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  • In the early 1930's Eddie Cantor was one of the biggest stars in the world, and "Kid Millions" will show you why. Cantor was energetic, wry, occasionally cutting (without heaping on the cruelty), sweet, and just plain funny, and it's a shame that most people today don't have the faintest idea of who he was. But then, that's increasingly true of Groucho, too. What to do with such a world?

    "Kid Millions" has lots of incidental pleasures, including the presence of the ridiculously young Nicholas Brothers, Ann Sothern, and Ethel Merman (who once again proves why she was just too "big," even for grandly produced spectacles like this one). Perhaps most interesting, from a film-history perspective, is the elaborate "Ice Cream Factory" sequence, which was shot in still-experimental 3-strip Technicolor. The earlier (2-strip) Technicolor could only render shades of cyan and magenta (often mistaken today for fading), while the new process was explosively full-spectrum. Audiences at the time must have been astonished.
  • lugonian16 November 2002
    KID MILLIONS (Samuel Goldwyn, 1934), directed by Roy Del Ruth, marks the fifth collaboration of the Samuel Goldwyn/Eddie Cantor annual productions, and another winner to their collection of musical comedies from the Depression-era 1930s, and the most lavish and entertaining thus far.

    The story begins in New York City where a naive, good-natured Brooklyn schnook named Edward Grant Wilson Jr. (Eddie Cantor), a Cinderfella-type of a guy living by the waterfront with his rough-and-tough step-brothers (Edgar Kennedy, Stanley Fields and Jack Kelly), who take pride in "stepping" on their little Eddie when the mood conveniently suits them. Eddie, who sings to the neighborhood kids, is comforted by his steady girlfriend named (Doris Davenport). When news breaks out that Eddie's archaeologist father has died and left him his entire fortune of $77 million, Eddie soon finds himself the center of attention and treated like royalty by his stepbrothers. At the advice of his attorneys, Eddie sets sail on board the S.S. Luxor bound for Egypt, later to be accompanied by his lawyer friend, Jerry Lane (George Murphy) in Gibrartar, to claim his fortune. Also on board ship are Dot Clark (Ethel Merman), a Broadway songplugger, and her gangster stooge, Louie the Lug (Warren Hymer), posing as Eddie's long lost mother and uncle, trying to get him to sign a document over to them, failing at all costs; and Colonel Harry Larrabee (Berton Churchill), a Southerner gentleman from Virginia who had financed the original expedition for Eddie's father and now wants his cut of the money. He invites his attractive niece, Joan (Ann Sothern), unaware of her uncle's scheme, to keep Jerry occupied while the Colonel works on Eddie. After porting in Alexandria, Eddie encounters a sheik's (Paul Harvey) daffy daughter, Fanya (Eve Sully), and her jealous beau, Ben Ali (Jesse Block), later to be surrounded by the Sheik's beautiful harem girls. Eddie prances among the Pyramids seeking his inheritance while the others try to disinherit him by claiming that they are the rightful heirs, almost causing Eddie to become the human sacrifice and those associated with him.

    As silly as this sounds in print, including one particular scene where the 19-year-old Dot (Merman) tries to convince the 25-year-old Eddie she's is his mother, KID MILLIONS succeeds at all costs. That same scene in which Mama Merman tells "Uncle" Louie to give Eddie a kiss is something of a surprise as to how THAT got by the censors. Eve Sully (in her movie debut), part of the comedy team of Sully and Block, practically steals every comic moment from her leading performers, particularly with her distinctive voice and Gracie Allen-type mannerisms. A pity she never worked in further features or comedy shorts. KID MILLIONS also offers a glimpse of the youthful Ann Sothern (quite slim and trim) and Ethel Merman in her flare of sassy comedy.

