4 September 2012 | MartinHafer
I usually don't like this sort of musical....
I wonder what happened with the missing 40 minutes from "Varsity Show". IMDb lists its original running time as 120 minutes but the Turner DVD is only 80--meaning a third of the film is missing. Perhaps this is just a mistake and the film was always 80 minutes but I wonder if the studio thought 120 minutes made the film incredibly sluggish and they decided to re-edit it--though cutting out THAT much seems very unlikely. Can anyone shed any light on this for me?
Dick Powell as well as Fred Waring and his orchestra star in this light-hearted college musical. Apparently the folks at Winfield College are going to put on another VERY boring show--thanks to the very dull Professor Biddle who insists they do it his way. The students want to breath energy into the program and invite Mr. Daly (Powell) to 'spice it up'. But the faculty is adamant--so what are these co-eds to do? Why SING of course! And, in the end, instead of Mr. Daly saving the college show, the students (much like in "Babes on Broadway") put on a show to save the career of swell 'ol Mr. Daly.
Overall, this is pure escapist fun. While the songs aren't particularly memorable, they are enjoyable. And the final BIG production number (choreographed by Busby Berkeley) is also quite amazing--and better than most of his efforts. While I am not a huge fan of this sort of film, for what this is, it's amazingly well done. Proof that it wasn't just MGM that could make a nice musical, as Warner had a long string of big production number musicals in the 30s. Worth seeing.
By the way, I liked Dick Powell's line "Get back to your rooms and crack a book...". That's because in practically every college film of the 30s and 40s, you almost NEVER see these folks studying or attending classes! Seeing them in the next scene actually studying was a shocker! Although, not surprisingly, the studying session didn't last very long!