Moonlight and pretzels,
When the moon goes up and the beer goes down....
(or something like that)
I saw a very nice 35mm print of MOONLIGHT AND PRETZELS (Karl Freund 1933) last night. It was the movie Freund directed immediately following THE MUMMY (1932).
If one were Universal and didn't have Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, Joan Blondell or Busby Berkeley, but wanted to make a backstage Musical, what would one do? Why, use look-alikes, what else? (Or, in the case of Berkeley, choreograph-alike.) If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this is one of the sincerest flattering movies ever made. It was pretty much ersatz 42nd STREET...except for the pageant to the common man finale (if one is going to imitate, one might as well be eclectic). At least there was William Frawley as the gruff stage manager and, portraying the Greek gambler, Nick Papacropolis, who saves the Big Show, was our favorite Greek musical-comedy performer, Leo Carillo (who was allowed to mangle every third word he uttered). Most of the song lyrics were written by Yip Harburg, and some of the music was composed by Sammy Fain, but I'm betting each left this movie off the ol' curriculum vitae.
It would nice to think something good came out of this. Maybe 18 or so years later, at Ciro's, after four cocktails and a couple of packs of cigarettes, Frawley said, "Dez, ya know, I worked with a guy named Freud or somethin' like that. Not much of a musical-comedy director, but I bet he could handle three cameras."
And I checked IMDb so you don't have to:
March 11, 1933: 42nd STREET released
May 27, 1933: GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 released
August 1, 1933: MOONLIGHT AND PRETZELS released
Recommended for completists and curiosity-seekers only.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles