For Reel

Carnival Boat (1932)
May 9, 2016, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Albert S. Rogell
2.5 Stars
Carnival BoatThe last of three pictures Ginger Rogers made with Albert Rogell for RKO/Pathé studios sees her playing a showgirl that has stolen the heart of a lumberjack (William Boyd). Much is made of the disparity between the logging operation and the showboat of the title, but the former location is what provides the film with its few redeeming qualities. In the staging of sequences like a runaway train, an exploding dam, and even a few shots of men riding on logs as they are being hauled away by cranes, the film effectively utilizes rear projection, miniatures, and convincing stunt work as a means of getting across the scale of the operation. If Carnival Boat won’t fool anyone into thinking it had an A-budget, it has a more impressive sense of spectacle than many similar adventure programmers of its day. Boyd is a blank slate of a leading man (he would later go on to some success with the Hopalong Cassidy pictures), but he does have a nice tender chemistry with his on-screen father, the foreman of the logging operation (Hobart Bosworth). In fact, the romantic comedy aspect of the film has little to do with Boyd and Rogers, but whether or not their love will ever be validated by the father (which happens after Boyd proves himself with a heroic stunt). The action sequences elevate this above many of Rogers’ early pictures, but that’s not saying too much.

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