Millions in the Air (1935)

Approved   |    |  Comedy


Millions in the Air (1935) Poster

The daughter of a radio program sponsor wants to get on the air, too. But her father doesn't allows this, so she enters a amateur contest on his radio program under an assumed name.

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6.2/10
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24 September 2017 | AlsExGal
6
| Millions of plot holes!
I was very surprised to find out this was a Paramount film, because it played out like a B film from one of the smaller studios of the 30s in that it was entertaining, but important plot points seemed to be missing. Plus there were no big stars in it. In fact, this is Robert Cummings' third credited film role and John Howard's fourth! The film is about an heiress, Marion Keller (Wendy Barry), daughter of the owner of the KELLO soap company, who wants a singing career. Her dad is the bellowing bellicose type (George Barbier as Calvin Keller) who wants Marion to marry her obnoxious fiancé Gordon and forget this career nonsense. She lies to dad and says she is auditioning for a society recital. She is actually auditioning for the WOX radio station amateur hour, sponsored by her dad's company. While waiting to audition she meets Eddie Warren, ice cream truck driver (John Howard). Eddie wants the 500 dollar prize money to buy a spot for his ice cream truck in front of the natural history museum, where he will make more money.

The two have one of those "lightning strikes" moments when they meet, and then the initial chemistry turns to friendship and then to love. But meanwhile Marion has to hide her identity from Eddie too, claiming to be somebody who works in a dime store and whose father is unemployed.

So now Marion is balancing plates on multiple poles. She has to explain all of her absences to her dad and to fiancé Gordon while she is out with Eddie, and she has to pretend to be the plain working girl to Eddie, even having him walk her to a boarding house door that isn't even hers.

Of course all of this is going to collide into a situation that makes everybody mad at her, so watch and find out how that happens.

Now the story of the heiress who pretends to be a commoner is as old as the hills, but what makes this fun is how it is combined with old time radio. Vying for the radio prize is a guy who thinks he is Houdini but can't escape from anything, another guy who thinks that just because he is Italian he is destined to sing opera and keeps popping up on stage with poorly done disguises with actual operatic singers. Joan Davis does a comic number decades before Jim Backus could say "I Married Joan" (No, they weren't really married). And who can't find a singing and dancing 7th billed 25 year old Bob Cummings endearing.

Those plot holes I was talking about? Somehow in the middle of the film Bob Cummings' character is trying to get the same ice cream truck spot that John Howard's character is trying for, but this is just slipped into conversation and there is no introduction to the topic or Cummings' character at any point. Wendy Barry and John Howard talk about rehearsing together, but their acts started out and remain separate. What are they talking about? And then Barry's character's father and fiancé suddenly just show up at the radio station the night of the contest. How did they find out? This is never mentioned.

No, it's not like those poverty row films where things get so involved and unexplained you have to keep rewinding to figure out what just happened, but it causes enough confusion I took a star off of my rating because of it. I'd still recommend it for the nostalgia and fun of it all.

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