Sunday, February 25, 2007


George White was, like Florenz Ziegfeld, a well-known producer of vaudeville shows and Broadway revues. He produced and appeared in three movies, all titled George White's Scandals, all apparently run-of-the-mill backstage musicals with several production numbers. In this one, White wraps up the successful 1934 show and takes a train to Florida for a vacation, but during a stop in Georgia, he sees a poster for a local show called Elmer White's Scandals and, for kicks, decides to stay and check it out. Ned Sparks does a nice turn as Elmer, dour, deadpan jack of all trades--not only is he the producer, he's also the ticket seller, ticket taker, usher, stage door keeper, and MC. White is impressed with the lead singer, Alice Faye, and offers her a job on Broadway. She goes, bringing along James Dunn, her boyfriend and songwriter, ukulele player Cliff Edwards, and even Sparks. They all find success in the next edition of the Scandals, but romantic problems intrude; Faye steps out with rival producer Walter Johnson, and Dunn retaliates by flirting with star dancer Eleanor Powell. Their personal conflicts begin to take a toll on their performances and White fires Faye and Dunn who are forced to scrounge for any showbiz jobs they can get. When Faye's dear old Aunt Jane (Emma Dunn) visits the Big Apple to see them on stage, White shows he has a heart of gold as big as a hooker's when he tries to find the couple and get them back in the Scandals just for Aunt Jane. Despite a wildly implausible ending, the show is fun thanks to the numbers and to Sparks and Edwards strong support. Songs include "The Hunkadola," "It's an Old Southern Custom," and "According to the Moonlight," which was so catchy I found myself humming it for a few days (probably because it's performed several times in the course of the film). Also featured are Lyda Roberti, Arline Judge, and Benny Rubin. Fun to see once, but I probably don't need to search out the other two "Scandals" movies. [FMC]

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