The son and daughter of an abusive shopkeeper turn to a medicine show salesman for help.

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
...
Mamie Goltz
E. Alyn Warren ...
Goltz
Eva Novak ...
Hulda
Billy Butts ...
Buddy
Adolph Milar ...
Peter
...
Steve (as Georgie Stone)
Tom Dugan ...
Charley (as Tommy Dugan)
Vadim Uraneff ...
Gus
Caroline Rankin ...
Hattie
Dorothea Wolbert ...
Sister Wilson
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Storyline

Mamie and Buddy, the son and daughter of a cruel, abusive shopkeeper, are excited when Dr. Harvey's medicine show comes to town. But when they slip away at night to watch the show, their father finds out and punishes them severely. When the angry father then decides to force Mamie to marry against her will, she turns to Dr. Harvey for help. Meanwhile, two of the doctor's associates have been playing a confidence game, and have attracted the attention of the local sheriff. Written by Snow Leopard

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Genres:

Comedy | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

15 June 1930 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Not the best medicine
30 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jack Benny, future star one of the most successful radio and television comedy series of all time, starred in this early-talkie for the low-budget small studio Tiffany at a time nobody was really sure what Benny's place in the world of the movies was.

At the time he was best-known as an emcee (and had played that role in the variety-show film "The Hollywood Revue of 1929" the previous year), so in this fictional movie he is given a part that is part emcee and part romantic lead as he plays the "Doctor" running a traveling patent medicine show. He plays the part well, but his emceeing duties are relegated to one somewhat extraneous scene in the middle of the film that is not terribly well-written and ruined anyway by a truly horribly realized laughter sound effect, and otherwise his talents are squandered in such a bland role as he is asked to play.

This film doesn't have too much to recommend it; the plot is a standard-issue about a girl who falls in love with the Benny character instead of the man her father wants her to marry. The acting on the part of the other actors is rather stiff and forced, with the exception of E. Alyn Warren, who plays his one-dimension father character to the hilt.

This father is a broad caricature of an evil, overbearing overlord, and he beats his daughter and son violently in a couple of very uncomfortable-to-watch scenes. When a movie introduces horrible domestic abuse and suggestions of rape (from the father's proposed husband) as a plot element, doesn't ever really deal with them, then expects the film to remain light, frothy, and fun it just isn't going to work.

A couple of attempts at comic relief with a strange woman following Beny's character from town to town and a member of the show who gives rise to the shocking discovery that sometimes people cheat at three-card monte come off as stilted and long rather than funny.

Presumably since this was both an early talkie and made at a smaller studio that might have been slower to adapt to the technology, the sound is often recorded very oddly and poorly, with people randomly getting louder or quieter and always sounding indoors, and crowd noises turning on and off sharply.

This is interesting as a historical curio documenting the traveling medicine show that was a fixture of small-town show business at the time and for its chance to see a young Jack Benny, but apart from these it's a pretty stiff film that doesn't really seem to know what it wants to be, and isn't a very good example of anything.


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