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Friday, October 22, 2010

The Big Broadcast (released in 1938) - Starring W.C. Fields and Bob Hope

This movie is a Paramount Movies release and is the last of the big broadcast series. It stars the irrepressible duo, WC Fields and bob Hope along with Dorothy Lamour, Shirley Ross and Martha Ray. This movie is directed by Mitchell Leisen and consists of a variety shows aboard a ship.
Buzz Fielding, the famous Radio host is incarcerated in prison because of the non payment of alimony to his three wives. His lover, Dorothy Wyndham pawns her engagement ring to get him out on bail. Two ships SS Gigantic and SS Colossal are engaged in a trans Atlantic Race from New York City to Cherbourg. France. T. Frothingal Bellows to help Gigantic intends to send his brother SB Bellows and his unlucky daughter Martha on Colossal because SB causes accidents where ever he goes.
But as luck could have it, because of a golfing mix up, SB' golfing cart ends up in SS Gigantic and the unlucky duo are inadvertent passengers. Buzz fielding is the entertainer at the ship and to his utter discomfiture, his three wives, Cleo, Grace and Joan, along with current flame Dorothy travel together in Gigantic.

The first performance on the ship is by Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm (themselves), who play "This Little Ripple Had Rhythm" for a cartoon sequence. Buzz introduces the Mexican singer Tito Guizar who regale the audience. Meanwhile Grace distracts SB and Dorothy who brings food for the ships power source inventor Bob, are attracted to each other. Dorothy and Bob sing "You Took the Words Right Out of My Heart”. Opera Diva Kirsten Flagstad sing “The Ride of the Valkyries" and is followed by Honey Child, a comedy routine.
In the mean time the Colossal is way ahead of the Gigantic and Buzz has a tough time manipulating his wives. As Buzz lean depressed on the hull, Cleo cheer him up and they reminisce their happy days. Buzz and Cleo realize they have feelings for each other and give the audience a slice of their heart through “Thanks for the Memory”. Mean while the Gigantic has a power failure and Dorothy and Bob work together to fix the power source. With the renewed power source Gigantic close on to the Colossal while the comedy routine by WC Fields and Martha continue.
At the end Buzz and Cleo renew their romance and sing “the Waltz lives on” which fine tunes, polka, Waltz and a host of other dances. Gigantic closes on to the colossal and edges past it to win the race. Dorothy and Bob find love along with the many other characters.
The film has a tame and abrupt ending, but lives up to its reputation as the last and best of the big broadcast films. It won an Oscar for the beast original song by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin for the song Thanks for the Memory. This movie has the unique distinction in being Bob Hope's first feature film. The DVD of the film has been released and one can enjoy it to this day as an ode to the simpler musical times far gone.

The Big Broadcast (released in 1938) - Starring W.C. Fields and Bob Hope

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