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

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Reaction to a kiss: Gale Storm and Johnny Downs
CAMPUS RHYTHM (1943). Director: Arthur Dreifuss.

Joan Abbott (Gale Storm) sings on the radio for her sponsor, Crunchy Wunchy cereal, but she'd really rather go off to college. When her guardian, Uncle Willie (Douglas Leavitt), renews her contract without her knowledge, she takes off for Raleigh College by assuming the name of the sponsor's high-spirited secretary, Suzie Smith (Marie Blake). There she encounters the oh-so-serious editor of the campus paper, "Scoop" Davis (Johnny Downs); the dreamy, likable lover boy, Buzz (Robert Lowery); the weird if lovable Harold (Candy Candido); saucy, singing Babs (GeGe Pearson); and the venomous Cynthia (Claudia Drake of The Face of Marble), who's out to get her because she caught the eye of Buzz. In an attempt to find their wayward songstress, the sponsor holds a contest, and the funniest scene has to do with Uncle Willie traveling to Raleigh to find his niece and winding up in the hands of the law. The cast, led by a sparkling-as-ever Storm, is more than capable, and the film is pleasant. Babs sings "Oh, you character!" while Joan warbles "But Not You" to Buzz. GeGe Pearson has a nice voice and a lot of personality to go with her horse face; Candy Candido is the weirdest of novelty singers (and speakers) as his voice can go from falsetto to bass all within the same sentence. Both of them later did a lot of voice-over work for television and movies. John Duncan plays one of the fraternity boys; six years later he would team with Robert Lowery for the serial Batman and Robin, wherein he played the latter. The strange thing about this movie is that there's no fade out clinch between Storm and Downs, although it's intimated that they've gotten together again, but considering Scoop's behavior it's even more likely that they didn't. Downs [The Mad Monster] also starred in a movie called All-American Co-Ed, which is also known as Campus Rhythm, but it is not the same picture.

Verdict: Easy to take. **1/2.

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