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Motion Picture News (05/Jul/1930) - Juno and the Paycock



Juno and the Paycock

(Harold Auten—S. R.—All Talker)


(Reviewed by J. P. Cunningham)

Only too seldom does old Johnny Bull send to our shores a production combining such fine dramatic sequences and splendid portrayals as those found in "Juno and the Paycock," a convincingly told story which colorfully reveals the burdensome trials and tribulations of a poverty stricken Irish family.

The strong flavor of Catholicism which all too obviously winds its way throughout the story may sound the deathknell of its value for straight picture entertainment, despite the fact that this trait of religion is a natural part of the scheme of things in most north-of-Ireland families. The narrow-back fanatics, particularly those in southern U. S., will probably turn (thumbs down, vigorously condemning the production as a pro-Catholic plug. We suggest that you give this angle considerable thought before booking. It might save you from the loss of customers who find a mixture of intimate religion with picture making distasteful.

Otherwise, "Juno and the Paycock" offers convincing screenfare, and communities sympathetic toward the race and religion will receive it with open arms.

From the angle of production, there is little to be looked for. Masterful portrayals by the entire cast convince us that England has much of the human element so necessary in talkers, at least in this cast of eleven. The direction and photography are worthy of praise, and sound stacks up as favorably as any emanating from the studios of American producers. Although diction is clear, the English twang of most of the players make it appear obvious that there's very little of Ireland in their makeup. At times, the lingo is a bit hard to grasp, but generally no fault can be found with the dialogue.

Alfred Hitchcock's touch of naturalness in construction gives the picture a twist which is most human, effectively using that humorous one of comedy which is usually found in those of Irish ancestry. Hitchcock, too, reaches touching dramatic depths in telling his story. He makes you "feel" depressing moments of sorrow, and then quickly follows with cause for joy.

Slapstick and a sound cartoon are best suited to this.

Produced at Ellstree studios, London, by Harold Auten. Distributed in U. S., via state rights market, by Harold Auten. Directed by Alfred Hitchock. Story by Sean O'Casey. Adapted by Alfred Hitchcock. Scenario by Alma Reville. Photography by J.J. Cox. Art director, J. Marchant. Released, June 28, 1930. Length, 9,100 ft. Running time, about 1 hr., 31 minutes.