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Alfred L. Werker
In Oslo, Norway, Jenny (who loves stalwart Chris) enters a dance marathon to help her embezzler brother out of a jam; her actions cause misunderstanding and Chris flees to a far northern mining camp. In despair, Jenny signs up as a "picture bride" who by tragic irony is promised to Chris's brother Olaf...at that same mining camp. Then Chris's rival Alberto arrives on a polar dirigible expedition. Which brother will join his voyage, perhaps to doom? Very stylized.Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Only the edited 1937 re-release, running 67 minutes, with the original 2-strip Technicolor finale in black and white, was available for many years. But a complete print, running 79 minutes and including the Technicolor finale, survives at the George Eastman House. In 2011, it was run on Turner Classic Movies. See more »
The original 1930 theatrical release ran 80 minutes, and included tinted scenes, with the final reel in Technicolor. The film was cut to 67 minutes for a 1937 re-release, and shown in black-and-white only. A copy of the original release (with tinted and color sequences) does reside at George Eastman House, and was broadcast on Turner Classic Movies in 2011. See more »
Apparently there are two versions of this movie--the original 1930 print and the re-issue print from 1937. The 1937 re-issue is 10 minutes shorter and lacks the color sequences originally included with the movie and apparently this version has been shown on Turner Classic Movies. However, the DVD (which is what I saw) is of the re-issue. I am not sure it would have mattered either way, as the absence of color isn't what bothered me about the film but the music, plot and overall style--all of which are badly dated.
Back in the 1930s, Hollywood made quite a few operettas. These films must have been popular as they made plenty, however they are rarely shown today--mostly because they are incredibly old fashioned. What was entertaining back in the day is clearly NOT entertaining today in these films. The biggest problem is the singing--and that's bad since these are musicals! The singing is in a grand, warbling style--and you just have to hear it to believe how ear-piercingly awful it is! Oddly, the worst of this singing was Jeanette MacDonald's, as it nearly made my head explode a few times, and of all the cast, she was to become the biggest musical star in the following years.
Jenny (MacDonald) and Chris (John Garrick) are in love with each other but both are also complete morons. When there is a misunderstanding, she runs off to become a lottery bride and he runs off to NORTHERN Norway! And, it turns out that is exactly where she runs to as well! But, because they ARE idiots, they cannot allow themselves to express their true feelings and so the two mope around for most of the picture--as well as sing! In addition to this plot, there is some inexplicable comic relief*. Joe E. Brown and Zasu Pitts are there for that purpose but oddly the script givens them nothing funny to say or do. Instead, they just seem lost and out of place.
So, you've got awful singing, a plot that really makes no sense and comedy that isn't funny. The only mildly interesting aspect of the film involves a dirigible and it's flight to the frozen north--but that's certainly not enough for me to recommend the film. Overall, a dated and unappealing movie.
*It's odd, but the wonderful comedian Max Davidson is in the film in a bit part. Yet, they do NOT use him for comedy at all! A wasted opportunity as his appearances in Hal Roach films are priceless.
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