Coming Up Shorts! with… The Ant And The Aardvark

Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts!  This time around, I’m going with theatrical shorts featuring the complete run of The Ant And The Aardvark from 1969 to 1971, all of which have been put together for The Ant And The Aardvark collection.

Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the cartoons included in this set (for my comments on the individual cartoons, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):

  1. The Ant And The Aardvark (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)
    • The ant finds a nearby picnic and tries to bring home some food, but is constantly being interrupted by the aardvark.
  2. Hasty But Tasty (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 16 seconds)
    • The aardvark tries to catch the ant, who is using a small motorcycle to get the food away from the picnic.
  3. The Ant From Uncle (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)
    • The ant complains about a lack of relaxation, while the aardvark tries to hunt him down.
  4. I’ve Got Ants In My Plans (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 17 seconds)
    • The aardvark has to contend with a green aardvark chasing after the same ant.
  5. Technology, Phooey (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 8 seconds)
    • The aardvark consults a computer for help catching the ant.
  6. Never Bug An Ant (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)
    • The aardvark tries to catch the ant using various methods (particularly using the attraction of sugar).
  7. Dune Bug (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 34 seconds)
    • The ant is trying to vacation on the beach, but the aardvark keeps coming for him.
  8. Isle Of Caprice (1969) (Length: 6 minutes, 14 seconds)
    • A marooned aardvark tries to get to another island where the ants are, but is stopped by a hungry shark.
  9. Scratch A Tiger (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)
    • When the aardvark arrives with a hungry look about him, the ant turns to a tiger he helped out for protection.
  10. Odd Ant Out (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)
    • The blue aardvark competes with a green aardvark for a can of chocolate ants.
  11. Ants In The Pantry (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)
    • The aardvark tries to act as pest control to get rid of the ant in a house.
  12. Science Friction (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 16 seconds)
    • The ant has been captured by a scientist, and the aardvark tries to get him away for a snack.
  13. Mumbo Jumbo (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 10 seconds)
    • The aardvark is chasing after the ant, but the ant is being helped by other animals in his forest lodge.
  14. The Froze Nose Knows (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)
    • With an unexpected snowfall, the aardvark goes hunting for the ant.
  15. Don’t Hustle An Ant With Muscle (1970) (Length: 6 minutes, 9 seconds)
    • The ant tries taking some vitamins, which gives him super strength against the aardvark.
  16. Rough Brunch (1971) (Length: 6 minutes, 18 seconds)
    • The ant gets help from a termite to avoid the aardvark.
  17. From Bed To Worse (1971) (Length: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)
    • After getting hit in the road, the ant and the aardvark end up in an animal hospital.

In 1963, Friz Freleng and David H. DePatie, both of whom had worked at Warner Brothers Cartoons, formed DePatie-Freleng Enterprises when Warners closed their animation division. With the success of The Pink Panther theatrical shorts (which I’ll be commenting on later), they started branching out with some other series. The Ant And The Aardvark features a blue aardvark (who was never really given a name beyond “Aardvark”) and Charlie Ant. Both characters were voiced by John Byner. The theatrical shorts later became a part of the package show The New Pink Panther Show on TV starting in 1971, and the series proved to be quite popular (although no new shorts were produced for it). The series was revived twice, the first time for The Pink Panther TV series in 1993-1995 (with John Byner returning to voice both Charlie Ant and the Aardvark again) and the second time in 2010 for the show Pink Panther And Pals (with Kel Mitchell voicing the Ant, and the Aardvark mainly being voiced by Eddie Garvar, with John Over also doing some voice work for the character).

Besides the Pink Panther cartoons, The Ant And The Aardvark shorts are the only ones of the DePatie-Freleng group of cartoons that I have any fondness for. I enjoy John Byner’s portrayal of both characters, with the Aardvark’s voice sounding like comedian Jackie Mason and Charlie Ant being based on Dean Martin. The shorts may all be formulaic, in the category of “predator vs. prey” like much of the Sylvester and Tweety or Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons. They’re not *quite* as good as some of those earlier types (not helped by one or two feeling like remakes of some of those earlier cartoons), but they are still well-done and manage to be quite hilarious. The supporting cast also generally makes things better (with the green aardvark being the main recurring character that I can think of), and they keep the formula from getting too stale. These shorts haven’t necessarily been given a full-fledged restoration for the Blu-ray and DVD release, but they still look good enough to keep me happy. The out-of-sync audio on the “Technology, Phooey” cartoon is the only real complaint I have with the set. As I said, I enjoy these shorts, and I have no trouble whatsoever in recommending them for a fun time!

The Ant And The Aardvark Collection is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Kino Lorber. The whole set has a runtime of one hour, forty-seven minutes.

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… The Paleface (1948)

Today, we’ve got a Bob Hope double-feature! To be fair, they’re both kind of cheater reviews, with the other one being some updated comments on the new Blu-ray of The Cat And The Canary, and, while I’ve already done The Paleface (and its sequel) before, that also has a recent Blu-ray release! So, I feel it’s worth talking about the Bob Hope and Jane Russell comedy The Paleface again! Of course, we’ve got our theatrical short to get through first, and then it’s on to this fun film!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Rough Brunch (1971)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 18 seconds)

The ant gets help from a termite to avoid the aardvark. Another cartoon with the ant getting help from somebody else. While the termite himself may not be one of the best supporting characters from the series, he’s still enough fun to make it worthwhile. After all, the aardvark never seems to see the destruction coming, as he keeps walking in all the wrong places! Certainly amusing enough to revisit with some frequency!

And Now For The Main Feature…

(Host): Well, I don’t see the Narrator, so I better get started telling the story. It was a dark and –

(Click) (The lights on the stage go out)

(Host): Hey, who turned out the lights? (Crash). And who left that chair there for me to crash into?

(Narrator): (From offstage) Never mind that. Get back to the story!

(Host): There he is. But, he’s right, let’s get back to it. It was a dark and stormy night –

(Sound of a thunderclap) (Rain starts falling down on the stage heavily)

(Host): Great. Rain, too?

(Narrator): Get on with it!!

(Host): Well, YOU’RE not the one getting soaked, so shush! Still, I should keep trying. It was a dark and stormy night when two masked men came up on the jail –

(The Narrator comes out in a hold-up mask and points his gun into the back of the Host)

(Host): What is this, a hold-up?

(Narrator): No, YOU’RE the one holding things up. In case you haven’t forgotten, we already covered most of this in the previous review, so I’ll speed you up. Calamity Jane (Jane Russell) is freed from jail. She is sent, by the governor, to find out who is sending guns to a renegade group of Native American Indians. To hide as part of a wagon train going west, she marries dentist “Painless” Peter Potter (Bob Hope).

(Host): Happier now?

(Narrator): Yes.

(Host): Then, can you take the gun out of my back?

