“Say When,” a homely expression used by a host with a bottle in his hand so that his drinking guest may indicate the extent of his immediate thirst, has been adopted by Ray Henderson and Jack McGowan as the title of their latest musical comedy now at the Imperial Theatre. It must be reported that the audience not only acted in a scandalous and impolite manner, but refused to take a hint and insisted, that their hosts who included Bob Hope, Harry Richman, Taylor Holmes and Dennie Moore, continue to pour out songs, wisecracks, and dances until long after a reviewers normal bedtime.
However, I can’t say that the audience is to be blamed because Henderson and McGowan have fashioned together an entirely delightful, fast moving, laugh provoking and tuneful blend of entertainment. There is a plot which carries through the two acts and ten scenes. It has to do with two vaudeville actors, played by Harry Richman and Bob Hope, who meet the two daughters of a Long Island banker aboard ship. One of the girls finds that she has a weakness for Mr. Richman while the other uses Mr. Hope to smuggle in a diamond ring. The boys are invited to a house party given by the banker and there are the usual complications, especially since Harry Richman is made to appear as though he is married to Dennie Moore, the sweetheart of the married banker.
In the last and, for that matter, the first analysis is a musical show is wholly independent upon its size and ear value and its tunes. “Say When” passes the test with plenty to spare. Bob Hope, who you must have seen in vaudeville, is always amusing and in the role of a blundering, not too suave lover who gets what he wants he is a fine foil for Harry Richman’s “straight” work. The last named gentlemen has been handed the best song assignments and although not in the Steel or McCormack tradition his rendition of “When Love Comes Swinging Along” and “Say When” is satisfactory. Henderson, who wrote the tunes has made them voice-proof. They are catchy and surefire.
“SAY WHEN” WEAK IN DANCE NUMBERS
If “Say When” lacks anything its weakness may be found in the dance department, but the comedy is so ably handled that you hardly notice this lapse. Bob Hope, as I mentioned before, wins the comedy honors. His number with Linda Watkins, “Don’t Tell Me It’s Bad,” deservedly stopped the show. Dennie Moore also turns in a fine performance in the role of the faintly virtuous trollope who manages to cause most of the stage troubles that worry the sartorially perfect Richman. Of course, Taylor Holmes in the role of Charlie the philandering banker also adds to the general gaiety.
Prince Mike, surprisingly well liked despite his delusions of royal birth, is interjected into the proceedings. Mike may have been able to fool people into thinking he was a Romanoff but he will never get them to believe that he is an actor.
“Say When” is true to Broadway and its idea of what a musical comedy should be. It is fresh, lively, well costumed and almost clean. The chorus, a good looking one, does not undress but is smartly and cleverly costumed. Here is the proof that ladies may retain their charm and allure without taking off most of their clothes.
Eddie Cantor’s latest picture, “Kid Millions,” opened at the Rivoli and I have not seen it at this writing, but I do hope it is better than “The White Parade” which is playing at the Paramount. Loretta Young and John Boles are featured in this inane, glittering and entirely meaningless alleged drama of life among the sweet nurses in our hospitals. It is a falsely conceived invalid conception of the problems confronting a nurse. It may be compared to a novel by Harold Bell Wright. I also hope that “Kid Millions” is a brighter and more entertaining picture than “Evelyn Prentice” the current attraction at the Capitol. Here, too, there is much tinsel and little of real worth. The principals, Myrna Loy and William Powell, do their best but the story of a criminal lawyer and his indiscreet wife who involves herself with a poet is so commonplace that there is never a moment when you cannot predict with accuracy exactly what is to transpire on the screen.