Artist Jimmy Hudson (Cary Grant) is stuck in Mexico unable to pay his hotel bill. Meanwhile, Louise Fuller (Grace Moore) opera singer is stuck in the same town unable to return to the US ... See full summary »
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Artist Jimmy Hudson (Cary Grant) is stuck in Mexico unable to pay his hotel bill. Meanwhile, Louise Fuller (Grace Moore) opera singer is stuck in the same town unable to return to the US due to visa problems. The solution, Hudson agrees to marry Fuller, in return for which she pays him $2,000, which allows her to return to New York to resume her opera career. Hudson and Fuller continue to meet and trade barbs, but it clear they are falling for each other. A highlight is when Fuller joins a 5 piece band to sing "Minnie the Moocher", the Cab Calloway signature number. True love appears to be thwarted by Fuller's career obligations and divorce papers are exchanged. But in the end love is triumphant! Written by
Louise Brooks was originally cast as the leading lady. But after several spats with Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohn, she was abruptly replaced by Grace Moore and the picture was retooled as a musical comedy. Brooks can be glimpsed (uncredited) doing a specialty turn as a ballet dancer in one of the musical numbers. See more »
A very uneven romantic comedy with some great, and not so great, musical numbers
Robert Riskin, who wrote the script for this movie, also wrote the scripts for Platinum Blonde (1931), It Happened One Night (1934), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Lost Horizon (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Meet John Doe (1941), and many other of the great movie classics of the 1930s. If I start by listing those masterpieces, it is to wonder how he could have written something as poor as this script. Because it is the script, and Riskin's sole turn at being a movie director, that sink this movie. The first part is very poor, the middle not as bad, but then the end, with the god-awful music festival done in neo-Grecian art deco, destroys any chance of actually respecting this movie. HOW could anyone have thought that the last number, a piece that talks about a "simple song" but is staged with a cast of hundreds in elaborate 18th century ball gowns and what not, would not look ridiculous? It's a shame that the script and direction are so often so poor, because there are good things in this movie.
Moore's singing of Sibonay early in the movie is magical. It's a great number, brought off wonderfully by Moore at her very best. The staging isn't great, but it doesn't sink what is really a great five minutes.
There is also a very effective 5 minutes dramatically when Cary Grant and Moore sit before a fire in his cabin. The scene comes off as very natural, and very convincing - one of the few such natural moments in the movie, unfortunately.
Several of the other musical numbers, done very simply, are very moving. The song Moore sings to the children about the wooden doll, her song out in nature (which then gets travestied as the finale at the music festival), her singing of a folk-song while lying on her back in the cabin. And while she was no Cab Calloway, she does a nice job with Minnie the Moocher.
But Riskin's direction kills a good performance of Shubert's Serenade, done, for no apparent reason, in neo-Grecian art-deco. And Moore's performance of Vissi d'arte from Tosca under the opening credits is never explained and leads nowhere.
The dramatic crux of the movie happens only because Moore's character fails to explain to Cary Grant's why she has to sing at the music festival. It makes no sense that she would not have explained this.
So, in summary: there are some golden nuggets in this movie, mostly the musical numbers - but not all of them. Most of the rest of it is poor.
Very definitely inferior to Moore's other movie from 1937, I'll Take Romance, which suggests that Moore could have made some good movies if she had had better directors and material.
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