(Narrator): I can, but where would the fun be in that? Now you stay put, while I continue telling the audience the story. (Turns away while still holding gun to Host) Jane finds some men bringing dynamite out with the wagon train. She overhears their suspicions that Painless might be the federal agent, and she feeds them enough details to “confirm” their speculations. Before long, Painless and Jane lose track of the wagons in front of them, and they (along with everybody that was behind them) get separated. They stay at a cabin overnight, but in the morning, they are attacked by a group of Native Americans. Painless, who was outside shaving at the time the attack began, crawled into a rain barrel outside (because the doors were locked before he could get in). Using a gun that Jane tossed him out a window, he tries to start shooting through a hole in the barrel. It appears that he manages to shoot down a number of attackers (but, in reality, it is Jane shooting with a rifle through the window, out of sight of everybody else).

(Host): (Tries to tiptoe away while the Narrator is distracted. Steps on a floorboard that creaks very loudly, and then makes a mad dash offstage)

(Narrator): Hey, not so fast! (Takes aim at the host, and shoots. The bullet ricochets around the stage, and hits a snake that was slithering up behind the Narrator). What? (Looks back at the now dead snake). Wow! Guess my shooting lessons with Painless paid off! (Blows away smoke from gun and puts it in holster. The gun goes off). Hoh! (Starts hopping up and down on one leg and grabs the foot that was shot) “One, two, three, four, five, six seven. I split one of them in the middle!” (Quoting Red Skelton from the movie Lovely To Look At) Anyways, eleven Native Americans were killed in the attack.

(Host): (from offstage) Twelve!

(Narrator): Don’t start that. We’re not doing that one. Again, eleven were killed (although I’m not sure I counted that many shots/bodies in the actual film). Regardless, word about Painless’ heroics makes its way to the town of Buffalo Flats, to the ears of saloon owner (and leader of the renegade group in town) Toby Preston (Robert Watson). He makes plans to have his singer, Pepper (Iris Adrian) try to catch Painless’ attention, in the hope that her boyfriend, Joe (Jeff York), would kill him in a jealous rage. When they get into town, Jane splits up with Painless to go see her contact in town, blacksmith Hank Billings (Clem Bevans). However, in breaking up with Painless, she makes him an easy target for Pepper. When Joe catches them together, Painless challenges him to a gunfight at sundown.

(Host): (From offstage) The fool!

(Narrator): Indeed! When Jane hears about it, she decides to let him die, so that the renegades think the federal agent is dead (leaving her more freedom to sneak around). However, at the last moment, she reconsiders, and shoots Joe (but, of course, everybody still thinks that Painless did it). Jane has Hank try to locate where the dynamite is hidden, while she goes to reconcile with Painless. Later that night, while Painless is unconscious after another one of Jane’s knockout “kisses,” Hank stumbles into their room with an arrow in his back, and, with his dying breath lets her know the dynamite is in the undertaker’s establishment. After waking him back up, Jane sends Painless over to investigate (without fully telling him the reason), and he gets captured (along with Jane).

(Host): (From offstage on stage left) Off to the Indian camp! Yah! (A pair of horses come running from one side of the stage to the other, with the Host being dragged along on the ground by the reins)

(Narrator): (Shakes head) After watching this movie, you’d think he’d know better than that. Anyways, with both of them now captured, can they save the West? Or will there be a massacre?

(Host): (From offstage) Back to the stage! Yah! (Another horse comes riding from off stage right, with the Host holding the reins and riding a skateboard. The Host lets go of the reins and tries to slow down, but crashes into a brick wall, now flat as a pancake) Where did that wall come from?

(Narrator): (Pulls the Host pancake off the wall, sticks a hose into him and start pumping to return him to normal) I have no idea… (Walks offstage and throws a lever that lowers the brick wall back into the ground)

(Host): (Shakes it off) Ok, I’m all right. Now, let’s talk about this movie. Writer Frank Tashlin wanted to create a western parody that would send-up the Owen Wister novel The Virginian (as well as the 1929 movie), along with a lot of the other Western cliches of the time. Actress Jane Rusell was under contract to Howard Hughes, and Paramount had to negotiate with him to get her to do this movie. Making The Paleface would turn out to be one of the few experiences with moviemaking that she would look back on fondly. For Frank Tashlin, that wouldn’t quite be the case, as he disliked what director Norman McLeod did with the film (compared to what he wanted). But, this did help drive him to direct his own movies (including this film’s sequel Son Of Paleface). In the meantime, The Paleface was a big hit, becoming the highest grossing Western parody until Blazing Saddles, and, for the second time, Bob Hope sang an Oscar-winning song with “Buttons And Bows” by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (following his theme song “Thanks For the Memory” winning from 1938).

Well, there’s not a whole heck of a lot more I can say about this movie. When I previously reviewed this movie (and its sequel) nearly three years ago (over on my FB page where I started doing all this), I remarked on a lot of the memorable moments that keep me coming back to this film. And my feelings are still quite similar, as after nearly twenty years of watching this movie, I still enjoy Bob Hope’s antics, and bravado (and oversized ego), and what Jane Russell’s character has to put up with. This film may not be the most politically correct in terms of its treatment of the Native Americans, as their characters are very stereotypical and not that well-developed (but they seem to be a little more developed than in the sequel), but it’s still a movie I come back to every now and then for a few good laughs! So, I would definitely continue to recommend this film, and its sequel (of course, which one you go with may still depend upon your tastes and/or mood, due to the differences in comedy)!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. Their transfer of this movie looks quite good. All the colors are more vivid than I’ve seen previously, and the detail is definitely improved! It’s not a full-fledged restoration, as there are some specks and dirt here and there, but it’s certainly the best this movie is likely to look any time soon!

(Gunshots offstage)

(Host): Now, if you’ll excuse me, to quote Bob Hope, “I’m going back east, where men may not be men, but they’re not corpses, either.” (Starts running offstage)

Film Length: 1 hour, 31 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Road To Rio (1947)Bob Hope (original review of The Paleface) (here) – The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)

Jane Russell (original review of The Paleface) (here) – Son Of Paleface (1952)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… It Started With Eve (1941)

Well, I’ve made it to my 300th post! I’ll admit, normally I would be trying to do a special list for a milestone like this, but, honestly, the one I would have planned for this I moved ahead to my 250th post (Top 5 Dance Routines I Would Love To Learn). I haven’t come up with anything else since, so we’ll just celebrate the milestone, while continuing on with one of my regular reviews! This time, it’s the Deanna Durbin film It Started With Eve from 1941, which also stars Charles Laughton and Robert Cummings! So, we’ll get through the requisite theatrical short, and then it’s on with the show!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Don’t Hustle An Ant With Muscle(1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 9 seconds)

The ant tries taking some vitamins, which gives him super strength against the aardvark. This one is a lot of fun, with the ant really turning the tables on the aardvark. It’s hilarious seeing him eventually force the aardvark to act as a waiter for him. Of course, you know those vitamins have to wear off after a while, but in the meantime, there are laughs aplenty as the aardvark keeps trying to get the ant! This is one I’m always glad to revisit!

