The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi (1933) Poster

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A real sweetie from 1933
ptb-811 September 2007
Here is a film I thought was lost; I just cannot believe I have managed to finally see it. I recently manged to get a very (visually) poor copy of a copy of a copy of a copy from a collector in the US for which I am very grateful. While the picture quality was watery at best, the obvious cuteness, pep and effervescence in this funny spunky university musical reached across 74 years to make me yearn for a good clear DVD copy. THE SWEETHEART OF SIGMA CHI is just lovely in its music, it's lively funny tone, and the fact that it is made during the depression to entertain and make sad audiences feel lively and happy. It also boasts enough pre code beefcake and fresh talent to have kept it in circulation for most of the 30s. Here is a film full of unknowns who became major stars within two years of its release: Buster Crabbe (Flash Gordon), Charles Starratt who was to be The Durango Kid western star at Columbia for 17 years, + Betty Grable, about to appear in enough Astaire Rogers musicals to catapult her to heaven, Leif Ericson, and rising glamourpuss Mary Carsilse... and musical/orchestra favourite Ted Fio Rito. Also it is very well produced, with locations and sets/costumes that continually allow it to seem youthful, fashionable and alive. Basically it is about one girl who strings all the rowboat crew along, until handsome he man Buster falls for her and this pits him against rowing pals for affections and sees the big race in peril etc... Bustr Crabbe was an Olympic star from the Los Angeles meet of 1932 and instantly began to appear in films in 1933 when he was only 27. Has there ever been a more handsome man on screen in the 30s? His beefcake scenes in this is film (+ the Tarzan ones also made in '33 + as Flash Gordon in '36) gave him a reputation as the thinking man's sports filmstar. SIGMA CHI lets the shirtless scenes do the talking and I assume women would have yelled in delight right across America when this appeared. The musical numbers are charming... Grable even has a few, and the whole silly lovely sunny funny film is all over in 70 minutes. A good re release on DVD would be a great event indeed.... This again proves what a terrific young company Monogram was in '33 with an excellent looking and sounding lively film. The opening scenes presumably on 'the campus' look to be filmed in new Los Angeles streets with modern big homes supposedly as the campus houses; it allows the film to look modern and prosperous... then there is this great looking cast of 20 somethings in snazzy 30s styles who assemble and kick start the film to a delicious musical boost. It was re made in 1947 also by Monogram with the same title... and famous for a review that said "more bounce than a bad cheque"... well the original is so good that's no wonder! Welcome back SWEETHEART.
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Great film about a great fraternity
rok27 February 2008
As a youngster I always idolized Buster Crabbe: I would see his Tarzan films and wish to be as fit and capable as him, and get the beautiful girl. I used to watch his Captain Gallant television series weekly, I nearly thought to join the Foreign Legion -- wisely I waited and joined the US Navy later (After 30 years - in the Navy -- I think it was wise decision. I got as much adventure as Captain Gallant could have given me.

Buster Crabbe was a real member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Years later, as an Alum of the University of Iowa (Alpha Eta Chapter) of Sigma Chi, I was honored to take lunch with him at the chapter house. He was a real gentleman and posed for pictures with the Iowa Brothers.
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