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Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson
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Gregory La Cava
Producer Bob Temple, who's brought an American show to London, loves his star Diana, but she won't take him seriously as a lover. To show her, he picks up stranger Lady Arlington, whose financier husband neglects her. On a weekend at the Arlington country house, Bob is used by both Lady A. and her friend to make their husbands jealous; this works all too well, and Bob is in danger from both husbands. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Jack Benny and Rochester in an enjoyable and nostalgic comedy despite a silly plot.
This film was a big nostalgia trip for me, having listened to Jack Benny's radio program in the late 30's and also having watched his program later when it transferred to television. His films were often silly, but knowing his personality and those of the rest of the radio cast made them enjoyable. This film fits that mold, as he brought with him Eddie Anderson and Phil Harris, two of the show's regulars. Benny and Anderson had great rapport that transferred to the screen beautifully. Anderson's character on the show and in this film was as Benny's wise-cracking valet, Rochester, and the name was so well-known that he's billed here in the opening credits simply as "Rochester," although the end credits lists him as Eddie Anderson. I was amazed at his versatility when he does two jazzed up dances in the film, which alone makes the film worth watching. The plot has Benny as an actor and producer in London, trying to make time with his star, Dorothy Lamour, by wooing Lady Binnie Barnes to get Lamour jealous, while Barnes uses Benny to get her husband, Edward Arnold, jealous and more attentive. That scheme was suggested by French friend Isabel Jeans, who does the same thing, since her husband, Monty Woolley, is likewise inattentive. The funniest sequence of the movie has Arnold and Woolley each seeing Benny kiss the other man's wife and keeping mum about it. But when the truth comes out, both are out to kill Benny.
The movie is sprinkled with musical numbers throughout, with Lamour, Harris and Betty Grable providing nice vocals for relatively forgettable songs, The Pina Troupe doing some acrobatics and the Merriel Abbott Dancers dancing, all to the music of Matty Malneck's orchestra. When you hear Benny butcher the song "Love in Bloom" on his violin, you should know that it was a running gag on his show to appreciate the humor. Isabel Jeans and Eddie Anderson are both standouts, with the rest of the supporting cast in good form. This is not a great movie, but it is certainly an enjoyable one.
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