After WWI two men go into radio. Failure leads the wife of one to borrow money from another; she goes on, after separation, to stardom. A coast-to-coast radio program is set up to bring ... See full summary »
Nan Spencer is on a boat bound for Havana which runs aground. The man sent to rescue her is engaged and she doesn't understand his disinterest. Gambler is interested, to the annoyance of his girlfriend.
Starving playwright Judith Wells meets playboy writer of musicals, George Macrae, over a plate of stolen spaghetti. He persuades producer Sam Gordon to buy her ridiculous play "North Winds"... See full summary »
Broadway partners Vicky Lane and Dan Christy have a tiff over Christy's womanizing. Jealous Vicky takes up with her old flame and former dance partner, Victor Price, and Dan's career takes ... See full summary »
A new Broadway show starring Gary Blake shamelessly lampoons the rich Carraway family. To get her own back, daughter Mimi sets out to ensnare Blake, but the courtship is soon for real, to the annoyance of his co-star, hoofing chanteuse Mona Merrick. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite introducing three Irving Berlin classics ("This Year's Kisses," "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" with Dick Powell, and "Slumming on Park Avenue," followed by The Ritz Brothers in drag), Alice Faye, already well established in screen musicals, received only third billing, below the film title. Mr. Powell and non-vocalizing Madeline Carroll placed above Miss Faye. See more »
In his third and final scene, actor Stepin Fetchit tells Dick Powell that Mimi is on the phone. His character name is Herman, but Powell says "Thanks Step." See more »
Works terrifically as entertainment and as a film on the whole
'On the Avenue' had quite a cast, and who can go wrong with Irving Berlin. The good news is that 'On the Avenue' does not disappoint, and even exceeds eager expectations.
Debits are hardly any and also minor, all subjective personal opinion and not to be taken objectively. The pace does slacken ever so slightly in the middle, which is noticeable when the pacing for the rest of the film is so jaunty and exuberant. Also had mixed feelings on the Ritz Brothers, though admittedly this is one of their better film outings.
They don't disappoint in the dancing, which they are remarkably nimble at, and do have some entertaining sequences, with the slumming number being especially priceless. Their comedy is an acquired taste, to many people and to me, and while some parts work others are overdone, gimmicky and bizarre so it comes over as irritating.
Flaws aside, 'On the Avenue' works absolutely terrifically as entertainment and as a film on the whole. It looks wonderful, with sumptuous set and costume design and exquisitely and cleverly shot. Irving Berlin's score and songs are an all-round winner, as well as vibrantly staged. Not a weak link in the bunch. "You're Laughing At Me" and "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" are particularly noteworthy, while "This Year's Kisses" has the benefits of being beautifully sung and providing a lot of emotion.
Roy Del Ruth directs adeptly, and his reputation from getting great performances from his casts is evident. 'On the Avenue' has a lot to say about love's nature and its passion, and tells its story (which is more eventful and less corny and clichéd than most) with an impeccably bright tone and with effortless verve, incisiveness and wit. Both in the musical numbers and in the comedy and the drama, making for a script with a good balance of the funny and the heart-warming.
Madeleine Carroll and Dick Powell are both stunning, as is an affecting Alice Faye in one of her better and underrated performances (though all her performances seen of her have never been less than very good). Billy Gilbert and George Barbier are particularly zany support, Cora Witherspoon is a lot of fun and Alan Mowbery is dashing. Was really expecting Stepin Fetchit to strike a false note, expecting him to be a stereotypical caricature and out of place, didn't mind him here.
All in all, terrific film and highly recommended. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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