After welcoming you to this, our first show of the season, we feel that we owe a word of explanation for the substitution of two Italian shorts for Epstein's LE TEMPESTAIRE. Whilst we intend to make every effort to avoid changing screening dates, we feel that in this instance we are justified. These two shorts are awaiting shipment back to Italy and had we failed to show them this evening we should have lost the opportunity of showing them at all. The Epstein film will, of course, be shown in the near future - it is at the moment on at The Curzon.
We would like to direct your attention to the exhibition of stills from Italian films. We should state now that it is designed neither as a comprehensive survey of contemporary Italian cinema, nor a potted history of its development. Nevertheless we hope you will find it entertaining and be glad to renew acquaintance with old favourites and learn something of new films which, unfortunately, may never reach the screen in this country.
With regard to next months' films - we are only showing one section of Atomic Physics. The complete version will be shown in the West End shortly and we could show it ourselves if members express the wish to see it.
This Club is also anticipating holding a 16mm evening at this Cinema, and showing Cocteau's surrealist classic BLOOD OF A POET with some excellent coloured short films only available on 16mm.
Finally we wish you all, members and guests alike, a pleasant evening, and if you enjoy it will you help us justify our name by making our membership total 300? Personal recommendation counts for so much more than any advertising we may do.
TOBACCO ROAD - (U.S.A. 1941. Twentieth Century Fox).
Director: John Ford. Screenplay Nunnally Johnson. (Full credits and cast are displayed at the door).
TOBACCO ROAD inevitably invites comparison with Ford's GRAPES OF WRATH. The differences between the two films are those also of the books on which they were based. Steinbeck's story was a bitter protest against a great social wrong, which Ford treated primarily as a documentary. Caldwell's plot however concerned the "poor whites" of Georgia, reduced to poverty due to misfortune and their own ignorance rather than by injustice. It was a story pervaded by sex and immorality, and Ford, faced with obvious censorship problems, rather than bring about a weak compromise, chose to leave the sex aspect largely to inference. He injected a surprisingly effective note of frequently uproarious comedy, which was completely absent in the original, and which he handled with a skill which carefully avoided ridiculing the moohshiners around whom the story revolves, or their simple dignity. In spite of this comedy element, however, the film remains primarily a study - and an intensely moving one - of the tragedy of poverty and human depravity. Charles Grapewin's performance stands as one of the finest the screen has ever given us, and the film as a whole, though admittedly second-best to the Steinbeck, ranks among Ford's best works. Although TOBACCO ROAD was a great commercial success in America (even at the moment playing on a reissue programme with GRAPES OF WRATH) it has been a total failure in this country. First arriving in 1941, it ran into exhibitor apathy and censorship hostility, and although officially "released" here for the first time in 1947 it has only gathered isolated bookings at specialised halls.