By Clair C. Stebbins

This thoroughly biased reviewer wasnts to go on record today as saying that Dick Basehart steals the show in "Repeat Performance," which had its premiere last night at the Liberty and Weller theaters.

Writing for The Times Recorder immediately after seeing the picture last night, I said: "Basehart interpreted the show's most difficult role in a masterly fashion that made it difficult to believe this was his movie debut."

Today it is encouraging to learn that other more competent and less prejudiced reviewers have expressed virtually the same opinion with regard to Basehart's performance.

The Zanesvile-born newcomer to the films proved in this picture that he is deserving of all the build-up which the "Repeat Performance" premiere received.

His difficult role called for extreme versatility. There were touches of light comedy which he executed so well that the audience roared withh laughter on several occasions. Then there was a highly dramatic scene at a mental asylum where his stirring performance drew exclamations of genuine praise and admiration from the most hard-bitten movie critics in the audience.

And the picture ends on another dramatic note when Basehart, geing led back to the asylum after committing a murder, philosophizes on the futility of trying to circumvent fate with these lines:

"Destiny is a stubborn old girl, Sheila. She doesn't like people interfering with her plans. But we tricked her, didn't we, Sheila? Anyway, I don't think she cares about the pattern as long as the result is the same."

The entire plot is based o an effort to change the events of a tragic year. The characters are given an opportunity to live the year over again but it turns out the the result is the same.

Hayward plays the part of Barney Page, Sheila's husband, and other principal characters are Tom Conway, Matalie Schafer, Virginia Field and Benay Venuta, all of whom were excellentlyl cast.

The story is unusual and sufficiently well put together, althought the melodramatic opening, in which the mood for a murder is created by the banging of doors in a rain storm, seems somewhat overdrawn. Also, it seems there was too much laborious suspense in the midnight scene when Louis Hayward threatens his wife as the hands of a clock move menacingly toward midnight. There also appears to be needless narration at the moment when Basehart disappears from the stairway in a sequence that conveys the rolling back of the calendar for one full year. It would probably have been more effective without the explanatory material.

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Copyright --October 20, 2000 Stephanie Kellerman and the Basehart Family