For Reel

Freshman Love (1936)
April 23, 2016, 6:11 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: William C. McGann
2 Stars
Freshman LoveIn Freshman Love,  Frank McHugh (among the most pervasive of all Warner Brothers character actors from the time) plays a college coach who is tasked with bringing his rowing team to victory. The problem is that the university’s president is so obsessed with academics that athleticism is overlooked. Enter the president’s daughter (Patricia Ellis), who McHugh quickly realizes can seduce the area’s top athletes into joining the rowing team. At just over an hour in length, the picture is the typical programmer of its day—it’s toothless and saddled with a bland leading man in Warren Hull, but moves at a decent clip. McHugh contributes fine work, but the film is stolen by George E. Stone as a dorky bandleader who gains an important function when it is realized that the rowing team performs much better when moving to a beat (something their rivals try to combat with a waltz). Mostly, however, the film is dead in the water when Ellis and Hull are sharing the screen, and for a comedy about the power of sexuality it is saccharine even by the standards of its time.

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