    Aside from funny business, KID MILLIONS takes time out for songs, good songs, compliments of composers Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn, Harold Adamson and Harold Lane, with choreography by Seymour Felix, including: "An Earful of Music" (sung by Ethel Merman); "When My Ship Comes In" (sung by Eddie Cantor); "Your Head on My Shoulder" (sung by Ann Sothern and George Murphy); THE SHIP'S CONCERT MINSTREL SHOW: "An Earful of Music" (briefly sung by Merman); "I Want to Be a Minstrel Man" (sung by Harold Nicholas and Goldwyn Girls); "Mandy" (by IRVING BERLIN, sung by Eddie Cantor in black-face, Ethel Merman, Ann Sothern, George Murphy and Goldwyn Girls); "Your Head on My Shoulder" (sung by Murphy and Sothern); "Mandy" (reprise by Cantor, Sothern and Murphy), followed and concluded by a dance number highlight by The Nicholas Brothers; "Okay, Toots" (sung by Eddie Cantor); "Ice Cream Fantasy" (sung by Ethel Merman, Eddie Cantor and children) and "When My Ship Comes In" (sung by Eddie Cantor).

    The elaborate finale of THE ICE CREAM FANTASY, photographed in Technicolor, is something that would have made Walt Disney proud. While all the songs are tuneful, with "Mandy" being the best known of the bunch, the others are not as well known. The solo number featuring The Nicholas Brothers, then young boys, easily displays their unique talents as first rate performers with a once in a lifetime dancing style that has yet to be equaled or surpassed by anyone. Thank goodness for the likes of the Nicholas Brothers in demonstrating the kind of entertainment, long missing in today's world of movie making, that will never go out of fashion and continue to delight for as long as their films continue to be shown.

    Also seen in the supporting cast are Stymie Beard and Tommy Bond (familiar faces of the "Our Gang" comedy shorts); Henry Kolker as an attorney; and Jack Kennedy. Avid film buffs will delight in trying to spot a young blonde Lucille Ball as one of the Goldwyn Girls, noticeably in the "Mandy" and "Okay Toots" numbers. Barbara Pepper, another TV veteran (Doris Ziffel in GREEN ACRES in the 1960s), also taking part as a Goldwyn Girl.

    KID MILLIONS, along with ROMAN SCANDALS (1933), are two musical comedies to have survived the longest on video cassette display, while other Cantor/Goldwyn musicals have been discontinued. Aside from being common place in late night presentation on commercial television in the 1960s and '70s, KID MILLIONS had aired on numerous cable channels in the 1980s, ranging from Arts & Entertainment, the Family Channel, Turner Network Television, and finally on American Movie Classics from 1992 to 1998. It's a million dollar production that has become a million dollar movie of 90 minute screen entertainment. (***1/2)
  • A goodhearted New York barge boy becomes KID MILLIONS after inheriting an Egyptian treasure.

    Comedian Eddie Cantor has a wonderful time, prancing through this lavish, nonsensical musical comedy while entertaining the viewers with his abundant high spirits. Don't expect the plot to make any sense--it doesn't--but just enjoy the laughs and the songs as Cantor and his costars present quite a romp.

    The film enjoys quality production values, both in the shipboard scenes and in the Egyptian sequence which follows. Midway through the film the cast presents a minstrel show, complete with Eddie in blackface, which strays a bit into racial stereotyping but also offers an excellent venue for the young Nicholas Brothers' fancy terpsichorean footwork. (The choreographed numbers cry out for a Busby Berkeley in control, but they are still competent and even include Irving Berlin's rousing ‘Mandy.') The joyous finale erupts into Technicolor as Eddie shares the delights of his new ice cream factory with the audience.

