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Spotlight Scandals (1943)

6.0
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 6 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

A down-on-his luck actor teams up with a singing barber to do a vaudeville act. Its success eventually leads them to Broadway, but things start to go awry.

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Title: Spotlight Scandals (1943)

Spotlight Scandals (1943) on IMDb 6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Billy Gilbert
Frank Fay ...
Frank Fay
Bonnie Baker ...
Singer Bonnie Baker
Billy Lenhart ...
Butch Gilbert
Kenneth Brown ...
Buddy Gilbert
Harry Langdon ...
Oscar Martin
Iris Adrian ...
Bernice
Jimmy Hollywood ...
Radio Rogues Member (as The Radio Rogues)
Eddie Bartell ...
Radio Rogues Member (as The Radio Rogues)
Sydney Chatton ...
Radio Rogues Member (as The Radio Rogues)
James Bush ...
Jerry
Claudia Dell ...
Betty
Eddie Parks ...
Eddie
...
Mrs. Baker
Henry King ...
Henry King
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Storyline

In "Spotlight Scandals,", the actual release title of this film ("Spotlight Revue" was the 1949 re-issue title), Frank Fay, a stranded actor, and Billy Gilbert, a small-town barber, combine to form a vaudeville act, and eventually become headliners at the top of their profession. Oscar Martin backs them in a lavish revue, installing his girlfriend, Bernice, as the featured dancer. She takes a liking for Frank. When the revue closes its run of 42-weeks, Bonnie Baker, singer on the radio program advertising her mother's Baker Bubble Gum, invites Frank to join her on the radio program. He refuses, however, when the Bakers declines to hire Billy. During their prosperity, Billy has accumulated a modest fortune, but the improvident FRank has always lived up to his income, so Billy resolves to take sacrifice-measures to induce his partner to quit the stage, and the angry Frank, accepts the radio engagement. Bonnie likes her new partner, and eventually she and Bernice fight over the popular ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Music | Romance

Certificate:

Approved
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Release Date:

24 September 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spotlight Revue  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Oh, Johnny
Written by Abe Olman and Ed Ross
Sung by Bonnie Baker
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User Reviews

 
entertaining Monogram "backstage" comedy-musical from Katzman-Beaudine, featuring Frank Fay and Billy Gilbert
11 September 2004 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

From Sam Katzman's "Banner Productions" (of Bela Lugosi and East Side Kids fame--in one scene the movie poster from Katzman's Lugosi film "Bowery At Midnight" is seen in a theatre lobby) comes this vaudeville "review" which mixes up on-stage comedy and music with backstage antics (featuring, among others, the dynamic comedienne Iris Adrian, and in one of his final roles the great Harry Langdon as a stage director) and a plot about the rise and success of an ill-matched vaudeville duo, Frank Fay and Billy Gilbert. The film begins with Fay sneaking out of a hotel without paying, but getting caught. He goes to get a haircut from barber Billy Gilbert, and after trying to cheat Gilbert out of money, Fay and Gilbert become friends when Fay visits his home and hears him sing. They create an act together, and the film charts the gradual success of their act. As they play various venues, we see various little-remembered music and comedy acts (The Three Radio Rogues, who do impressions, Wee Bonnie Baker ("the tiny little girl with the tiny little voice"), Henry King's swing band, etc.) doing their acts. While Gilbert and Fay (who play versions of themselves) are very talented people, their "act" is not that good and it's hard to believe they'd get the offers that they do (one comes from Wheeler Oakman, not listed in the cast list). Still, the film is a nice window into an age long-gone, and it's interesting to see Frank Fay playing himself in the latter stages of his career. He had been a successful Broadway and vaudeville star in earlier days, but was on the way down at this time (why else would he be in a Monogram film!) and his legendary unpleasant personality (depicted here in the film by his conceited view of himself, his attempts to cheat others, and his two-faced character)probably didn't help him get work. As he is considered an influence on Jack Benny and other important comedians of that era, getting to see him while he was still somewhat in his prime is a treat. We also get to see his legendary routine of mercilessly picking apart the lyrics of songs sung by the vocalists who had the misfortune of appearing on the same bill with him. The few references I've seen to this film are because of Harry Langdon's presence, but unfortunately Langdon is not in the film that much (although his scenes are spread throughout the film)and he is not given an opportunity to engage in any extended comedy or to develop his character much. The pairing of Langdon and Iris Adrian could have been amazing, but they mostly play second banana to OTHER characters and don't get much interplay between themselves...unfortunately. Adrian gets more screen time than Langdon, as there is a subplot involving her and Fay (including an incredible scene on an apartment balcony that completely changes the course of the film, sending it into melodrama!!), and she's at her shrewish best. Had this been an MGM film, it would probably be slick and unwatchable, but the Monogram cheapness and slapdash production quality actually make the film far more watchable today. One scene worthy of praise is where Billy Gilbert suggests to Fay that they break up the act, for reasons that Fay does not know at the time. This is beautifully played by both of these old pros and actually brought a tear to my eye. Also, the film ends somewhat abruptly, but it's an ending that is moving and emotionally satisfying (I won't give it away)and works far better than any "traditional" ending I could imagine. Not a film that you need to track down (unless you are a Harry Langdon or Iris Adrian completist, or you are a student of Broadway who wants to see Frank Fay "playing himself"), but if you have a chance to see it, there are worse ways of killing 80 minutes (for instance, 15 of the 16 films playing at your local multi-plex!).


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