If You Think the Title is Strange Wait Till You Hear the Songs!
After watching "Moonlight and Pretzels" you'll probably understand why Universal was known for its horror films and not its musicals in the 1930's.
This has to be one of the most unusual musicals ever made, mainly due to several bizarre songs that have to be heard to be believed! There's an entire production number about getting up and going to work. Or how about the 1929 stock market crash set to music? And let's not forget the title tune "Moonlight and Pretzels" complete with flowing beer and wiener dogs.
The plot line is simple: songwriter hits it big on Broadway, decides to turn producer, then fights the money men to keep control of his show. Add a little love story and the plot is complete. If you've seen Warner's "42nd Street" you've seen it already.
The film was actually shot at New York's Astoria Studios by Universal cameraman Karl Freund, better remembered for "The Mummy" and "Mad Love." Leo Carillo gets top billing, but he doesn't even show up until the movie is half over. The only recognizable face to today's viewers would be William Frawley (Fred Mertz on "I Love Lucy") and he appears in a supporting role. Mary Brian and Roger Pryor star in the leading roles, but both have been nearly forgotten.
This one is difficult to see, not having been shown on television since the late 1950's. But if you ever run across a screening of "Moonlight and Pretzels" enjoy it for what it is: a strange musical morsel from Universal's early years.
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