Wednesday, May 21, 2008
HERE COMES THE BAND
HERE COMES THE BAND (1935). Director: Paul Sloane.
Oddball compendium musical film that throws together WW I veterans who drive cabs, an amateur hour radio program, and a singing writer, Ollie (Harry Stockwell), whose song -- taken from American themes -- is appropriated by a greedy music producer, all of it ending up in a long musical courtroom sequence. The stars are Virginia Bruce, charming as ever, who plays a rich young lady who wants a singing career (and meets Stockwell on the aforementioned amateur hour) and Big Camp Ted Lewis of "Is Everybody Happy?" fame. Lewis does his sort of racist "Me and My Shadow" number, but his father-son routine with an adorable Spanky McFarland (of the Little Rascals) is the film's highlight. There are some more-than-pleasant songs, such as "Roll Along, Prairie Moon," and Stockwell -- whose most famous role was as the voice of the prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs -- has a terrific singing voice like Alfred Drake. Any movie that has a gal singing like a chicken (buck, buck, buck) can't be all bad, but the disparate elements of the movie never quite jell.
Verdict: Sporadically interesting but generally forgettable. **.