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In the old lexicon, a musical laugh riot. Saw a rare screening of this vintage Judy Canova romp tonight, and became an instant fan. Alma Kruger owns a radio network that builds a brand new HQ in New York accidentally, on several feet of land owned by the Goobers of Withering Heights, Arkansas. Husband Raymond Walbrun and son Eddie Foy Jr. go to Arkansas to buy the strip of land from Judy and father Slim Summerville at their general store. Judy is the telephone operator and has her own local radio show via the party line. Judy sings the title song to her phone customers and shatters glass with an operatic glissando at the end of the song. (This gag is repeated throughout the picture!) When the New Yorkers arrive, Judy wrongly assumes they want to buy the general store and proceeds to sell it to them, only to find out they really want the New York property she inherited recently. Judy and Slim move to New York to live in the suitably run-down mansion. They do battle with the slickers, and Judy has the last laugh in the end. Several great Judy Canova numbers, including a riotus song-and-dance with Eddie Foy poolside at his palatial home. Judy is like watching Minnie Pearl, Fanny Brice and Lily Pons all rolled up in one. Cornball, yes. But very entertaining considering it is a rare Republic non-cowboy musical. I am a city slicker, but can't wait to see more Judy. Canova, that is!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wealthy Alma Kruger doesn't have a clue to her butler's inquiry of how
to make country bumpkin Judy Canova's goose comfortable, and my first
thought was make sure you give it a foam pillow. That's the level of
corniness in this delightful musical comedy about a radio station's
attempts to grab her property where she runs her own radio station,
asking listeners to call her up at the sound of the tone to let her
know what time it is. Kruger's once again a domineering spinster, the
sister of gregarious Raymond Walburn and aunt of sly Eddie Foy Jr. They
are surrounded by a huge supporting cast of familiar character actors
including Slim Summerville as Canova's uncle. Francis Lederer plays a
broke European nobleman, out to grab the easiest buck in skirts to keep
up his pretentious lifestyle.
There's a very funny scene where all of Kruger's clan and radio station board members get sloshed on spiked tea, with Kruger getting delightfully giddy even as she accused the others around her of being drunk. Foy and Canova perform an elegant song and dance number that turns into farce thanks to her accidental collision with several props. It's very clear that her presence will lighten up the city slicker stuffed shirts.
Another amusing sequence that obviously tickled the ribs of the kiddie audiences has Canova performing a musical number with an alleged ghost after having been spooked by various shadows and trapped on a window ledge during a thunder storm. It's all silly fun with Canova a delight. This might not appeal to audiences who have no tolerance for nostalgia or pretend to be in only interested in things artistic. They can leave me the corn, and I'll send them back the cob.
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