Feb 5, 2019
The Gipper’s fourth and final supporting appearance in a Dick Powell buffoon-and-crooner finds Reagan headed in the wrong direction down the cast list. To be fair, it’s quite an assemblage, with Ann Sheridan, Helen Broderick, Allen Jenkins, ZaSu Pitts, Gale Page, Granville Bates, William B. Davidson, “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom, and Quarter-Million-Dollar-Moustache-Man Jerry Colonna hoovering up most of the comedic oxygen.
The film also benefits from a set of mildly diverting novelty tunes by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer (including the immortal “Hooray For Spinach”). Less of an asset is a Wald and Macaulay script afflicted by an excess of insistent tics. Every single character – with the possible exception of Reagan’s small-time music publisher – has some dementedly distinctive hitch in their palaver.
Fans of Gareth’s theory of Reagan-as-mediating figure will find a great deal of support for the contention in this one, wherein the actor practically evaporates into the ether. And the big plagiarism plot provides a fine pretext for some spirited intellectual property law anathematizing.
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