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.
This week’s musical:
Down to Their Last Yacht (1934) – Musical #556
RKO Radio Pictures
Mary Boland, Polly Moran, Ned Sparks, Sidney Fox, Sidney Blackmer, Sterling Holloway, Marjorie Gateson, Irene Franklin, Ramsay Hill, Lynne Carver (uncredited)
When the wealthy New York Colt-Stratton’s (Fox, Hill Gateson) lose everything in the 1929 crash, they become part of the working class. All they have left is their yacht. Nella Fitzgerald (Moran) approaches the family with the idea to rent out the yacht for a cruise for the nouveau riche. One of the passengers, gambler Barry Forbes (Blackmer), falls in love with Lucy Colt-Stratton (Fox) during the voyage. During the sea trip, the boat shipwrecks on South Sea Island of Malakamokolu. The island is ruled by Queen Malakamokalu (Boland), who made herself the ruler of the island. She makes all the passengers labor around the island. She also gives them an ultimatum: Either Barry marries her or she kills them all.
-Producer Lou Brock’s last film for RKO.
-Scored by Max Steiner
-Ned Sparks humor
-“Tiny Little Finger on Your Hand” performed by Sidney Blackmer
-“There’s Nothing Else to Do in Ma-La-Ka-Mo-Ka-Lu” performed by the chorus
-“South Sea Bolero” performed by the chorus
“Down to Their Last Yacht” is an odd little comedy mixed with music. It’s a little scatterbrained, but pretty funny and has some pre-code humor. The film begins and you think it is going to follow the three Down Colt-Strattons more, but they have a fairly minor role, except for Lucy, played by Sidney-Fox. The names you recognize are in the supporting cast (Polly Moran, Mary Bolland, Ned Sparks), but unfortunately, the straight-faced Ned Sparks is wasted in this film. He’s hardly in it.
The film was going a fairly predictable path until the boat shipwrecks. That was pretty unexpected and the plot takes a completely different turn. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed by this. The plot went completely zany, when I hoped the film was going to focus more on the social-registry family who now has to work for a living.
This is one of those movies that is comedy first and musical second, but it has enough songs to qualify as a musical. The songs aren’t memorable but they’re catchy.
“Down to Their Last Yacht” isn’t well-known as a musical, pre-code or comedy, but it’s enjoyable. It’s a quirky little hour long film filled with nonsense that you should catch.
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