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The Illinois standard. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1948-1949, January 29, 1949, Image 5

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn82015060/1949-01-29/ed-1/seq-5/

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Oliviers 'Hamlet' is worth
shouting about—critic says
By Bob Bennett
Laurence olivier, who
bowled the customers over
with a remarkably fine and ex
citing adaptation of Shakes
peare’s “Henry V” for the films,
has now set ’em up in the other
alley — and again achieved a
movie worth shouting about.
Olivier’s version of the tragedy
of “Hamlet”
makes going to
the movie: the
kind of experi
ence it only too
rarely is and
more frequently ought to be.
“Hamlet” has fine acting, won
derful sets and music and in
telligent, perceptive editing. All
in all, it’s really something.
But now that I’ve led my few
faithful—and bewildered consti
J tuents this far out on a limb,
I’m going to enter a few objec
tions lest they beseige the editor
and scream for their money back.
I think “Hamlet” is wonderful
stuff—on the stage. On the
screen—well, it’s exciting, it’s
moving, it’s interesting—and it
. . . you will be thrilled by
this great story of the
Daily Worker and its ex
citing contribution to the
cause of labor and the
people . . . selections from
j 25 years of the Daily
Worker . . . life story of
a labor champion.
book store
DE 2-6552
open 10 to 7; 6 p.m. Sats.
has big chunks that are just ■
plain dull and a mite dreary.
Mind you, X have no doubt that
if Will himself had done the
movie version it might be some
thing, but he didn’t—and there’s
the rub, to steal a, phrase from
the old boy. To add monotony
to insult and injury, the theatre
and the film are two different
and separate art forms. Each has
its own discipline, its own tech
nique and its own unique func
I have no objection per se to
adapting plays for the films. It’s
just that with something like
“Hamlet” Olivier was strapped;
he could cut and edit, but he
couldn’t change the basic line
and approach of the play.
Now the very special thing
about the film is that at its
highest and most refined level,
the camera becomes — in the
hands of a real film artist—a
creative instrument, just as the
brush is for the painter or the
piano for the virtuoso.
Confined, as Olivier’s camera
is to the Elsinore, you get in ef
fect a photographed play without
getting the three-dimensional ef
fect of the stage. True, Olivier
takes his camera on some sweep
ing tours of the palace and
whirls over the grim winding
battlements, but for all that the
film is still largely static.
The Russians and the French
seem to understand use of the
camera best and their films
prove it. John Ford and Frank
Capra used to achieve it once in
a while here, but the only film
artist extant in the U.S. right
now is Charlie Chaplin (if you’ve
seen M. Verdoux you know what
I mean.)
Shakespeare is a man with
ideas—hundreds of ider.* fNo,
Mr. Olivier, this is NOT j * a
story of a man who couldn’t
make up his mind.) All of them
are provocative and interesting—
but they were designed for pre
sentation on a stage—not for
Farm output up
Each man-hour of farm labor
now means two-fifths more total
production than it did before
World War II.
■ - —
Chicago speaks . . .
SID ORDOWER . °; h °
Sunday — I p.m.
on Chicago WJJD
EVENTS and PERSONALITIES 1160 on your dial
1412 So. Michigan HA 7-1784
Now on "LP"
ROBESON'S concert favorites
llllllUlillllllillllllllllllllll songs of free men
Including “Old Man River”
“The House I Live In” . . . and 14
other favorites !
175 West Washington St.
CE 6-3073 Chicago 2
mail and phone orders
10% of your purchase will be paid to the STANDARD
if you ask for the "STANDARD POST CARD"
transmission through a camera.
Nevertheless, in spite of these
reservations, Olivier and the
cast he assembled did a magni
ficent job of acting and the re
sult is a film well worth seeing
—even at roadshow prices. After
all, “Hamlet” is “Hamlet.”
Did you know?
Prices paid by farmers, in
cluding interest and taxes, are
down less than 2 percent from
DeMaio tells why Fineman
was expelled from UE
Ernest DeMaio, president of
District 11, United Electrical
Workers (CIO), this week dis
closed the background of the
case in which A1 Fineman, presi
dent of Local 1121, was ex
pelled from the union.
The District Council of the
union, acting on recommenda
tion of the Appeals Committee,
voted to expel Fineman on two
charges, chief of which was fail
ure to initiate grievance action
after about 100 workers were
laid off recently cut of seniority
in violation of contract provi
sions between UE and the
Mitchell Manufacturing Co. of
Most of the laid-off workers
were Negroes.
The president and business
representative of Local 1121
was also charged with having
“proposed and had written into
a contract a clause weakening
the seniority system and pre
venting the recall of Negro and
white workers who are laid off
for a year or more.’’
WFTU will continue even
though CIO has left it
By Israel Epstein
James B. Carey of the CIO and Arthur Deakin of the British
