The Shining Hour


A wealthy aristocrat farmer (Melville Cooper) woos and weds a New York night club singer (Joan Crawford).  The family back home in Wisconsin is not very accepting of her.

As a movie this was not my favorite, but there were some interesting things in it.  The screenplay was co-written by Ogden Nash, better known for his light verse.  I did not notice any Ogden Nash-ian influences in the dialog.  There is a passing mention of Seabiscuit, who would run his famous match race against War Admiral in 1938.  The thing that caught my attention most, however, was in the opening scene.  Robert Young (playing Melville Cooper's brother) awakes from a sleeper berth in an airplane.  There is very little passenger air travel in the movies from MCMXXXVIII, so I was impressed with a plane that offers sleeper berths, something you don't see today.  The plane in the movie was the Flagship New York, which was a real plane flown by American Airlines.  It was a DST, or Douglas Sleeper Transport.  It could hold fourteen passengers.  A west coast to east coast flight would take over eighteen hours, but I imagine that the one in the movie was a Chicago to New York run.  American did run the Flagship New York on this trip but I don't see why it would take more than six hours.  Rich people need naps, I guess.

The Flagship New York

Familiar faces: Margaret Sullavan, Fay Bainter, Hattie McDaniel, Frank Albertson

Sally, Irene and Mary


Alice Faye, Joan Davis and Marjorie Weaver play Sally, Irene and Mary, three manicurists who are trying to break into show business.  Popular radio comedian Fred Allen plays their agent and Jimmy Durante is his eventual partner in producing a show.

There was an earlier (silent) movie with the same name that was Joan Crawford's breakout role.  Although this movie was nominally based on the same play as that one, the plot was apparently discarded and only the title kept.  In this one, Sally and her love interest Tommy each have a sugar daddy/mama willing to fund a show.  Sally's is an amorous Baron, Tommy's is a many-times-divorced gold digger played by Gypsy Rose Lee (as Louise Hovick).  For the show to go on Sally and Tommy must leave each other and promise to marry the money, but the other girls plot so save their romance.

Gold Diggers in Paris


A befuddled representative of the International Dance Exposition in Paris mistakes the tropical Club Balle (Think Bali) in New York for the American Academy of Ballet.  The club owners have just learned that despite playing to a packed house every night they are losing money hand over fist, so they take advantage of the confusion and accept the gig.  They pack up their entire night club act (along with the Schnickelfritz Band) and head to Paris.

This is the last of several "Gold Digger" Busby Berkeley musicals - the others star Dick Powell, this one stars Rudy Vallee. Rudy does a nice impression of Maurice Chevalier.  Besides Rudy Vallee, this movie stars Rosemary Lane (a Lane Sister).  It also has a full complement of some of my favorite character actors from MCMXXXVIII: Hugh Herbert ("hoo hoo!"), Allen Jenkins, Melville Cooper, and Edward Brophy.  The Schnickelfritz Band is like an earlier Spike Jones Band, playing crazy instruments or regular instruments in crazy ways.

Rudy Vallee doing Maurice Chevalier

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