Howdy Broadway/Swing High [DVD]

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Howdy Broadway
A story about wild youth is framed in this early musical from Poverty Row company Rayart that includes such songs as "I Want You to Know I Love You", performed by Ellalee Ruby and Tommy Christian and his band; "Somebody's Sweetheart -- Not Mine," "Gypsy Love," and the title tune. Christian plays Tommy, who reluctantly agrees to lead his band at a dance in a speakeasy where Lulu (Lucy Ames) may catch the attention of a Broadway producer. The club, however, is raided by the police and Tommy not only loses girlfriend Betty (Ruby) but finds himself expelled from college. Taking his band to Broadway, Tommy lands a spot in a high-class revue and is soon joined by a repentant Betty. The youngsters sneak away to get married while Jack Clark performs a furious tap dance. Produced in the low-budget Raytone sound system in Fort Lee, New Jersey, this amateurish musical boasted of "several well-known stars from the legitimate stage" but was a barely released embarrassment that didn't further the careers of anyone involved. Director Charles J. Hunt also supplied the screenplay. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Swing High
Advertised as an "all star" film, Swing High is hardly that: The biggest name in the picture, both in terms of popularity and sheer marquee space, was Helen Twelvetrees. A variation of the 1926 German classic Variety, the film casts Twelvetrees and Dorothy Burgess as sisters Maryan and Trixie, a team of circus aerialists. When the two girls have a falling out over the affections of handsome Gerry (Fred Scott), it looks as though one of them will be taking a fall for real. This does eventually happen, but it ends up an act of fate rather than malice. It's amazing that the dramatic portion of the film is given any space at all, what with five musical numbers and the interminable comic antics of diminutive Daphne Pollard and phlegmatic Stepin Fetchit. Mack Sennett-graduates Chester Conklin and Ben Turpin make fleeting appearances, as do several genuine circus performers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Jack J. Clark
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