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Louisiana Purchase
IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from 318 votes
Release: 31 December 1941 (USA) /

Louisiana Purchase

Genre: Comedy, Musical
Director: Irving Cummings,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Graft is rampant in the government of a "mythical" Louisiana, and the arrival of U.S. Senate investigator Loganberry brings panic. The chief miscreants shift the blame on to their innocent tool, Jim Taylor, who to save himself must "compromise" the simon-pure Senator Loganberry. As his instrument, Jim selects Marina Von Minden, beautiful Viennese refugee. But matters become complicated when Jim falls for Marina... and she takes a liking for the Senator. Written by Rod Crawford <[email protected]>

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Critic Reviews

Comedian Bob Hope, in his first Technicolor performance, effortlessly portrays Jim Taylor, a political lackey of the Louisiana Purchasing Company who is unaware that he is being gulled, replacing William Gaxton who starred on Broadway in this long-running satirical comedy, featuring music and lyrics by irving Berlin. Although the original work by Morrie Ryskind, with its sardonic savaging of politicians and their methods, is carefully muted in this cinematic version, there remains much to enjoy as Taylor frantically struggles to avoid taking a rap for the misdealings of a coterie of his graftsodden superiors, played effectively by such as Donald MacBride and Frank Albertson. An opera bouffe opening serves to explain to the audience that in order to avoid onerous lawsuits, Louisiana must be accepted as a mythical location, with a bevy of comely singers offering the standard "no resemblance" disclaimer for the decoy State. Victor Moore, Vera Zorina and Irene Bordoni reprise their stage roles from a work sadly seldom performed since, with the veteran director of musicals Irving Cummings doing his best to retain some of its operetta nature and still permit Hope to gambol about as the target of a Congressional investigation headed by Senator Oliver P. Loganberry (Moore). The screen play generally fails to capture the essence of its source, and therefore much of Hope's timing is wasted upon poor material, while Moore is so torpid that he appears to be more sleep deprived than anything else. Raoul Pene Du Bois formulated the beautiful costumes and designed the splendid sets, including that for a traditional dream ballet sequence showcasing prima ballerina Zorina, and plot propelling and witty lyrics by Berlin, although too often cut, enhance the overall production, particularly the delightful title piece, sung and danced to by alluring Dona Drake. The opening scenes fare best, in particular that wherein Emory Parnell, a top studio lawyer, reads the script and then dictates a singspieled letter in rhymed couplets to advise executives against replicating the original show, a very clever and funny beginning to this lavish Paramount motion picture.

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