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John Francis Dillon
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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Charles 'Chic' Sale,
In Kentucky just after the Civil War, the Hayden-Colby feud leads to Jed Colby being sent to prison for 15 years for murder. The Haydens head for Nevada and when Colby gets out of prison he heads there also seeking revenge. The head of the Hayden family tries to avoid more killing but the inevitable showdown has to occur, complicated by Lynn Hayden and Ellen Colby's plans to marry.
Jack La Rue
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but don't let the title fool you. There is nothing of salad days or of the wailing sax in this film. The song that is at the center of the film is a love song that is not jazzy at all. This is a simple tale from a simpler time of a romance that blossoms between a struggling songwriter (Johnny Mack Brown as Barry Holmes) and a singer that works for a music publishing company (Sally O'Neill as Ruth Morgan). The film opens with Barry keeping the entire boarding house up all night as he struggles to finish a song. Next door neighbor Ruth gets up and begins to go through her morning routine when she inadvertently finishes the song for him. He hears her singing the needed ending to his song and brings her into his room to discuss the situation, and shortly thereafter they are hitting it off as well as making great music together - personally and professionally. The problem is - they still don't have any lyrics for the song.
Johnny Mack Brown and Sally O'Neill never really successfully transitioned to talkies partially because Brown was saddled with a deep Southern accent and likewise O'Neill had a very pronounced New Jersey accent. Both had enough of a late silent career that audiences just weren't prepared for how the two really sounded. However, this film makes sport at the accents a bit with Barry mentioning how New York is so alien to him versus his native south and Ruth being the first real friend he's made in the north. The film does go a bit overboard with Ms.O'Neill's accent with all of the "Hey big boy" remarks she makes, but don't let that Helen Kane act fool you, for her character Ruth has a good head on her shoulders, which she badly needs considering the two feuding bosses she has over at the music publishing company. These guys are so busy disliking each other, competing with one another, and playing practical jokes on one another that you wonder why they are partners in the first place and why don't they focus all of this energy on their competition. But I digress.
Just about every plot device in this film ceased to exist in New York or anywhere else decades ago - small music publishers and the sheet music market, mainstream boarding houses, the Ziegfield Follies, and radio stations being so novel and unregulated that they aired people reciting poetry as well as whatever else they might pick up over an open mike that just sounded interesting. But if you are in the mood for a light romantic comedy with very little in the way of serious conflict, this little time capsule fits the bill.
Most interesting scene: When Ruth and her boss visit a nightclub they are treated with a chorus line of girls whose costumes make them look like a cross between replicas of the statue of liberty and perhaps some pagan sun goddess, all the while wielding batons. It really will make you appreciate what Busby Berkeley brought to cinematic choreography just four years later.
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