The Times (10/Feb/1930) - Elstree Calling
(c) The Times (10/Feb/1930)
- keywords: Anna May Wong, British International Pictures, Cicely Courtneidge, Donald Calthrop, Elstree Calling (1930)
FILM REVUE AT THE ALHAMBRA
Elstree Calling, "the first British cinemaradio revue," a British International Pictures production, is being shown at the Alhambra. The programme is a monumental affair and the list of artists imposingly long, but, although a positive legion of people seems to have had something or other to do with the production, there is such a smoothness and continuity about Elstree Calling that it might easily be the work of one man.
At the top of the bill -- it is pleasant to be able once again to use music-hall terms in writing of the Alhambra -- are a number of stars so illustrious that, they must be bracketed together. There is Miss Lily Morris to sing "Why am I always the Bridesmaid and never the Blushing Bride" in a way everybody will try, and fail, to imitate ; there is Mr. Will Fyffe, whose rich Scots accent comes somehow incongruously from the screen; there are the Three Eddies, who take very full advantage of the scope given them by the camera ; there is Miss Cicely Courtneidge, who comes on at the end with the full company in an excellent song, "I've fallen in love" ; there is Mr. Donald Calthrop, who spends a most pathetic time trying to lecture on Shakespeare and getting ignominiously banished every time he starts to speak ; there is Miss Anna May Wong, who plays Katherine in a vigorous satire on the Pickfordian production of The Taming of the Shrew.
There is a thread of an idea running through the revue, and if the idea, which concerns the troubles of a wireless enthusiast whose set is always breaking down at the moment when Mr. Tommy Handley is making thrilling announcements of treats in store, is responsible for some rather laboured facetiousness, it is gratifying that the first cinema-radio revue realizes that ideas, as well as singing and dancing, have their place in revues.