6.4/10
163
8 user 4 critic

The Cuckoos (1930)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical | 4 May 1930 (USA)
Two phony fortune tellers get mixed up with gypsies.

Director:

Paul Sloane

Writers:

Guy Bolton (book), Bert Kalmar (book) | 2 more credits »
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Stars: Bebe Daniels, John Boles, Bert Wheeler
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bert Wheeler ... Sparrow
Robert Woolsey ... Professor Cunningham
Dorothy Lee ... Anita
Jobyna Howland ... Fannie Furst
Hugh Trevor ... Billy Shannon
June Clyde ... Ruth Chester
Ivan Lebedeff ... Baron de Camp
Marguerita Padula Marguerita Padula ... Gypsy Queen
Mitchell Lewis ... Julius
Raymond Maurel Raymond Maurel ... Gypsy Singer
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Storyline

Fake fortune teller Professor Bird and his assistant Sparrow are in a Mexican resort near a gambling casino. Sparrow has fallen for Anita, an American girl who has lived with gypsies since she was four. But the gypsy leader Julius also wants her, and is willing to get her at any cost. Also at the casino are Miss Furst and her niece Ruth, who loves aviator Billy, but Miss Furst wants her to marry the Baron. But the Baron is only after Ruth's money. Miss Furst is very interested in contacting her late husband and hires Bird, especially after he helped her getting back her purse that was stolen by Julius. The Baron teams up with the Gypsies, after he noticed that Ruth and Billy are secretly engaged and has her kidnapped. Anita, who followed Sparrow is also taken back to Mexico. Billy, Bird and Sparrow start of to Mexico on their separate ways to free their girls, but it's not so easy, especially when staying at a hotel with some strange other guests and very careful gypsy guards. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gypsy | fortune teller | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 May 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Radio Revels See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$407,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Color:

Black and White | Color (2-strip Technicolor) (three sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is based on the Broadway musical comedy "The Ramblers", which opened at the Lyric Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St., on September 20, 1926 and ran for 289 performances until May 28, 1927. See more »

Goofs

When Billy lands his plane, he motions to shut off the engine - and its sound stops instantly, even though the prop is still turning. See more »

Quotes

Professor Cunningham: Do you know why I love you?
Fannie Furst: No...
Professor Cunningham: It's because you smell so sweet.
Fannie Furst: That's because I always have violets in my bath. You should, too.
Professor Cunningham: I would, but I don't know Violet!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Lady Consents (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing the Devil Away
(1930) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Ruby
Lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Otto A. Harbach
Sung by Marguerita Padula
Danced by Dorothy Lee with chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Too much singing but it's still pretty good.
23 October 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Wheeler and Woolsey had made one previous movie together, RIO RITA. RIO RITA was a musical extravaganza and in this film the standout performances were by Bebe Daniels and Wheeler and Woolsey. In fact, the audience response was so positive to the boys that RKO immediately signed them to star in THE CUCKOOS--another musical with comedy interludes. While similar to RIO RITA, it's very different from their later films because there is so much singing--and many of their later films had none. Now some singing might not have been a bad thing. The songs Wheeler and Woolsey sang were pretty cute and they were amazingly good dancers--showing their vaudeville heritage as song and dance men. Even Bert Wheeler's sweet "I Love You So Much" number was quite pleasant--even if it was without Woolsey and was a love song. Unfortunately, there were 2983 songs in the film (I counted them--trust me on this) and after a while it just became a distraction from the comedy--a MAJOR distraction. HUGE song and dance numbers like "Tap the Devil Away" were big, colorful (with two-color Technicolor for several dance numbers, such as this one) were particularly annoying and pointless. You really can't blame the boys for all this--this is what RKO wanted and musicals were hugely popular in 1930.

As for the comedy, Wheeler and Woolsey were better than normal--far less annoying than in some of their later outings and it's just a shame they didn't have more chance to do their stuff. I particularly liked the bedroom scene where EVERYONE seemed to keep interrupting their sleep. It was a bit reminiscent of the later stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers' A NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Also, although it's a big icky, the scene where Wheeler dresses in drag and seduces the gypsy men is funny as well.

The boys star as phony psychics who get into trouble just south of the border (in Mexico). They hang out in the world's weirdest casino, as it has huge Busby Berkeley-style song and dance numbers and the gambling seems almost unimportant! They bumble into a kidnapping plot and Wheeler also gets on the bad side of an evil Gypsy (a popular group to hate back in 1930). Why Gypsies were in Mexico and living right next to the casino is anyone's guess.


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