GIFT OF GAB (director: Karl Freund; screenwriters: Raian James/Lou Breslow/story by Philip G. Epstein & Jerry Wald; cinematographer: George Robinson; editor: Raymond Curtiss ; music: Edward Ward/Albert Von Tilzer/Con Conrad/Charles Tobias; cast: Edmund Lowe (Phillip Gabney), Gloria Stuart (Barbara Kelton), Ruth Etting (Ruth), Tom Hanlon (radio Announcer), Phil Baker (Absent-minded doctor), Ethel (Ethel Waters), Alexander Woollcott (Alexander Woollcott), Victor Moore (Colonel Trivers), Alice White (Margot), Boris Karloff (The Phantom), Bela Lugosi (French Apache Dancer), Sidney Skolsky (Movie Magazine Columnist), Roger Pryor (Kelly), Andy Devine (McDougal, waiter), Binnie Barnes (Maid), Sterling Holloway (Sound effects man); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Carl Laemmle Jr. ; Universal; 1934)
“It’s watchable only because of the many star cameos.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Karl Freund(“The Mummy”/”Moonlight and Pretzels”/”Mad Love”) helms this odd all-star cast musical comedy, that plays out as if a series of one-reelers. It’s watchable only because of the many star cameos. Though the comedy stinks, the music is bearable. It includes one watchable bad sketch in which Boris Karloff brings on an inane parody to the genre of detectives investigations. The story by Philip G. Epstein & Jerry Wald is nothing to brag about. The screenplay by Lou Breslow and Rian James is also nothing much.
Edmund Lowe stars as the conceited radio man, the one with the gift of gab who could sell anything. Lowe rises to the top and then falls because he fakes an interview, causing him to become a drunk. Lowe redeems himself by locating a lost plane and broadcasting live on radio his heroic rescue attempt. The plane’s location comes about from a tip received from his girlfriend (Gloria Stuart).
Ruth Etting sings “Talking to Myself” and “Tomorrow, Who Cares?”. Other songs are sung by a variety of performers and include “I Ain’t Gonna Sin No More,” “Gift Of Gab,” “Somebody Looks Good,” “Don’t Let This Waltz Mean Goodbye,” “Walkin’ On Air,” “What A Wonderful Day,” and “Blue Sky Avenue.
REVIEWED ON 12/22/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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