For Reel


Twenty Million Sweethearts (1934)
November 17, 2014, 12:01 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Ray Enright
2.5 Stars
Twenty Million SweetheartsWarner Brothers, the studio that produced some of the sharpest and most efficiently paced films of the early 1930s, didn’t seem to know what to do with a musical stripped of the choreographed extravaganzas that they had become known for early in the decade. Twenty Million Sweethearts is a much more intimate kind of musical, completely soft-to-the-touch and inoffensive. Moreover, it was seemingly only produced to further advance Dick Powell’s star power–the hit song “I’ll String Along With You” is sung by Powell in its entirety so many times that it seems like the picture only exists as its vessel. Ginger Rogers is the co-star and steals the picture with a song (“Out for No Good”) that has the style of lyrical and performative attitude that she would bring to her pictures with Fred Astaire. The reliable Allen Jenkins is able to snag a few laughs, as is Grant Mitchell in a comically frustrated performance that one could see Franklin Pangborn playing. Despite a game cast, however, the script isn’t particularly sharp, and the musical numbers feel so disconnected from the plot that they often bring the film to a halt.

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