Review: ‘Lady Be Good’

The plot bears no resemblance to the Guy Bolton book of the original 1924 stage musical, which was one of the major springboards for Fred and Adele Astaire. The songs in this picture are likewise no relation to the click Gershwin score.

The plot bears no resemblance to the Guy Bolton book of the original 1924 stage musical, which was one of the major springboards for Fred and Adele Astaire. The songs in this picture are likewise no relation to the click Gershwin score.

There are flagrant examples in the film of poor direction, unimaginative story-telling and slipshod photography. The picture looks as though director Norman Z. McLeod was given a time allotment to fill, no matter how, and he did.

While confused, the story pattern is familiar – that of a crack songwriting team splitting up and becoming individually unsuccessful until resuming their partnership. In this instance it’s the case of ex-waitress Ann Sothern and composer Robert Young, who click, marry and then get divorced when Young goes high-hat and social. Then they click and marry again – and again she goes into the divorce courts, which gives the audience a double-dose of flashbacks out of the stories told Judge Lionel Barrymore. It’s a waste of Barrymore.

1941: Best Song (‘The Last Time I Saw Paris’)

Lady Be Good

Production

M-G-M. Director Norman Z. McLeod; Producer Arthur Freed; Screenplay Jack McGowan, Kay Van Riper, Jock McClain; Camera George Folsey, Oliver Marsh; Editor Frederick J. Smith; Music Georgie Stoll (dir.)

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1941. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Eleanor Powell Ann Sothern Robert Young Lionel Barrymore John Carroll Red Skelton
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