The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)

MITCHELL LEISEN

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBUSA, 1938Screenplay by , , , based on a story by , adapted by , Cinematography by Produced by Music by , , , Production Design by , Costume Design by Film Editing by , Academy Awards 1938.

Two wealthy tycoons announce that they are going to race their luxury cruiseliners across the ocean from London to Cherbourg, a publicity stunt that they hope will capture the whole country’s attention. One of them, played by , has enlisted his brother, who is also played by Fields, to board the rival boat and cause enough shenanigans to delay it and help their family win, but our famously drunken hero gets sidetracked by a golf game and ends up boarding and wreaking havoc on his own vessel instead. The ship features a musical revue being performed in the entertainment lounge that is being broadcast on the radio to help keep Americans appraised of the race, and the host of that show ( in his breakthrough film role) is staying on stage to avoid all his vengeful fiancees in the audience who are challenging his upcoming marriage to . His hosting the show provides the real reason for this movie’s existence, everything is in the service of showing off performers in these various vaudeville-type numbers (including the Oscar-winning “Thanks For The Memory”, which became inextricably linked with Hope’s career for the rest of his life). The art deco set design is a nostalgic treat in this very fun confection, one that won’t dazzle you but has plenty of charms to offer as well as the appearance by the always marvelous .

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