And Now For The Main Feature…

The wealthy Jonathan Reynolds (Charles Laughton) is dying, and his son, Johnny Reynolds, Jr. (Robert Cummings), comes to see him on his deathbed as he returns from Mexico City. His father wishes to see Johnny’s fiancee, Gloria, before he dies, but Johnny had let Gloria and her mother go to a hotel. Johnny rushes off to the hotel to fulfill his father’s dying wish, but when he arrives there, he finds that both of them have gone out (and he has no idea when they will return). In desperation, Johnny offers to pay hat check girl Anne Terry (Deanna Durbin) if she could pretend to be Gloria for a little while. She accepts, and Jonathan, upon seeing her, is thrilled to see that this “Gloria” looks like the right woman for his son, before he falls asleep. So, Johnny pays Anne, and they part ways.

Oh, but you know it’s not going to be that easy. The next morning, Jonathan wakes up, feeling better, and wants to see Gloria again. Johnny is flustered, and tells Jonathan’s doctor, Harvey (Walter Catlett) the truth. The doctor warns Johnny not to tell his father the truth, as the shock might still be enough to kill him, so Johnny tries to seek out Anne before she leaves town. He is successful in catching her at the train station, and she agrees to come back to help. However, when they get back, Jonathan is being visited by the Bishop (Guy Kibbee) and his assistant, and they discuss a potential wedding. After the Bishop departss, Johnny leaves Anne there, and tries to go tell Gloria Pennington (Margaret Tallichet) and her mother (Catharine Doucet) the truth about what’s going on. Anne starts to develop more interest in helping out as she learns of Jonathan’s connections to major people in the opera world (since her attempts at a singing career hadn’t been going well). Jonathan, upon getting back out of bed, starts planning a party for Anne, but Johnny tries to figure out a way to “break up” with Anne and introduce the real Gloria. His attempt backfires, as Anne is determined to further her career. At one point, Jonathan learns the truth when he overhears one of their arguments, but pretends not to know. Anne starts to develop feelings for Johnny, and tries to tell Jonathan the truth. Wanting her to stick around, he manages to keep her from doing so. On the night of the party, Anne decides not to come. Johnny claims she has a headache, but Jonathan tries to call her. On the phone, she tells him to leave her alone, but Jonathan comes to her apartment (and in doing so, reveals he knows the truth). Not wanting her to leave town, he asks her to go out with him one last time. But, can he convince her to stay (and will his son come to his senses about her)?

It Started With Eve was, to a degree, the end of an era. It was the last film that producer Joe Pasternak did for Universal Studios before he switched over to MGM, and, as such, it was the last film actress Deanna Durbin did for both him and director Henry Koster, both of whom had helped her become a star starting with Three Smart Girls in 1936. Onscreen, she was paired up with Robert Cummings (with whom she had worked previously in Three Smart Girls Grow Up and Spring Parade) and Charles Laughton (with whom she would later do Because Of Him). She enjoyed good relationships with both men. It Started With Eve would prove to be a hit (and one of her best-loved films by audiences), and it was the only time one of her films premiered at Radio City Music Hall.

Another Deanna Durbin film, and another one that I enjoyed getting the chance to see! Here, she had moved on to a more adult role (compared to the other two that I’ve seen), but some of her youthful enthusiasm still shows through (and some of the humor that comes with it)! This time, I also found one of the songs that she sang getting stuck in my head! Ok, it’s “When I Sing,” which is the “Garland Waltz” from Sleeping Beauty (you know, “Once Upon A Dream”) with different lyrics than I’m used to (but I sure don’t mind having these stuck in my head).

The plot itself may not be anything to write home about, with one person acting as a fake significant other for the parent (and then they both fall for each other). But, as I’ve said before, the fun is in how well done the story is, and this film does it right! As I said, Deanna Durbin is fun here, but I’d say that Charles Laughton outshines her here in terms of humor! Especially when he’s dealing with Walter Catlett’s Doctor Harvey! His refusal to listen to the doctor’s orders is hilarious, as he slowly but surely drives the doctor crazy! Plain and simple, this movie is a lot of fun, and one I’m very glad I got the chance to see (and look forward to, hopefully, enjoying many more viewings)! So I would certainly highly recommend giving this one a try!

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber. Once again, it’s just an HD scan, not a full restoration. Some specks and dirt to be found, but nothing too terrible. The Blu-ray looks good enough to my eyes, and it’s certainly the way that I would suggest seeing this movie!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1

The Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 set includes the movies One Hundred Men And A Girl, Three Smart Girls Grow Up and It Started With Eve. None of these three films have been given full restorations, but the HD scans this set is working with are all pretty good nonetheless. My own opinion is that this set would be well worth it for any one of these movies, never mind all three. I came into it with no familiarity with actress Deanna Durbin, and now I want to seek out more of her films. It is sad that Kino couldn’t include Three Smart Girls instead of or in addition to its sequel, but from what I’ve heard, that has more to do with Three Smart Girls not having an available HD scan when they licensed these from Universal Studios. Sadly, the chances of that happening are now low, as this set (which, as the “Volume 1” indicates, was to be the first of three 3-film sets devoted to the actress) was a very poor seller, and the remaining six Deanna Durbin films that Kino licensed were dropped as a result. Granted, I know I didn’t help (otherwise, you would have been seeing these reviews in late June or July 2020, right after the set was released, instead of after the Christmas season), so I know I don’t have much room to complain, but I hope somebody is still willing to take a chance, since the other six should have had HD scans done already. But, in the meantime, I very heartily recommend this set!

Film Length: 1 hour, 31 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #5 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2021

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Nice Girl? (1941)Deanna DurbinCan’t Help Singing (1944)

The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1939) – Charles Laughton – Because Of Him (1946)

One Night In The Tropics (1940) – Robert Cummings – The Bride Wore Boots (1946)

Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939) – Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)

We’re back for another movie featuring actress and singer Deanna Durbin! This time, it’s her 1939 film Three Smart Girls Grow Up, which also stars Charles Winninger, Nan Grey and Helen Parrish! As always, we’ve got a theatrical short to start things off with!

Coming Up Shorts! with… The Froze Nose Knows (1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 12 seconds)

