• Romantic Comedy
    Comedy
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Synopsis

Melody Cruise, director Mark Sandrich's first feature film, is an unofficial extension of Sandrich's Oscar-winning RKO short subject So This is Harris (1933). Once again, the director's star is bandleader Phil Harris, then in his wavy-haired romantic lead period. Harris plays a millionaire who, while on a steamship cruise, is the object of the attentions (mercenary and otherwise) of every woman who crosses his path. Charlie Ruggles plays the flustered fellow whose job it is to steer Harris clear of breach-of-promise suits, while Helen Mack is the one girl who isn't interested in either Harris' looks or his millions-which naturally entices him to pursue her. Most of the dialogue is spoken rhythmically, a device that might have been tiresome in lesser hands. Let loose in RKO's optical effects department, Mark Sandrich offers us an endless variety of creative lap-dissolves, "wipes " split screens and flat cuts. The whole enterprise begins to run out of gas when it is necessary to tie up loose plot ends, but otherwise Melody Cruise plays with the same freshness and nuance that it did back in 1933. Watch for Betty Grable as one of the shipboard girls, and for perennial Three Stooges foil Bud Jamison as an operatic train conductor. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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