18 November 2010 | MartinHafer
Hard to adequately score considering the film's current condition...
It's really not fair to give a numerical score to this film, as it's NOT the "Chasing Rainbows" of 1930. That's because the Two-Color Technicolor portions of the film are missing and Turner Classic Movies substituted stills for the missing scenes! It's a crude way to try to reassemble the film--far from ideal, that's for sure.
"Chasing Rainbows" is a musical featuring Bessie Love and Charles King (who'd just starred together in the Oscar winning "Broadway Melody"). In addition to being a musical, Jack Benny (in one of his first films) as well as Polly Moran and Marie Dressler (both of which made a short series of comedies together following this film) are on hand to provide some comedy. Those familiar with Benny's 1940s-50s persona might have a hard time recognizing him, as here he is nothing like his radio and TV self. I'd seen him in a couple early shorts, so seeing him as a fast-talking sort of guy didn't surprise me.
The film finds Benny the leader of a touring Broadway-style review. Although Love and King are good friends, you have a strong impression that they are destined to be much more. But, in the meantime, dumb 'ol King's head is turned by a new leading lady (Nita Martan). You just KNOW that Nita is 100% bad and Bessie is a sweetheart, but it sure takes King a long time to recognize this. In fact, he is a bit too stupid to be real! In the meantime, there are lots of song and dance numbers, comedic interludes (which aren't all that funny) and various backstage vignettes. In fact, the plot isn't always all that important--it's more an excuse to feature the other acts.
As I said above, it's very hard to score this movie. It is rather old fashioned and derivative (an awful lot like "Broadway Melody") but good for 1929/1930. But the fact that it's missing so much of the film make it great viewing for total film nuts (like me) but not so great for everyone else. As I LOVE films from this era and don't mind the very dated style, I could highly recommend it to people like me....all six of us! By the way, this film was apparently made in 1929 and not released until 1930. Believe it or not, this is actually pretty easy to tell as sound technology improved quickly during the late 20s-early 30s and the film looks and sounds more like a 1929 production.
By the way, if you DO see this film, get a load of Bessie's laughing sequence--she sounds positively demented! It's easy to see it's an early talkie, as later directors never would have done the scene that way.