    A bold & brassy Ethel Merman, belting out both songs & dialogue, gives Cantor a real run for his money as to who will dominate the picture. The scene in which she convinces him that she's actually his long-lost mother, although younger than he, is hilarious. She's after Eddie's treasure, and so is her luggish boyfriend, Warren Hymer, who would rather kill than kiss his new ‘nephew.' Blustery Berton Churchill plays a Dixie colonel who also wants to appropriate the fortune; his lovely niece, Ann Sothern, yearns to merely appropriate Eddie's honest assistant, good guy George Murphy. Strangely, the plot completely abandons Churchill, Sothern & Murphy in a most precarious situation, leaving their fate a mystery. It also quickly dumps the rowdy bullies, including Stanley Fields & Edgar Kennedy, we met early in the proceedings.

    While Paul Harvey, as a greedy Sheik, is given rather lackluster dialogue, zany Eve Sully, as his wacky Princess, proves a worthy match for Eddie. Wizened Otto Hoffman, made up to look like Gandhi, provides some funny moments as the royal advisor. Pretty Doris Davenport makes the most of her short screen time as Cantor's girlfriend.

    Movie mavens should have no difficulty in spotting various OUR GANG members, including Matthew ‘Stymie' Beard and bad boys Leonard Kibrick & Tommy Bond, as barge kids, as well as Clarence Muse as a ship's steward and Lucille Ball as one of the chorus girls--all uncredited.
  • All of the films of Eddie Cantor are great, but my two favorites have to be "Whoopee!" and this one. The storyline has our hero going to Egypt to inherit a 77 million dollar fortune, followed by a platoon of other people who would like to lay a prior claim to it. Among the co-stars are lovely Ann Sothern, in one of her earliest roles as the ingénue, and amazing Ethel Merman who really gives us "An Earful Of Music" in the opening sequence. Also along for the ride are the very young Nicholas Brothers who prove why they were so popular, and if you blink, you'll miss a glimpse of young Lucille Ball as one of the famed Goldwyn Girls. The finale is shot in spectacular three-color Technicolor, which was in an experimental stage at this point. Love this film.
  • All of the films Eddie Cantor made for Goldwyn in the 1930s are hysterically funny. Why do I feel that this one is the best? It is the most well balanced of them all. Cantor's songs "When My Ship Comes In", "Okay, Toots", and "An Earful of Music" are beautifully crafted songs of the veteran song writers Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn. The Irving Berlin number "Mandy" is given one of its best all out performances in a film. But this is not all. Cantor has the best supporting team he has ever had in the movies. Ann Southern and George Murphy are the perfect "young lovers". Unlike the romantic leads in other musical comedies of the period, they are not boring or cloying. Southern sings well and has a flair for comedy. Murphy's dancing can only be topped by Astaire and Kelly. The comic villains are played by Ethel Merman and Warren Hymer. Merman had proven herself as a singing comedienne on the stage, but Hollywood had no idea how to handle her. In this film, they got it right. Compare this to "Strike Me Pink", where Merman is cast as the female romantic lead. It just doesn't work! Of course, "Kid Millions" provides Merman with a few opportunities to show off her musical talents as well her comedic talents. I don't know much about Warren Hymer, but he is a fine character comedian and he does not steal the spotlight from Cantor. Doris Davenport is cast as the ingenue and romantic interest for Cantor. She is perfect and stays out of the comedian's way. It is the superior supporting cast and superior musical numbers which make this Cantor's best Goldwyn film. Some say "Roman Scandals" is funnier, but it is all Cantor. Cantor's biggest hit songs were in "Whoopee!", but this early Technicolor film is stage bound. Speaking of Technicolor, "Kid Millions" has a great Technicolor finale, "Ice Cream Fantasy", and if you look close, you will see the kids of Hal Roach's "Our Gang" shorts in a cameo. For those not acquainted with the musical and comedy abilities of Eddie Cantor, "Kid Millions" is a good "first" movie. It moves like lightning and is highly entertaining.
  • In a recent and long overdue biography of Eddie Cantor it turns out that Cantor's daughter Marilyn was responsible for the casting of Ethel Merman in this and a subsequent film of her father's. The Cantors and the San Goldwyns saw each other socially quite a bit and young Marilyn Cantor became a fan of Merman's after seeing her on the Broadway stage. She lobbied with Goldwyn to get Merman opposite her father and the man relented.

