Friday, December 03, 2010


The romantic trials and tribulations of a traveling musical-comedy troupe over one year's time as they tour in something called "Good-Bye, Broadway." The leading man, Charles King, has a comic-partner act with Bessie Love, who is secretly in love with him and has to suffer through his various romances with leading ladies which always end badly, with King melodramatically threatening suicide each time, to no avail. After his current lover leaves with a rich man, King falls for the replacement star (Nita Martan), who is using him to get a foothold in the theatre world and planning to leave him eventually with her secret lover (Eddie Phillips). Love finds out her plans and tries to warn King, but he marries Martan anyway, leading to unhappiness, another suicide announcement, and a happy ending when he realizes that Love is the gal for him.

At one time, this was a musical, but 15 minutes of production numbers, shot in color, are lost, leaving a couple of songs and the tail end of a big number, "Happy Days Are Here Again," at the beginning of the film. So you wind up with a musical mostly without music, always a somewhat sad affair. King and Love are totally unexceptionable; Love's acting style makes her seem casual and spontaneous but that clashes with the rest of the cast's more traditional style, so it usually feels like Love is in a different movie from everyone else. She and King have little chemistry; the more interesting couple is Martan and Phillips (pictured), though they only have a couple of scenes together. Marie Dressler does her usual bigger-than-life thing, with Polly Moran as her long-suffering assistant. Jack Benny does a more than respectable job as the stage manager, with George K. Arthur as his long-suffering (and effeminate) assistant. The jokes come fast and furious, but few really hit the mark. Interesting for film buffs, but otherwise it can be skipped. [TCM]

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