Having Wonderful Time


Having Wonderful Time with Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.   A New York office girl (Ginger Rogers) with intellectual aspirations decides to take a quiet vacation at Camp Kare-Free.  It turns out to be a noisy Catskills resort crowded with fellow Brooklyn-ites.  She gets off to a bad start with a law student waiter (Douglas Fairbanks) but they eventually fall for each other.  This movie is a cavalcade of stars.  It has Eve Arden and Lucille Ball and Richard (Red) Buttons in his film debut.  Everyone is trying out their worst Brooklyn accents.

Five of a Kind


Five of a Kind with the Dionne Quintuplets. The Dionne Quints play the fictional Wyatt Quints of Canada. This movie is not nearly as interesting as the story of the Dionne Quints themselves, the first recorded quintuplets to survive infancy, who were removed from their home by the Ontario government and used as a tourist attraction for the first nine years of their lives. They were only four years old in this movie and spoke French. The male lead was Cesar Romero.

Listen, Darling


Listen, Darling with Judy Garland.  Pinkie (Judy Garland) and her friend Buzz (Freddie Bartholomew) decide to kidnap Pinkie's mother Dottie (Mary Astor) to keep her from marrying the dull banker for financial stability rather than love.  At first they just want to give Dottie some time to think but they later decide that they must find her a better potential husband.  Judy sings "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart".

That Judy Garland can sing. "Zing!" wasn't even the best song in the movie.  Also, it was funny how I got startled out of the movie whenever she would exclaim something in a way identical to Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. I give this one two thumbs up.

The Mad Miss Manton


The Mad Miss Manton with Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda.  This is more of a screwball murder mystery a la The Thin Man than a screwball comedy.  Barbara Stanwyck plays Melsa Manton, one of a group of socialite women that is known for disruptive high society pranks (like weird scavenger hunts for charity).  As such, when she stumbles upon a body that disappears before the police arrive, she is written off as a kook.  Henry Fonda plays a newspaper man that writes a scathing editorial about her supposed false police report, and Melsa vows vindication.  She leads her band of evening-gown-and-fur clad friends in a quest to solve the murder, only to find body after body in their quest.

This movie has a lot going for it, and surprisingly it just didn't work for me.  Barbara Stanwyck is great but she exudes too much confidence and competence.  You never really doubt that she can handle any situation.  Henry Fonda is too meek.  The best parts are when the gaggle of society girls jump into action and a terrific performance by Hattie McDaniel as Melsa's non-subservient maid.

I do like the name Melsa.

The Terror of Tiny Town


The Terror of Tiny Town is a Western where all the actors are midgets.  I think many of them played in The Wizard of Oz the next year.  It is not very good.  One interesting thing is that 95% of the movie is played as a straight Western with no midget gags.  It must have been good for these guys to be able to play regular roles.

The Saint in New York


The Saint in New York with Louis Hayward as Simon Templar, aka the Saint.  I was all set to write this one off as just a serial but all day I was trying to tell people about this movie.  The production quality was poor and I had to turn on captioning to make up for the poor audio, but I loved the way Louis Hayward played this character.  He had the jauntiness of Errol Flynn's Robin Hood without any of the honor.  He was always utterly confident and unafraid and several times I was rapt wondering how he was going to get out of some predicament.  This was the first Saint movie and the later ones had a different main actor.  There are plenty of reasons not to like this movie but I was charmed by it.

The Old Barn Dance


The Old Barn Dance with Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette.  Gene Autry plays a traveling singing horse trader named Gene Autry.  His horse auction company travels from town to town putting on music shows and selling horses.  Demand has lessened due to the modern move to tractors.  He is tricked into putting his shows on the radio to advertise for the crooked tractor company.  For the first half of this movie they averaged a musical number every 4 minutes.  I think this was Gene Autry's last film for Republic Pictures.  A bit player in this movie under the name of Dick Weston became Republic's new star cowboy in subsequent movies as Roy Rogers.

The Young In Heart


The Young In Heart stars Janet Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Paulette Goddard, Billie Burke, and Roland Young.  I saw the last half of this movie several months ago but now got to watch the whole thing. I highly recommend this movie. It is about a family of con artists who are in a slump, having been found out and ousted from the French Riviera.  On the train to London they meet a lonely old lady named Miss Fortune who invites them to stay at her house.  They hatch a scheme to have Miss Fortune write them into her will, so they use their well-honed skills of deception to pretend to be an honest hard-working family.  In the process they find success and happiness. This movie unfolds very well.  The pacing and the dialog are understated but charming.  The performances are top notch.  This one just makes you smile.

Little Miss Broadway


Little Miss Broadway is another Shirley Temple movie.  She is adopted from the orphanage and goes to live in a hotel occupied by vaudevillians. Jimmy Durante was in this one but was woefully underutilized.

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