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Saturday, May 15, 2010

WAIKIKI WEDDING (1937)


This amiably nutty Bing Crosby vehicle is a lot of fun. It all happens in Hollywood Hawaii (also known as the Paramount backlot) where Bing works (none too hard) as a pineapple PR man. His latest idea isn’t panning out, the new Miss Pineapple hates Hawaii! So Bing concocts a big romantic adventure - luaus, moonlit sailing, native dancing pageants, a magical black pearl, an erupting volcano - and then screws up by falling for the girl. Cue song. Helmer Frank Tuttle takes this nonsense about as close to Dada-land as he dared and Karl Struss uses his camera to apply plenty of faux glamor. Shirley Ross is no more than pleasant as Bing’s leading lady, and the comedic trawlings of Martha Raye & Bob Burns overstay their welcome (even when they land), but the whole package is so darned good natured it hardly matters. Add in some nice tunes (‘Blue Hawaii,’ ‘Sweet Leilani’), snazzy production numbers with real, not Hollywood Hawaiians, plus a great turn from that lithely, young Hawaiian lad Anthony Quinn.

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