Once a year, Hollywood relaxes the lollypop diet on which it sustains a large but jaded public, and serves up one dish of acidulous sophistication. Or to be more precise, about once a year Joseph Mankiewicz at Twentieth Century-Fox does this under the indulgent eye of Darryl F. Zanuck. The last chef’s special was Letter to Three Wives; the new one is All About Eve, the bitchiest fabrication since Mrs. Luce’s The Women. It is not true, as you may have heard, that All About Eve is a great picture and proof that Hollywood has grown up overnight.
Faithful to its responsibilities and unintimidated by the constables of church or state, the picture industry continues to battle on the social barricades. In this summer of coups d’etat, assassination, war and the threat of war, Hollywood has discovered that crime never pays and that history has inflicted a vile libel on the memory of the American Indian. The alarming message sent us by J. Edgar Hoover in the preface to “The Street with No Name” is that America is threatened by gangsterism of unprecedented ferocity.
Shirley Temple must present a formidable problem to the artists and businessmen of Hollywood. She is the final perfect product of their cosmic system. In other performers you may find star and artist and human being mixed; Miss Temple is pure star. On the basis of her own resources, there is no reason why Miss Temple should have been distilled to this crystalline purity.