Jack is a shipping clerk in the Waters Department Store where he finds that his boss is short tempered and nervous. It seems that Mr. Waters is having trouble with his golf game. When he finds that Kelly is a champion golfer, Waters arranges for him to go to his club to play in the tournament. He also expects Kelly to give him golfing tips, but Kelly finds and falls for Marilyn and the golf becomes secondary to his love. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Early talkie which challenges the conventional wisdom.
Love in the Rough initially resembles the legendary disastrous early talkies which almost brought down the heavily indebted film industry in the early '30s. Based on a Broadway flop play with music seemingly added on by hiring top song writing team of Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh, it had all of the elements that the movie moghuls though would add up to boffo box office but, because of the depression's arrival following the Oct. 29 stock market crash, people didn't have a taste for stories about people in evening dress or college hi jinks. The failure at the box office was always blamed on the static camera imposed by the crude and clunky sound equipment but this film exposes that canard.
The outdoor shots, seemingly with direct sound, are airy revelations. The camera work is fluid with out calling attention to itself with flashy moves. The musical numbers are imaginative, but, considering the work of Busby Berkeley to come, these are merely a stone age precursor. Maybe they didn't know enough at the time to shoot strictly in the studio with back projection process shots and post dubbed music but this is enjoyable for nothing else than its atypical uniqueness. The static scenes are embarrassing, as in did anybody find the opening scene with broken porcelain funny at any time? Likewise the racial 'humor', Jewish, Italian and African-American, is highly cringe worthy. The plot is nearly non existent, a reminder of the pre-Showboat musical which was virtually a series of scenes, songs and routines from a Vaudeville review.
This is an early performance by Robert Montgomery (his sixth of seven releases in 1930) in which he apparently sings, if, as I suspect, the music was recorded direct. Dorothy Jordan looks pretty, at least for the standards of the time but doesn't project much personality, unlike her support one Dorothy McNulty who pops from the screen. Jordan was a star in late silent and early sound times but retired to become Mrs. Merian C. Cooper.
After returning to vaudeville and radio, McNulty returned to films and modest fame as Penny Singleton of the Blondie series. An interesting trivia item is the fact that both Montgomery (Screen Actors Guild) and Singleton (American Guild of Variety Artists) were union presidents.
Montgomery's support was Benny Rubin, a dialect comic and a huge star in vaudeville. It was Benny Rubin who people like Jack Benny and Bob Hope aspired to become, and, years later, when they became big stars, they would always throw Benny a featured bit on radio and TV. Most of his comedy here is from hunger except for a laugh out loud two spot where Benny is acting as Mongomery's caddie and he meets Allan Lane's (as Harry Johnson) caddie going by the name 'C. Wesley Rappaport' and they conduct a hilarious dialogue in Yiddish. Even if it could be translated the subtitles wouldn't be able to keep up, and, with the timing lost, the humor would be lost. 'Rappaport' is not credited but as he appears later leading a harmonica quartet perhaps it could be Borrah (Boris) Minevitch, Russian born leader of the Harmonica Rascals. The tune introduced by the Harmonica quartet provides an excellent opportunity for an eccentric duet dance with Rubin and Singleton, one of the more delightful examples of what was lost with the demise of vaudeville.
Again this is not anywhere near what might be considered a 'good' film but specialists will find it more than just a historical curiosity. The plot is a swiss cheese. Montgomery is a golf champion working as a shipping clerk in Walter's Department Store and is enlisted by the golf mad proprietor to help him in the country club championship. This gets Montgomery to the country club and meets the millionaires daughter whereby the "mentoring the boss" is just dropped. The rest is just poor boy/rich girl bla bla bla.
At least LOVE IN THE ROUGH attacks the groundless convention that it was the staticness of the early sound films which nearly drove the Hollywood studios to the wall in the early 30s.
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