A cream-of-the-crop gathering of 1930's radio stars, who lend themselves to a storyline about a failing radio station which needs to put on a huge ratings winner to have any chance of ... See full summary »
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A cream-of-the-crop gathering of 1930's radio stars, who lend themselves to a storyline about a failing radio station which needs to put on a huge ratings winner to have any chance of continued operation. An interesting mixture of the stars whose fame continued to grow, those who became bit players in show business history, and those who have been forgotten entirely, except at the Internet Movie Database of course! Written by
Shortly after arriving in the US from Germany, Oskar Fischinger was contracted by Paramount Pictures to create an animated sequence (in Technicolor or Gasparcolor; sources differ) for this movie. The movie was scored to a jazz piece, "Radio Dynamics", by studio musician Ralph Rainger. Unfortunately, Paramount switched the production to black-and-white, and Fischinger's animation became a sequence within the film, showing consumer products emanating from a radio broadcasting tower, rather than pure abstract imagery. Fischinger later released his color version as Allegretto (1936). See more »
Despite the talent involved, the movie never really gels. It also wastes too much of that headline talent in an over-crowded plot. For example, Jack Benny is stiffened into what's basically a straight role with too many conventional lines. Too bad that his comedic talents are not put on better display. Then too, George Burns has little to do but trail around after Gracie. Fans know how leeringly witty he could be given the right material. And I guess Benny Goodman's one brief showcase was for marquee value.
Anyhow, the movie largely wastes these folks by trying to crowd too many characters into the 90-minutes. Then too, I thought Bob Burns' running gag as a hick quickly became more tiresome than funny. While Forest's glass-shattering version of La Bomba had me reaching for the mute button. And I guess Stokowski's near noirish classical performance was dropped in to add a little class.
On the other hand, Gracie Allen's scatter-brain is on funny display as the radio station's chief sponsor. While Martha Raye gets to liven things up with an upbeat number near the end. There are such moments of genuine humor, but too often they're eclipsed by aimless comings and goings. In sum, the movie's very much a mixed bag, as other reviewers point out. All in all, considering the cast potential, the movie adds up to an unexpected disappointment.
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