Sweet Music (1935) Poster

(1935)

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7/10
Sweet Is The Word
bkoganbing14 August 2009
Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler must have been busy doing Shipmates Forever or Flirtation Walk when Sweet Music was given to Rudy Vallee and Ann Dvorak as leads. The property is typical of the stuff Powell and Keeler were doing at Warner Brothers at the time.

Vallee appears in Sweet Music with his Connecticut Yankee orchestra and when they weren't backing Rudy up when he was seriously singing, they cut up in a way that was not seen until Spike Jones made an appearance. Rudy and Dvorak start out as rivals for a Broadway review and then a radio show. Of course you know in the end they'll discover true love.

Ann plays a dancer and I have to say she had some nice moves in Sweet Music. The score is from a variety of composers and it has some Vallee standards like the title song, the comic song Outside which he introduced in the Twenties and There Is A Tavern In the Town. However the main song of the score is the Allie Wrubel-Mort Dixon ballad I See Two Lovers which is done by Helen Morgan.

Morgan appears as herself and she is singing the song in an audition and Vallee accompanies her with his orchestra. It's one of her great torch ballads and it was also recorded by Russ Columbo and Dick Powell. Any one of the three recordings I have of the song is a treasure.

Some of Warner Brothers best stock players are in this film with Ned Sparks as an agent, Allen Jenkins as a publicity man with a streak of zaniness in him. One of his zany stunts involves Alice White trying to drown herself for love of Rudy Vallee which results in White's brother Robert Armstrong who's a gangster trying to arrange a shotgun wedding with Vallee and White. Watch the film if you want to see how Rudy gets out of that one.

Dick and Ruby didn't miss anything with Sweet Music, nevertheless it's a pleasant musical comedy from Warner Brothers and will give the viewer a lot of pleasure still.
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Feuding Partners
lugonian1 September 2007
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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8/10
An under appreciated sweet movie
georgeeliot17 January 2002
A much better film than Leonard Maltin could appreciate. Rudy Vallee and Ann Dvorak are excellent. Among the good songs is Ev'ry Day, a real nice one. The finale, Fare Thee Well Annabelle, is a showstopper. Seeing Helen Morgan is a bonus. All in all, a sweet movie.
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7/10
Rather enjoyable...
MartinHafer30 June 2016
I was actually rather surprised that I enjoyed "Sweet Music" as much as I did. While I have enjoyed a few of Rudy Vallee's later films when he played supporting roles, I have never been in love with his starring roles. Plus, here he plays a super-nice guy...something that according to every source I have read (including IMDb), Vallee was notorious for mistreating everyone around him.

When the film begins, you get to see Vallee's band doing some of their hi jinks. It's rather clever and was a better than average musical number. The story that follows is about Skip Houston (Vallee) and his feud with a temperamental dancing and singing diva, Bonnie Haydon (Ann Dvorak). They bicker a lot...and most of it seems to be coming from Ms. Haydon. Despite this, Houston is such a swell guy that he works hard to try to get Haydon's career off the ground. But when it falters, she unfairly blames Skip and that's sad...as they've begun to fall in love. Can things be righted and everyone live happily ever after? Or, will Skip's idiot publicity agent (Allen Jenkins) keep doing his best to foul up everything?

The music in the film was okay...but a few of the songs were rather goofy and that helped make the film more watchable. Also, the film was well written and very pleasant viewing. Worth your time.
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