As an Eddie Cantor vehicle this is topped by some of his previous efforts but it's chiefly due to the banjo-eyed comedian that the thing is pulled together during its sagging moments. As such it's a triumph for Cantor. Film has long stretches that are under par; the musical and star participation interludes are dovetailed together by a story that often gets lost in the shuffle and is something less than inspiring; a few of the star bits have dubious entertainment value. But even the most captious will admit to its many moments of diversion.

As an Eddie Cantor vehicle this is topped by some of his previous efforts but it’s chiefly due to the banjo-eyed comedian that the thing is pulled together during its sagging moments. As such it’s a triumph for Cantor. Film has long stretches that are under par; the musical and star participation interludes are dovetailed together by a story that often gets lost in the shuffle and is something less than inspiring; a few of the star bits have dubious entertainment value. But even the most captious will admit to its many moments of diversion.

In novelty, Stars packs a wallop. The idea of a dual Cantor role, on the one hand a film star portrayed strictly as a heel, with a crush on any Cantor gag, and the other a film colony bus guide whose affliction is that he can’t land a picture job because he looks ‘too much like that Cantor guy’ has solid merit in itself. But that idea goes astray too. For novelty there’s also Bette Davis being tossed around in a swank nitery by a frenzied jitterbug, lamenting her fate of resorting to a.k.’s and adolescent pups in a vocalization of Arthur Schwartz’s sock tune, ‘They’re Either Too Young or Too Old’. Or Errol Flynn as a cockney sailor singing a sea shanty, with Gilbertian overtones, only to emerge in the finale reprise by kidding the dubbed vocal.

Stars marks Dinah Shore’s film debut.

Thank Your Lucky Stars

Production

Warner. Director David Butler; Producer Mark Hellinger; Screenplay Norman Panama, Melvin Frank; Camera Arthur Edison; Editor Irene Morra; Music Arthur Schwartz, Frank Loesser

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1943. Running time: 127 MIN.

With

Eddie Cantor Dinah Shore Joan Leslie Dennis Morgan Edward Everett Horton S. Z. Sakall

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