Sunday, July 6, 2014

Nothing Like One

Dames (1934) was one of those oddballs in the queue that floats to the top because the movies that we thought we were getting were all "Long Wait" or maybe "Very Long Wait" - What's up with that? More and more selections sit at the top of my queue forever, or just 6 months for Long Wait. Anyway, it turns out that I'd seen it already, but that was OK.

This is one of those Depression musicals, with Guy Kibbee meeting his millionaire cousin Hugh Herbert. It seems that Herbert will be giving many of his millions to his last remaining descendant in good-standing Kibbee's daughter, Ruby Keeler. But only if Kibbee, wife Zasu Pitts and Keeler are upstanding and stay away from theater folk.

You see, Herbert's other remaining descendant is Dick Powell, outcast from polite society for producing Broadway shows. And of course, Powell and Keeler are in love and she wants to dance in the show. Then Joan Blondell comes along with a sweet blackmail scheme to finance the show.

So we've got a classic cast, although Kibbee, Pitts and Herbert keep it dialed back (for them). We get several renditions of the now-classic "I Only Have Eyes for You". Ruby Keeler does a quick little tap number - she's not a great dancer (or actress or looker or singer or comedian or...), but I like to see her dance. There's something sincere about it.

But when it comes time to put on the show - BAM! Busby Berkelely. His "dances" involve armies of women posing statically in geometric designs. One piece features huge scary cutout masks of Ruby Keeler whirling around. Still, probably not the weirdest he's ever staged.

So this is pretty much your standard musical of the time, not outstanding or disappointing either. If you like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing you'll like.

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