|PLAYMATES (director: David Butler; screenwriters: James V. Kern/Arthur Phillips/story is by James V. Kern and M.M. Musselman; cinematographer: Frank Redman; editor: Irene Morra; music: Roy Webb; cast: Kay Kyser (Himself), John Barrymore (Himself), Lupe Velez (Carmen del Toro ), Ginny Simms (Herself), May Robson (Grandma Kyser), Peter Lind Hayes (Pete Lindsey), Patsy Kelly (Lulu Monohan), Harry Babbitt (Band Member), M. A. Bogue (Ish Kabibble), George Cleveland (Mr. Pennypacker), Alice Fleming (Mrs. Pennypacker), Sully Mason (Band Member); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: David Butler; RKO; 1941)|
|"John Barrymore's last film is
by Dennis Schwartz
Barrymore's last film is a stinker. It's hard for a
great film career to sink any lower than end it with
such a clunker. The once great film actor plays a
caricature of himself and embarrasses himself in a
role that leaves a lot to be desired. David Butler
("Road to Morocco"/"Calamity Jane"/"Leave it to
Beaver") directs this musical weirdo comedy to be
funny only in a sophomoric way. The story by James V. Kern and
Musselman comes off as idiotic. Writers Arthur
Phillips and James V. Kern turn in an inadequate
washed up, down-on-his-luck and much married John
Barrymore agrees to turn bandleader Kay Kyser into a
Shakespearean actor, which is supposed to be a real
hoot. Barrymore is in deep debt and is being helped
out by Kyser and his band when the IRS haunts him
for back taxes.
press agent Pete Lindsey (Peter
Lind Hayes) and manager Lulu Monohan
(Patsy Kelly) suggest that if
Barrymore does the nearly impossible and transforms
the stiff bandleader into a fiery articulate
Shakespearean actor, in
exchange he will receive a fat radio contract.
Neither is interested in going through with the
deal, but Kay will do it as a favor to Barrymore.
But Barrymore chooses various devious ways to get
out of this entanglement. It gets very silly when
Barrymore turns loose his forward feisty girlfriend
del Toro (Lupe Velez) on the timid Kyser, hoping
Kyser will not commit to his promised performance at
a Long Island Shakespeare
Festival. It only gets worse, as Barrymore tries
more stupid ways to keep Kyser off the stage. But,
alas, as the saying goes: all's well that ends well.
REVIEWED ON 9/13/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