With an unexpected snowfall, the aardvark goes hunting for the ant. This was another fun cartoon, making use of the weather for some of its jokes. The “predator vs. prey” aspects of the series are still very much in evidence here, but that’s not a bad thing! And, of course, we have a bear that decides to hibernate in the aardvark’s cave, which adds a little bit of fun. Certainly a cartoon I enjoy watching!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Sisters Penelope “Penny” (Deanna Durbin), Joan (Nan Grey) and Katherine “Kay” Craig (Helen Parrish) are looking forward to a party being given by their mother (Nella Walker). At the party, Joan becomes engaged to Richard Watkins (William Lundigan), which saddens Kay, as she was in love with Richard, too (but she can’t bring herself to mention this to anyone). Penny sees Kay’s sadness and tries to alert everyone, but nobody listens to her. After talking with their butler, Binns (Ernest Cossart), Penny gets an idea. The next day, when she goes in for her singing lesson, she looks around at the men there, and when she spies musician Harry Loren (Robert Cummings) (a bachelor), she invites him over for dinner that night, hoping he will catch Kay’s eye. However, when he comes over, he and Joan start flirting with each other, which angers Penny, and she throws him out. Her family assumes her behavior is because she’s fallen in love with him, and so they conspire to have her father, Judson Craig (Charles Winninger), tell her that her voice is no good and that she will have to stop taking singing lessons. Not to be dissuaded, Penny decides to take up a different course of action. She still goes to see Harry and apologize (all the while trying to talk up her sister Joan). The problem is that Joan (who had come looking for Penny) overhears the conversation and is a little flustered as she tries to bring Penny home. They find Richard there, and he offers to take them all someplace, in the hope of helping Penny forget about her “love.” So, being sneaky, Penny asks to go to Club 33 (the nightclub where Harry plays piano). Everybody else is surprised to see Harry there, and while Harry dances with Joan (to learn why everybody is so somber and to tell her he had just accepted a new job in Australia), Penny tries to tell Richard about Kay’s feelings for him. However, Kay slaps Penny to get her to stop. Penny leaves (when nobody is looking), and everyone assumes that she is just being selfish. With no one else willing to listen to her, can Penny appeal to her distracted father, or will the wedding happen (with everyone miserable as a result)?

Three Smart Girls Grow Up is the second Deanna Durbin film that I have seen, and like One Hundred Men And A Girl (which I reviewed last week), I really enjoyed it! Of course, with that information, it’s easy to say that I haven’t seen the original Three Smart Girls. In spite of that, I was able to follow along with this one fairly well (but I can definitely tell you that I hope to see the first film at some point to see what, if anything, I missed). I enjoyed all the performances, especially Deanna Durbin again. Watching her antics as she tried to arrange things for her sisters was rather hilarious. I know I got quite a few good laughs out of it! But she was good during the more dramatic moments, too, helping you to feel for her and her sisters. And while the actress playing Kay had apparently changed between the first and second film (as supposedly actress Barbara Read was considered too grown up for this film), all three actresses feel like they could be sisters, so good are their performances! And that’s not even including Charles Winninger as their absent-minded father, who constantly forgets what’s going on (and accidentally switches coat and hat with Robert Cummings’ Harry)! The music itself may not be that memorable, but, for me, this movie is! Whether I’ll still feel the same way about it if and when I manage to see the original film, who knows, but right now, I like this film very much, and would certainly recommend it quite highly!

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber. This one sported an HD scan, which looked pretty good. Sure, there was the occasional speck or dirt or tear, but certainly nothing that would seriously take away from the enjoyment of this wonderful movie.

Film Length: 1 hour, 28 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

That Certain Age (1938)Deanna DurbinNice Girl? (1941)

Show Boat (1936) – Charles Winninger – Little Nellie Kelly (1940)

Robert Cummings – One Night In The Tropics (1940)

One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937) – Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 – It Started With Eve (1941)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… One Hundred Men And A Girl (1937)

Today’s movie is the 1937 film One Hundred Men And A Girl, which stars Deanna Durbin, Leopold Stokowski and Adolphe Menjou! So, let’s get through our theatrical short, and then it’s on to the movie!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Mumbo Jumbo (1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 10 seconds)

The aardvark is chasing after the ant, but the ant is being helped by other animals in his forest lodge. Once again, the ant has others that are there to help him (and all he has to do say one word to get their attention). Original, this isn’t. But, with a variety of helpers (besides an elephant who seems to be the main one), it shakes things up a bit (and provides quite a few good laughs). Worth seeing every now and then!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Out-of-work trombone player John Cardwell (Adolphe Menjou) tries to get a job in the orchestra of conductor Leopold Stokowski (playing himself) after one of their concerts, but he is thrown out. As he is leaving, John finds a woman’s purse. He tries to find its owner, but is chased away. He hopes to try returning it later, but, upon returning to his apartment building, the landlady demands payment of rent. He has no choice but to pay using some of the money from the purse (or else he would be evicted), but in doing so, everyone else assumes that he did get a job with Stokowski. John’s daughter, Patricia “Patsy” (Deanna Durbin) is very enthusiastic about the idea, and, as much as he wants to tell her the truth, he can’t manage to get a word in. The next morning, she pushes him to go to rehearsals, and he leaves (in an attempt to let her dream a bit longer), but she finds out the truth when she sneaks out to listen to rehearsals. Later, she confronts her father, and, learning about the purse, tries to return it. It’s owner is Mrs. Frost (Alice Brady), a wealthy (and very kooky) society lady, who lets Patsy stay at the party she is hosting. While there, Mrs. Frost listens to Patsy talk about her father and a lot of other unemployed musicians, and offers to sponsor an orchestra for her husband’s radio program if Patsy can get them together. Patsy and her father get everybody together, but when she goes looking for Mrs. Frost, she discovers that Mrs. Frost had left for Europe. So, Patsy tries talking to her husband, John R. Frost (Eugene Pallette), but he decides against the idea. He bluntly tells them that nobody knows of their orchestra, and that they would need a big name to conduct them at least once for the orchestra to have a chance. So, Patsy goes sneaking off to convince Leopold Stokowski to conduct. She tries to talk to him about it, but he says that he is leaving for Europe right away, and can’t conduct her orchestra. However, before she can talk to him (and while she is hiding to avoid being thrown out), she unknowingly talks to a newspaper reporter, and tells him that Mr. Frost will sponsor the orchestra, with Stokowski conducting. This becomes big news, and with the positive publicity, Mr. Frost tries to sign the orchestra to a contract (but he doesn’t know that they still don’t have Mr. Stokowski). Can Patsy find a way to get Mr. Stokowski on board with the idea?

In the mid-to-late 1930s, Universal was struggling financially, as were a number of other studios. Producer Joe Pasternak and director Henry Koster had found a young singer named Deanna Durbin, whom MGM had decided not to sign to a contract (instead going with Judy Garland at the time). They cast Deanna Durbin in the 1936 film Three Smart Girls, which turned out to be a hit for Universal Studios. For their second film, they went with One Hundred Men And A Girl. At first, the Universal executives objected to both the idea of a film about the unemployed, as well as it being about a symphony orchestra (which was a little too high-culture in their minds), but the producer and director stuck with their gut, and kept their story. With a little bit of work and persuasion, they were also able to get famous conductor Leopold Stokowski in on the project. The film turned out to be a hit with both audiences and critics.

One Hundred Men And A Girl was my first experience with actress Deanna Durbin (well, unless you want to count the brief clips of her from the 1936 MGM short “Every Sunday” that were used in the That’s Entertainment film). And, I’ve got to say, I enjoyed her performance in this movie! It was fun watching her character put her youthful enthusiasm to work not only for her father, but also for many of his musician friends, as she helps try to get them work. I’m not exactly fond of classical music (unless it’s just there for background music), so for it to be used as more full-fledged musical numbers (and still have me like it), you KNOW I enjoyed the movie. The supporting cast was fun, too, including a slightly more muted Adolphe Menjou as her father, plus Alice Brady hilariously doing Alice Brady (even if her role is a little too brief) and Eugene Pallette as her husband (again), who is being pranked by (and plays his own pranks on) one of his friends. Seriously, this was a fun diversion. It may not be the absolute best movie ever made, but it was well worth seeing, and I certainly hope to come back to it with some frequency (and I look forward to seeing more of Deanna Durbin’s movies)!

