Archive for the ‘Stu Erwin’ Category

Second Honeymoon

18 Jul

Second Honeymoon – Directed by Walter Lang. High Comedy. An argumentative formerly married couple meets again and flirts. 84 minutes Black and White 1937

* * *

Tyrone Power is 23 when he makes this upper crust pastry. He’s so beatuiful that he is more attractive than Loretta Young. And, just as important, he has a wonderful comedic sense. He is charming, good-natured, fun, ready, and real in the quick-take wit of a comedy that might have been written by Noel Coward, and, indeed, once was written by Noel Coward under the assumed name of Private Lives. Looking at it one wonders how the Depression audiences could stand the goings-on of these spoiled folks; they indulge in a vicious deep sea fishing party at one point, which makes one’s hair curl. Anyhow, the film is a perfect example of costumes making the character, and Power and Young and Claire Trevor, who plays a funny married friend, wear their threads with a difference. The rube Stu Erwin plays a virginal nerd as Power’s valet, of all things, and introduces a lower-class invigoration as does Marjorie Weaver who is refreshing and altogether excellent as a voluble and principled cigarette girl. At one point Power asks to kiss her, is granted the privilege, and when she asks him why he wanted to, he says, “I just wanted to know what it felt like to kiss an honest woman.” So the script does have its pleasant byways. At this point in his career, which was to establish Power as the only major male star at Fox, Power was being groomed as a matinee idol, which he became. But there are two types of matinee idol. The first type, the one here, is the idol women are attracted to. That’s what he became at first, and women went to see him. The second type is the sort whom both women and men want to see, thus doubling his box office draw, and this came about when Power was put into a series of swashbuckling roles, starting with The Mark Of Zorro. Power was one of the few male Hollywood stars who could wear period clothes. Here the period is contemporary, and he looks smashing. All his films as Fox made lots of money. This one looks like it deserved it.



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.

* * * **

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.


Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Flickr button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button