Monday, January 14, 2013


This is a cute little romantic comedy with some music and dance but not a lick of jazz at all. Barry is a struggling songwriter who plays piano day and night in his apartment, keeping other tenants awake. The landlady threatens to throw him out and keep the his piano for the rent payments he's missed, but her husband Max, a night watchman at a nearby office building, is more sympathetic. One morning as Barry is banging away at a melody, Ruth, the young lady next door, hears him and begins humming along, finishing the tune. He runs next door, drags her to his room, and forces her to re-create her song, and Our Lovers have just Met Cute. From this point, a number of plotlines are put in motion: 1) It turns out that Ruth works for two song publishers, Kemple & Klucke, and both of them enjoy flirting with her; in fact, they wind up placing a bet as to which one can get her to go out on a date; 2) The landlady kicks Barry out when she catches Ruth in his room, but Max agrees to get Barry a new room across the street, and even promises to get his piano to him as well—leading to a Laurel & Hardy-ish piano-moving scene; 3) Max lets the lovebirds into an unused radio studio room in the office building so they can work on their song, but by accident, their session winds up transmitted that night; the song is a big hit and the radio station owner wants to hire the two and buy the rights to the song. However—4) the radio station owner can't figure out who the singers were, and 5) Kemple & Kluck might also want the song. Not to mention the jealousy sideline when Barry thinks Ruth is sweet on Kemple and/or Klucke, when all she's trying to do is sell them his song.

That’s a lot of plot for a 70 minute movie, but still the pace slows too often in the way that many early talkies do: the actors sometimes deliver dialogue too slowly and deliberately, as if the director was afraid that the audience might have a hard time keeping up. The worst offender is Sally O'Neil as Ruth who is stiff and rarely seems natural. Johnny Mack Brown as Max is much better, though his Southern accent sounds forced (even though the actor really did come from Alabama). But they have enough chemistry that you root for the couple. There is a long vaudevillian comedy routine between Kemple (Joseph Cawthorne) and Klucke (Albert Conti), and Max (Clyde Cook) has his own slapstickish business with the aforementioned piano. Barry's song, "Someone," is a nice little ditty, and there is a dance number in a nightclub, but this isn't a musical, and as I noted earlier, there's not even a hint of jazz. Cute and harmless. [TCM]

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