14 December 2008 | bkoganbing
One Eclectic Cast
I imagine that the average film fan would tell you their leg was being pulled if you told them that Jeanette MacDonald, Jack Oakie, and Kay Francis were the leads in the same film. At the time that Let's Go Native was being made all three were newly signed to Paramount, new because all three of them had their careers made by sound.
Let's Go Native has Jeanette in the role of a dress designer with a cash flow problem. She's just designed a bunch of costumes for a review, but she's sunk all her money into it and the creditors and remember this is the Depression, are at her door. The only way she can get paid is go to Buenos Aires and get her money there.
Also on the cruise are a taxi driver who's taking it on the lam in order to avoid being sued for an accident and that would be Jack Oakie. And there's society girl Kay Francis and young millionaire James Hall whose father has been contriving to get those two married.
A well staged shipwreck given the primitive early sound equipment strands our passengers on a deserted Virgin Island, presided over by Skeets Gallagher and a troop of native women. Everybody then settles down and plays house.
Leo McCarey directed Let's Go Native who later directed some comedy classics like Duck Soup, The Awful Truth, and Ruggles Of Red Gap. Let's Go Native is hardly in their class though it has its moments.
The score by Richard Whiting and George Marion is serviceable, but not memorable. Nothing here got in Jeanette MacDonald's concert repertoire. Jack Oakie has a couple of numbers he delivers with usual bumptious fashion.
Had there been such an Oscar category for special effects, the shipwreck and later earthquake might have gotten Let's Go Native an award. I believe some of the footage is later used in the Bing Crosby-Carole Lombard film, We're Not Dressing.
Let's Go Native is an amusing trifle, dated though and not up to what Leo McCarey later gave us.