Flying High (1931)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Musical, Romance

Flying High (1931) Poster

An eccentric inventor and his new flying machine are the focus of this musical comedy.



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5 June 2011 | bkoganbing
| Who'd have thought it, an aero-copter
For those who only associate Bert Lahr with The Wizard Of Oz this film from MGM gives one a chance to see him repeating his role on Broadway from one of the many shows he starred in. Lahr other than The Wizard Of Oz was far more a success on Broadway than on the big screen.

Flying High ran for 355 performances on Broadway during the 1930-31 season and on Broadway Lahr's co-star was Kate Smith. Lahr's barbs whether they came in the script or were ad-libbed for the performance about fat girls caused some wounding to Kate. It was here she decided that radio would be her best medium of expression.

Rawboned Charlotte Greenwood of the Bruce Lee like kicks in her dancing takes Kate's role and she's looking for a husband and she'd like to settle a dowry on him. Lahr becomes the object of her attentions. And Lahr needs the money in order to help his partner and friend Pat O'Brien promote the aero-copter that Lahr's invented.

DeSylva, Brown and Henderson wrote the Broadway score which was completely chucked for the film with new songs by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. I was disappointed not to hear items like Without Love and Thank Your Father on the screen. Nothing memorable came from Fields and McHugh.

Busby Berkeley did the choreography and there is a definite hint as to what would be coming in the way gaudy numbers like in his Warner Brothers period.

Pat O'Brien played Bud Abbott in this film, but Lahr's comedy style was more like Curly Howard than Lou Costello. During the Thirties, O'Brien was a fast talking promoter of something even if it was himself until he slowed down the pace to a crawl when he played a priest. O'Brien was new on the big screen himself after playing Hildy Johnson in The Front Page.

Flying High didn't quite weather the transfer from the Broadway stage to the big screen. Still it's a chance to see a Broadway hit with its original star and that's rare enough for the era this film came out in.

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