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

Thursday, June 24, 2010


THE GREAT AMERICAN BROADCAST (1941). Director: Archie Mayo.

A group of earnest performers and others try to bring entertainment to the new radio medium with varying degrees of success. This basic premise is tied to a forgettable triangle plot involving singer Vicki (Alice Faye), her alleged boyfriend, Chuck (Jack Oakie) and handsome Rix Martin (handsome John Payne) -- guess who gets the gal? Cesar Romero also appears as a wealthy man who backs the group in their efforts but is at odds with Rix for a number of reasons. Some of the songs are pleasant [I Take to You; Where You Are; Long Ago Last Night] but Oakie's trashing of the sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor isn't funny [as were the Three Stooges in their short, "Micro-Phonies] -- you just wish he'd shut up so you can enjoy the music. There's some great tap dancing by the Nicolas Brothers, but otherwise this is a bit dull. There could probably be a great musical about the early days of radio and bringing entertainment to the masses over the airwaves, but the totally standard Great American Broadcast isn't it. The actors, even Oakie, are fine.

Verdict: Predictable and one-dimensional musical with some memorable songs and a lousy script. **.

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