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SWING YOUR LADY (director: Roy Enright; screenwriters: based on the play by Kenyon Nicholson and Charles Robinson/Kenyon Nicholson/Joseph Schrank/Maurice Leo; cinematographer: Arthur Edeson; editor: Jack Killifer; music: Adolph Deutsch; cast: Nat Pendleton (Joe “The Wrestling Hercules” Skopapoulous), Humphrey Bogart (Ed Hatch), Allen Jenkins (Shiner Ward), Penny Singleton (Cookie Shannon), Frank McHugh (Popeye Bronson), Louise Fazenda (Sadie Horn), Ronald Reagan (Jack Miller), Joan Howard (Mattie), Frank Weaver (Ollie Davis), Daniel Boone Savage (Noah), Leon Weaver (Waldo), Hugh O’Connell (Smith), June Weaver (Mrs. Davis), Tommy Bupp (Rufe Horn), Sunny Bupp (Len Horn); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Samuel Bischoff; Warner Bros.; 1938)
“Corny hillbilly comedy that is embarrassingly bad.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Journeyman filmmaker Roy Enright (“Slim”/”The Spoilers”/”Montana”) directs this amiable but corny hillbilly comedy that is embarrassingly bad. The unremarkable minor musical comedy, despite its lackluster comedy, manages a few laughs in its satire of wrestlers, city slickers and hillbillies. It’s based on a moderately successful Broadway play by Kenyon Nicholson and Charles Robinson.

At a hotel in a small town in the Ozarks, wrestling promoter Ed Hatch (Humphrey Bogart) and wrestler Joe Skopapoulos (Nat Pendleton) with the trainers Shiner Ward (Allen Jenkins) and Popeye Bronson (Frank McHugh) check in and look for a wrestling match. There is only one possibility, the large Sadie (Louise Fazenda), who is the local blacksmith. After Ed offers her $100 for the gimmick match, she readily agrees.

While training Joe meets his opponent and falls madly in love with her, and refuses to fight her even as she begs him to because she needs the dough. The slickster Ed learns that Sadie’s feller is a mountain man named Noah (Daniel Boone Savage) and arranges a fight between Joe and Noah, with Sadie marrying the winner. A few complications arise when Ed fears Joe will win and really marry Sadie, and arranges for his man to throw the fight. But things change when it’s learned that a Madison Square Garden fight awaits Joe if he wins and thereby Ed allows him to. But after the victory, Joe quits wrestling and remains in town to be with his blacksmith.

Future president Ronald Reagan has a minor part as a sportswriter.

The songs include: “Mountain Swingeroo,” “Hillbilly from Tenth Avenue” and “Dig Me a Grave in Old Missouri.”


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”