Wednesday, November 09, 2016


Upton College has had a losing football team for years and the trustees have told the president that if his team can't beat Parsons, their chief rival, he'll be forced out. Star player Speed Yates (Joe E. Brown) convinces Nan, the president's daughter (Joan Bennett), to take off her glasses and flirt with star players from other colleges to get them to come to Upton so they'll have a winning team next term. She manages, with some unspoken promises of love (or at least lust), to snag eleven football stars—played by the real-life All-American football team of 1929—with a twelfth player, rich cocky Tommy (James Hall), being a bit of a question mark because his father won't let him go to Upton. But Nan and Tommy click and he enrolls under an assumed name. Complications arise when the other eleven players realize they've been bamboozled by Nan—when Tommy finds out, he says to her, "This college is too small for you; you should have joined the Navy!" When Tommy's father discovers his subterfuge, he tries to have his son pulled out of school on the eve of the big game. Will this be Upton's last stand?

As early-talkie college romance movies go, this is rather fun even if the acting is not top-notch. One doesn't expect the football players to be great actors, though a couple of them seem to be having fun, and Bill Banker from Tulane has a fun scene in which Bennett serenades him, but the leads seem less than fully involved in their roles. Hall, playing the juvenile lead, was 30 and looked it. Bennett seems stiff, and Brown has little to do after the opening scenes—which is OK by me as I'm not really a fan. But still, the film has a nice, buoyant feel and a couple of scenes are memorable: one with a bear on the ground and Bennett up a tree, and one in which all the players pretend to be drunk and unable to take the field in order to get back at Bennett. Also released as MAYBE IT'S LOVE, the song Bennett sings to Bill Banker. [TCM]

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