12 November 2012 | Spondonman
Glorifying The American Musical
First off: I've always liked this one - I thought it Eddie Cantor's best film, maybe partly because the 2 main songs in it were so wonderful and summed up the early Hollywood musical for me. Second: it's a classic anyway. Third: coming back to it after a 15 year gap brings it home to me just how weird this would probably appear to the unwary who stumble across it. Notwithstanding its relentless wit and charm, belief in character, plot and set logic must be totally suspended for the 77 minutes to get the most out.
Eddie is mistakenly employed as Efficiency Expert by scatty owner of an art deco bakery run by scantily clad females. He falls in love with the boss's daughter whilst gangly Charlotte Greenwood falls for him; meanwhile machinating phoney séancer Charles "Ming" Middleton and his henchmen are machinating in the background after their chance to rob the boss. The workers exercise routines may be coyly exploitative - but remember many Japanese multinational companies around the globe still use similar if more updated techniques on their benighted employees. Millions back then were probably thinking how lucky all the Goldwyn girls were to have a job, even if only as delightful looking objects. Favourite bits: Bend Down Sister sung by Greenwood and the girls with some nice patterns arranged by Busby Berkeley; There's Nothing Too Good For My Baby (but a Black-Face routine warning goes out for those with a weak constitution) – delivered with such vim; Yes Yes! My Honey Said Yes Yes! (at the engagement party with even nicer patterns. Astounding to think he never recorded it commercially); Greenwood's admission that Cantor was the key to her ignition (Roll over R Kelly); at the séance Greenwood being surprised it was her dog talking to her; many more - the smart ass one liners come so fast it's hard to pick the best.
Cantor was an incredible performer with zest and vitality up to the max, but it appears as time goes by he (with Al Jolson) becomes more and more of an acquired taste. This film is fast funny and farcical as well as far-fetched fanciful and fluffy; I love it - open not only your mind but your heart. Ya-da-da and Ohyoudon't, that's what Eddie had plenty of.