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Ernest B. Schoedsack
Lulu Monahan (Patsy Kelly), the press agent for John Barrymore (John Barrymore),is attempting to get a sponsor for a radio program. To that end, she and the agent for bandleader Kay Kyser (Kay Kyser), plant a story that the great Shakespearean actor, over his heartfelt objections, will teach Kyser how to play Shakespeare, which isn't the same as playing Paducah, which soon becomes evident. Highlights are the singing of Ginny Simms and a rumba by Lupe Velez; lowlights already cited. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
John Barrymore plays himself in this his final movie, which sees the great actor go out on a rather bad note. In the film Barrymore is pretty much playing his real life problem as he can't get any good press so his agent (Patsy Kelly) comes up with a scheme to say he's going to teach bandleader Kay Kyser how to be a Shakespearean actor. As with Barrymore's THE GREAT PROFILE, this so-called comedy has more frowns than anything else as it's rather sad seeing Barrymore having to spoof himself and make fun of his rather serious alcohol problem, which would claim his life the following year. With that in mind, it's sometimes rather hard to laugh at certain jokes that are clearly aimed to spoof him and his drinking. It's also rather obvious that he's quite bloated here and in many scenes he appears to be drunk so this here too will stick in your mind while watching the film. I will add that he isn't a complete wash out like many reviews would have you believe. Yes, he's incredibly over the top but no one does that quite like Barrymore and in his own charming way the performance is rather charming. His first appearance in the film will certainly put a smile on your face and you can't help but feel, at times, that he's really giving it all and giving a complete work out of a performance. We also get to see him act out Hamlet and give the famous "To be or not to be..." line. That alone is worth sitting through this otherwise forgettable film. The biggest problem is the actual screenplay that has one joke and it's not a very funny one. Barrymore teaching Kyser to do Shakespeare. That whole joke isn't funny and that means the film itself isn't going to be funny. We do have some mildly amusing moments but the pacing is incredibly bad and the 94-minute running time drags by rather painfully. Kyser gets a couple good musical numbers and he has his own bit of charm in terms of his performance. Kelly gets a few good lines with Lupe Velez and May Robson giving some support. In the end however, this is a pretty poor film that would sadly be Barrymore's last. Fans of his might want to check it out but others would be better served to see the actor in some of his better roles.
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