Production Company: First National Pictures
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Top Billed Actors: Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Pat O'Brien
IMDb Rating: 5.9
*Best Picture Nominee*
Won 0 Oscars
Nominated for 2 more:
Best Sound - Nathan Levinson
Plot: A private in the Army makes dumb decisions and sings songs because love.
Speaking of Keeler, I recall how poor her acting is in the aforementioned 42nd Street. In this picture, however, she improves remarkably. Her lines come more naturally and she looks more comfortable playing her part, especially towards the beginning of the movie when she is bossing Powell around. Powell is also a highlight of the film. His versatility shows as he is a rebellious private in once scene, a helpless romantic in the next, and a studious West Point academic in the next. He also has a good voice to boot, which is why his character is aptly named 'Canary.' The story here is original and is thus refreshing. Not many stories written directly for the screen received accolades in these times. This is why the Original Screenplay nominees don't really align with the Best Picture nominees. The plot here is entertaining from start to finish and it is rewarding to see Powell's progression through his station in Hawaii to his successes at West Point. The extended scenes of the play in the third act is also fun, albeit lengthy.
There are certain parts of the screenplay that is dated. Sometimes the flow of the film will come to a grinding halt as a five minute musical number would come on screen. The choreography at the Luau is impressive but does not add much to the movie. The marching sequences are also remarkable but perhaps could have been half their length. Entire Sousa marches are heard during these scenes. I also do not care for the hurried conclusion. The resolution seemed to occur on a dime and is predictable to a fault.
Overall, if the movie was trimmed during the tedious musical numbers, the acting by Powell and Keeler and the original plot could have carried it to greater heights.
My Score: 6/10