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Ozzie Norton and his band, featuring Betty Blake of Brooklyn, prepare for the opening of the College Club, a nightclub near the campus of Lambeth Technological . On opening night, Minnie Lambeth Sparr, daughter of the college founder, descends with Professor Bailey, the sheriff and Harriet Hale, daughter of Dr. Hale, president of the school. The band and all persons connected are arrested under an old statute. Harriet, against the move, arranges for their release. Betty, Ozzie and the band picket the college in jive fashion.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
While she wasn't always the best singer and dancer in the world, Ruby Keeler was still a charming performer who put a smile on one's faces. She starred in a lot of great films, and even her lesser efforts (of which 'Sweetheart of the Campus' falls under) have enough pros to make them watchable.
'Sweetheart of the Campus' (or 'Broadway Ahead') is no '42nd Street', 'Footlight Parade' or 'Goldiggers of 1933', 'Dames' is also excellent, and is along with 'Ready, Willing and Able' a lesser film in her filmography, but it is not by all means a bad film. Keeler herself is incredibly charming and has a very natural presence, while Harriet Nelson shows off some powerhouse vocals.
Kathleen Howard is strong support. The production values are wonderfully glossy, especially the photography which sees many pleasing shots. The songs are pleasant enough if not classics, the best being "Here We Go Again" and in particular "Tap Happy".
However, even for a musical, the story can barely sustain the just-over-an-hour running time (very short for a musical, but it feels stretched here), that's how paper thin it is, and veers on the wrong side of the dumb and nonsensical. The script is also pretty flimsy, and Ozzie Nelson is so low key that one can mistake him for having little personality let alone charisma.
When it comes to the choreography, it's pretty routine stuff and doesn't have much imagination and not enough energy. The best of the lot in this regard is "Tap Happy", which does have some exuberance. Keeler was dubbed here and the difference is both noticeable and jarring, her vocalist does a very good job and is admittedly an infinitely better singer but it is difficult to believe that the sound is coming out of Keeler.
All in all, good final starring role for Keeler that deserved a better film than this watchable but somewhat average offering. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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