Opening with a credit line that reads "Entire production conceived, created and directed by George White," a film evolves where the only plot line is a thin backstage romance between Jimmy ...
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Opening with a credit line that reads "Entire production conceived, created and directed by George White," a film evolves where the only plot line is a thin backstage romance between Jimmy Martin and Kitty Donnelly in and around a dozen or more sketches, revues, black-outs and singing and dancing turns. Made before the birth of the production code, reviewers of the day found much to object about in the implications of Alice Faye's "Nasty Man" song with the Meglin Kiddies, and the dog action in the "Your Dog Loves My Dog" number by Vallee, Faye, Jimmy Durante and Dixie Dunbar. The geometric dance arrangements used in the Vallee, Durante and Cliff Edwards "Every Day Is Father's Day" was not cause for Busby Berkeley to lose any sleep. Written by
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Eighteen-year-old Alice Faye, the female vocalist with Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees, was slated to make her screen debut in a featured spot. Then in a Hollywood fantasy come to life, Lilian Harvey, a musical favorite of European moviegoers, decided that the female lead was rather secondary and withdrew from the film. Enter Alice, at Rudy Vallee's suggestion, to fill Miss Harvey's shoes. Billed third after Mr. Vallee and Jimmy Durante, Miss Faye was bestowed with a saucy hit song, "Nasty Man" (music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Irving Caesar and Jack Yellen), followed quickly by a movie contract with Fox. See more »
Entire production conceived, created and directed by George White. See more »
Unlike Florenz Ziegfeld who died before MGM could properly enshrine his memory on film with The Great Ziegfeld, Ziegfeld Girl, and The Ziegfeld Follies, his rival George White wasn't about to wait until he was beyond caring. White produced two versions of his famous scandals for Fox and the film is interesting because it's a chance to see a Broadway review, a type of show now relegated to piano bars.
It might have really been something had White hired Busby Berkeley for the dance numbers. Then again he probably knew that those films like the ones Berkeley did at Warner Brothers would be remembered for him and not White even with his name in the title.
White appears in this and looks every inch the dapper man about town and former hoofer himself. But George White's Scandals suffers from two drawbacks. The first is a rather silly backstage plot involving a romantic triangle of Scandals performers Rudy Vallee and Alice Faye and society débutante Adrienne Allen. The story in fact was written by White himself. It would have been a far better film had he done an introduction prologue like William Powell as Florenz Ziegfeld in Ziegfeld Follies with White playing himself.
Rudy Vallee in fact did appear on stage in George White's Scandals of 1931 where he introduced Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries and a song that did better as a revival in 1943 than when it first came out, As Time Goes By. Alice Faye at this time was a female vocalist hired by Vallee to appear with him and his Connecticut Yankees orchestra and was involved with him romantically. This was her film debut and she gets the best song in the score, Oh You Nasty Man.
Jimmy Durante and Cliff Edwards also appear in George White's Scandals and Edwards has a good number with him comparing his trouble with women with that of Henry VIII. Unfortunately Durante's big number involves the second reason why George White's Scandals isn't shown that often. Durante has a number where he spoofs fellow entertainer Al Jolson. It's not just that Durante dons the black-face which he would have to do to imitate Jolson, but then White had the bad taste to back him with a big chorus of singers and dancers, boys and girls, all in black-face doing one of those Mammy numbers.
Despite a frivolous plot and bad taste, George White's Scandals deserves to be remembered for the debut of Alice Faye, one of the best musical stars Hollywood ever produced.
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