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After helping a numbskull graduate college, a nebbish blunders into a job running an amusement park. There he wards off a variety of con artists and other miscreants while he pursues a nightclub singer.Written by
Stock footage from atop the Ferris wheel at Palisades Amusement Park on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River was used for the background when Eddie and Joyce are stopped on top of the Ferris wheel at the fictional 'Dreamland' as you can clearly see the George Washington Bridge behind them. See more »
The last of 6 films starring or including the inimical Eddie Cantor, produced by Sam Goldwyn Studios from 1930-36, which includes pre and post code films. It's also the only one that does not include a segment of Cantor in black face, if that's important to you. I suspect the inclusion of blackface is one reason why Cantor films have not been frequently shown on public TV. In 1937, he starred in a 20th Century-Fox film: "Äli Baba Goes to Town", which is also worth a look if you like his films in general.
We have several threads pursued. Eddy(Pink) plays his usual overly timid nerd character, who initially runs a shop where he offers various services, including a machine that breaks in new shoes. He gives up his shop to become the manager of the amusement park Dreamland. There, he gets mixed up with a gang who want to fill Dreamland with crooked slot machines, threatening to dispose of him like they did the last half dozen managers who refused to cooperate. Eddie is much helped and encouraged by his secretary Claribel(Sally Eilers).
Eddie has a fixation on nightclub singer Joyce Lennox (Ethel Merman). The slot machine gang figure out a way to use this obsession to blackmail Eddie into allowing the slot machines in Dreamland, Ethel being a friend of the gang.
To effectively deal with the gang and his other duties, Eddie mail orders a book and record to teach him self-confidence. In addition to assuming a confident stance in the face of adversity, he learns about "the magnetic eye"(one eye shut), the "magnetic stance" (leaning far forward) and the "magnetic finger"(arm and forefingers thrust forward)(This could be interpreted as a stab at self-help advisers, in general). Anyway, this approach seems to mesmerize his adversaries.
The last part involves a classic silent film-like chase of Eddie by the slot machine gang, including a race on a roller coaster, followed by a nail-biting balloon ride, then inadvertent participation in a trapeze act. All this time, Eddie is trying to protect a 78rpm recording of a full confession by the gang of murdering the prior managers, and the phoniness of the murder charge against Ethel. This whole sequence much reminds me of something silent film luminary Harold Lloyd might do.
The music and dancing is nothing special. Ethel sings "First You Have me High" on a pitch black stage, except for her face: too long and not interesting to me. Eddie sings "The Lady Dances" on stage, abetted by chorus girls and specialty dancer and singer Dona Drake(also known as Rita Rio), who wiggles and gyrates her body, along with dancing and singing. Then, Eddie and Ethel sing "Calabash Pipe" while atop a Ferris wheel, followed by their singing it while imagined senior citizens in a buggy. Later, Ethel sings "Shake it off with Rhythm", abetted by a dancing chorus, in a big production.
Dona Drake was a very light-skinned African American, who passed herself off as an exotic-looking Caucasian. She was very energetic, as shown in this film. Sometimes, as in this film, she was a specialist singer and/or dancer. In other films, such as the Crosby-Hope "The Road to Morocco", she had a significant role in the screenplay. Seems like she should have had a much more visible Hollywood career.
Of the 5 members of the shot machine gang, I was already familiar with Brian Donlevy, William Frawley, and Jack La Rue..... Harry Parke served as Eddie's supposed body guard, who popped up every now and then. When Eddie and Ethel took a boat ride through the pitch black Tunnel of Love, we hear kissing sounds, but Eddie protested that he didn't kiss her. Turns out it was Parke, hiding in the back seat. Parke also accompanied Eddie in that perilous balloon ride.
If you like Eddie's comedies in general, you should like this one, despite the disparaging remarks of some reviewers. Currently, it's part of a 4 film collection of Eddie's comedies, I can recommend.
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