Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


CROONER (1932). Director: Lloyd Bacon.

"I wonder how you can posssibly stretch the subject of yourself over two more days."

"Radio: Marconi's gift to the morons!"

Band leader Teddy Taylor (David Manners, pictured) fills in for his sick vocalist and sings in such a low voice that a drunk patron (Guy Kibbee) tells him to use a megaphone. Taylor does so -- and discovers that now the ladies think his voice is just swell. The manager (J. Carroll Naish) notices that the women are practically swooning over Teddy and offers him a contract. He becomes known as the S.A. [sex appeal] singer. But Teddy's girlfriend Judy (Ann Dvorak) importunes an agent friend who loves her, Peter (Ken Murray), to take Teddy on as a client. Before long Teddy is speaking in an affected voice, acting like he thinks he's the greatest thing since Caruso [in actuality he's not a very good singer] and believing his own publicity. The funniest scene has the ass trying to sing opera! But anyone who gets this swell-headed is bound to take a fall ... This is a fast-paced, amusing comedy with excellent performances from everyone in the cast; Dvorak is as lovely as ever. You're left with the feeling, however, that she winds up with the wrong guy at the end. Probably inspired by the career of Rudy Vallee, at least as far as the megaphone goes.

Verdict: There's no accounting for taste. **1/2.

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