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 ...
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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
SPRING IS HERE is a charming curio that is a bit more fascinating than it is good entertainment but it's that too. This is one of the first movie musicals to have been a film version of a Broadway musical, an early semi-success for Richard Rodgers and Lorenzo Hart. The most interesting thing to me is that while the songs are quite nice (though they are mostly indistinguishable love songs, with the notable exception of the outstanding classic "With a Song in My Heart"), the "book" (story) is the highpoint, thanks to lots of really funny wisecracks and some racy "adult" situations that are quintessential late 1920s/early 1930s Manhattan humor.
Coquette Bernice Claire sneaks back home at 5 am, having abandoned both the party she attended and her longtime dullish boyfriend Alexander Gray after meeting the jazzier Lawrence Gray there. Father Ford Sterling is outraged at this new "beau", a stranger who would keep his daughter out all night and tries to push her bland boyfriend into marrying her. Bernice however will have none of it with a new man to consider. Her "kid" sister Inez Courtney (allegedly 16 and, as has been mentioned, looking quite into adulthood) has sympathy for Alexander and tells him the way to get her back is to become a romantic cad and flirt with other women. That night at the family's party, Alexander reluctantly follows this advice and kisses and flirts with practically every woman at the party (including, most outrageously, Bernice's bird-brained mom Louise Fazenda). He does manages to invoke Bernice's jealousy but then Lawrence shows up and manages to still hold her attention.
This little movie (barely over an hour) is cute little musical but it's certainly imperfect and while an "early" musical, it was not one of the first ones (movie musicals had been around already for a year in 1930) for some of it's flaws to be dismissed. Most annoying is the movie is almost completely filmed as if it were a stage musical, with performers usually facing toward the camera rather than toward each other in love songs!! Lawrence Gray gets top billing here apparently because he had the most film experience of the young leads (including the male lead in lone Duncan Sisters feature musical, IT'S A GREAT LIFE) but his part is decidedly secondary to Alexander Gray and Bernice Claire's and he is rather miscast as a "fascinating" stranger, if anything he's duller than Alexander. Alexander Gray looks a lot like contemporary actor Aidan Quinn with a touch of James Cagney. He's better looking than his rival and gives a good performance as the bashful beau, alas while his singing is good he unfortunately twists his mouth into strange shapes while singing which is quite distracting. Bernice Claire has a lovely voice but her character is kind of a brat which is a mistake for a romantic lead I don't think Rodgers & Hart ever repeated again. Veteran comedienne Louise Fazenda spouts her lines with an affected ring perhaps to suggest simple-mindedness and it does get to be a bit much at time.
The movie is stolen by silent comic sidekick Ford Sterling as the patriarch of this family of femmes, he's hilarious and much more appealing in the type of put-up middle-aged man that Edgar Kennedy would play in scores of movies. Sterling is so terrific in this it should have led to a major career as a supporting character actor in talkies. SPRING IS HERE is no classic but absolutely worth checking out for fans of the art deco era, movie musicals, Rodgers & Hart, and silent-era comedians and holds up as entertainment a little better than most musicals from 1929-1931 despite it's imperfections.
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