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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>
One must have at least a passing familiarity with the 1930s to understand and/or enjoy "The Big Broadcast of 1938". Without that, the movie is a curio piece to be remembered only as Bob Hope's first major film appearance and the one where he first sang "Thanks for the Memory" (soon to be his theme); W.C. Fields's last film for Paramount; and, perhaps if you're of a certain age, Martha Raye and Dorothy Lamour.
"The Big Broadcast of . . . " series of films were strictly pastiche: an odd mixture of familiar film faces, radio personalities, and vaudeville, burlesque and novelty acts with an extremely loose storyline stringing it all together. For 10¢ and the B-picture with an A-picture double-bill, the movie would have hit the spot for most Depression-era movie-goers.
The humour and jokes are pretty period specific, making the movies already out-of-date even ten years later. Without a map and a compass, the territory would be unfamiliar to audiences 70 years later. But that's not unique to "The Big Broadcast of . . . " series either. How well will "Canonball Run", "Airplane", "Scary Movie" and "Meet the Spartans" (all products of their time) hold up in 70 years? As others have stated, the best segment of the film is Hope and Shirley Ross singing the very tender and bittersweet, "Thanks for the Memory". Don't expect much from "The Big Broadcast of 1938", view it as the mind-candy of your great-, grand- or parents' generation.
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