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber. This is another movie that seems to have had an HD scan, but not a full restoration. There are some minor spots and dirt here and there, but nothing that takes away from the movie. It looks good enough for me, and is certainly the way I would recommend seeing it!

Film Length: 1 hour, 24 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Deanna DurbinMad About Music (1938)

Morocco (1930) – Adolphe Menjou – Roxie Hart (1942)

My Man Godfrey (1936) – Eugene Pallette – The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)

Deanna Durbin Collection: Volume 1 – Three Smart Girls Grow Up (1939)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Man Of The World (1931)

Today’s review is on the 1931 film Man Of The World, starring William Powell and Carole Lombard! So, let’s get through our theatrical short first, then it’s on with the show!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Ants In The Pantry (1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)

The aardvark tries to act as pest control to get rid of the ant in a house. The exact setting may be different here, but it’s still business as usual, with the aardvark trying to eat the ant. Despite its formulaic aspects, this one was still a lot of fun. The only part that doesn’t really work well here is the ant’s rather high-pitched laugh, which just seems so out of place compared to his usual voice. Other than that, it’s worth a few laughs!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Former American newspaperman Jimmie Powers (William Powell) has for the last four years been living in Paris, France under the name Michael Trevor, due to a scandal that essentially saw him chased away from home. Now, he preys on rich American men who have come to the city for some “extramarital” fun. He has been posing as a novelist for his current victim, Harold Taylor (Guy Kibbee), and was paid to help keep the editor of a scandal sheet (in other words, himself, but Harold doesn’t know that) from printing an article about Harold’s recent affair. While Michael is there, he meets Harold’s niece, Mary Kendall (Carole Lombard), who is in Paris with her boyfriend, Frank Reynolds (Lawrence Gray). With Frank about to leave for a business trip, Mary convinces Michael to show them a few of the sights in Paris. Later, Michael meets up with the two people helping him run the scandal sheet, his ex-lover Irene Harper (Wynne Gibson) and Fred (George Chandler). Irene is thrilled with how much money they were able to get out of Harold, but, when she hears about his niece, she thinks they should create a scandal for her, hoping that Harold will be willing to pay even more. Michael is unwilling, as it is against his principles to blackmail women. In spite of that, Irene pushes him to do so anyways, since she needs the money to keep her brother out of prison. So, Michael spends some time with Mary and her uncle, and ends up falling in love with her. When Irene gets jealous and threatens to tell Mary about Michael’s past, he decides to tell her himself. Mary is very understanding, and tells him that that is all in the past, and they can still be together. However, Irene still won’t let him go, and reminds him that, whether he likes it or not, his past could eventually catch up to him, which would hurt Mary. Will Irene’s words ring true, or can Michael and Mary be together?

Man Of The World is the first of three films that William Powell and Carole Lombard made together. Besides this, they also made Ladies’ Man (also 1931) and My Man Godfrey (1936). Their chemistry is certainly evident onscreen (and apparently off, too, as they got married after finishing the movie). I had never previously seen this film, but I will admit I enjoyed it. After seeing the less-than-stellar acting (probably a result of sound tech still being so new) in Fast And Loose, the first film in the Carole Lombard set, this movie was a relief to see that the acting was overall far better. I liked the two leads, and found myself cheering for them to be together. I will readily admit that I did not see the ending coming, and I don’t know whether that was because it was a pre-Code or what, but it works. The biggest problem I have with this movie (through no fault of its own) is comparing it to the later William Powell/Carole Lombard pairing My Man Godfrey, which is such a well-known screwball classic. I will admit, I went into this movie with lowered expectations, since this movie isn’t as well known, but it was still hard not to compare the two movies. This one isn’t a big classic, and I can see why. Still, as a romantic drama, it works well enough that I would recommend it, at least if you can rent it/ stream it/ catch it on TV first.

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber. The movie appears to have an HD scan, which for the most part looks pretty good. There are a few minor instances of dirt and other debris, but, again, very minor. The movie looks good enough for me, and this is the way I would recommend seeing it.

Film Length: 1 hour, 11 minutes

My Rating: 7/10

Audience Rating:

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

William Powell – The Thin Man (1934)

Fast And Loose (1930) – Carole Lombard – No Man Of Her Own (1932)

Fast And Loose (1930) – Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 – No Man Of Her Own (1932)

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Fast And Loose (1930)

For today’s review, we’ve got that 1930 film Fast And Loose, which stars Miriam Hopkins, Carole Lombard and Frank Morgan!  Of course, we’ve got a theatrical short to get through first, and then it’s on to our movie!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Odd Ant Out (1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 7 seconds)

The blue aardvark competes with a green aardvark for a can of chocolate ants. This cartoon really focuses in on the aardvark rivalry, and the ant himself really only gets a cameo appearance. Regardless, it’s a lot of fun! I grant you, the humor is somewhat predictable, but the characters are fun enough to watch that they overcome that particular problem. I know that I enjoy watching it periodically!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Socialite Marion Lenox (Miriam Hopkins) finds herself engaged to Lord Rockingham (David Hutcheson).  She doesn’t feel that he’s the right man, but she mostly goes along with it because it’s what her parents want.  Or, rather, I should say, it’s a marriage that her mother, Carrie (Winifred Harris) and Carrie’s brother George Crafton (Herbert Yost) want for her.  Marion’s father, Bronson (Frank Morgan), doesn’t think it’s quite so good for her (but he’s going along with it for his wife’s sake).  And Marion’s not the only one who doesn’t want to marry someone of her “station,”  as her brother, Bertie (Henry Wadsworth), is interested in chorus girl Alice O’Neil (Carole Lombard).  Depressed about her situation, Marion goes out for a drive, and stops by a beach.  There, she meets auto mechanic Henry Morgan (Charles R. Starrett), who is out there just swimming.  The two start slinging insults at each other, but the seeds of attraction are there, and Marion decides to come back to meet him again.  Neither of them knows who the other really is, so they are both slightly shocked when they accidentally come across each other as he is working on her car.  She’s still interested in him, but, now that he knows who she is (particularly from her reputation), he’s a little more reluctant to continue their relationship. Meanwhile, when George learns about Bertie’s chorus girl girlfriend, he pushes Bronson to meet her.  Posing as a pair of theatrical agents, they meet Alice and her roommate Millie Montgomery (Ilka Chase) for dinner to find out what they can about her and buy them off.  Alice realizes that the two aren’t agents like they claimed, but doesn’t really know who they are.  Bronson is slightly more impressed with Alice, particularly when she points out his own mistakes as a parent.  Of course, everything is revealed when a drunken Bertie crashes the party, with Marion and Henry in tow, and all hope for both couples looks doomed.   Will they be able to work things out, or will they all go their separate ways?