Trades Congress have announced that they are taking their or
ganizations out of the World Federation of Trade Unions, thus
severing 16 million U.S. and British organized workers from over
60 million others represented in the organization.
The WFTU was founded in
October, 1945, to unite labor
throughout the world. Among
the aims stated in its unani
mously approved constitution
and founding resolution were
the following:
To combat war and the causes
of war and work for a stable
and enduring peace; to organ
ize the struggle of unions in all
countries against all encroach
ments on the economic and
social rights of the workers and
democratic liberties (and) for
security and full employment.
To imbue the working people
with the spirit of international
Solidarity and labor unity in the
struggle for the speediest and
most complete eradication of the
remnants of fascism; to strength
en trade unity and resolutely to
combat all those who might at
tempt to disrupt this unity and
to weaken or divide the forces
of the working people.
As its first conference Carey
said the WFTU was “the con
summation of the dearest
wishes” of CIO Pres. Philip
Murray. “Our participation in
international affairs will not be
on a 50 percent basis,” Carey
promised. “We intend to assume
full responsibility to our own
members and the workers of the
In the years that followed,
the WFTU carried out protests
and demonstrations against op
pression of labor in fascist Spain,
Greece and Portugal in Europe;
China, India, Iran, Malaya, Bur
ma, Indonesia and Ceylon in
Asia; Brazil, Chile and Argen
tina in Latin America, and
Egypt and the Sudan in Africa.
It mobilized world unions in
proests against the Taft-Hartley
law in the U. S. It pressed for
representation in the Economic
and Social Council of the United
Nations, but was defeated by
the votes of the U. S. and some
other powers. These actions
were broader and more univer
sal than any in the world labor
history of the past.
While the WFTU acted joint
ly on these matters of common
interest, it has not infringed on
the autonomy of member organ
izations, which had full inde
pendence in home politics. The
growing split in the WFTU was
a result of external issues in
troduced into the movement by
the policies of the “cold war.”
The rift in the world body
began in early 1948, when Brit
ish and American delegates
tried to swing it behind the
Marshall Plan. This was opposed
not only by Soviet and Chinese
delegates, but also by the
French and Italians. Soviet trade
union Pres. Vassili Kuznetzov
then told Carey in compromise
folk songs
from 'round th« world
feb. 19
8:15 p. m.
admission me cormick ywca
$1 incl. tax dearborn at oak st.
discussions: “Soviet unions do
not object to economic assist
ance by one country to another,
including of course U.S. help.
They do oppose any conditions
leading to the economic and po
litical subjugation of countries
receiving help. Unions cannot be
forbidden to vote either for or
against the Marshall Plan with
out undermining trade union
At a meeting of the WFTU
executive in Rome in May 1948,
a compromise was reached, re
affirming the autonomy of all
members. The organization was
saved largely through the ap
peals of union leaders both
within and outside its ranks.
Typically, Pres. Kazuyoshi Do
bashi of the 400,000-strong Jap
anese Communications Workers
Union urged CIO Pres. Philip
Murray to “take every possible
measure to prevent tragic dis
ruption of world labor unity
represented by the WFTU, pro
duced by labor's realization for
international labor solidarity
after World War II, which
caused workers innumerable
The final crisis was precipi
tated by the demand of the CIO
and TUC that the WFTU “sus
pend its activities” for a year
because of the strained state of
international politics, meaning
preparation for World War III.
The demand was rejected by the
majority of WFTU delegates,
who remained loyal to the con
stitutional provisions that re
quired the world body to do
everything to fight war trends.
The CIO and TUC, heavily in
volved in “selling” the Marshall
Plan and Truman doctrine, now
wish to form a new "world”
labor group committed to these
The only other WFTU group
Supporting the CIO-TUC move
is the right-wing Dutch trade
union federation, which has re
fused to protest Dutch aggres
sion in Indonesia. The company
is poor. No other is available
for such a maneuver. In the
meantime, the majority of the
WFTU unions has decided to
carry on, trying as always to
bring U. S. and British workers
back into the world fraternity.
Weekly guitar
class announced
A new series of classes in folk
style guitar playing has been
announced by People’s Songs.
Instructing the course will be
Jim Blaut, popular young guitar -
ist-balladeer. Classes, the first
to be Feb. 7, will be held week
ly at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, at
the home of Martha Fears. 1204
N. State St.
Beginning and advanced stu
dents will be accepted, and fee is
$1.25 per session. Registration
is Monday, Jan. 31 between 7:30
and 9 p.m. at Miss Fears home,
telephone WH 4-7786.

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