Dixiana (1930)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Music

Dixiana (1930) Poster

In antebellum New Orleans, two men vie for the affections of a beautiful young girl during Mardi Gras.


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16 February 2004 | didi-5
patchy musical from the early talkies
Back in 1930 RKO was like all the other studios, churning out musicals to please an audience hungry for the new rage of talking pictures. 'Dixiana' was meant to cash in on the success of 'Rio Rita', the Ziegfeld show that became a movie in 1929, and used many of the same cast - the lovely Bebe Daniels in the title role (very like Jeanette MacDonald in this), plus comic relief from Wheeler and Woolsey and pretty Dorothy Lee. The big mistake was in casting Met star Everett Marshall as the male lead; an opera singer with an excellent voice but no acting ability whatever.

Add to this mix Joseph Cawthorn and Jobyna Howland as Marshall's parents (Ms Howland goes to town with her over-acting!); plus Mr Bojangles in his debut film appearance (a 3 minute solo); and a two-strip Technicolor finale. The musical numbers are fine (mostly for Everett Marshall and Bebe Daniels; although there's a cute song for Bert Wheeler and Dorothy Lee about halfway into the film).

I've seen this film described as a 'prehistoric turkey', but I wouldn't put it down that much. It has its high points (the colour sequence looks great and is a hoot) and it is about as complete a restoration as you could ask for. And it is the only Wheeler and Woolsey currently on DVD; we need more of their mad movies commercially available. 'Dixiana' is patchy but it isn't prehistoric!

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