Fast And Loose is based on the 1924 play The Best People by David Gray and Avery Hopwood.  I don’t know how fresh the story was at that time, but now it’s the type that’s been done any number of times with rich parents wanting their kids to marry into their “station.”  Still, there are only so many stories to be told in the world, and it all boils down to how well they are told.  Coming off my first time seeing this movie, I would argue this is not one of the better ones.  The biggest problem I have with this movie is that almost all the actors and actresses are a little too stiff in their performances.  Granted, I suspect that this is due to this movie being from 1930 (like the movie Holiday that I reviewed last year), with sound technology still being new and everybody trying to adjust how to act for the talkies.  But, unlike the previously reviewed Holiday, I’m not sure that there were any performances that were good enough to save this one.  My only previous experience with Miriam Hopkins is with Design For Living, and she was far better in that than she was here.  Carole Lombard, in spite of being billed second, is really not in this movie that much, and her performance might be a little bit better, but not much.  And it’s equally disappointing to see Frank Morgan a bit more stiff.  I’ve generally enjoyed him in most everything of his that I’ve seen, but here his screen persona isn’t really fully developed (but it is at least partially there, and it’s during those brief moments that things improve a little).  And it’s really hard to cheer for Charles Starrett’s Henry Morgan, as sexist as some of his comments can be.  Now, does the movie have its moments?  Certainly, as I do enjoy Ilka Chase as Millie, particularly as she tries to go after Herbert Yost’s uptight George Crafton.  But, she’s not there a lot, and the rest of the movie just drags a little too much because of all the weak performances.  So, I would not recommend this one.

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 from Kino Lorber.  The movie has had an HD scan, which generally looks pretty good.  It does have its scratches and tears, but they don’t really take away from the movie.

Film Length: 1 hour, 11 minutes

My Rating: 5/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Miriam Hopkins – Design For Living (1933)

Carole Lombard – Man Of The World (1931)

Frank Morgan – The Cat And The Fiddle (1934)

Carole Lombard Collection: Volume 1 – Man Of The World (1931)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Roman Holiday (1953)

Today’s post is on a big classic I’ve been waiting a while to see, and that movie would be the 1953 film Roman Holiday, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn! Of course, we’ve got a theatrical short to get through first, and then it’s on to the main feature!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Scratch A Tiger (1970)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 15 seconds)

When the aardvark arrives with a hungry look about him, the ant turns to a tiger he helped out for protection. This one again adds something extra, by having the tiger involved. Obviously, the concept is nothing new, having been done in a number of other cartoons, but it’s still fun here. The ending in particular helps this one stand out a little. I got a few good laughs out of this one, and I don’t mind seeing it every now and then!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) has been traveling throughout Europe as part of a goodwill tour. When she stops in Rome, Italy, the strain finally gets to her. Her doctor gives her a sedative to help calm her down and allow her to sleep, but she gets away before the sedative starts to take effect. American reporter Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) is on his way home from a poker game with his friends, when he finds Ann starting to fall asleep. Without knowing who she is, he tries to help her, but she is so out of it, he gets stuck bringing her back to his place for the night. She ends up sleeping on his couch (after he rolls her off the bed). The next morning, Joe is supposed to interview the princess, but he accidentally sleeps in. When he awakes, he rushes in to the office, and tries to fake an interview with his editor. What Joe doesn’t know is that it had been publicly declared earlier that morning that the princess was ill, and would be unable to keep her commitments (including that interview). After the editor lets him dig a deep hole, he then tells Joe off and shows him the news. When Joe recognizes the newspaper photo of the princess, he makes a bet with his editor that he can get an exclusive interview, and then rushes back to his apartment. Ann, unaware that he knows the truth, introduces herself as “Anya,” and gets herself dressed. While she does that, Joe calls his photographer friend Irving Radovich (Eddie Albert) to take some photographs for his story. Ann starts to walk around the city, and Joe follows from a distance. After she buys herself some shoes, gets a haircut and some gellato, Joe “runs into her” at the Trevi Fountain, and the two decide to spend the day together having fun. They are joined by Irving at a restaurant, and, after Joe takes him aside to explain things, he uses a hidden camera in his lighter to take pictures. That night, they go to a dance on a barge. Everything is going fine, until some of the members of her country’s secret service find her and try to take her away. Ann calls out for Joe, who comes to her rescue and starts a brawl. They’re able to get away, and go back to Joe’s apartment. While there, they realize that they love each other. However, they hear on the radio how much her “illness” is affecting the people of her country, and she’s unsure of what to do. Will she stay with Joe, or will she go back and resume her duties as a princess?

Roman Holiday was written by blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, who had been forced to have a fellow writer, Ian McLellan Hunter, sell it under his name. The story was sold to director Frank Capra, but he ended up not going through with the idea. It was then sold to Paramount Pictures, and director William Wyler jumped at the chance when it was offered to him. His main stipulations would be that the whole thing had to be filmed in Italy (which Paramount initially balked at, but eventually relented on), and he wanted to cast an unknown in the role of the princess. Of course, a big name was still needed, so the director was able to convince Gregory Peck to sign on. As for the princess, Wyler decided to cast Hollywood newcomer Audrey Hepburn (who had heretofore done a few bit parts in some European movies and some small stuff onstage).

While I’ve heard of this movie for a number of years, it wasn’t really until the last half-decade or so that I became interested in seeing it. A lot of that has to do with actress Audrey Hepburn, whom I hadn’t really cared for one way or another, at first. After I finally came around on My Fair Lady, it became a lot easier for me to seek out more of her films since (all of which I have enjoyed). But, Roman Holiday was one that still evaded me (mostly because by that time I had gone to high-definition, and wasn’t going back for standard, especially for a movie that *seemed* popular enough that it should have made the jump to HD). Finally, it made the jump to Blu-ray (more comments on that in a moment), and I got the chance to see it!

In short, I agree with all the high praise I’ve seen doled out to this movie over the years. In her first starring role, Audrey Hepburn gives a breathtaking performance as the princess. From her mental breakdown due to the strain, all through her day of fun, and back to being a princess, it was a pure thrill to see! I definitely would say that she earned that Oscar! And while I’ve never really felt one way or the other about him, Gregory Peck did well, too. I know I enjoyed seeing his character trying to fake the interview with his boss (who obviously knew he was lying through his teeth), and, while his intentions weren’t the best to start, he gradually came around, even though it cost him. And it was fun seeing Green Acres star Eddie Albert here, too (even though he is almost unrecognizable with that beard)! Of course, all the Italian scenery certainly helps sell the movie as well. Seriously, this is a great film, and one I would most certainly recommend!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Paramount Pictures, either individually as part of their Paramount Presents line or as part of the Audrey Hepburn 7-Movie Collection. The movie has been remastered from a 4K transfer, and it looks great! Seriously, this new Blu-ray is the best way to see this wonderful movie, and I would heartily recommend it!!

