An American singing cowboy who has become an oil millionaire is convinced to stay at an Balkan village waiting for his bride-to-be who is getting the divorce in Paris, where they expect to ... See full summary »
A New York City detective, traveling by train between New York and Baltimore, tries to foil an on-board plot to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln before he reaches Baltimore to give a major pre-Inauguration speech in 1861.
Larry Poole, in prison on a false charge, promise an inmate that when he gets out he will look up and help out a family. The family turns out to be a young girl, Patsy Smith, and her ... See full summary »
A young man falls in love with a beautiful blonde. When he sees her being forced onto a luxury liner, he decides to follow and rescue her. However, he discovers that she is an English ... See full summary »
Crusty Dr. McRory of Fallbridge, Maine hires a replacement for his vacation sight unseen. Alas, he and young singing doctor Jim Pearson don't hit it off; but Pearson is delighted to stay, ... See full summary »
"Doctor Rhythm" (Paramount, 1938), directed by Frank Tuttle, based upon a story, "The Badge of Policeman O'Roon" by O. Henry, is a lightweight musical-comedy starring Bing Crosby, a movie that seems to be best remembered today solely for its "Double Dasmisk Dinner Napkins" routine featuring none other than comedienne Beatrice Lillie (1894-1989) in a very rare screen appearance during Hollywood's Golden Age. And she is not only very funny, but a bizarre personality who seems to be an unlikely performer to be featured in a Bing Crosby musical.
The story opens at Central Park when four alumni of Public School 43 of Brooklyn, N.Y., meet at midnight (?) for their annual reunion. The four men are Luke (Sterling Holloway), an ice cream salesman; Al (Rufe Davis), a zoo keeper; Larry O'Roon (Andy Devine), a policeman; and Doctor William Remsen (Bing Crosby), getting together, and singing the film's first tune, "P.S. 43." Because O'Roon gets nice and drunk and is unable to go on duty the following morning, Remsen decides to take his place for the day, assuming the assignment as a bodyguard to a spoiled heiress named Judy Marlowe (Mary Carlisle), engaged to a phony, Chris LeRoy (Fred Keating) who not only has a questionable past, but is only after her money. Of course, she's unaware of his scheme. After a love-hate relationship between Remsen and Judy, the thin storyline concludes with a policeman's benefit supported by Lorelei Dodge-Blodgett (Bea Lillie) who not only MC's on stage wearing roller skates, but performs in an opera burlesque number titled "Only a Gypsy Knows."
Other songs by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Monaco include: "My Heart is Taking Lessons" (sung by Crosby); "Rhythm" (sung by Bea Lillie); "On the Sentimental Side" "On the Sentimental Side" (reprise); "My Heart is Taking Lessons," "This Is My Night to Dream" (this nice sentimental tune sung by Crosby to Carlisle in the tunnel of love sequence); and "My Heart is Taking Lessons" (sung by Crosby and cast). Although I find many of the songs quite listenable, they are virtually forgotten today.
The supporting players include Franklin Pangborn and William Austin, character actors who partake in the "Double Dasmisk Dinner Napkins" routine; Laura Hope Crews, John Hamilton (the one and only Perry White of the "Superman" TV series of the 1950s) and Henry Wadsworth as Otis. As for blonde and pert Mary Carlisle, she makes her third and final appearance opposite Crosby.
Like many other musicals of the 1930s, "Doctor Rhythm" is just an excuse to have Bing Crosby going through 80 minutes or so of silly plot and introducing several tunes with a songwriter's hope that one of them will end up on the Hit Parade charts before rapping it all up in the end. While no masterpiece, "Doctor Rhythm" is a real curio, and a film's buff's dream to have it resurface again on television or video. (***)
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this