Western sheriff Bob Wells is preparing to marry Sally Morgan; she loves part-Indian Wanenis, whose race is an obstacle. Sally flees the wedding with hypochondriac Henry Williams, who thinks...
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A kind-hearted young man is thrown out of his corrupt home town of West Rome, Oklahoma. He falls asleep and dreams that he is back in the days of olden Rome, where he gets mixed up with court intrigue and a murder plot against the Emperor.
The Goldwyn Girls,
Western sheriff Bob Wells is preparing to marry Sally Morgan; she loves part-Indian Wanenis, whose race is an obstacle. Sally flees the wedding with hypochondriac Henry Williams, who thinks he's just giving her a ride; but she left a note saying they've eloped! Chasing them are jilted Bob, Henry's nurse Mary (who's been trying to seduce him) and others.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
He's Henry the hypochondriac-so healthy he's sick trying to think of what ails him. You'll roar, rock, rave over this rip-snorting comedy. (Print ad- Republican-Journal, (ogdensburg, N.Y.,) 18 November 1930)
An eccentric hypochondriac staying at an Arizona dude ranch finds the time - when not popping pills - to make a little WHOOPEE!
The emergence of two diverse talents make watching this film special. Banjo-eyed Eddie Cantor, already the darling of the Ziegfeld Follies, became a fully fledged movie star in this tale of utter lunacy, his own special brand of innocent insanity completely at home in these surroundings. Never still for long, legs & hands constantly flittering about, he punctuates every double entendre with eyes rolled up as if in mild shock at his own dialogue. His handful of songs, including his signature tune Making Whoopee,' only further showcase his abundant talent.
This was also the first significant assignment for choreographer Busby Berkeley. He displays his genius in embryo with his precision movements (greatly influenced by his exposure to military drills) and initial examples of his trademark overhead shots. The film's production entirely in early Technicolor gave Berkeley a rich palette with which to work and he acquits himself well, even if his Indian maiden costumes near the end of the picture exhibit rather dubious taste.
Cantor dominates the cast, but Ethel Shutta has a few good moments as Eddie's stern nurse and elderly Spencer Charters, playing the ranch's owner, has a hilariously bizarre sequence in which he & Cantor examine each other's surgical scars. Movie mavens will recognize a young, uncredited Betty Grable as the chorus girl with the lasso in the first song.
A glance down the credits shows a couple of names of note: Nacio Herb Brown was among the foremost movie songwriters of the era; Greg Toland would later be hailed as one of Hollywood's finest cinematographers.
The film makes a point of dealing with bias against Native Americans. Cantor's blackface comedy sequence will then perhaps be a bit of a surprise to some, but it should be remembered that this sort of racial insensitivity was not unusual in the movie industry of 1930.
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