Production Company: Warner Bros.
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Top Billed Actors: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent
IMDb Rating: 7.7
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 0 Oscars
Nominated for 2 more:
Best Sound - Nathan Levinson
Plot: A cutthroat director puts on his last show and legs, legs, music, cat-fight, legs, drama, and music.
The director of the Broadway play in the film is none other than the second Best Actor winner, Warner Baxter. He does a much better job here than in In Old Arizona (1928). He reminds me of the recent performance of J.K. Simmons in Whiplash (2014) in that he works his acting company to the point of severe exhaustion. The rehearsal scenes are highly entertaining in this regard and Baxter is a big part of that. The music is also very catchy. I did not expect to like it so much but the songs are still stuck in my head as I write this. The set design on the stage and the cinematography during the sequences in which the Broadway play is being shown is superb. It is neat that the movie is about putting on the play and the final fifteen or twenty minutes actually shows unabridged numbers from said play. It is a nice payoff.
Where the movie suffers is not in the Broadway play but the backstage acting itself. This is Ruby Keeler's first movie and you can really tell. Her way of speech is forced and sounds scripted and her ditsy personality makes her a little unlikeable. Her dancing is also unnatural and looks a forced as her dialogue. I also did not care for the plot. Certain events happened because they had to. In order for Keeler to get her shot, drama had to happen to the star, Bebe Daniels. This could be seen from a mile away. Ultimatums were set and plot points were simply laid out. It all felt like an outer shell for the musical aspect of the movie.
Overall, this is a fun drama-filled musical that keeps you reeled in long enough, despite some sketchy acting and dull plot points, for the lavish sets and songs towards the end of the film.
My Score: 7/10