27 April 2007 | Doylenf
Average low-budget programmer with some interesting musical moments...
When I noticed that EDWARD WARD was responsible for the musical score, I had an additional reason for wanting to view FLYING WITH MUSIC, which I understood was a low-budget musical from the Hal Roach studios--without any well-known stars. Another factor was the Oscar-nominated song: "Pennies for Peppino." (Ward wrote the background scores for films like Universal's PHANTOM OF THE OPERA ('43) and THE CLIMAX ('44)).
Well, I was disappointed on both counts. The score is not that impressive and the song was unworthy of an Oscar nomination in a year when "White Christmas" and "Love Is A Song" (from BAMBI) were the front-runners.
Despite obvious drawbacks, FLYING WITH MUSIC is a better than average programmer that is like a time capsule of the '40s-era pop music scene with a Latin beat. The only charmer among the songs is the "Pennies for Peppino" number, nicely rendered by a bunch of native kids.
Other than that, the weak plot is a real hindrance. GEORGE GIVOT is a man on the lam who poses as a tour guide in Florida. He takes a group of young women on an island tour which leaves time for a few nightclub songs and some badly executed comedy routines. MARJORIE WOODWORTH is just passable in the leading femme role but is certainly photogenic.
NORMA VARDEN has a brief role as the chaperone for the girls and there's a very inept performance from handsome WILLIAM MARSHALL which shows why he never made it into star territory.
It's one of those harmless trifles that's entirely forgettable with Ward's music only occasionally making some noteworthy sounds. "Song of the Lagoon" at least gets a production number with a Caribbean touch and a pleasing, languid melody.
But the whole film is strictly small-time stuff and not diverting enough to call for any special attention. GEORGE GIVOT overdoes the mugging routines in the central role and EDWARD GARGAN does his standard schtick as a tax collector.
Summing up: A more ambitious than usual production from a Povery Row studio like Hal Roach.