    Cantor and Merman did work well together here and in Strike Me Pink. Eddie is playing his usual bullied schnook who is living with what I guess would be considered a foster family on the New York docks. But it turns out he's the son of an archaeologist who went to Egypt and went missing, but who found a reputed treasure. All he has to do is claim the treasure over in Egypt. Of course there are some other people who think they have a claim.

    Berton Churchill and daughter Ann Sothern helped finance the expedition and Ethel Merman claims a common-law relationship, a scheme cooked up by her hoodlum boy friend Warren Hymer.

    All of these people perform well and I have to say that Warren Hymer who never exactly played intellectuals on the screen actually dumbs HIS usual character down for the film. But I have to say that the man who seemed to be enjoying himself most playing the villainous Arab sheik is character actor Paul Harvey. He overacts outrageously in his part and I'm sure he was grateful for the false beard and mustache he had to wear to contain the grins he must have had on his face.

    Playing the Harvey's daughter and her beloved are the vaudeville team of Eva Sully and Jesse Block in their only screen appearance. I'm betting Cantor was responsible for their casting. Eva in her harem outfit and Jewish accent develops a crush on Cantor who's who'd rather be boiled in the sheik's oil than marry her. But that's part of the whole wonderfully silly plot.

    A whole host of song writing talents contributed to this film, Irving Berlin, Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn and Burton Lane and Harold Adamson. Some sharp ears might recognize a Lane tune that was revived with a different lyric by Alan Jay Lerner and danced to by Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding then called You're All the World To Me.

    There is also one of the strangest minstrel numbers ever shot on screen where no one but Cantor is in blackface. During it he has to dance with the Nicholas Brothers and I'm sure in the primitive minds back then it was felt he'd better look like them. He shouldn't have tried because Fayard and Harold dance him right off the screen.

