12 January 2007 | JohnHowardReid
Powell at his peak!
Another wonderfully fast-moving early 1930s comedy with Powell in his element as a pushy promoter, this one is based on a stage play. As anticipated, it's rather talky, but the dialogue surfeit doesn't slow down the pace a single bit thanks to the masterful direction of Mervyn LeRoy who keeps the movie moving at such a rapid pace, it leaves the viewer begging for more as soon as "The End" flashes on the screen.
Assisted by Kurrle's fine photography and Grot's superlative sets, LeRoy has staged the movie using the full resources of the now mature sound cinema. Sequences like that in which a dialogue exchange between Powell and Brent is underscored by the tumultuous din of a salesmen's convention where the participants are growing more and more impatient by the second, have never been equaled, let alone surpassed. In fact, if anything (perhaps due to the dead hand of censorship), mainstream Hollywood seemed to grow more timid and less inventive as the 1930s advanced.
Powell has a great supporting cast to contend with, but still comes out on top.