ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL opens Friday at about three dozen area theaters.
Will Mrs. Dalby's cattle recover? Whose drawers did Dorothy the goat swallow this time? Who will win the children's pet competition?
If you can stand all the excitement, "All Things Bright and Beautiful," another series of bucolic episodes in the life of the Yorkshire veterinarian James Herriot, is a sweet film. Herriot wrote three books of such reminiscences, of which "All Creatures Great and Small" has already been filmed, and we still have "All Things Wise and Wonderful" to go.
What you get in each is rich yellow-green scenery, interestingly lined faces, and the appealingly sketched characters of John Alderton as Herriot, Lisa Harrow as his wife and Colin Blakeley as his partner.There is no real animal love - one does not learn about the care of animals or what it is to practice veterinary medicine. There is, a fact, an oddly scrupulous attempt to maintain a naturalistic atmosphere by cutting off even the simplest little anecdotes, such as suspense about whether an animal will recover, before the tiniest little plot can seem to be developing.
The earlier film was shown here on television, for which its mild pacing seems suitable, like the soap-opera scenes in which everyone sits around the kitchen table and talks about the coffee before working anything else into the conversation. A drunk scene is superb because of the very fact that nothing untoward happens - you simply see Herriot carefully doing, while drunk, the same things you keep seeing him do sober.
And the radio's announcements of impending war - the scene is 1938 - are subordinated to the drama of the telephone ring announcing another crisis in the life of a farm animal. It makes a pretty and restful film.