After helping a numbskull graduate college, a nebbish blunders into a job running an amusement park. There he wards off a variety of con artists and other miscreants while he pursues a nightclub singer. Written by
Cantor and Merman in an early, uneven musical effort...
EDDIE CANTOR was one of the most talented comedian/singers in Hollywood who never really got his due in films--except for a wonderful turn as lookalikes in THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS ('43). And ETHEL MERMAN is a great brassy singer from Broadway who never got her big chance in films either, except for CALL ME MADAM.
They don't really get their big chance here, either. It's an antiquated musical even though there is some great talent behind the scenes, as can be noted in the screen credits.
Cantor is the typical nerd, a tailor being bullied by college guys and rescued occasionally by his pal "Butch" (GORDON JONES). Cantor is being ribbed all the time for his crush on night-club singer ETHEL MERMAN, whose photos are posted all over his shop. He plays the sort of character that would inevitably fall to the Harold Lloyds and Danny Kayes of the show biz world--or, for that matter, Bob Hope who specialized in being a cowardly foil for the villainous thugs.
A young BRIAN DONLEVY has an early role as one of the thugs who wants to put one over on Cantor by placing slot machines in "Dreamland" park, with Cantor as current owner who has to get his courage from a book and phonograph record on "Man or Mouse?" A funny scene has him working his spell on tough guy ED BROPHY to the strains of "Dance of the Hours".
SALLY EILERS is the pretty secretary trying to give Cantor some backbone. It's the sort of role Virginia Mayo would later play in Danny Kaye films.
Some of the humor is rather forced and it's all kind of corny, but fun to watch as Cantor gets himself into one situation after another as he confronts the bad guys. Ethel Merman shows up for a couple of so-so song numbers but most of the time she's absent from the scene--and her few songs are not exactly memorable.
On the credit side, the musical sequences include some well choreographed song and dance numbers featuring The Goldwyn Girls, particularly one called "The Lady Dances". But the highlight of the film is the spectacular "Dreamland" chase that has all of the slapstick quality of the great silent chases, inspired by the Buster Keaton-Charlie Chaplin crowd of comics.
Summing up: Will appeal mostly to the admirers of Eddie Cantor's style as the comic foil for villains--and for anyone curious at an early glimpse of Merman.
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