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Shy milkman Burleigh Sullivan accidentally knocks out drunken Speed McFarlane, a champion boxer who was flirting with Burleigh's sister. The newspapers get hold of the story and photographers even catch Burleigh knock out Speed again. Speed's crooked manager decides to turn Burleigh into a fighter. Burleigh doesn't realize that all of his opponents have been asked to take a dive. Thinking he really is a great fighter, Burleigh develops a swelled head which puts a crimp in his relationship with pretty nightclub singer Polly Pringle. He may finally get his comeuppance when he challenges Speed for the title. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Milky Way (1934). Comedy. Written by Lynn Root and Harry Clork. Directed by William W. Schorr. Cort Theatre: 8 May 1934- Jul 1934 (closing date unknown/63 performances). Cast: John Brown, Brian Donlevy (as "Speed McFarland"), Leo Donnelly (as "Gabby Sloan") [final Broadway role], Edward Emerson, William Foran, Gladys George (as "Anne Westey"), Emily Lowry, Hugh O'Connell (as "Burleigh Sullivan"), Bernard Pathe. Produced by Sidney Harmon and James R. Ullman. Note: Considering it did not recoup it's investment, this play proved surprising durable on film. It was purchased rather cheaply by Paramount - recently out of receivership - and produced as a Harold Lloyd vehicle as The Milky Way (1936) (a flop) and reworked a decade later by Samuel Goldwyn as The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) (a hit) with Danny Kaye in the starring role. See more »
Virginia Mayo's character name is listed as "Polly Pringle" in the onscreen credits, but she is called "Polly Martin" in the movie. See more »
One of Danny Kaye's better films while he was with Samuel Goldwyn is this musical adaption of The Milky Way where Kaye steps into the shoes of another comic genius, Harold Lloyd in The Kid From Brooklyn. Kaye proves every bit the adept physical comedian that Harold Lloyd was and he sings and dances besides.
The main weakness of the film is the music which is mostly sung and danced by Virginia Mayo and Vera-Ellen, the score from Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn is not one of their better ones. Kaye does get a patter song Pavlova from wife Sylvia Fine and Max Liebman which is also not one of his better efforts.
But the story of The Milky Way suits Kaye's talents perfectly, the timid milkman from Brooklyn who accidentally knocks out the Middleweight champion, Steve Cochran who while drunk makes a pass at Kaye's sister Vera-Ellen. In fact Kaye is like Inspector Clousseau whenever he's around Cochran.
Cochran's manager Walter Abel sees possibilities in this and gives him the Primo Carnera treatment. Amazing that this same kind of subject could be treated so dramatically in a film like The Harder They Fall and comically in the various adaptions of The Milky Way.
Sam Goldwyn gave Kaye as he did with his previous comedian under contract in the Thirties, Eddie Cantor, a lavish production with a great supporting cast. Mayo is Kaye's girlfriend, Eve Arden is Walter Abel's squeeze who deflates him and is just Eve Arden. And repeating his role from The Milky Way in The Kid From Brooklyn is Lionel Stander as Cochran's trainer and as it turns out the man who makes Danny Kaye's dreams come true and makes Cochran dream.
The final fight scene for the championship is hysterically funny, perfect material for Danny's physical skills. The Kid From Brooklyn is a very good product from Danny Kaye and Sam Goldwyn.
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