During the the 1930s' each of the Studios carved out a niche that they were particularly good at. M.G.M. polished presentations and Musicals, Warner Brothers (WB) Gangsters, Bio-Pics and the Common Man, 20th Century Fox & RKO, Action and/or Sophistication. Even a middle tier studio, like Republic knew what it was best at, Serials & Westerns or Universal, the Monsters.
Paramount during this period seemed to be in a quandary. Only Cecil B. DeMille and Ernst Lubitsch seemed to know what they were doing, because they Produced and Directed their own films. Paramount would skip around, trailing after trends other studios initiated or did better. Even when they did get it right they seldom followed up on it. Their films were a collection of samples, much like the French Navy in the 19th Century.
ARTISTS & MODELS (1937) is a perfect example of this. Is it a comedy, a musical or both? Director Raoul Walsh seemed not to be able to make up his mind or just was not interested. The cast led by Jack Benny, Ida Lupino, Richard Arlen and Gail Patrick just meander around through the thinly contrived plot which is interrupted by some rather pedestrian musical numbers. If you are expecting the quality of 42nd STREET (1933) or ROSE-MARIE (1936) you had better look elsewhere. You know you are in trouble when one (1) of your production numbers is led by Judy Canova. The other, Martha Raye in 'Black-Face'! This trend would continue with it's sequel ARTISTS and MODELS ABROAD (1938) and THE BIG BROADCAST of 1938 (1938). They may have memorable songs and even competent dance numbers, but there is nothing to make them standout as extraordinary examples of their genre.
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