Bob Hope is being stalked by a predatory widow who is a widow of wealthy husbands many times over. Martha Raye is a Texan heiress who wants to marry her boyfriend Andy Devine, but her ... See full summary »
A small country on the verge of bankruptcy is persuaded to enter the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics as a means of raising money. Either a masterpiece of absurdity or a triumph of satire, ... See full summary »
Rightly suspected of illicit relations with the Masked Bandit, Flower Belle Lee is run out of Little Bend. On the train she meets con man Cuthbert J. Twillie and pretends to marry him for "... See full summary »
A young pacifist after refusing on principle to defend her sweetheart's honor and being banished in disgrace, joins a riverboat troupe as a singer, acquires a reputation as a crackshot ... See full summary »
New ocean liner S.S. Gigantic is about to race its rival, the Colossal. Gigantic owner T.F. Bellows sends his brother S.B. on the Colossal, hoping he will cause trouble; delayed by a golf game, S.B. lands on Gigantic instead, and so does his unlucky daughter Martha. Meanwhile, radio emcee Buzz Fielding announces a series of musical acts and tries to juggle fiancée Dorothy and three ex-wives who've come for the ride. Can the Gigantic win against all handicaps? Will true love triumph? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938 (Mitchell Leisen, 1938) **1/2
This was the fourth and last in a series of "Big Broadcast" movies made by Paramount over a period of seven years; they were essentially the studio's reply to MGM's run of "Broadway Melody" releases. I've watched two among the latter franchise (see below and the 1940 entry) but this is my first brush with the "Big Broadcast" series; comparing the two, it seems the MGM films had much more plot than Paramount's but the latter, to their ultimate advantage, incorporated much more comedy. In this particular case, we get two(!) W.C. Fields and, in his screen debut, Bob Hope; the former is his typical larger-than-life and iconoclastic self (traveling on a motorbike that can spread its wings and fly!) who manages to revive two of his favorite game routines i.e. golf and billiards while the latter is already the wisecracking heel (who has four wives to his name and another in the offing!) emceeing the entertainment aboard one of two cruise-liners engaged in a race. The show involves several long-forgotten (and now highly-resistible) attractions ranging from a Mexican heart-throb to a female soprano and even a bland bit of animation (courtesy of Leon Schlesinger from Warners' "Looney Tunes" stable). Needless to say, there is the obligatory romance as well between Hope's proposed No. 5 wife Dorothy Lamour and inventor Leif Erickson, Hope's own re-affirmed affection for ex-spouse Shirley Ross (while singing his signature tune, the Oscar-winning "Thanks For The Memory") and between Fields' even wackier daughter Martha Raye and her companion Lynne Overman. All the various stars (including a redundant third comic in Ben Blue) get to do their thing, but the laughter element is clearly the most effective with Fields' surreal antics (the best of which, perhaps, is when he unwittingly blows up a gas station) and Hope's quips mixing quite well (though the two barely ever meet throughout!). Most of the music, then, is pretty dire (as already intimated), while the choreography includes an energetic number highlighting Raye and the expected splashy finale. At least, director Leisen (who had also helmed the previous entry from 1937) lends the film his customary surface style.
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