10 p.m. In Angell Hall Audi-
torium A.
Academic Notices
The Extension Service announces
that thereare still openings in the
following classes to be held Monday
evening, October 4:
Workshop in Creative Writing - 7:30
p.m. 171 School of Business Adminis-
tration. 16 weeks - $18.00. John F.
Muehl, Instructor.
Office Management - 7:00 p.m. 176
School of Business Administration. Two
hours of undergraduate credit. 16
weeks - $18.00. Irene Place, Instructor.
Management-Union Relations -7:30
p.m. 170 School of Business Adminis-
tration. Two hours of undergraduate
credit. 16 weeks - $18.00. Jerome O.
Cross, Instructor.
Higher and Lower Turning Points
In the Religion of the Bible - 7:30 p.m.
131 School of Business Administra-
tion. 8 weeks - $8.00. Professor Leroy
Waterman, Instructor.
Registration for these classes may be
made in Room 4501 of the Administra-
tion Building on State Street during
University office hours.
Concerts
Stanley Quartet, Gilbert Ross and
Emil Raab, violin, Robert Courte, vio-
la, and Oliver Edel, cello, will open the
Sunday afternoon series of concerts
covering the Beethoven quartets at 3:30
October 3, in the Rackham Lecture
Hall. The first program will include
Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 18, No. 6,
Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3, and
Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 127, and
will be open to the public without
charge.
Roberta Peters, young soprano of the
Metropolitan Opera, will give the first
program in the season's concert series
Monday, October 4, at 8:30 o'clock, in
Hill Auditorium. Concert-goers are re-
quested to arrive sufficiently early as
to be seated on time.
Miss Peters will present the following
program, assisted by Samuel Pratt,
flutist, and Warner Bass, pianist;
Bach's Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen;
Not All My Torments by Purcell; Scar-
latti's Cantatta with flute obligato; a
group of songs byrRichard Strauss;
The Mad Scene from "Hamlet" (A.
Thomas); Debussy's Fetes galantes;
Hahn's L'Heure Exquise; Chausson's La
Cigale; and the MadScene from "Lucia
di Lammermoor" with flute obligato
(Donizetti).
The Extra Concert Series will be
opened by Eleanor Steber, soprano, also
of the Metropolitan Opera, on Sunday
evening, October ,10, at 8:30.
Wickets for both concerts are avail-
able at the offices of the University
Musical Society in Burton Memorial
Tower; and will also be on sale at the
HilltAuditorium box office on the
nights of the concerts after 7:00
o'clock.
Events Today
Graduate Outing Club will meet Sun.

at 2 p.m. at the N.W. entrance to the
Rackham Bldg. Wear old clothes. Bring
cars if have. Return about 7. Newcom-
ers welcome.
The Fireside Forum Group of the
First Methodist Church for single grad-
uate students and young adults of
post-college age will meet at the back
of the church at 2:00 Sun. for an after-
noon outing. Transportation will be
provided. The regular evening meeting
will be held in the Youth Room at 7:30
at which time the Director of Christian
Education, Helen Thomas, will be the
speaker.
Hillel: Sun., Oct. 3. Supper club at
6:00 p.m. followed by record dance.
The Unitarian Student Group will
meet =Sun., Oct. 3, 7:30 p.m. at the
church. Students interested in trans-
portation will meet at Lane Hall at 7:15.
Transportation will also be provided at
7:15 in front of Alice Lloyd Hall for
students in that vicinity.
Informal Folk Sing at Muriel Lester
Co-op, 900 Oakland, on Sun., Oct. 3 at
8 p.m. Everybody invited.
7:30 p.m. Sunday - Unitarian Stu-
dent Group-Upperclassmen and Grads
-meet at the church, 1917 Washte-
n a w, to discuss: "Motivations
Propmting Us to Become Unitarians.
Transportation from Lane Hall at 7:15
p.m.
7 :30 p.m. Sunday -Unitarian Youth
Feloshn- Lweclssen--a