Film Length: 1 hour, 58 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #8 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2021

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Gregory Peck – Designing Woman (1957)

Audrey HepburnFunny Face (1957)

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you).  If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… The Eagle And The Hawk (1933)

Well, it’s almost the end of 2020, and I’ve got one last review to get through. This time, we’re here for the 1933 movie The Eagle And The Hawk, starring Fredric March, Cary Grant, Carole Lombard and Jack Oakie! Of course, we’ve got our theatrical short to get through first, and then it’s on to the movie!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Isle Of Caprice (1969)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 6 minutes, 14 seconds)

A marooned aardvark tries to get to another island where the ants are, but is stopped by a hungry shark. This one is actually quite a bit of fun. The basic story is certainly nothing new, but it allows for a bit of variety, with the aardvark being both predator and prey. Admittedly, with the ants barely shown, it doesn’t really feel as much like an “Ant And The Aardvark” cartoon so much as an “aardvark and the shark” (or something like that). Still, it’s fun (even with the shark constantly chasing the aardvark up the tree with the same reused animation every time), and I enjoy seeing it every now and then!

And Now For The Main Feature…

During World War I, a group of American pilots, which includes Jerry Young (Fredric March) and his buddy Mike Richards (Jack Oakie) are sent overseas. However, another member of the group, Henry Crocker (Cary Grant), is left behind at Jerry’s recommendation since Henry is not a good pilot. Upon their arrival in France, Jerry and Mike are almost immediately sent up to fly some reconnaissance missions. Enthusiastic at the prospect, they both go with their observers (tailgunners who also take photographs of the territory). Jerry makes it back alright, but his observer doesn’t survive, which really sobers him up. Over the next two months, Jerry loses four more observers, which really bothers him. In spite of that, he is considered a hero, and somebody his leaders encourage the new recruits to look up to. His new observer turns out to be Henry, who is still somewhat bitter towards Jerry. Despite their personal issues, they still manage to be successful together (although Henry earns the ire of the other pilots when he shoots down some men in parachutes, which is against their code). Jerry starts to show signs of cracking up, so Henry (his roommate) goes to Major Dunham (Sir Guy Standing) with this information, and Jerry is given a ten day leave. In London, he finds himself still struggling with his hero status, especially when a little kid enthusiastically asks him what it’s like. However, he is comforted by a Beautiful Lady (Carole Lombard), who listens and sympathizes with him. Upon his return, he finds his buddy Mike and Henry returning from a mission, but Mike expires shortly after landing. Furious with Henry because he had pushed to try and shoot down a German pilot, Jerry requests another observer. The question remains, though, whether Jerry can still get past his own demons to be the hero he is needed to be, or will he crack up again?

As you can tell from my plot description, this really is Fredric March’s movie. And that’s not a bad thing! He gives a great performance here as a man who comes into the war almost thinking of it as a game. He goes into his first mission with great enthusiasm, and is still feeling that way when he gets back. Then reality sets in when he realizes his observer is dead. From then on, we watch as his conscience slowly but surely eats away at him, while his kill count rises (and with it, his status as a “hero” to everyone around him). He makes it easy to sympathize with his disillusionment.

And that brings us around to Carole Lombard. One would think, with her billing, that she is in this movie a lot. She really isn’t, only appearing for about ten minutes or so. One would think that almost makes her role unimportant, but I think her character (nameless though they may be) means a lot more. Apart from her, nobody else really stops to notice how Fredric March’s Jerry is feeling. Throughout the movie, everyone else just shrugs off Jerry’s worries and feelings, but not her. At the party where she meets him, she sees how everyone else is making him feel, and, when he leaves (and she comes with him), she actively listens to him, and tries to help him. And it works, if only temporarily, as he seems to be happy again when he returns from leave (although that happiness is short-lived when he loses his friend Mike and everyone else continues to ignore his growing doubts). This role was still early in Carole Lombard’s career, before she established herself as a great comedienne in screwball comedies, but she still makes her presence known in just the few minutes she is there.

And speaking of actors doing roles that seem out-of-line with what they did later, we also have Cary Grant here. We have him in a role that is quite different and against type, as he is not his usual, suave self. His character has a bit of an edge to him, and a sense of “kill or be killed” in terms of how he treats the enemy. Unlike Jerry, he wants to kill (which is what ends up getting Jack Oakie’s Mike shot). And one wonders how much he cares for Jerry, especially with the efforts he goes to in the end to still make Jerry look like a hero (even though he knew Jerry didn’t like the idea). It’s a rude awakening compared to what we know Cary Grant did later. It’s more of a supporting role than we’re used to with him, but he still gives a good performance.

If you can’t tell already, I did enjoy this movie. That being said, I do feel that one of the few weak spots in the movie (for me) is Jack Oakie. So far, with the handful of films that I’ve seen him in, I just don’t seem to care for him or his style of comedy. At least here, he is more of a supporting character as opposed to the lead, but I just still don’t care for him. But the rest of the movie is still quite good. The flying sequences are well done (even with some rear-screen projection here and there), and the movie certainly shows that not everyone is cut out for war. All in all, this was a well-done drama, and I would definitely recommend it!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber. The movie seems to mainly have an HD scan, but not a full-fledged restoration or remaster. The transfer does look pretty solid, with a few scratches and other minor issues, but none that should ruin the film. It certainly worked quite well for me, and is the best way to see this movie.

With this being my last review of the year, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year (although I hope, of course, that you’ll check on my blog tomorrow for my 2020: Year In Review + Top 10 Movies Watched)!

And if you are interested in joining in on my month-long “Star Of The Month” blogathons for 2021, whether for next month (Doris Day), February (Clark Gable) or beyond, please be sure to check out my Coming Soon In 2021: “Star/Genre Of The Month” post to sign up!

Film Length: 1 hour, 13 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Sign Of The Cross (1932) – Fredric March – Design For Living (1933)

Blonde Venus (1932)Cary GrantAlice In Wonderland (1933)

No Man Of Her Own (1932) – Carole Lombard – We’re Not Dressing (1934)

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… Love Me Tonight (1932)

This time around, we’ve got some great pre-Code musical fun with the classic 1932 film Love Me Tonight starring Maurice Chevalier, as well as Jeanette MacDonald! But first, we need a theatrical short to get us started, and we’ve got another one from the Ant And The Aardvark series, available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Ant And The Aardvark from Kino Lorber! After that, we’ll get straight into the movie!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Never Bug An Ant (1969)

(Length: 6 minutes, 13 seconds)

The aardvark tries to catch the ant using various methods (particularly using the attraction of sugar). Very formulaic cartoon here, which doesn’t stray from the “hunter vs. prey” formula. In spite of that, there are a few fun gags here, and the dialogue itself provides as much of the laughter as the physical comedy. Not the series’ best, but it still manages to entertain when I watch it!

And Now For The Main Feature…

(Narrator): Ah, it’s Paris in the early morning. Everybody is waking up. The rhythm of the city coming to life. But, of course, “That’s The Song Of Paris!” Or so sings the tailor Maurice Courtelin (Maurice Chevalier) as he gets started for the day. Not long after opening up for the day, one of his customers, Vicomte Gilbert de Vareze (Charles Ruggles), comes running in to the store in his underwear (since he had to run away from a jealous husband), and asks for one of his suits. He is unable to pay at the moment, but promises to get the money from the Duke and pay his bill.

