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Naughty But Nice

(1939 b 90')

En: 5 Ed: 4


A music professor has his melodies turned into popular songs; but a singer seduces him for a new publisher, and his new lyricist steals classical music.

College music teacher Donald Hardwick (Dick Powell) opposes swing. His aunts Penelope Hardwick (Zasu Pitts), Annabella Hardwick (Vera Lewis), and Henrietta Hardwick (Elizabeth Dunn) warn him about staying with Aunt Martha Hogan (Helen Broderick) in New York. There he meets Linda MacKay (Gale Page) and Ed Clark (Ronald Reagan) and hears swing. Stanislaus Pysinski (Luis Alberni) tells Donald he wants new music. So Martha takes Donald to Ed, and Linda persuades Ed to buy his rhapsody. Donald, his aunts, and Dean Burton (Halliwell Hobbes) hear it on the radio swinging with Zelda Manion (Ann Sheridan) singing. Dean Burton is outraged, and Donald says he was tricked. Donald complains to Ed and Linda, and they go out. Donald orders lemonade but drinks Martha's hurricanes. Donald shouts and dances with Zelda. The three Hardwick aunts see a news photo of Donald and go to New York. Martha and Linda say that Donald promised to write music, and the aunts leave.

Donald tells Linda her lyrics are too much about love. Donald and Linda sing "I'm Happy About the Whole Thing," which becomes a hit. Sam Hudson (William B. Davidson) asks Zelda to get him songs by Donald. At Zelda's apartment Linda sings "Fall In Love With Me." Zelda asks Donald to stay, as Linda leaves. Zelda gives Donald hurricanes, and he kisses her. Zelda takes him out to meet Sam. She sings "Corn Pickin'." Songwriters Joe Dirk (Allen Jenkins) and Allie Gray (Jerry Colonna) resent Donald, and Joe burns his shoe. The three aunts go to Donald and find him with a hang-over again. Ed comes in and is angry because Sam signed Donald. Sam arrives with a contract, but Linda refuses to go along and leaves with Ed. Donald asks Sam to cancel the contract, but Sam says Joe will write lyrics. Joe steals music by Ridowski for his words. On radio Donald hears Zelda sing what Joe stole. Donald is sued for plagiarism. Sam cancels Donald's contract. Angry Zelda slaps Donald and Sam, and Donald slugs Sam and Joe. In a park Donald tells Linda he likes her better than Zelda, and they kiss.

Judge Walters (Granville Bates) hears the case on "I Don't Believe in Signs." Donald testifies he had nothing to do with it. His three aunts come in and play music. Penelope says that Ridowski stole the melody in 1903 when he knew her. Judge Walters dismisses the case and asks Donald about his own song. Donald kisses Linda and tells the judge the melody is from Beethoven.

This musical comedy reflects the current vogue of swing music and wild dancing that some consider naughty; but even though the abstinent professor gets plastered, the emphasis of this farce is on the nice.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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