home of Unitarian Student Advisors,
Mr. and Mrs. Gerald C. Bailey, 1111
White Street - Mr. Dewitt Baldwin
of Lane Hall speaking on: "What
Groups Can Do That Individuals Can
Not." Transportation from Main Desk
at Michigan League.
Michigan Christian Fellowship: Dr.
John Kennard, Professor of Philosophy
at Wheaton College, will speak on
"Relativism and Absolutism" at 4 p.m.
in Lane Hall. Refreshments will be
served. Everyone will be most welcome.
Lutheran StudentAssociation - Sun-
day, October 3, 7:00 p.m. "Why Do We
Have Creeds" led by James Keisler, in-
structor in Mathematics. At the center,
corner of Hill St. and Forest Ave.
Westminster Student Fellowship will
meet at 6:45 in the student center of
the Presbyterian church. Rev. Charles
Leber will speak on "Towards a place
among peers" in the series "The Shak-
ing of Foundations."
Sunday, Oct. 3 - Wesleyan Guild.
9:30 p.m. Discussion: Basic Christian
Beliefs. 10:30 p.m. Discussion: Great
Ideas of the Bible. 5:30 p.m. Fellowship
supper. 6:45 p.m. Worship and Program.
Discussion: Stewardship, led by Sot
tand Marcy Westerman.
Coming Events
Kaffeestunde. The first. afternoon
coffee hour sponsored by the German
Club will be at 3:15 Monday, Oct. 4.
It provides an opportunity for speaking
and learning German in an informal
atmosphere. The faculty will be repre-
sented. The Kaffeestunde meets regu-
lariy at 3:15 on Mondays and Thurs-
days throughout the academic year.
"A Survey of Liturgical Music." A dis-
cussion course, treating the items of the
Jewish Service, the Roman Catholi
Mass and the Protestant liturgies, with
special emphasis upon the music: its
history and importance in the service.
Under the leadership of Miss Marilyn
Mason, Assistant Professor of Music.
Lane Hal. 4:15 p.m.
Alpha Phi Omega: There will be a
general meeting on Tues., Oct. 5, at
7:30 p.m. in Room 3A at the Union. In-
cluded in the business will be formal
pledge initiation. All members are re-
quested to attend.
Hillel: Monday, October 4, 8:00 p.m.
Musicale. Jeremiah Symphony by Leon-
ard Bernstein.
Hillel: Tuesday, October 5. Prof. Clark
Hopkins, classical archaeologist wi't
speak on Early Jewish Art. 8:00 p.m.
Science Research Club. Meeting,
Rackham Amphitheatre, 7:30 p.m.,
Tues., Oct. 5. Program: "Applications
of Modern Radiation Therapy" How-
ard Latourette, Roentgenology. "The
Southern Michigan Oil Boom," Ken-
neth Landes, Geology. Election of new
members. Dues received after 7:00 p.m.
The Varsity Debate Squad will meet
Tuesday, October 5th, in room 4203
Angell Hall at 4 p.m. All students in-
terested in debating are invited to at-
tend. Announcement will be made of
the plans for the coming year, which
include intercollegiate debates, audi-
ence programs, and radio and televi-
sion performances.
La P'tite Causette will meet tomor-
row in the wing of the Michigan Union
afeteria from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. If you
have anything to talk about, come and
talk about it "en francais."
A Ukranian club meeting will be held
at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 4 at the
Madelon Pound House, 1024 Hill Street.
Guests are welcome.
The University Choral Union, main-
tained by the University Musical So-
ciety, will holds its first rehearsal of
the season, Tues., Oct. 5 at 7:00, in
Angell Hall, Auditorium A.
Members will please arrive sufficient-
ly early as to be seated on time, and
to give their chorus numbers to the
attendance-takers as they enter the au-
ditorium.
Museum Movies. "Thundering Wat-
ers," free movie shown at 3 p.m. daily
including Sat. and Sun. and at 12:30
Wed., 4th floor movie alcove, Muse-
ums Building, Oct. 5-11.
2j~

f

,1

-

CURRENT MO~VIE *

At the Michigan...
TWO VIEWS ON
HOBSON'S CHOICE with Charles Laughton
HOBSON'S choice is, of course, no choice at all.
In the new English comedy just opened locally,
Charles Laughton is Hobson, the bootmaker with
no choice, and the reasons for this circumstance
are the sum and substance of the plot of the film.
Briefly, what Laughton, the middle-class
tradesman, is forced to face late in his life is
the defection of his eldest daughter, who runs his
business and has made up her mind that she
is going to marry her father's boothand and with
him establish a business of their own. Hobson
has this disaster coming because he has been a
tyrant all his life. When the daughter leaves, his
own business falters and eventually he must
accept daughter and son-in-law back in part-
nership on their terms. Itence, Hobson's choice.
While this is a rather somber Emil Jannings
kind of story in many ways, the movie makers
are really out to make a polished British romp
about the tradesman class, and their tone is sa-
tirical and somewhat patronizing. The film be-
gins with Laughton returning from one of his
nightly toots at the Moonrakers' Tavern. He opens
the door of his deserted shop and emits a pro-
found belch.
For me, the picture never rises much above
this level. On one hand, the audience is asked
to laugh at, not with, Hobson, which role Laugh-
ton plays for sheer ham. On the other, they

SERIOUS movie-goers expect superior comedies
from Britain in much the same way they ex-
pect convincing realism from Italy and sophistica-
tion from France. The movies that have given the
British this deservedly high rank have been, usual-
ly, in two rather specialized sub-genres of com-
edy. There is the out-and-out spoof or dead or
dying traditions-"Kind Hearts and Coronets," for
instance. And there is the more common gim-
mick-comedy, like "Genevieve," which proved that
antique cars can be fun, or like "Tight Little Is-
land," which develops the thesis that whiskey should
be treated as a God-given privilege. But "Hobson's
Choice," as fine a British comedy as any I've seen,
is not a satire and it does not invoke a gimmick.
It attempts to do something which might be more
difficult than satire or good clean fun with auto-
mobiles or whiskey. It tries to present a picture of
life in a time and place that provided certain tra-
ditions of self-reliance and of the value of work
well done, and in which it was possible, by virtue
of these traditions, to solve successfully the prob-
lems of living, to avoid tragedy or cynicism or
chaos, and to live happily.
The attempt succeeds, and it succeeds without
resort to sentimentalism or a superficial slickness.
The rich little movie about a wealthy, tyrannical,
alcoholic father, his steel-willed daughter, and
her romance with a timid cobbler, shares some-
thing of one of the great traditions of English
literature. It may sound overzealous, considering
the evidence produced here, to say that it has
some of the comic inventiveness of Dickens and
some of the serene cnnfidnne of Jane AiuenBu nt

a

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Sixty-Fifth Year
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