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

Thursday, May 26, 2016


John Payne
HATS OFF (1936). Director: Boris Petroff.

"Why don't you give yourself up to Ripley?"

Twin cities are having competing centennial exhibitions and both hire press agents to make theirs the biggest event ever. Jimmy Maxwell (John Payne) finds himself in competition with "Joe Allen," unaware that the pretty lady he's squiring around is actually Mary Jo Allen (Mae Clarke), the rival press agent. Both of them are hot to have wealthy Tex Connelly (Robert Middlemass) pay to bring impresario Caesar Rosero (Luis Alberni) to town to put on one spectacular show complete with dancing girls. Will duplicity smash this budding romance, or will true love win out in the end?.Hats Off is a release from Grand National, so there's no MGM gloss, although the production values are better than Republic's. Clarke and Payne [The Boss] are both fine, Alberni [The Mad Genius] is amusing, Skeets Gallagher makes a pleasant Buzz, Helen Lynd seems to be doing a Gracie Allen impersonation as his girlfriend, Ginger, and Franklin Pangborn [Reveille With Beverly] pretty much steals the show as Churchill, who is hired to pretend to be "Joe Allen." There are some okay songs by Oakland and Magidson, and the production number, "Little Odd Rhythm," is snappy.

Verdict: Amiable if second-rate musical. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

John Payne was quite a heartthrob--I remember him as being wonderful opposite Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara in Miracle on 34th Street. Very handsome, and a good actor. One of the leading men we don't still hear about these days, unfortunately...

William said...

And yet for a time he had a very big career. I always thought he should have chosen a different last name --- when I was a child I thought he had to be related to John Wayne -- but that didn't stop him from achieving a lesser stardom. Not a bad actor either. And very, very good-looking!