EVERYBODY SING (director: Edwin L. Marin; screenwriters: Florence Ryerson/Edgar Allan Woolf/James Gruen/the story is by Florence Ryerson & Edgar Allan Woolf; cinematographer: Joseph Ruttenberg; editor: William S. Gray; music: Walter Jurmann/Bert Kalmar/Bronislau Kaper/Harry Ruby/Roger Edens; cast: Allan Jones (Richard “Ricky” Saboni), Judy Garland (Judy Bellaire), Fanny Brice (Olga Chekaloff), Reginald Owen (Hillary Bellaire), Billie Burke (Diana Bellaire), Reginald Gardiner (Jerrold Hope), Lynne Carver (Sylvia Bellaire), Monty Wooley (John “Jack” Fleming), Adia Kuznetzoff (Boris the Taxi Driver); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Rapf; MGM; 1938)
“A zany musical showbiz comedy that’s a misfire.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A zany musical showbiz comedy that’s a misfire. The songs are no better than so-so. Director Edwin L. Marin (“Nocturne”/”Johnny Angel”/”Tall in the Saddle”) keeps it as standard fare. It’s weakly written by Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf and James Gruen. The story is by Florence Ryerson & Edgar Allan Woolf.
Hillary Bellaire (Reginald Owen) is the patriarch of a loopy theatrical family; Diana (Billie Burke) is his emotionally unstable high-pitched actress wife. His daughter Judy (Judy Garland) has just been kicked out of the exclusive Colvin School for Girls for singing “Swing, Mr. Mendelssohn, Swing” and returns home to face the music. Only the family servants, the Russian housekeeper Olga Chekaloff (Fanny Brice) and the cook/chauffeur Ricky Saboni (Allan Jones), and Judy’s older sister Sylvia (Lynne Carver), who is in love with Ricky, seem to empathize with Judy’s plight. Playwright dad Hillary is too busy rehearsing his new play starring his wife and Jerrold Hope (Reginald Gardiner) to listen to Judy.
When backer John Fleming (Monty Wooley) finally pulls the plug on the play, Judy with the help of the musical servants decide to put on the show. Ricky acts as producer and star of the show.
The talented cast must fight off the shrill comedy, the forgettable music and the dumb plot, which becomes too much even for them. It seems better suited to be called “everybody quiet” than Everybody Sing.
Brice performs “Quainty, Dainty Me” and a duet with Garland, singing a number based on Brice’s “Baby Snooks” character. Garland sings “Down on Melody Farm,” “Ever Since the World Began” and, in blackface, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The tenor Jones sings “The One I Love” and “The Show Must Go On.”
REVIEWED ON 4/26/2009 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