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After a stunt where a plane hits the tree the singing son was sitting in, a hard-luck family of aspiring song writers gets to stay in a producer's house, trying to write a play for his haughty movie star mistress. The gal that flew the plane, and the producer's secretary compete's for the singer's attentions. Written by
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
I'm sure by now anyone who's read my critiques of Bing Crosby's movies realizes that my big complaint is during the 30s, Paramount asked him to carry a lot of lightweight material on the strength of his charm and personality. He was never asked to do more than in this film.
The sad thing here is that the potentiality for a great film was there. This could have been a great 30's screwball comedy. It begins nicely enough with three half brothers, like the Cartwrights in Bonanza, trying to get started in show business. They all have the same mother, Mary Boland, who is her usual flibbertigibet character and something of a con artist. She's sure no Ben Cartwright.
The three brothers Bing Crosby, James Blakeley, and Douglas Fowley are trying to get a stone deaf music publisher to hear a tune they've written. Of course they don't succeed, but Bing's singing is interrupted by a small airplane crashing into the tree he's perched in, crooning the ballad. The plane is piloted by Joan Bennett. It's a very funny sequence, but the film doesn't really move from there.
One thing Paramount did do was give Crosby five very nice songs written by one of the best screen songwriting teams ever, Mack Gordon and Harry Revel. None of the songs became any kind of hit for Bing and I'm at a loss to understand why. The best song that Crosby ever sang written by those two was not one that he introduced in film. It was Did You Ever See A Dream Walking, which he recorded two years earlier. That one got a bit of a revival in the 1980s version of Pennies from Heaven.
This was the second film he did with Joan Bennett and unfortunately it was not as good as Mississippi, done earlier that year. During the 30s Joan Bennett was always compared to her sister Constance and usually came off second best. She's best remembered for being Elizabeth Taylor's mother in Father of the Bride and Father's Little Dividend opposite Spencer Tracy.
With the sure hand and good direction of an Ernst Lubitsch or a Mitchell Leisen this film would have been a whole lot better. As it is Crosby fans like me will love it, others will probably leave it.
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