Safety in Numbers Film Details
Overview: A songwriter hires three chorus girls to show him the “underside” of big-city life.
Review: Charles “Buddy” Rogers doesn’t strike me as anything special and his singing is pretty shaky but in 1930 Paramount still considered him star material. In the middle of all the Broadway musicals being filmed, this was an original movie musical with over six new songs – the film was praised by the critics of the day and proved quite profitable to Paramount. The big song hit was not “The Pick Up” but the very catchy “My Future Just Passed”. William Butler (Buddy Rogers) is sent to New York by his uncle who wants to get him “educated” by a trio of Follies girls. The girls have been told to protect him from gold diggers (including themselves) as he is set to inherit $25 million dollars within months. The film starts with “Business Girl”, a high stepping number in which Bill judges a “high kicking contest” – 3 inch heels maximum – in the office where he is manager. In New York Bill finds a pal in a pugnacious cabbie Betram Shapiro (Roscoe Karns) and the girls’ maid Messalina (Louise Beavers) also takes him under her wing. Risqué business and pre -code banter run riot. “What’s this” says Bill, holding a bra – “that’s a ping pong net” says Pauline. When Buddy remarks that he thought they were going to be elderly due to the photos displayed – Pauline remarks (Carole Lombard definitely had the best lines) that their boyfriends had given them pictures of their wives so the girls would know them if they ever ran into them!!!! Bill sings a song with each of the girls. The first is “Do You Play, Madam” – a “golfie song” (1930 was the year of the “golfie” musical) he and Jacqueline sing as a duet. Of course he finds himself falling for her and she for him. The others make a play for him themselves. Maxine joins him in “I’d Like to be a Bee in Your Boudoir”, Pauline struggles through and recites “Young Man, You Appeal to Me” – when she is surprised half way through her song she quips “there’s a dance that goes with that”!!!! When the rehearsal of a new number fizzles out, Bill introduces his new song “The Pick Up” and it is a big hit – even Messalina sings a verse. At one point the dancers are seen in silhouette against the New York skyline – I had never seen anything like it. At this point Bill meets a real gold digger Cleo Carewe, but nothing comes of it. When the girls are offered roles in the Folies Bergere by an old boyfriend of Jacqueline’s and Bill’s song fails to interest the Broadway producer, he becomes interested in Alma (a shimmering Virgina Bruce) a genuine girl who doesn’t drink or smoke and loves to go for long walks!!! She, unfortunately for Bill, is only dating him to make her boyfriend jealous. Things turn out all right, the girls are reinstated in the show at $1200 a week and Bill sings the haunting “My Future Just Passed” to Jacqueline as they both realise they are in love with each other. Jacqueline, of course being the most dowdy and the least vibrant of the girls was the one that won his heart. She also seemed to be the only one that could sing. (She also put over “The Pick Up” in a big way). The girls are worthy of attention. Kathryn Crawford (Jacqueline) was considered the one who was going places – having starred in 7 films in 1929 and 6 in 1930 – however it was not to be. Josephine Dunn (Maxine) also looked a good bet but, unfortunately, “Safety in Numbers” was one of her career highlights, as by the next year she was entrenched in programmers. Geneva Mitchell (Cleo Carewe) was an original Ziegfeld girl and “Safety in Numbers” was her first credited part so she knew how to play a showgirl. Ethereal Virginia Bruce (Alma) was an actress that Paramount held great hopes for. She had been in several of their movies in 1929 and more than fulfilled her promise in the coming years. Carole Lombard (Pauline) had just left Pathe where she was showing great promise (“High Voltage”, “The Racketeer”). “Safety in Numbers” was her first Paramount film. She was easily the most eye catching chorus girl and had a glib way with her lines. In the eyes of most of the movie going public it was she who should have snared Bill at the end of the movie but Paramount rewarded her with a long term contract. If only all the early musicals were like this one the public would not have got sick of musicals so quickly!!! Highly Recommended.
Country: United States
Duration: 80 min
Genre: Comedy, Music, Romance
Also known as: Safety in Numbers,令嬢暴力団,Älska efter noter