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John S. Robertson
Betty a young woman is going steady with Terry but falls for an exciting new comer to town Steve. Betty's father wants her to marry Terry but she doesn't see that she actually is in love with him. With the help of Betty's mother Emily and her sister Mary Jane Terry is able to show Betty that they are meant for each other. Written by
On Long Island's fashionable North Shore, beautiful brunette Bernice Claire (as Betty Braley) surprises her parents by returning home at five o'clock in the morning. Furious father Ford Sterling (as Peter Braley) asks ukulele player Lawrence Gray (as Steve Alden), "What do you mean by bringing my daughter home at five o'clock in the morning?" He replies, "Home is the best place for a young girl at that hour, isn't it?" A coloratura soprano, Ms. Claire has been dating handsome baritone Alexander Gray (as Terry Clayton). They make beautiful music together, but Claire thinks her boyfriend has become boring and unromantic. If Alexander Gray doesn't change his tune before the end of the story, he may lose his Claire to Lawrence Gray...
"Spring Is Here" is a somewhat creaky-looking, but wildly funny and extremely tuneful early movie musical. The script, by James A. Starr from Owen Davis's original story, is award-worthy; it's chock full of snappy, modern dialogue. The forward-thinking soundtrack, by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, complement characters and story in the best musical-play fashion. The 1929 Broadway play sent "With a Song in My Heart" up the record and sheet-music sales charts, in several versions. The film put more songs on the national hit parade, led by the superior "Have a Little Faith in Me" and the Brox Sisters' "Crying for the Carolines" (not from the original play). Guy and Carmen Lombardo had a doubled-sided top ten hit with both songs...
The cast is a well-balanced mixture of "silent" film stars and theater performers. Lawrence Gray and Alexander Gray are not related. Lawrence receives top-billing, but Alexander is the leading man. Lawrence had been favorite young actor during the 1920s, co-starring with several popular actresses. He may receive "star" billing on this recognition and for the fact that he sings the film's big hit "With a Song in My Heart" (very well). The reason Lawrence got the song, and not Alexander, can be traced back to the original Broadway production. Glenn Hunter, a popular young performer on stage and film, signed for the play. His character was to sing the important song, but it was given to his romantic rival as Mr. Hunter was not a singer...
The second leads are Claire's parents, flittering Louise Fazenda and stringent Ford Sterling (as Emily and Peter Braley). In particular, Mr. Sterling gets a well-written "talking" picture role. Inez Courtney (reprising her stage role) and Frank Albertson impersonate a juvenile couple successfully. The older couple parallels Bernice and Alexander. It's interesting to watch Alexander's transform - learning to make "violent love" by kissing Gretchen Thomas and Ms. Fazenda. His final scenes are not off-putting due to the surprising balance we see in Fazenda's character...
Producer/director John Francis Dillon manages it all exceptionally. Thankfully, he doesn't "correct" an early scene where Alexander jumps a wall and drops his flowers; it fits his character - stumbling to smooth. Photographer Lee Garmes seems out of position once; but, more often, his camera is skillfully capturing background material.
******** Spring Is Here (4/13/30) John Francis Dillon ~ Alexander Gray, Bernice Claire, Ford Sterling, Louise Fazenda
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