Monday, June 9, 2008

Picture Palace (Warners/Vitaphone, 1934)

by Mark Gabrish Conlan • Copyright © 2008 by Mark Gabrish Conlan • All rights reserved

After Girls on Probation TCM showed one of those charming Hal LeRoy shorts from 1934, Picture Palace, about a young man (LeRoy) and a young woman (Dawn O’Day) who meet at the beach. It turns out they both work at the Grand Majestic movie theatre, he as an usher and she as a chorus dancer in the live shows that still regularly took place between film showings, only he makes it sound like he’s a big wheel in the theatre management and when she spots him from the stage in his usher’s uniform, she freaks out and interrupts the dance number, resulting in both of them getting fired. Undaunted, they devise a vaudeville act, become stars and in the final sequence take a nicely piquant revenge against the Grand Majestic’s manager when they’re booked to appear there as performers. It’s an extremely predictable movie but also a quite entertaining one, and why Warners didn’t pull Hal LeRoy out of shorts and make him their answer to Fred Astaire at RKO is beyond me.