24 October 2018 | drednm
Lillian Roth, Ciff Edwards, James Dunn, Vivian Vance
TAKE A CHANCE is a musical comedy that's all over the board. Based on a successful 1932 Broadway production the story starts out in a carny and ends up in a theater production with songs and much knock-about comedy. June Knight reprises her Broadway role for the film. The film introduced the standard "It's Only a Paper Moon" which was not in the Broadway show.
The film has two con men (James Dunn and Cliff Edwards) causing much mayhem on the way to accidentally becoming stage stars, with Knight as their accomplice who falls for a young heir (Buddy Rogers) who produces shows. There's also a very hot Lillian Roth as a sometime girlfriend of Dunn's who starts out a la Mae West singing "Come Up and See Me Sometimes" as a kooch number in a carny. Later on she anchors the big production number of "Eadie Was a Lady" which features Vivian Vance among the singers. Roth's role was played by Ethel Merman in the Broadway production.
Cliff Edwards gets a whole number to himself with "I Did It with My Little Ukulele" which includes some animation in a story about his getting washed up on a desert isle. Dunn and Edwards are certainly a lively comic duo (Jack Haley and Sid Silvers had the stage roles) though some of the comedy falls flat. Rogers gets like sixth billing and seems out of place. Then there's Dorothy Lee who shows up now and then to do a swivel-hips bit.
Another highlight is the "Night Owl" number, which is one of those songs you wake up the next morning with it rattling around in your head.
Certainly worth a look to see Lillian Roth in her prime and to get a glimpse of Vivian Vance long before she played the immortal Ethel Mertz on I LOVE LUCY.