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... See full summary »
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.
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The music of I Want to Be a Minstrel Man, sung by Harold Nicholas and chorus girls (Lucille Ball is clearly visible at 39:10 for a few seconds), was reused by composer Burton Lane in Royal Wedding (1951) as You're All the World to Me, where Astaire dances on the floor, walls and ceiling. See more »
In a recent and long overdue biography of Eddie Cantor it turns out that Cantor's daughter Marilyn was responsible for the casting of Ethel Merman in this and a subsequent film of her father's. The Cantors and the San Goldwyns saw each other socially quite a bit and young Marilyn Cantor became a fan of Merman's after seeing her on the Broadway stage. She lobbied with Goldwyn to get Merman opposite her father and the man relented.
Cantor and Merman did work well together here and in Strike Me Pink. Eddie is playing his usual bullied schnook who is living with what I guess would be considered a foster family on the New York docks. But it turns out he's the son of an archaeologist who went to Egypt and went missing, but who found a reputed treasure. All he has to do is claim the treasure over in Egypt. Of course there are some other people who think they have a claim.
Berton Churchill and daughter Ann Sothern helped finance the expedition and Ethel Merman claims a common-law relationship, a scheme cooked up by her hoodlum boy friend Warren Hymer.
All of these people perform well and I have to say that Warren Hymer who never exactly played intellectuals on the screen actually dumbs HIS usual character down for the film. But I have to say that the man who seemed to be enjoying himself most playing the villainous Arab sheik is character actor Paul Harvey. He overacts outrageously in his part and I'm sure he was grateful for the false beard and mustache he had to wear to contain the grins he must have had on his face.
Playing the Harvey's daughter and her beloved are the vaudeville team of Eva Sully and Jesse Block in their only screen appearance. I'm betting Cantor was responsible for their casting. Eva in her harem outfit and Jewish accent develops a crush on Cantor who's who'd rather be boiled in the sheik's oil than marry her. But that's part of the whole wonderfully silly plot.
A whole host of song writing talents contributed to this film, Irving Berlin, Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn and Burton Lane and Harold Adamson. Some sharp ears might recognize a Lane tune that was revived with a different lyric by Alan Jay Lerner and danced to by Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding then called You're All the World To Me.
There is also one of the strangest minstrel numbers ever shot on screen where no one but Cantor is in blackface. During it he has to dance with the Nicholas Brothers and I'm sure in the primitive minds back then it was felt he'd better look like them. He shouldn't have tried because Fayard and Harold dance him right off the screen.
Other than the minstrel number, Kid Millions is one of the best musicals from out of the Thirties and another showcase of the talented Eddie Cantor.
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