When people talk about the great musicals of the 30s, they seem to forget this one.
Perhaps it's some sort of post-traumatic reaction. There's a Busby B scene in this movie that's 100% nighmare fuel. Some of his work is so hallucinogenic I don't think they dared play them on college campuses in the 60s and 70s; anyone stoned would be uncomfortable at first, then unnerved, and finally overwhelmed. I can't take it, man. It's too much HER. You'll see what I mean in a bit. As for the non-musical portions of the movie, well, it's what you'd expect. Dick Powell is a sunny-faced crooner so gosh-darn full of cheer and initiative it's a wonder he didn't lift the nation out of the Depression all on his own. Ruby Keeler is his winsome sweetheart. Various forces are employed to keep them apart. Hugh Herbert is one hand to hoot and hoo-hoo, although not as much as usual. There's a musical at the end.
About those Dames: the sequence gives us a a look at the standards of female pulchridude circa 1934. Some faces are timeless:
She's quite different from this lass, isn't she?
. . .who's completely different from this one, unless they're the same person:
She may not have Bette Davis Eyes, but she's got Joker Cheeks:
And so it goes, on and on, with the viewer invited to find a fave:
Wouldn't you love to know what happened to these two?
As I've said before, the effect of seeing these things on TV or the computer screen can't compare to watching them loom on the big movie screen; given the small scale of every other visual element in those days, the effect must have been overwhelming - which was the intention, of course.
Good Witch Come to Eat You With Sugar on Top!
But then there's this.
It's a moment that must have made everyone rear back in their seats, and you have to see it in context to understand. That image above isn't what made the scene so unnerving, though.
It's the heads. The unblinking, enormous, dancing heads.
Note the edit at 3:25, and the moment when the camera goes in on the eye, and Ruby emerges from the retina - it's just brilliant.
The theme song sequence is almost tame by comparison. But only by comparison.