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Musical comedy antics in an art deco bakery (motto: "Glorifying the American Doughnut") with Eddie Cantor as an assistant to a phoney psychic, who is mistaken for an efficiency expert and placed in charge. Complications ensue when the psychic and his gang attempt to rub the payroll. Written by
At a time when musicals had fallen completely out of favor with the movie-going public, Eddie Cantor and Busby Berkeley were still able to bring smiles to faces and audiences into theaters with this 1931 pseudo-musical by offering a bankable star (Cantor) in a foolproof formula. The title refers to a ring of bogus spiritualists for which Cantor's character has served unwittingly as a front man. During the film Eddie falls repeatedly into some dangerous or embarrassing situation and by virtue of his own hyperactivity emerges victorious in each case.
The film includes only three major song sequences, but they are all very well done, and coupled with Cantor's delivery they are infectious. Busby Berkeley opens the film with a musical number involving a gymnasium full of scantily clad Goldwyn Girls - supposedly employees of a surrealistic bakery where all the action takes place - in the aptly titled "Bend Down, Sister". The cast includes long and lanky Charlotte Greenwood, a regrettably forgotten character actress. She plays the physical fitness instructor who believes - thanks to the bogus spiritualists - that Cantor's character is her future husband. The chemistry between Greenwood and Cantor is priceless as she relentlessly pursues Eddie. Then there is George Raft as a hood who is out to get Eddie. Finally, there is Mr. Clark, the president of the bakery, who has confused Eddie for an efficiency expert. when he asks Eddie "How many girls do you think work here?", Eddie's answer is a very professional "About half". The whole thing is 77 minutes of enjoyable musical and comedic nonsense that I never get tired of and that could only have been possible pre-code.
Singin in the Rain it isn't, but like that film it is sure to put a smile on your face every time you watch it.
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