2 February 2019 | boblipton
Comedy With a Solid Core
Carnival puppeteer Lee Tracy's wife dies giving birth to his son. His father-in-law, Oscar Apfel, who threw his daughter out, wants the baby, but Tracy says no. When warrants are shown, Tracy grabs the baby. With the help of light-fingered piano-player Jimmy Durante and Tracy's assistant, Sally Eilers, they take it on the lam, hiding under false names in traveling shows. Eilers loves Tracy, but he never realizes it.
It's a pretty good carnival movie, directed by Walter Lang from a script by Robert Riskin. It shows the close-knit community of the carnival, with plenty of the characters you might see at a sideshow, including midgets, a half-man-half-woman, and giant John Aasen. It doesn't romanticize the culture; its members are well-meaning if not overly bright, and it's good to see Tracy in this period doing something than his patented, fasted-talking reporter.
The copy I saw was not very good. The image looked to be third or fourth generation, and the soundtrack was muffled, but what I saw indicated that it was a pretty good movie.