(Host): Oh, if it was only that simple.

(Narrator): Indeed, but we have to have SOME conflict for the story to happen here, don’t we? But, back to our tale. After the Vicomte leaves, Maurice finishes dealing with another customer who had bought a wedding suit, and Maurice remarks about how his abilities as a tailor are helping out others with their romances, and dreams of enjoying romance himself.

(Host): “Isn’t It Romantic?”

(Narrator): You would bring that earworm up! For that is indeed what it is, the way the song catches on in the movie! The customer finds it to be a catchy tune, and starts humming it as he leaves the shop. A cabby takes it up, and his passenger, a composer starts working on the tune. Then a group of soldiers, who sing it as they march, on to some gypsy musicians, and all the way to the Chateau d’Artelines, where the princess Jeanette (Jeanette MacDonald) starts singing it as well.

(Host): (Sighs) “Isn’t It Romantic?”

(Narrator): The needle is getting stuck in a crack. But, no matter. At the castle, the Duke d’Artelines (C. Aubrey Smith) argues with his niece, the Countess Valentine (Myrna Loy), who wants some money, but he refuses to give her any. The Vicomte arrives, with plans to ask his uncle for the money he owes Maurice. However, the Duke is angry, and refuses to give him the money (and forbids him from leaving). Not long after, Maurice and some of the other merchants are infuriated when they find out that the Vicomte is not known for paying his bills. Maurice vows to the others that he will storm the castle himself and get their money. They send him off in a car with all the stuff that the Vicomte had ordered, although it breaks down in the countryside. While the driver tries to repair it, Jeanette comes along driving a horse-drawn buggy, which goes off the road when trying to pass the car. Maurice is instantly infatuated with her, and helps her get the buggy back on the road.

(Host): Ah, his “Mimi.”

(Narrator): “Mimi, you funny little good for nothing, Mimi. Am I the guy? Mi -” (muttering under his breath) Darn it, now he’s got that stuck in there, too! (Back to normal) Although slightly flattered, Jeanette leaves him in a huff. Once back at the castle, she drops in a faint. A doctor is called, as she has been having fainting spells for a while. After examining her, the doctor suggests either marriage or exercise to help her out. Not too much later, Maurice arrives at the castle. He runs through the castle, but doesn’t find anybody as he climbs the stairs. Returning to the main floor, he finally sees some people. As he searches for the Vicomte, he meets the Duke (but assumes he is a servant, since he is cleaning a suit of armor). When the Vicomte walks in, he tries to keep Maurice quiet about his reason for being there. The Vicomte introduces Maurice to everyone as a baron, and they all start to insist he stay. He is reluctant, until Jeanette walks through, and agrees to stay.

(Host): “Mimi -“

(Narrator): Don’t. You. Dare. Anyways, Maurice wins everyone over as a baron (well, not quite everyone, as Jeanette is still trying to resist his charms). They have a stag hunt, and Jeanette puts him on the roughest horse, which takes off with him for parts unknown. The rest of the hunt commences, with the hunting dogs chasing down the stag. Jeanette follows some of the dogs to a cottage, where she finds Maurice feeding the stag some oats. In doing so, Maurice effectively calls off the hunt. Upon their return, one of Jeanette’s potential suitors, Count de Savignac (Charles Butterworth), reveals to the Duke that Maurice is not the Baron Courtelin. However, the Vicomte hints that Maurice might be royalty traveling under a false name. Later, a costume party is given for the baron. During the party, the Countess Valentine continually flirts with Maurice, which results in Jeanette leaving. Maurice follows her, and finds her when she faints. He kisses her, which wakes her back up. After she slaps him a few times, she becomes more receptive to his advances, and says that she will love him no matter what. The next day, Maurice comes in when Jeanette is having a new riding habit designed by her seamstress. He dislikes it, which insults the seamstress. Everyone else responds to the seamstress being insulted, and they come in on Jeanette being measured by Maurice in a slight state of undress. To get himself out of trouble, Maurice promises to put together a riding habit for her in two hours, which everybody else scoffs at.

(Host): Well, obviously, we all know he’s a tailor, so he should be able to do it. But, will the princess still love him when she realizes that he is a tailor?

(Narrator): Indeed, that is the question, and there we end our description of the story.

(Host): Love Me Tonight was the third of four films that Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald made together. At the time, they were two of the biggest stars at Paramount Studios. However, they were both drawing big salaries, and hadn’t been assigned any new films. Ernst Lubitsch, who had directed them in two earlier films, was being difficult as a result of contract negotiations, so director Rouben Mamoulian was hired. Mamoulian brought in the songwriting team of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart to write the music. He went for a bold move in having them write the music first, before putting the script together, making Love Me Tonight the first integrated film musical, in which the songs actually served to help further the plot and develop the characters.

Love Me Tonight was a movie I had kind of heard of. I’ve seen the 1934 Merry Widow with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald previously (mostly because I’m a fan of Jeanette MacDonald), and because of that, I at least knew that the two of them had made four films together (but I couldn’t have told you the names of the first three). Love Me Tonight caught my attention a year or so back when it was revealed as a title that had been licensed by Kino Lorber through Universal Studios for release on Blu-ray. Upon looking it up, I was thrilled to see that it was one of Jeanette MacDonald’s films, and eagerly looked forward to seeing it! Of course, that was just a reveal that it was coming, and not a release announcement (with a date attached), so I’d been patiently waiting for news on when it would come out. Of course, I was thrilled when it was said that it would be getting a new 4K remaster, which no doubt slowed down the release (particularly when the pandemic hit).

Of course, now that it’s available (and I’ve got a copy in my hands), you’re all wondering what I think of it. Well, first off, the movie looks FANTASTIC!! The picture looks great here, certainly better than I could have hoped for! It’s not absolutely pristine, but it’s close enough that few should have many complaints! And as to the movie itself, I was expecting a good movie, but it was better than I expected! The music was fun (and obviously some songs were more memorable than others 😉 ), the cast was fun (including Myrna Loy as the man-hungry Countess, before The Thin Man really revealed her comedic talents on a bigger scale), and the pre-Code elements certainly made for some fun and *slightly* more adult humor. The film was far better than I could have imagined for a movie still so early in the sound era. Honestly, it’s a great movie, and one I would DEFINITELY recommend seeing, especially through the new Blu-ray!

(Host): “Mimi, you funny little -“

(Narrator covers up host’s mouth with rag)

(Narrator): Wouldn’t you know it, folks, we had to end with the best gag in the whole post!

Film Length: 1 hour, 29 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #3 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2020

**ranked #6 in Top 10 Movies Watched In 2020

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Maurice Chevalier – Love In The Afternoon (1957)

Monte Carlo (1930)Jeanette MacDonaldThe Cat And The Fiddle (1934)

Myrna Loy – The Thin Man (1934)

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