DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1937 (director/writer: Mitchell Leisen; screenwriter: Francis Martin/Walter DeLeon/story by Erwin Gelsey, Barry Trivers, & Arthur Kober; cinematographer: Theodor Sparkuhl; editor: Stuart Heisler; music:  Victor Young/Marlin Skiles; cast: Jack Benny (Jack Carson), George Burns (Mr. Platt), Gracie Allen  (Mrs. Platt), Bob Burns (Bob Black),  Martha Raye (Patsy), Shirley Ross (Gwen Holmes), Ray Milland (Bob Miller), Frank Forest (Frank Rossman), Sam Hearn (Schlepperman),  Benny Fields, Larry Adler, Leopold Stokowski, Benny Goodman; Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lewis E. Gensler; Paramount Pictures; 1936)

"It's as outdated as its lame vaudeville acts."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The third of the four Paramount films they released of their popular Big Broadcast series. The always reliable Mitchell Leisen ("Tonight We Sing"/"Dream Girl"/"To Each His Own") directs. It's based on the story by Erwin Gelsey, Barry Trivers, & Arthur Kober. The writers are Francis Martin and Walter DeLeon. It plays as a tribute to radio and its stars, with a slight plot and a variety of big-name radio acts. Its highlight is the symphonic Leopold Stokowski orchestra and the jazz Benny Goodman orchestra playing.

Jack Benny is the radio manager of a big-time NYC station, who has to deal with his zany wealthy golf ball sponsor Mr. and Mrs. Platt (George Burns and Gracie Allen). The Platts sign the egotistical Frank Forest to be the tenor singing star of their new variety show. Ray Milland plays Frank's slippery agent, who discovers a DJ from the sticks, Shirley Ross, can sing, and brings her to the radio station. But Forest is jealous and threatens to quit if Ross sings on the radio. When the Platts hear Ross sing they put her on the show. Martha Raye plays Benny's comical secretary, an aspiring singer waiting for her big break. Bob Burns is a hillbilly bazooka player from Arkansas, who bursts into the on the air radio programs while trying to get a tryout with Stokowski's orchestra.

It's as outdated as its lame vaudeville acts. I found not only Martha Raye unbearable, but the Burns and Allen act even more unbearable.

REVIEWED ON 7/15/2015       GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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