Saturday, September 30, 2006


After making several comedies for RKO, Kyser went up in the movie world for this one, made at MGM, but unfortunately, it's not quite as funny as his previous films (and despite its title, it has little to do with swing). This is the only one of Kyser's vehicles in which he doesn't play himself, although his character, a musician named Lowell Blackford, isn't terribly far removed from the familiar Kyser persona. When we first see Blackford, he's trying to sell his ambitious "symphonetta" to New Swing Music Publishers. Although swing singer Marilyn Maxwell takes a liking to him, he doesn't have much luck selling his music until Maxwell's boyfriend, boxing promoter William Gargan, discovers that Kyser has the "evil eye," a way of squinching his eye at someone that causes him to lose consciousness. Gargan plots to have Kyser use his talent to ensure that his loser client (Nat Pendleton) wins an important match. Maxwell rearranges Kyser's tone poem in swing time and he becomes a big success (backed, of course, by the Kyser band). Kyser falls for her (and eventually she for him) and he agrees to use his evil eye, but a variety of complications ensue, winding up with Kyser trying to escape from kidnappers so he can get to the arena in time to work his magic. There are many songs here, but aside from a bluesy, artily-shot number by Lena Horne, none of the music is memorable--though there is a fun cameo early on with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. Pendleton, a former wrestler, has an amusing scene with former boxer Max Rosenbloom and there seems to be great comic potential there, but it's not followed up on. Maxwell and Gargan make a nice couple, and Pamela Blake has a brief but memorable moment as Lois, the secretary. Ish Kabibble gets in a funny rhyme, which he also uses in at least one other Kyser movie: "Mary has a little lamb; she also has a bear. Everybody's seen her lamb, but no one's seen her bear." [TCM]

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