30 August 2008 | drednm
Marjorie White Steals the Show
Fox's all-star musical revue is short on star power, but there are a few terrific numbers here.
The plot revolves around a bunch of Broadway stars who get coerced into trying to save a show boat by doing a benefit show. Of course the sets make little sense as they could hardly fit on a show boat stage, but the minstrel theme (similar to the opening of MGM's all-star revue, THE Hollywood REVUE OF 1929) is used to introduce the various acts.
Among the better known stars here are Fox's #1 romantic team of Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, who sing "We'll Build a Little World of Our Own." Gaynor would remain a big star throughout the 30s, but Farrell struggled with his voice and had only a so-so career in talkies.
Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe sing a novelty song called "Vic and Eddie." Ann Pennington does a terrific dance to "Snake Hips," which is sung by Sharon Lynn. The dynamic Marjorie White and Richard Keene sing "I'm on a Diet of Love." Frank Richardson sings "Mona." Whispering Jack Smith sings the title song of "Happy Days." Other stars who appear include George Jessel (but he doesn't sing), Walter Catlett, William Collier, El Brendel, Frank Albertson, Stu Erwin, Tom Patricola, Nick Stuart, Rex Bell, Warner Baxter, Will Rogers, Dixie Lee, and boxer Jim Corbett.
Lots of energy here and Marjorie White (in her film debut) probably comes off best. She died in a car wreck in 1935. At only 4' 10" White was a dynamo of musical and comedy talent and had good supporting roles on Fox's JUST IMAGINE and SUNNYSIDE UP.
Of all the studio all-star revues, which often introduced many silent stars to talkies, HAPPY DAYS holds its own with THE Hollywood REVUE OF 1929 (MGM) and PARAMOUNT ON PARADE (Paramount) despite the lack of musical star power.