It stars Dick Powell, a St. Louis sax player who gets a Hollywood movie contract by winning a contest. One of his first gigs is to escort diva-esque movie star Lola Lane to the opening of her latest picture. But he doesn't know that she has taken off in a huff, and is being doubled by a down-to-earth look-alike. Two interesting points:
- The old doppelganger plot, and not the last one
- The look-alikes are not played by the same actress, but her sister, Lola and Rosemary Lane
I guess I should mention the music. There are two types:
- Benny Goodman's Orchestra and Quartet - mainly 2 songs, including a short "Sing, Sing, Sing" at the end, which are great
- Pretty much every other number, which are all pretty weak. Even the iconic "Hurray for Hollywood", introduced in this movie, doesn't really make it
- Alan Mowbray as a ham actor - Dick Powell dubs his voice in the second doppelganger plot
- Ted Healy as Powell's manager - most famous for giving the Three Stooges their first gig
- Hugh Herbert, the Woo-Woo guy, as Lane's dad. His act is pretty broad - forgetting his name, failing to recognize his own daughter, and ending every sentence with "Woo woo." I think it's a riot
- Edgar Kennedy, the slow burn artist, plays the manager of a drive-in burger joint
- Louella Parsons plays herself, mostly as a sweetheart, but with a few sharp comments
Busby Berkley directs, without his strange dance numbers. But he keeps the camera dancing, with long takes and sweeping crane shots. It looks great, while not coming across as a "prestige" picture.
So, great old movie, some Benny Goodman, mostly lousy songs. One other issue I have to mention, though. When you watch old movies, you have to get used to a certain amount of casual racism. I don't think this movie is worse than most. There's a blackface gag, the above mentioned maids and porters, that's about it. And Goodman does play with his integrated quartet, including Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton. But somehow, that makes it worse - I expected more from a movie with Goodman in it.
It didn't spoil the movie for me. It was a "teachable moment".