Musical Monday: Flirtation Walk (1934)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

flirtation walkThis week’s musical:
Flirtation Walk (1934) – Musical #265

First National Productions Corporation

Frank Borzage

Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Pat O’Brien, Ross Alexander, John Arledge, John Eldredge, Henry O’Neill, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams

Dick Dorcy (Powell) is a private in the Army station in Hawaii. He is assigned to drive visiting general’s daughter, Kitt Fitts (Keeler). Kitt ditches a reception she is required to go to, ordering Dick to show her around Hawaii. This puts Dick in hot-water, and to avoid court-martial, the two-part. Dick decides to go to West Point to become an officer to be the equal of Kitt’s boyfriend, Lieut. Biddle (Eldredge).

-Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell’s fifth film together. They were paired in seven films.
-Ruby Keeler does not have any dance numbers in this film
-The scenes at West Point were filmed on location.
-Tyrone Power plays an uncredited bit role as a cadet

Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Pat O'Brien

Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell and Pat O’Brien

Awards and Nominations:
-Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture it lost to “It Happened One Night”
-Nathan Levinson (sound director)was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound, Recording it lost to “One Night of Love.”

-Dick Powell sings “By a Waterfall” briefly

Notable Songs:
Flirtation Walk performed by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler
-Mr. and Mrs. Is the Name performed by Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler
-Aloha Oe performed by Dick Powell
-No Horse, No Wife, No Mustache performed by Dick Powell

Ruby Keeler as a lady general in a skit at the end of "Flirtation Walk"

Ruby Keeler as a lady general in a skit at the end of “Flirtation Walk”

My review:
“Flirtation Walk” is a pleasant and humorous film, but it isn’t much of a musical.

Anyone who has seen a handful of Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler films (whether they are co-starring or not), you are used to multiple songs from Powell and a few tap dances by Keeler. However, there is none of that in this Frank Borzage directed musical.

At the start of the film, you hear Powell sing the chorus of “By a Waterfall With You” while washing his face. This is a humorous little joke since Powell performs this song in the film “Footlight Parade.” Also early in the film, he sings a Hawaiian piece.

But then, there aren’t any songs until the very end of this hour and 37-minute film. That is because Powell decides to leave the Army for West Point to become an officer, so I guess there isn’t much time for song while his at West Point.

Keeler disappears for about 70 to 80 minutes of the film and reappears at the end at West Point. Powell ignores her at first, which is pretty annoying, and then puts her as the lead in the usually all-male West Point show.

This West Point review, which is the last 10 minutes of the movie, and has some mediocre songs. It involves Ruby Keeler being a female general and eventually getting a telegram from the government saying her place is in the home.

Powell usually has some songs that stick with you once the film is over, and this film isn’t that way.

Someone without much screen time is also Pat O’Brien is completely wasted in this film. He is at the beginning and the end of the movie and sprinkled throughout the film. Usually, if Pat O’Brien is a sidekick, he has equal screen time as his stars. The worst part is that one of O’Brien’s scenes could have been very emotional. He is crying as he watches Powell graduate. But it’s ruined by the scriptwriter adding in a little girl saying “Look mama, that man is crying.”

While this film is charming and fun to watch, it is probably the weakest of the Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell’s screen pairings. However, it is still humorous in parts and entertaining.

Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler in "Flirtation Walk"

Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler in “Flirtation Walk”

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2 thoughts on “Musical Monday: Flirtation Walk (1934)

  1. Sounds like a wasted opportunity by the director…
    (Too bad you didn’t post a photo of young Ty!)
    Enjoyed your review!


    • Thank you for reading! I think you’re right. Borzage generally didn’t film musicals and I think that may be the issue. I need to watch it again, I didn’t spot Ty this time around!


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