    Other than the minstrel number, Kid Millions is one of the best musicals from out of the Thirties and another showcase of the talented Eddie Cantor.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's a strange thing, but some of the quips and jokes in older films such as this are so corny, so crusty and so hijacked over the years, yet still manage to be very funny and quite entertaining. Perhaps it's in the delivery or perhaps it's just surprising that something made over seventy years ago can still possess the wit and suggestiveness that we feel we have a lock on now. Cantor, who's close to being completely forgotten by today's audiences, had a winning formula for movies in the thirties. He played rather dim, but appealing, young men who find themselves in the middle of extraordinary circumstances and who weasel their ways out of danger though luck and fate, usually singing a few splashy songs in the process. Here, in one of his best films, Cantor plays a practically penniless wharf rat who inherits a fortune from his long lost father, a archaeologist in Egypt. He sails for Egypt to claim it, but has several others around him who feel that it's theirs. His chief rival is Merman, a saucy singer with a lunkheaded gangster boyfriend (Hymer.) Fussy Colonel Churchill and young singer Murphy also have their eyes on the loot for varied reasons. Churchill's lovely daughter Sothern is along for window dressing and as a love interest for Murphy. Once the gaggle of wannabee heirs reaches Egypt, they are confronted by the hostile spectre of Shiek Harvey and his giddy, lovestruck daughter Sully. When the dust has settled, Cantor returns to New York and opens a lavish, elaborate, unbelievable ice cream factory (this portion of the film is presented in extraordinary Technicolor.) The plot is paper thin, but the script is zesty and funny. The songs are catchy and extravagantly performed. One extended sequence features the fabulous talents of The Nicholas Brothers, who tap dance with exemplary skill as a (now controversially) black-faced Cantor looks on. The younger of the brothers is given greater showcase and adds plenty of good nature and fun to the proceedings. This same sequence also includes a well-coordinated bit with dozens of dancing girls passing tambourines to each other in sync. Nothing, however, can top the finale which is equal parts charming, bizarre, colorful and amusing. Cantor is given a great rondolet of supporting actors to work with here. Merman is excellent. Her sassy manner and booming voice are complimented by some nice bits (not the least of which is her character of 19 trying to convince 25 year-old Cantor that she's his mother!) Hymer (an actor who made a long career out of playing thugs with names like Pug and Lug) gets one of his best roles and rises to the occasion. He has one startling scene in which he is coerced into kissing Cantor on the lips, creating both a kooky and a kinky sensation for the viewer. Sothern is very pretty and provides some nice singing in a few numbers. Murphy is both green and vanilla, but compliments Sothern well. The biggest treat of all is the presence of Sully. In what is (criminally) her only feature film appearance, she commands every second of her screen time with a riotous, infectious and downright side-splitting portrayal. She's one of the few performers who can score laughs from an audience simply by laughing herself in her inimitable way. The film is delightful throughout, but is worth seeing for her work no matter what. It's a shame that Cantor seems to have such a small following. His work is all about entertaining the masses and quite a few of the masses would still find him entertaining if they only knew who he was!
  • It's just a big coincidence that several days after the revelation, or not, of Virginia governor Ralph Northam being, or not, that blackfaced guy on a 1984 medical yearbook page which may, or not, force him to resign, I'm reviewing a movie starring a guy often known for doing many performances in such makeup-Eddie Cantor. Also, that one of the characters happens to be from that very state. The number Eddie appears as such is "Mandy" by Irving Berlin. I should note that neither Eddie nor Irving were racists, per se, as Eddie reportedly was often moved by how the people of the African-American race overcame whatever bigotry they endured, and Irving actually wrote a song for Ethel Waters-"Supper Time"-that described her trying to cheerfully feed her children some food despite her knowing of another lynching for "Thousands Cheer" the year before this movie. I should also note that accompanying Eddie on the "Mandy" number near the end of it were The Nicholas Brothers-Fayard who was then 19 or 20 and Harold who was 12 or 13-with each keeping Eddie from tap dancing when his brother was doing so. Also appearing in this movie were the "Our Gang" kids of the time-like Leonard Kibrick, Tommy Bond before he became Butch, and Matthew "Stymie" Beard, of which Leonard and Stymie had some choice lines. They appeared in the beginning and the Technicolor end. There's also Edgar Kennedy, who previously played a cop in earlier "Our Gang" shorts, playing one of the step brothers of Eddie. Others in the cast were Ethel Merman, Ann Sothern, and George Murphy. In summary, Kid Millions was quite a treat of a musical comedy, despite some politically incorrect elements. P.S. The print I watched online had skipped some frames digitally.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The songs and production numbers prove to be more entertaining than the comedy material in this lavish Goldwyn extravaganza, especially in the first half of the movie where we are treated to some overlong dialogue exchanges – particularly between Warren Hymer and Ethel Merman – that somehow managed to withstand the editing shears of Stuart Heisler. Indeed, most of the gags provided by the Arthur Sheekman-Nat Perrin-Nunnally Johnson script are rather elementary, but Cantor is fortunately such a genial comedian that it's hard to resist even his corniest puns. Art director, Richard Day, also has a right royal time, especially with the Egyptian episodes. Costumes designed by Omar Kiam and production numbers staged by Seymour Felix are also most attractive. And adding to that attraction, the finale was filmed in delightful Technicolor. True, the musical highlights are all still shaded by Busby Berkeley's Olympus, but they still prove to be a girl-filled delight, nevertheless. Available on an excellent Warner DVD.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Eddie Cantor's comedies, when they appear, usually still amuse the modern audiences that watch them. The only thing that jars is his use of black-face which crops up in his films - but while not liked by African-Americans it is less jarring with Cantor's films than with his contemporary Al Jolson. Jolson's use of black face in singing mingled his biggest asset (that melodious bleat of his voice) with a racial insult. But Cantor's use of the black face was not as overpowering as Jolson's - Cantor only would do one number in a film in black-face. His main persona was a cowardly or timid schlemiel who sang frequently without racist make-up on. Jolson could do it too, of course (most notably in HALLELUJAH, I'M A BUM), but usually he is fully willing to "black himself" up before his biggest numbers. It really was not all that necessary to Cantor's work.

