|STAND UP AND CHEER! (director/writer: Hamilton MacFadden; screenwriter: based on an idea by Will Rogers & Philip Klein/Ralph Spence; cinematographers: Ernest Palmer/L.W. O'Connell; editor: Margaret Clancy; music: Arthur Lange; cast: Shirley Temple (Shirley Dugan), Ralph Morgan (President's Secretary), Warner Baxter (Lawrence Cromwell), Nigel Bruce (Dinwiddie), John Boles (Himself), Madge Evans (Mary Adams),James Dunn (Jimmy Dugan), Theresa Gardella (Aunt Jemima), Nick Foran (Himself), Stepin Fetchit' (Himself), Arthur Byron (John Harly), Sylvia Froos (Herself), Frank Mitchell (Senator Danforth), Jack Durant (Senator Short); Runtime: 69; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Winfield Sheehan; Fox Film Corporation; 1934)|
|"There's not much here to stand
up and cheer for."
by Dennis Schwartz
so-so musical comedy, based on a lousy idea by Will
Rogers & Philip Klein, has a
political backdrop that is grating. It would have been
even worse if the
6-year-old Shirley Temple wasn't in it to enliven
things by singing "Baby Take a
Bow." This is the film where the American public
began its love affair with the adorable little
girl. Hamilton MacFadden ("Riders
of the Purple Sage"/"Escape by Night"/"Inside the
Law") co-writes with Ralph Spence and directs this
naive propaganda piece as if its topical message was
an urgent one. There's not much here to stand up and
cheer for, everything seems unhinged and pretentious.
Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints a big-time Broadway
theatrical producer, Lawrence Cromwell
(Warner Baxter), as the new Secretary of
Amusement in order to cheer up the American public
from the ill-effects of the Depression. Cromwell
appoints Mary Adams (Madge Evans) as one of
his many secretaries (she becomes his romantic
interest) and he also brings along his right hand
man Dinwiddie (Nigel Bruce) as his talent scout. The
scout hunts down chorus girls, jazz people and
various types of pop singers, and the boss
plans on an all-star revue. But his patriotic efforts
are opposed by a wealthy industrialist, John
Harly (Arthur Byron), who profits from the ongoing
economic slump and wants no changes. The businessman
tries bribing Cromwell to quit, but he can't be bribed
from his mission to bring entertainment to a suffering
Jemima (Theresa Gardella) is all
energy in her lively "revival-meeting"
musical number, a skit that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The one I hated, a lame skit I don't know what the
filmmaker was thinking had a penguin
in clothes (with the voice of Jimmy Durante) telling
George Bernard Shaw (Stepin Fetchit) that the
penguin is a shrunken Jimmy Durante.
The many pleasant songs include "I'm Laughin'," "We're Out of the Red,' "Stand Up and Cheer," "Broadway's Gone Hill-Billy," "This Is Our Last Night Together" and "She's Way Up Thar."
REVIEWED ON 8/20/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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