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Archive for the ‘Tony Martin’ Category

Pigskin Parade

08 Jul

Pigskin Parade – Directed by David Butler. Musical. A tiny rural Texas college takes on Yale in football and song. 93 minutes Black and White 1936.

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The two greatest musical comedy stars of the 20th Century appear for the first and only time together, Betty Grable and Judy Garland. Grable is mostly set decoration here; her sunny smile appears to be the same white as her hair; how fascinating. MGM lent out the 4’11” child Garland to Fox, to see what she could do. She’d made shorts from 1929 on, but this was her first real movie role. She sings three numbers and did just fine, and they never lent her out again. She plays the little sister of a rustic lummox, Stu Erwin, who is the star and who was awarded a leading Oscar nomination for this performance. He can hurl a football the length of a football field and land it on a dime. Everyone bursts into over-energetic song at the drop of a baton – which Tony Martin wavers about. He also sings, with his fine baritone, and otherwise is also set decoration. The raucous Patsy Kelly and the boneless Jack Haley bring their vaudeville funnypapers styles to the leads. They sing a little too. Who sings a lot are the Yacht Club Boys, a 40sh quartet, still in college, who brilliantly render a series of brilliant patter songs with which this zesty musical is laced. Dixie Dunbar does a dance. Even that wonderful actor, Elisha Cook Jr. does a dance; he plays a Communist student organizer, of course. The director had the wise idea to put the entire musical on locations, and it works like gangbusters. The finale takes place in a blizzard, and you wonder how the heck the game was staged, because it is clearly out of doors and it is clearly snowing like crazy. All this lends real interest and engagement to the proceedings, which are the usual adorable David and Goliath College Comedy hooey we’ve had in films for generations, ending with its grand finale in Good News.  The movie is like a swig of soda pop. You may burp once or twice at the goings on, but you’ll guzzle it down with pleasure. Good family fun.

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Go West! & The Big Store

30 Mar

Go West & The Big Store – directed by Edward Buzzell/Charles Riesner. Slapstick Comedy. The Marx Brothers go West, and then wreak havoc in a department store. 1940 black and white.

* * * * *

Jolly good entertainment. The Marx brothers gad about in their usual madcap fashion and it is a treat to watch them. They are a tonic. We have the beauteous Virginia Grey in one with Tony Martin and the robust John Carroll, who certainly can sing and jump off horses on the other. Margaret Dumont is missing from Go West, but that is because there is no society element in corrals, is there? Otherwise The Big Store gives her full play, all hail to her!

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