7/10
Fun Comedy-Romance, Great Locations & Sets, Great Girl Trio
26 September 2010
This little screwball romantic comedy has a whole lot going for it. The lead character, Joe Miller, played by Ray Walker, is a very funny schtick comedian, and Julie Bishop (billed as Jacqueline Wells) plays his dream-girl most convincingly.

The rise-fall-redemption plot of Joe's self-confidence and pep, which take him into show biz, and his arrogance and drunkenness, which cause his on-air debacle, follows a predictable story-arc, but there are lots of very funny lines, delivered with genuine wit, and enough of a competition with another suitor to bring tension to the drama.

If "The Loudspeaker" had been made in the late 20th century, Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, or Jim Carey would have gotten the role of Joe Miller. What we have instead is a tightly constructed, fluffy pancake of a show, well worth watching in its own right. Character actor Charley Grapewin is charming as "Pops," and sweet Mary Carr does a walk-on as a star-struck land-lady.

Best of all, for those who follow old movies for other reasons than the story-line, it must be noted that we have some great 1934 vintage "stuff" on display here: live steam locomotive action filmed at a real railway depot; a Horn and Hardardt's automat set filled with vintage chrome goodness; a fabulous art deco penthouse that should rate a mention in any book on art deco set decoration; a lot of gorgeously chic gowns from an unexpectedly high-class wardrobe department, considering the film's probable budget; and an otherwise-unfilmed but very hot threesome of African American jazz and scat singers billed here as The Brownies Trio. (Sensitive viewers are advised to overlook the radio sponsor's logo of a smiling Black cook and the fact that The Brownies are dressed in silver-spangled Aunt Jemima outfits. Relax -- just enjoy the music!) I liked this one a lot -- unpretentious, well directed, a clean print (from Alpha Video), and lots of vitality make it a perfect little mid-1930s gem -- kinda like the very small diamond on the ring that Joe gives to his gal before he becomes a star.
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