Monday, November 11, 2002


A silly, disjointed revue with a particularly weak plot: Alden College will be run by its faculty until such time as a female Alden can actually graduate and take over running the college. Gracie Allen is the Alden woman who manages the feat, albeit through cheating with the help of Bob Hope. I think Allen is supposed to be so dumb that she doesn't really know that she's cheating, but the ethics of the situation are never made clear. You can feel a desperate attempt being made to reproduce a Marx Brothers atmosphere here, and it doesn't work, remaining a parade of skits and unmemorable songs. What plot that does intrude is usually irritating.

However, there are a number of reasons why I would watch it again: a young and lovely John Payne in a clinging white T-shirt, boxers, and angel wings on his shoulders (serenading forgettable opera-style singer Florence George); Hope and Martha Raye doing a wild, slapstick number in which Hope appears to crack up a couple of times; Edward Everett Horton as a woman-hating professor who changes his ways; Jerry Colonna in a very short but very funny bit singing a song with wildly exaggerated vocal flourishes; Ben Blue doing some nice physical schtick as an inept phys ed teacher; the cute opening bit, set in a Pilgrim schoolhouse in 1738 where a choirboy suddenly breaks out in a jazz riff (he gives his name as Benny Goodman). George Burns isn't up to his best ability here, but he does get to do some of his flustered exchanges with Gracie. There's a cute number set in a campus soda fountain with lots of coeds dancing, and three Stooge-like waiters falling all over the place. Cecil Cunningham (sort of a B-movie Alice Brady/Edna May Oliver) is present, and you might glimpse Betty Grable, Jackie Coogan, and Robert Cummings. Very silly, but I had fun.

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