    In KID MILLIONS Eddie is the son of an archaeologist (his photo shows Cantor in pith helmet and side whiskers) who found a great treasure in Egypt before he died. The deceased was not a nice guy, and there are a number of people who feel they should be his legal heir. Besides Eddie (his son), there is his girlfriend (Ethel Merman - assisted by her other boyfriend Warren Hymer), there is a southern con-man who may have raised some funds for the Professor's last expedition (Burton Churchill), the con-man's daughter (Ann Southern), and a representative of a learned society that did back the expedition (George Murphy). All of them head for Egypt to get the treasure, but it is actually still in the hands of the Egyptian sheik (Paul Harvey) who considered the Professor an infidel (some things never change).

    The interplay of the characters in the story make it so amusing. Besides Cantor's combination of fear and determination to get the treasure, he has to fend off his rivals (in particular Merman and Hymer). Southern and Murphy slowly find themselves falling in love. And Cantor finds he has picked up a lover too (Eva Sully, the Jewish sounding daughter of the Sheikh). As Eddie says in the tune, "Okay Toots", "I like the sheik and his silly daughter, but I prefer her under water!" and proceeds to push the girl into a pool.

    The humor is clever at times. While talking on the boat to Egypt, Hymer and Churchill lose track of each other's conversation: Churchill is mentioning his neighbors in Virginia. Hymer, getting momentarily sidetracked mentions a neighbor of his with a name like Birnbaum or Schwartz. Without losing a beat, Churchill says, "One of the finest families of the South", leaving one with the image of an old first family of Virginia with a Jewish name. Hymer is certainly surprised.

    Despite the use of black face in the big musical number "Mandy" (and only Cantor puts it on), the film is pretty amusing as an entertainment. I can give it only a "7" because of the racist content of that sequence, but otherwise I think that it would be acceptable to an audience.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Today, Eddie Cantor is pretty much forgotten--although he was a HUGE star from the 1920s-1950s. He was practically the king of Vaudeville, films and radio--and it's a real shame he doesn't get much recognition today. His singing, dancing and comedic persona were very pleasant and likable--and a few of his films are classics (such as "Forty Little Mothers"). For these reasons alone, it's well worth seeing "Kid Millions". Perhaps a bit of the reason he isn't seen that often might be because he occasionally performed as a minstrel--like he does in "Kid Millions" (uggh!!)! I am not excusing this sort of thing, but it made up a tiny portion of the sort of roles he played in films.

    The film begins with an Egyptologist dying shortly after he discovered a huge treasure. Lots of folks want to lay claim to it (including Berton Churchill, Warren Hymer and Ethel Merman) but it turns out the guy has a son (Cantor) and he's sent to Egypt to claim his fortune. Can be manage to avoid letter these hucksters and their underhanded efforts to bilk out of his inheritance? And, can he manage to avoid a sheik crazed with killing off the heirs to this fortune?

    The film is a mixture of good and bad. It's always great to see the multi-talented Cantor. You also get a nice routine by the Nicholas Brothers and the plot is silly fun. The VERY surreal color sequence at the end was pretty amazing--a great treat for film historians. However, be aware that Ann Sothern's singing, to put it mildly, was terrible and the minstrel sequence is so incredibly politically incorrect it might make some folks' head explode! But on balance, the good far, far outweighs the bad and the film is worth seeing.

