Queen High (1930)
THE SCREEN; Turning the Tables.A rich fund of fun permeates "Queen High," the audible, pictorial translation of the popular musical comedy of the same name, which in turn was based on Edward H. Peple's play, "A Pair of Sixes." This film is fortunate in having in the leading rôles those competent actors, Frank Morgan and Charles Ruggles, who could do a great deal to make almost any comedy well worth a visit.
This current Paramount attraction has some engaging melodies, which are rendered by several in the cast, including Messrs. Morgan and Ruggles. But it is the farcical incidents that make this feature a crackerjack warm weather entertainment rather than the musical compositions, for there is precious little reason, except possibly in one instance, for the characters lifting their voices in song.
The bickering that goes on between T. Boggs Johns (Mr. Ruggles) and George Nettleton (Mr. Morgan) is a delight. They are partners in the feminine garter business and don't see eye to eye with each other as to how it should be run. Nettleton objects to Johns employing his nephew and Johns frowns upon the idea of Nettleton's niece coming to work as a stenographer. The romantic interest, as one might presume, is furnished by the niece and the nephew. As in the Potash and Perlmutter yarns they are permitted to enjoy the permission to wed only when the story is nearing its close.
Cyrus Vanderholt, a legal light, suggests a poker hand of cards to determine which of the partners is to serve as the butler for the other for a year. The drawing of cards by the nervous men is highly amusing and it is a pair of sixes held by Nettleton that wins. So later one perceives Johns garbed as a butler for Nettleton, who insists upon the letter of the contract being adhered to. Johns is fined $100 for any breach of conduct, and it has further been agreed that if Mr. Johns fails to carry out the full term of the servitude he is to pay Nettleton $10,000.
Polly Rockwell, played by Ginger Rogers, has a happy idea to end Mr. Johns's uncomfortable existence. She suggests to Johns, who as a butler is called Boggs, that he pretend to be filled with admiration for Mrs. Nettleton and also that he go about his duties with a smile. The notion upsets Mr. Nettleton's plans and he finds the shoe on the other foot when Johns one bright morning asks that he be permitted to serve an extra year as a butler.
Fred Newmeyer, who directed several of Harold Lloyd's comedies, has handled the scenes of this production in an effective fashion. Virtually the only shortcoming to this bright nonsense was the fact that the vocal illusion in the early chapters yesterday afternoon was not always as good as it might have been.
Miss Rogers does nicely by her rôle and Stanley Smith serves his part satisfactorily. The singing of these two is a good deal better than that in the average musical film. The performances of both Mr. Ruggles and Mr. Morgan, however, are something, to enthuse over.
Turning the Tables.
QUEEN HIGH, with Frank Morgan, Charles Ruggles, Ginger Rogers, Stanley Smith, Helen Carrington, Theresa Maxwell Conover, Betty Garde, Nina Olivette, Rudy Cameron and Tom Brown, directed by Fred Newmeyer; "Ole Virginny," a stage offering, with Slim Timblin and company; Paulino Gaskins and others. At the Paramount.