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

Thursday, October 20, 2016


"Dreamboat" and jailbird: Phil Regan
HAPPY GO LUCKY (1936). Director: Aubrey Scotto.

Mary Gorham (Evelyn Venable of Death Takes a Holiday) gets a shock when she walks into a Shanghai nightclub. Her fiance, Bill (Phil Regan), disappeared while on a transatlantic flight and is suspected of treason, but there he is singing under the name of "Happy Jack" Cole. Jack still seems happy -- if confused -- when he's confronted by Mary, but he insists that he has never seen her before. Is this a case of amnesia, or something more sinister? Mary's father, wealthy Charles Gorham (Jed Prouty of College Holiday) is delighted to see "Bill" again, but still wonders if his story about being someone else is entirely true. Then there's J. Lansing Bennett (Jonathan Hale of Strangers on a Train), who is the secret head of a spy ring. Happy Go Lucky is an odd movie, a sort of musical with a slightly more complicated plot than usual, and some "serious" aspects to it. Phil Regan, the NYPD detective who became a singer and dancer, (and who ironically served a one-year sentence for real estate bribery years later) is not bad in this (although one could argue that his singing is better than his acting), and has a pleasing personality to go with his good looks. He appeared in films for ten more years, but because they were released by Poverty Row studios like Republic and Monogram never emerged as a major motion picture star. Regan's singing of "Right or Wrong" is a highlight of the movie.

Verdict:  Somewhat different story line for a Republic musical, but still not very good. **.

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