LOUISIANA PURCHASE (director: Irving Cummings; screenwriters: Jerome Chodorov/Joseph Fields/based on the musical comedy by Morrie Ryskind/from a story by B. G. De Sylva; cinematographers: Harry Hallenberger/Ray Rennahan; editor: Leroy Stone; music: Irving Berlin; cast: Bob Hope (Jim Taylor), Vera Zorina (Marina Von Duren), Victor Moore (Senator Oliver P. Loganberry), Irene Bordoni (Mme. Bordelaise), Dona Drake (Beatrice), Maxie Rosenblum (Shadow), Phyllis Ruth (Emmy-Lou), Raymond Walburn (Col. Davis Sr.), Frank Albertson (Davis Jr.), Donald McBride (Police Capt. Whitfield), Andrew Tombes (Dean Manning), Emory Parnell (Sam Horowitz, Lawyer); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: B. G. De Sylva; Paramount; 1941)
“This pic is so lame, even the Irvin Berlin musical numbers stink.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Dull, witless, outdated breezy musical comedy based on a Broadway show by Morrie Ryskind and Irvin Berlin (music) and B. G. De Sylva (story). Director Irving Cummings (“Hollywood Cavalcade”/”That Night in Rio”) offers a satirical look at political graft in Louisiana. Writers Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields have nothing to say about real politiks, and keep it exactly the same way it was on Broadway. This pic is so lame, even the Irvin Berlin musical numbers stink. The film’s best tune is the so-so “It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow.” Vera Zorina, Victor Moore, and Irene Bordoni recreate their Broadway roles, while Bob Hope takes over the lead part from Broadway’s William Gaxton and does his usual glib comedy shtick (something I find disagreeable). It was the first Technicolor film for Hope.
It opens with chorus girls singing that all the characters are fictitious, so don’t bother suing for libel.
The 60-year-old puritanical New England Republican, Senator Loganberry (Victor Moore), comes to New Orleans to investigate why the federal money given to build a school was diverted by the Louisiana Purchasing Company to bill a college three times for lumber. Crooked political operators, Col. Davis (Raymond Wallburn), Davis (Frank Albertson), Captain Whitfield (Donald MacBride), and Dean Manning (Andrew Tombes), duped the innocent flunkey Jim Taylor (Bob Hope) to be the figurehead boss and got him elected as a state assemblyman.
To beat the graft charges Jim is helped by his friend, N.O. restaurant owner Mme. Bordelaise (Irene Bordoni), who provides an attractive Austrian noble woman, Marina Von Duren (Vera Zorina), to get the senator in a compromising position. The film’s highlight is the late scene where Jim filibusters in the Louisiana state Assembly Hall and says “If it’s good enough for James Stewart, it’s good enough for me.”
REVIEWED ON 7/12/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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