    By the way, look carefully and you'll see a few uncredited cameos. You'll see Stymie Beard (with his trademark derby) and Tommy Bond (both of Li'l Rascals fame) and Dickie Jones (the voice of Pinocchio) early on in the movie. And, look carefully, as Lucille Ball and Paulette Goddard as chorus girls! The English comic Charlie Hall (of Laurel & Hardy fame), Tor Johnson (of Ed Wood fame) as well as Dennis O'Keefe. Rarely have I ever seen a film with so many cameos by folks before they were stars and it's a cinemaniac's delight watching for these folks. Heck, there's even a small uncredited role for Barbara Pepper--the lady who played Mrs. Zipfel on "Green Acres"!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    WARNING: A blackface musical number is included. If sensitive to such, best not to view this film, or closes your eyes during this portion.

    One of the most popular of Eddie Cantor's string of musical farces produced by Sam Goldwyn from 1930-36. It was among the first non-cartoon films to be partially filmed with the new 3-strip Technicolor process. Only the finale Ice Cream Fantasy production was so filmed, the rest in standard B&W. This Technicolor film would remain the most popular type of color film for Hollywood films for the next 18 years, until adequate single strip film replaced it. Because filming in this medium required the rental of bulky cameras, along with their sometimes cantankerous technicians, as well as much brighter hotter lights in indoor shoots, use of this technology was limited, especially in the early Depression years.

    This was also the first film in this series that didn't include Busby Berkeley as chief choreographer. He had moved to Warner, where he would carry his signature features to new heights in a series of popular musicals, starting with "42nd Street"....Finally, this was probably the first film of this series to be scrutinized by the full power of the Motion Picture Production Code.

    Eddie plays his usual timid nerdy character, this time living on a barge anchored off NYC with his loyal sweetheart. No clue what he was doing for a living. His life would soon change dramatically with the news that his archaeologist father had died, and left a fortune in Egyptian grave artifacts he had discovered. This fortune is presently in the hands of an Arab sheik in Alexandria(no explanation why?). Eddie will have to fight for this treasure with several other claimants. These include jazz singer Dot(Ethel Merman), abetted by her dim-witted gangster boyfriend(Louie), who bases her claim on being the decease's lover at some time in the past, thus perhaps legally considered his common law wife. Southern gentleman Col. Larrabee, whose claim is based on the fact that his organization : The Virginia Egyptology Society, sponsored the trip that lead to the discovery of the treasure. All these people happened to take the same ship to Egypt, where they get to know each other. Louie tries to take advantage of Eddie's seasickness to try to dump him, blindfolded, into the ocean. Dot((Ethel) tries to get Eddie to sign a paper of unknown content, but presumably giving up claim to the fortune in favor of Ethel's claim. Eddie wiggles out of this.

    In an Alexandria market, Eddie and Louie encounter a fake magician who seemingly turns people into dogs, including Louie. His cigar-chomping canine incarnation runs away into the lap of the daughter(Princess Fanya) of the sheik, who is immediately smitten by Eddie, and clearly has a few loose screws, creating some comic scenes. Fanya falsely claims that Eddie saved her from a lion attack: "I've never seen such a lion" "I've never heard such lyin'" retorts Eddie. Fanya also claims Eddie kissed her, thus is obligated to marry her, supported by the sheik. However, when Eddie admits to being the claimant to the treasure, the sheik says he must die, specifically by being boiled to make camel(Campbell?) soup. But he is saved at the last moment, only to be hounded by Fanya's boyfriend. When Eddie tells the boyfriend that he doesn't love Fanya and doesn't want to marry her, he calms down and leads Eddie to the chamber of death, where the treasure is hidden, along with some sarcophagi. Eddie, as well as Louie and Col. Larrabee, hide in empty sarcophagi when the sheik arrives. They pretend to be the spirits of his ancestors, telling him to lay off Eddie. Louie tries to make off with the treasure in a small plane, but is arrested, Eddie takes his place in the plane and flies to NYC, where he cashes in the treasures so that he can build a giant ice cream establishment and serve, free of charge, ice cream products and milk chocolate to the neighborhood kids.

