Artists and Models holds enough variety, comedy, color, spec, flash, dash and novelty for a couple of pictures. It’s so replete with a cavalcade of radio, nitery, vaudeville and revuesque ingredients that it’s much to the credit of all concerned that this madcap musical [story by Sig Herzig and Gene Thackrey, adapted by Eve Greene and Harlan Ware] shapes up as well as it does.
There are a couple of misguided sequences, one of which is that ‘Public Melody Number One’ sequence, done in a frankly Harlem setting, with Louis Armstrong tooting his trumpet against a pseudo-musical gangster idea. While Martha Raye is under cork, this intermingling of the races isn’t wise, especially as she lets herself go into the extremest manifestations of Harlemania torso-twisting and gyrations.
Jack Benny, Ida Lupino, Richard Arlen and Gail Patrick are chiefly responsible for holding the film together. This is Benny’s first solo starrer and it’s also a departure for him in that he’s assigned the major romantic interest.
Benny is cast as the advertising agency head. Arlen is his biggest (and practically only) account. Lupino is a professional model who, because she’s a p.m., is at first snubbed by Arlen for a ritzy ad campaign. Lupino hies to Miami posing as a socialite, in order to impress that being a pro model isn’t a liability.
1937: Nomination: Best Song (‘Whispers in the Dark’)