Production Company: Metro-Goldwn-Mayer
Top Billed Actors: Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell, Robert Taylor
IMDb Rating: 6.9
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 1 Oscar:
Best Dance Direction - Dave Gould ("I've Got a Feeling You're Fooling")
Nominated for 2 more:
Best Writing (Story) - Moss Hart
Plot: A newspaper columnist tries to dig up dirt on a young Broadway producer among all the tap-dancing, doughnuts and coffee, socks to the jaw, and snoring.
If song and dance is your thing, look no further than this movie. Right off the bat, we hear the feature song of the original 1929 movie and the song made famous by this movie, "You Are My Lucky Star." The dancing kicks off in a rooftop party with the number that won Best Dance Direction, "I've Got a Feeling You're Fooling." This routine is especially impressive due to the set constantly changing. Pianos and furniture pop up out of the ground, there is a good mix of vocals and pure dancing, and the song is catchy to boot. Not all of the songs and dances stand out in this film, but one can see why this won the Oscar. The acting in the scenes that don't involve music are hit-or-miss. The hits come from unexpected sources. My favorite performance of the movie comes from Robert Taylor's secretary, Una Merkel. She plays off of Taylor, Powell, and Sid Silvers in comedic and serious moments. Powell also shows potential, particularly in the scene where she envisions starring in a show of her own while she sits in an empty theater.
Unfortunately, the consistently good song and dance and the average acting is where the praises for this movies ends. The conflict between Jack Benny and Taylor is just, well, boring. Benny is a newspaper columnist who attempts to write about off-color moments by the people in the Broadway show business. The conclusion of the film is seen a mile away and it is a wonder that this was nominated for Best Story. The movie is merely a vehicle to showcase the songs and dances, which isn't an entirely bad thing. I just wish there was something more to the moments in between these songs. This affects the pacing of the movie, as the anticipation to get to the next song creates impatience. The movie runs at about 100 minutes, but it feels like 130. There is a completely irrelevant character who constantly demonstrates different snoring sounds. Some scenes had me following suit. As previously stated, the acting is hit-or-miss. The misses ironically comes from the leads, as opposed to the more minor roles. Taylor is as bland as they come and Powell shows us how raw her talent was at the start of her career.
Overall, the songs and routines are entertaining and there are glimpses of humor here and there. But the pacing and editing of the moments between the music keeps this movie from becoming a musical for the ages. The snoring man has the right idea.
My Score: 6/10