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Sweet Music (1935)

Passed | | Musical, Romance | 23 February 1935 (USA)
College band-leader "Skip" Houston keeps his band together after graduation, they turn professional, and they are a big hit on the radio and in nightclubs. He falls in love with Bonnie ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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'Dopey' Malone
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Louis Trumble
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The Mayor
Clay Clement ...
Mr. Johnson
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Storyline

College band-leader "Skip" Houston keeps his band together after graduation, they turn professional, and they are a big hit on the radio and in nightclubs. He falls in love with Bonnie Haydon, a dancer who hates him because he is constantly taunting her about her act and offering suggestions for improvements. She slowly learns that any engagements or work she has is because of Houston. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Genres:

Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

23 February 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melodias Radiantes  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Sidney Selzer: [pointing out to Skip Houston that the public doesn't seem to like Bonnie Haydon's performances] Ah, look at these letters. One fellow says her voice would sound better through a thick feather pillow. And they send them by airmail, so they can tell us *faster* how terrible they think she is! Am I right, Sigmund?
Sigmund Selzer: For once, you're right!
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Soundtracks

Fare Thee Well, Annabelle
(uncredited)
Music by Allie Wrubel
Lyrics by Mort Dixon
Sung by Rudy Vallee and drunks
Also sung by Rudy Vallee, Ann Dvorak and chorus
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User Reviews

Feuding Partners
1 September 2007 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

The new cycle of the Warner Brothers musicals that initiated with 42nd STREET (1933) continues with SWEET MUSIC (1935), directed by Alfred E. Green, featuring Rudy Vallee making his debut with the studio, and Ann Dvorak in her first musical role. A story that would have been tailor made for its resident song and dance team of Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, Warners goes one better in acquiring the services of Vallee (singer), and Dvorak (dancer), supported by familiar Warners stock players, notably Allen Jenkins and Ned Sparks, both being no strangers in these backstage stories.

The plot revolves around a couple of entertainers: Skip Houston (Rudy Vallee), an orchestra leader whose publicity agent, Barney Cowan (Allen Jenkins) never ceases in coming up with new angles promoting his friend and employer, only to have them backfire on him; and Bonnie Haydon (Ann Dvorak), whose publicity agent, William "Ten Percent" Nelson (Ned Sparks), not only discovered "Ruby Keeler, Al Jolson and Ben Bernie," but takes his ten percent interest in her both financially and personally. Following his engagement at the State University reunion, Skip's next stop is at the Chez Pierre in Chicago where he encounters Bonnie, who has always hated Skip, even more now that her name has been removed and replaced by Skip's on the marquee. Realizing the Houston and Haydon feud might stir up more publicity, Barney arranges in keeping them together after their move to New York City. When the feuding partners show signs of falling in love, misunderstandings take place that keep them apart, thanks to one of the publicity agents.

An entertaining musical with a handful of good tunes, all forgotten today, that takes up less than half of the 95 minutes of screen time without getting in the way of things, as supplied by an assortment of including from Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain, Allie Wrubel and Mort Dixon; and Al Dubin and Harry Warren. The soundtrack is as follows: "Snake Charmer," "42nd Street" "Fan Dance" (instrumentals); "Sweet Music" (sung by Rudy Vallee); "Ev'ry Day" (sung by Vallee); "Ev'ry Day" (danced by Ann Dvorak); "There's a Different You" (sung by Vallee); "Good Green Acres of Home" (Vallee and male chorus); "The Selzer Theme Song" (sung by Vallee and Dvorak, with Dvorak combining this with "Isn't That the Human Thing to Do"); "Outside," "Tavern in the Town" (both sung by Vallee); "I See Two Lovers" (sung by Helen Morgan); "Sweet Music" (reprise by Vallee); "There'a a Different You," "Fare Thee Well, Annabelle" (sung by Vallee and Dvorak); and "Good Green Acres of Home" (sung by Robert Armstrong).

In the supporting cast are Alice White as dumb blonde type named Lulu taking part of Barney's publicity stunts who later becomes his wife; Robert Armstrong as her gangster brother "Dopey" Malone, who wants to be a crooner(!); Henry O'Neill as Louis Trumball, a promoter with his nose for news; along with Al Shean and Joseph Cawthorn as the middle-aged accented Selzer brothers. In spite of the legendary Helen Morgan's name being placed fourth in the casting credits, she's seen very briefly in the audition sequence singing a sentimental torch song, "I See Two Lovers," originally written for and discarded from Powell and Keeler's FLIRTATION WALK (1934). This, and its finale, "Fare Thee Well, Annabelle" as choreographed by Bobby Connolly, are highlights. For the film's opening, Connelly attempts to duplicate the Busby Berkeley style by starting off things with a trombone glowing in the dark, followed by overhead camera shot of comic members of the Milt Britton Band spoofing a fan dance number from FASHIONS OF 1934 (1934), among others. For its duration, much of the song and dance takes either at a night club, radio station or theater. While Rudy Vallee's acting proved an embarrassment with his debut film, THE VAGABOND LOVER (RKO, 1929), it has improved considerably by this time, offering him an opportunity in slapstick comedy by cracking a violin over a band member's head as part of a comic act, and his imitation of radio comedian Fred Allen, an Italian and a Englishman during one of his songs numbers. He comes off best singing in patriotic manner, "Green Acres of Home." He and Dvorak work well together as feuding partners exchanging sarcastic remarks at one another. Skip on Bonnie: "You may not care for the dancing, but at least remember she's came from Chicago."

Quite enjoyable as it is underrated, whenever SWEET MUSIC should ever play on television, which isn't often enough, try locating it on Turner Classic Movies. (***) 


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