|SEARCH FOR BEAUTY (director: Erle C. Kenton; screenwriters: story by David Boehm & Maurine Watkins/based on a play by Schuyler E. Grey and Paul R. Milton/ Frank Butler/Claude Binyon; cinematographer: Harry Fishbeck; editor: James Smith; music: Leo Pobin; cast: Robert Armstrong (Larry Williams), Buster Crabbe (Don Jackson), Ida Lupino (Barbara Hilton), Toby Wing (Salty), James Gleason (Dan Healy), Gertrude Michael (Jean Strange), Frank McGlynn Sr. (Rev. Rankin), Joe (Bradley Page), Miss Pettigrew (Nora Cecil), Mrs. Archibald Henderson-Jones (Virginia Hammond), Adolph (Eddie Gribbon), Caretaker (Pop Kenton); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: E. Lloyd Sheldon; Universal/Paramount; 1934)|
|"A mildly amusing snappy
pre-Code con man Depression-era comedy."
by Dennis Schwartz
mildly amusing snappy pre-Code con man
Depression-era comedy, with a wild-eyed beauty
contest scheme used for the plot. It's adequately
directed by Erle C. Kenton ("House of
Dracula"/"Island of Lost Souls"/"Melody for Three") as
a screwball comedy. Writers Frank
Butler and Claude Binyon base
it on the story by David
Boehm & Maurine Watkins,
who based it on a play
by Schuyler E. Grey and Paul R. Milton.
Olympic swimming champ Buster Crabbe did
this movie after playing Tarzan and before his big
breakthrough role as Flash Gordon. This was Ida
Lupino's first Hollywood starring role.
artists, the fast-talking Larry Williams (Robert
Armstrong) and the sharp-tongued Jean Strange (Gertrude
Michael), are released from prison after
serving a two-year stretch for an oil scam. The two
hook-up with Dan Healy (James
Gleason) to buy a physical-culture
magazine that's based in LA. Dan owes them, as he
let them take the rap while he became a wealthy man
from the previous scheme. The trio of con
artists scheme to run a beauty contest for both sexes.
They trick the two innocent Olympian swim champs, the
American Don Jackson (Buster Crabbe) and the Brit
Barbara Hilton (Ida Lupino), to join the 'zine as
editors. They are unaware the 'zine's health and
beauty content is merely a front for making dough from
dirty photos. When they catch on, they refuse to
promote pinup photos.
It plays out as a featherweight smutty sex comedy, that might not be edgy but is easy to take as a pic that doesn't exercise your noggin too much.
REVIEWED ON 6/20/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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