Jack Benny, Ida Lupino, Gail Patrick, Judy Canova and Ben Blue star in "Artists & Models," a 1937 film directed by Rapul Walsh. Benny plays Mac Brewster, the owner of an advertising agency who lands the Townsend Silver Account. Mac has a ball planned, the Artists and Models Ball, and the "Townsend girl," who is to be their model, will be queen of the ball. Mac wants his girlfriend Paula (Lupino) to be the model, but Townsend (Richard Arlen) wants a society girl. Paula takes off for Miami, where Townsend is going, and poses as a society girl. Townsend offers her the job. Mac, meanwhile, has met a bona fide society girl, the beautiful Gail Patrick, who has approached him about helping with a charity. He shows up in Miami with her.
This movie is loaded with musical numbers that, in this writer's opinion, aren't great, with the exception of the last one, a number set in Harlem. That one, featuring Louis Armstrong, would have been better if they'd hired a black woman to sing the lead instead of putting Martha Raye in dark makeup. Ben Blue and Judy Canova are a little bit over the top, and those numbers seem very dated today.
Ida Lupino looks beautiful and always turned in a good performance. When one sees her here as an ingénue, it's easy to appreciate her many accomplishments playing tough-gal roles and her work as a director. Benny is funny, but frankly, he doesn't have great material to work with. Gail Patrick, with her beautiful looks and voice, is her usual classy self. Cecil Cunningham, as Mac's secretary, is a standout with her dry wit.
All in all, not fabulous. I usually don't think of Raoul Walsh and musicals in the same thought process for a reason.
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