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Stand up and Cheer  (1934)

Stand up and Cheer
Theatrical MPAA Rating:
NR
Theatrical Feature Running Time:
80 mins

Theatrical Release Information:
Stand up and Cheer

For something that was supposed to be a "feel good" movie, Fox Studios' Stand Up and Cheer seems curiously grim when seen today. Based on an idea by Will Rogers, the story concerns the efforts by the (never-seen) President of the United States to get the public's mind off the Depression. To this end, he appoints Broadway impresario Lawrence Cromwell (Warner Baxter) to the new cabinet position of "Secretary of Amusement." Wasting no time, Cromwell sets about to nationalize the entertainment industry, organizing singers, dancers, actors and other variety artists into batallion-like touring units. Cromwell is fought at every turn by a cartel of wealthy industrialists, who've been profiting from the Depression and have no desire to see America pull itself upward. Happily, every effort to bribe or cajole Cromwell into giving up his mission is thwarted. But after several months of lukewarm results, the great producer is on the verge of throwing in the towel, only to be talked out of this rash act by his secretary-sweetheart Mary Adams. Right on cue, Cromwell's assistant Jimmy Dugan (James Dunn) bursts into the producer's office, exultantly declaring that the Department of Amusement is an unqualified success -- the Depression is over!!!! As mentioned, this "happy-go-lucky" musical seems at times to be as carefree as a funeral dirge: The two musical production numbers performed by Nick (later Dick) Foran, "I'm Laughin'" and "We're Out of the Red," are as grotesquely photographed and staged as a Frankenstein picture, while the climactic parade of America's uniformed "working class" -- policemen, milkmen, maids, garbagemen, domestics, all marching in lock-step -- looks like something out of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will. The racist routines of black comedian Stepin Fetchit go far beyond tasteless, reaching a nadir when Fetchit chases after a bigoted talking penguin (whose "Jimmy Durante" voice was supplied by Lew Brown, one of the film's musical composers). Equally hard to take are the knockabout antics of Frank Mitchell and Jack Durant and the monumentally unfunny hillbilly routine by John "Skins" Miller (though all three of these comedians received excellent reviews when the picture was first released!) Among the few-and-far-between highlights are an energetic "revival-meeting" musical number by Aunt Jemima (Theresa Gardella), and 6-year-old Shirley Temple's delightful rendition of "Baby Take a Bow." In fact, it was Stand Up and Cheer which catapulted Temple to stardom, which in the long run took much of the sting out of the film's dismal box-office returns. Originally released at 80 minutes, Stand Up and Cheer was edited to 69 minutes for reissue, then to 65 minutes (removing most of Stepin Fetchit's scenes) for television: it was this last version which was computer-colorized in 1987. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


Complete Cast of Stand up and Cheer:

Stand up and Cheer Trivia

Who played Lawrence Cromwell in the movie Stand up and Cheer?
Warner Baxter played Lawrence Cromwell in the movie Stand up and Cheer

Who played Mary Adams in the movie Stand up and Cheer?
Madge Evans played Mary Adams in the movie Stand up and Cheer

Who played Dugan in the movie Stand up and Cheer?
James Dunn played Dugan in the movie Stand up and Cheer

Who played himself in the movie Stand up and Cheer?
John Boles played himself in the movie Stand up and Cheer

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Portions of Content Provided by All Movie Guide ®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.© 2008 All Media Guide, LLC.