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

Thursday, September 29, 2016


MANHATTAN MERRY-GO-ROUND (1937). Director: Charles Reisner.

Jerry Hart (Phil Regan) sings in a Manhattan nightclub on a revolving platform or "merry-go-round." His fiancee is Ann Rogers (Ann Dvorak), who is a secretary for a music business. Said business is taken over by hood Tony Gordoni (Leo Carrillo), who wants to sign the temperamental opera diva "Charlizzini" (Tamara Geva) to a recording contract. Gordoni forces Jerry to charm and romance "Charlie" and stay attendant on her even as Ann waits at the altar and is jilted. Will Ann ever forgive Jerry? Phil Regan [We're in the Money] was a handsome and popular crooner of the period who never quite made it in pictures, probably because his contract was with Monogram and Republic and not MGM. But he was "dreamy" looking, had a very nice voice, and was a competent enough actor, being adept and pleasing in Manhattan Merry-Go-Round. Ann Dvorak [Out of the Blue] is completely wasted in this, but Geva manages to be somewhat amusing as the diva, even if you begin to wish someone would shoot her. Regan manages to sing an aria from "Martha" not too shabbily, but the film's musical highlight may be Cab Calloway's rendition of "I Want to Make Rhythm." Other "artists" in the film are singing cowboy Gene Autry [Phantom Empire] and Kay Thompson and Her Girls, who are utterly lacking in distinction. The real Joe DiMaggio has a cameo as himself, but is mistaken for a radio singer and tries to warble a tune. A male supporting character practices hand-kissing with Phil Regan, which prompts some raised eyebrows from lady passersby.

Verdict: Another mediocre Republic musical with some interesting players. **.

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