Navy Lt. Richard Perry becomes an undercover man out to discover the leaders of a group of well connected men who pull off bank robberies during the McKinley administration (early 20th ... See full summary »
William A. Seiter
In 1937, the fabricated radio feud between New York newspaper columnist Walter Winchell and bandleader Ben Bernie (good friends in real life, just like Fred Allen and Jack Benny) resulted in a pair of long forgotten features from Darryl Zanuck's Fox company, "Wake Up and Live" and "Love and Hisses." Their verbal sparring was buttressed by various turns from equally forgotten specialty performers, with Alice Faye leading lady in the first, Hollywood newcomer Simone Simon in the second, Joan Davis stealing scenes in both. "Love and Hisses" brought their screen career to a premature end, innocuous but not uninteresting, as Simone impersonates an up and coming singer championed by Winchell, unaware that she is a protégé of Bernie, his partner Bert Lahr the unlikely but amusing love interest for Joan Davis. Entering into this mix is aspiring songwriter Dick Baldwin, who mistakenly believes that Ben Bernie has stolen one of his songs, immediately falls for the irresistible Simone, and regales her with other tunes from his repertoire. It's love at first plight, with Douglas Fowley again typecast in mobster mode, enabling Winchell to top his rival in the less than tense finale, dragged out with ten minutes of song and dance. Walter Winchell would continue his career as one of the world's best known gossip mongers (multiple film and TV appearances), but poor Ben Bernie never made another film, his premature death in 1943 denying him the opportunity to hear his greatest musical triumph, a fast paced rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown," become the longtime theme for the Harlem Globetrotters. Among the familiar faces in the unbilled cast list, Lon Chaney Jr. can be spotted at the five minute mark in a blink-and-you'll-miss-him bit as the attendant for one of Winchell's radio broadcasts, watching an irate Ben Bernie kick a drum on the way out; sadly, this silent role was typical of his two year tenure at Fox, most of his other parts distinguished by at least a single line, not so here.
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