    The stars and others take turns singing a number of songs, either new or old, abetted by the singing and dancing of the Goldwyn Girls. Young Harold Nicholas dances to "I Want to be a Minstrel Man", as the Goldwyn girls sing. This is followed by the big production with Eddie in blackface, singing Irving Berlin's "Mandi", with George Murphy and Ann Southern reprising "Your Head on my Shoulder" in the midst of this production. Both Nicolas brothers dance in a segment...The "Ice Cream Fantasy", in Technicolor, occurs at the end, with Eddie and Ethel doing most of the singing. What a great production for Depression kids, especially!

    This was George Murphy's debut in a Hollywood film. It provides no hint of his dancing talent, as exhibited in "After the Dance", and "Broadway Melody of 1938", for example.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As with the d.v.d version of whoopee, this version on d.v.d was slightly alternated.The scene where it shows the news paper telling how Eddie has an Ice scream factory,was originally shot in color,with the blue back ground. What happen is that either Goldwyn or time Warner decide just because the news paper was black and white,might as well print that scene in black n white.They still alternated Sam Goldwyn original creation.This was wrong of them.It was legally wrong not to inform the public that this scene was changed. Since their target is pro Hollywood corporatism, those classic film fans weren't going to make a fuss.Our target does.The Hollywood corp catters ignore us,since they barley serve us any how.The only positive thing about this version it's sharper.The color final,early three strip Technicolor,is not retouched in anyway except for the news paper sequence. Sam Goldwyn had made this scene that way.Well any how that was the only problem.It still a fine musical classic.The final you see Ethel Merman in her ,at the time ,only appearance in Technicolor.It still a good movie to collect,but, I still got my original VHS version too.05/17/13
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Having seen this lavish musical comedy years ago, I watched it again for the first time in years, and was amazed by how much Sandler reminds me of a modern day Eddie Cantor. That endearing freneticness, boyish know-it-all ("but I'm still keeping it to myself!") attitude is something they both share, displaying it in each of their movies no matter where the plot takes them. Like Sandler, Eddie Cantor is that total boyish "I'll let you think I'm an idiot, but I'm having the last laugh!" facade. And here, it begins with a 19 (!) year old Ethel Merman making a 25 (!) year old Eddie Cantor think she is his mother (!) so she can get him to sign legal papers turning over his late father's treasure over to her and "Uncle" Louie (Warren Hymer). The scene where they play "Tickle Me" (along with "Leap Frog" and other games they supposedly played "before you were even born", Cantor inquires, is extremely funny, and Merman is at her early brash best. It is ironic that the romantic lead is played by Ann Sothern, who later starred in the movie version of Merman's Broadway hit, "Panama Hattie".

    All Eddie wants is enough money "when my ship comes in" so he can build a free Ice Cream factory for his battery of kid friends (he's very much a Pee Wee Herman in this sense) and what an ice cream factory it is. The last five minutes of the film are in a glorious early Technicolor in a musical number that looks straight out of the land of Oz. Goldwyn girls carry giant vats of milk, vanilla, chocolate bars and strawberries, while a chorus of giant cows "moos" along in harmony. Then all of Eddie's kids (many of them veterans of "Our Gang" series) smash in the door for an outrageous finale that is still a treat for young and old. The big minstrel show number (featuring the Nicholas Brothers) is another highlight; Young Faynard is adorable! The racist overtones (Cantor in black-face) may offend some, and the jokes are corny, but overall it is relatively harmless. Irving Berlin's "Mandy" and "I Want to Be a Minstrel Man" are both very catchy tunes, but the love duet between Sothern and George Murphy is a snorer. But for the Nicholas Brothers, Cantor and Merman, the film is truly a must for classic movie fans. Sothern would have to wait for feistier roles at RKO and the Maisie series at MGM to become more exciting.